PSYCH 758 : Special Topic: Ethnicity, Identity and Culture


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

No prescription

Course Overview

This course takes an interdisciplinary and immersive approach to explore how ethnicity, cultural values, and the ways people identify with them influence how people understand and experience the world around them. There is no single theory or methodology to do this, however this course will explore how to approach cultural or ethnic specific psychological research by drawing on Indigenous and Western frameworks, methodologies, and perspectives. You are encouraged to bring your own experiences with you to help inform your own and others' learning. The overall purpose of this course is for you to interrogate how you approach psychological research or practice in ways that impact on ethnic groups and the diversity within and between them.

Specific topics covered may include: ethnic identity, multiethnicity, acculturation, language, sexuality, gender, religion, spirituality, mental health, suicide prevention, and wellbeing.

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 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Apply a critical analytic lens to research concerning ethnic groups and other identities. (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. Understand your own cultural values, beliefs, and knowledge that informs your approach to research or practice. (Capability 2, 3, 4 and 6)
  3. Analyse colonial influences of knowledge and practice in psychology. (Capability 1, 2 and 6)
  4. Develop strengths-based approaches centered on the needs and priorities of specific groups (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Presentation 20% Group Coursework
Essay 40% Individual Coursework
Reflection 30% Individual Coursework
Coursework 10% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4

There is no plussage for this course. Students will assist in the design of some of the assessments.


There is no specific Tuākana programme relevant to this course, however the values that inform the delivery of this course are similar to that of a Tuākana learning environment.

Learning Resources

Essential readings will be provided via Canvas, however these are a starting point and you will be required to further research and reading in your own time.

Special Requirements

This course is uses collaborative learning and the co-construction of knowledge. Whilst attending classes is not compulsory, it is strongly advised that you attend them all. Participation in this course is assessed.

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 a 2 hour class, 1-2 hours of reading and thinking about the content, and 6-8 hours working on assignments per week. This may vary depending on the timing of group presentations and other course work.

Other Information

A key element of this course is to move you out of your comfort zone and challenge your beliefs and assumptions which you may find challenging, uncomfortable, or confronting on a personal level. Every step is taken to ensure the psychological and cultural safety of all involved in the course by establishing a respectful environment to engage in meaningful dialogue. Furthermore, while you may experience some discomfort, you are encouraged to use this as part of your own learning by critically examining and reflecting on your affective responses to the content and discussions in this course. 

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.


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.

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.

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 at

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.

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.

Feedback from students in 2019 was overwhelmingly positive and spoke of the value in the diversity of the content, the interactive nature of the learning environment, and engaging with material they had not encountered before. Selected anonymous comments from students in response to what they found most helpful for their learning:
  • "The diversity and variety of course content, presenters (students/lecturer) and assessments. The course content was challenging, interesting and relevant. The assessments were really effective at challenging our thinking, and asking more from us than the usual 'essays'"
  • "A unique and eye opening paper. I really enjoyed this class, mostly because I learnt about topics that I have never really engaged with before"
  • "Really interesting and relevant course materials, which were handled with a way that was unflinching and constructive. I basically spent the entire semester talking about what I learned in this course with everyone I knew, It was just so good! It was also one of the rare courses where I felt that I was able to meaningfully engage in self–reflection"

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 11/01/2020 03:17 p.m.