PSYCH 733 : Special Topic: Critical Health Psychology


2021 Semester One (1213) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Utilising the frameworks of critical psychology, including gendered, indigenous and intersectional frameworks, this course examines ways we can theorise, understand, and promote health for individuals, communities and societies.

Course Overview

Health matters, in all sorts of ways! But what is health? Where does it start? Where does it end? What is its opposite? What affects how we understand and/or experience it? Utilising a range of frameworks of critical psychology, including gendered, Indigenous and intersectional frameworks, this course examines ways we can theorise, understand, interrogate and promote health for individuals, communities and societies.

This graduate level course (part of the offerings within the BA(Hons), BSc(Hons) and PGDip (Arts/Science) programme) is designed for those who want to engaged with critical reflexive thinking and learning about health and wellbeing, within a social justice framework; for students who are eager to ask questions of knowlege and society, and of themselves. The teaching and learning in this class is inspired by theories and practice designed to unsettle, disrupt and challenge the status quo (e.g., critical and feminist pedagogies; pedagogy of discomfort). What does this mean for learning and the classroom? It means knowledge and learning are framed as political - unable to be removed from the structures of wider society. It means you will almost certainly be discomforted, and you will be asked to use that as a learning tool for critically engaging. It means that you will be asked to reflect on/interrogate the positions you learn and see from, and the ways these may shape your understandings. It means you will be asked to be open to hearing and engaging with knowledge from different positions, and to reflect on the extent to which frameworks work for and against social justice. It means there are no single answers and we won't be dealing with the comfortable space of facts.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Define and critique models of “health” (Capability 1, 2 and 6)
  2. Identify factors and contexts that contribute to individual and community health and wellbeing (Capability 1 and 2)
  3. Develop and demonstrate critical reflexive learning practice (Capability 2)
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of different theoretical frameworks informing critical health psychology (Capability 1, 2 and 4)
  5. Engage with what te Tiriti o Waitangi means for health psychology in Aotearoa (Capability 1, 2 and 6)
  6. Analyse a health issue from a critical health psychology perspective (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)
  7. Develop and demonstrate a health-promoting intervention aligned with critical health psychology perspectives (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  8. Demonstrate an understanding of the broad methodological frameworks for critical health psychology (Capability 1 and 2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignment - health issue analysis 40% Individual Coursework
Presentation - health issue analysis 10% Group & Individual Coursework
Assignment - intervention proposal 30% Individual Coursework
Reflection - personal positioning 20% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Assignment - health issue analysis
Presentation - health issue analysis
Assignment - intervention proposal
Reflection - personal positioning

Key Topics

What is health?
Tools for critical psychology analysis & thinking
Colonisation, race and more
Gender, sexuality and more
Ability, class and more
Critical health psychology in and for pandemic times
Doing bodies/people
Eating bodies/people
Consuming bodies/people
Sexual bodies/people
Health or wellness?
Digital futures?

Special Requirements

This is primarily a discussion-based course. Students are expected to come to class, to come prepared to participate (e.g. through having done the reading), and to participate to the learning discussion.
Students are required to read and comply with the learning guidelines associated with this particular course; these will be available on Canvas.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours per week of seminar/lecture class time, and 8 hours of reading/thinking connected to a) weekly content preparation and b) and  work related to assignments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at lectures.
Lectures will NOT be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

(NB: these may change depending on COVID Alert Level, outlined in the Learning Continuity section below.)

Learning Resources

There is no prescribed text. A wide selection of indicated readings will be available via a digital reading list, some of which will be core readings. You are not expected to do all readings, but use them as needed to enhance your learning experience.
Students will be expected to bring real world examples related to class most weeks.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Other Information

Detailed learning guidelines will be provided on canvas. It is vital for your learning and participation that you look at these and follow these.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Disability and ableism are one of the lenses through which we interrogate health in this course; personal experience is welcomed in the class discussions, if appropriate and wished for, but is not required.

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Under the government’s Covid-19 Alert Levels, we anticipate using the following delivery modes. Note this is subject to change depending on the specific circumstances.
Level 1:  Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode.
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person.  All teaching and assessment will have a remote option.
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 22/12/2020 05:42 p.m.