Skip to content The Open University

Student and tutor module reviews

The science of the mind: investigating mental health

see module description

  • Points: 30
  • Code: SDK228
  • Level: 2

Student reviews

I found this module interesting overall, although like with any module, there were certain sections that I found more enjoyable than others. I enjoyed the final section on dementia especially but found the addiction and depression sections a bit hard work.

I found the workload was easier to keep up with than some of the other modules I have undertaken such as S294, s295 and SK277. The one part I would change is that there is no end of module exam which is the format I am used to and prefer. Instead, there is a final submission of work which follows a similar format to the tutor-marked assignments. In an exam, there is a greater spread of knowledge and so having the whole module grade determined on one piece of work I didnt like.

That being said, it's a really diverse module and would be useful to many different degrees and I did enjoy it.

Sally Maxine Hinks

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: June 2019

One of the best things I have ever learned. I do enjoy neuroscience (some knowledge in science, anatomy etc. could help before taking this module).

I had to take after the credit transfer, to finish with level 2. To be a level 2 science module is tough, and we all talked about that in the Facebook group we formed.

This course 2018/19 is the last time it is available. I personally, would wait for the new module. I Hope they make it 60 credits, because despite being a science module, one of the most difficults, like human biology (anatomy) etc. is just 30 credits. We did propose to be 60 credits at level 2 adding 1 more TMA, or 30 credits but level 3.

It is challenging, I did study a lot and I got my worst mark, just a pass 4. I did fight for a pass 3 (the average mark of this module) but in the end I only got a pass 4.

I Hope this year, being my second at the OU but my last at honours level (level 3) my good marks will come back. In Scotland now, moved from the Basque Country (Euskadi), Spain, attending tutorials I hope to get a decent mark after studying hard.

I have been really lucky with a super tutor who helped me a lot and worked extremely hard as a tutor, a person of transparency, honour and integrity.

TMAs very effectively and fast corrected with lots of helpful feedback to help and support me, to improve in neuroscience.

Kepa Zugazaga Beaskoetxea

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: August 2018

This has been my favourite module so far. The reading material is great and and I thoroughly enjoyed studying it and finding myself so interested in neuroscience.

Course starting: October 2015

Review posted: October 2016

Overall this is an interesting module where you can learn a lot about the way the mind/brain functions.

The first two books were by far the best, closely argued and backed up by a lot of references to individual research studies. The second two books were, to my mind, much weaker and relied much more on hand-waving arguments. They lacked depth and it didn't feel like proper science anymore.

I can't say that the multimedia activites added a lot to the course. And that means that it can feel like you've paid a lot of money for some books that you could have bought off Amazon much cheaper.

For me, the biggest problem with the course is its over-reliance on essays as a form of assessment. Of course, opinions will vary. If you like essay-writing, then you'll be at home here.

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: February 2016

SDK228 was a very satisfying module in that I learnt a lot from it. Nevertheless I found it difficult because of all of the different components.

It involved a research strand, a research study, searching the library database for research articles, which is harder than it sounds and there were a lot of different short questions in the TMAs and EMA. This might suit some people but I'm more comfortable with longer essay style questions.

I really enjoyed the module books, which are well written and interesting. I stuck at it and managed to get 2 distinctions for TMAs and ended up with a Grade 2 pass, which I found surprising due to how much I struggled throughout.

I recommend this module but don't underestimate the workload; much planning ahead and keeping up with it continuously are required.

Georgia Stewart

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: October 2014

I really enjoyed this module and I learnt loads. I completed SDK228 alongside 2 other modules whilst working 30 hours a week so it was quite a challenge (especially the research methods strand!) I quickly picked up the terminology and found the interactive brain invaluable when it came to understanding neuronal processes. The books supplied are well presented, illustrative and very interesting. The tutors comments regarding my TMAs were constructive and encouraged high achievement with gentle guidence rather than criticism. Overall an excellent introduction to level 2 study.

Sharon Taylor

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: October 2013

SDK228 The Science of the mind.

I completed this level 2 module right after completing my S104 course.

To note this review is based upon my own personal circumstance working full time (36 hours pw) whilst having children to care for mon - thurs.

After finding S104 quite a struggle with its large workload, I thought this module SDK228 would have been easier as it was more to my interest and liking but how wrong was I!

It was a tough module that you have to really get your head around as it covers mental illness such as dementias and their various forms, including cardio vascular etc. It's what you would expect an amateur psychiatrist to be reading rather than a new student who has just passed his S104 course who hasn't been in education for the last 15 years!

You do get into the flow of things quickly though and overall I managed to scrape a grade 4 pass but this was probably due to my other life commitments taking precedence.

I would recommend you study this module if you have a interest in psychology, dementias, addictions etc. and want to know more about what makes people tick BUT with that said you really have to put the hours of reading and study in to gain the most from it and come out on top with good grades.

Gary Bradshaw

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: September 2013

Brilliant course. Great tutor and tutorials.

Catherine Dawson

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: September 2013

I chose this course since I have always been interested in abnormal psychology. I absolutely loved this course and learnt a lot from it as well. There were only 3 assignments and an EMA so I was able to do it alongside another course. The material was confusing at times but was able to recover quickly by the help and support of my tutor. The assignments were sometimes very hard work but rewarding. Would definitely recommend this to anyone who is interested in mental health studies.

Aisha Uppal

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: September 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed this course, in fact it has been my favourite course so far with the OU.

I loved the combination of biology (my favourite bit!)psychology and social aspects of the course, and found each of the subjects covered interesting and thought provoking, especially the case studies.

I agree with other OU students of how well the TMAs and EMAs were structured and found this worked well incorporating the course material.

My tutor was great and very supportive throughout. I hope I enjoy my next course (DD308) as much!

Melanie Greatorex

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: September 2013

I enjoyed SDK228. It is a well presented and written course. Book 4 Dementias and the associated multimedia map and case studies were especially good. I studied the course immediately after studying SD226 (which I found hard going); as a social science student I found the content more suitable as it covers biology, psychology and social aspects. I would recommend this course to both psychology and social science students who are interested in investigating mental health.

Jan Thompson

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: August 2013

For me, this course was very tough going. The quantity and difficulty of the study materials (books and online) was a lot more than I had expected. Elements of chemistry and neurobiology feature heavily here and even though they are kept at a low-difficulty level, I had to work hard to grasp the concepts and use them correctly - the course website however made these matters a lot easier to understand. Furthermore, some of the issues discussed in the course also are likely to be upsetting to many students - addictions, dementias and care of the elderly, depression etc. are all discussed in depth and are bound to elicit strong emotional responses in all, but especially in those who have come in contact with mental illness in some form.

The overall picture that SDK228 paints is a fascinating one, and I think that the course materials managed to provide an excellent idea of how diverse the subject of mental illness is - how causes, treatments, indeed even definitions of what constitutes mental illness are determined by complex interrelated factors and cannot be attributed to just biology, or just psychology alone. Throw the influence of society in the mix, and you have the ingredients for a handful or debates which I found most enlightening and thought-provoking.

An excellent course, all the more useful now that the OU are about to bin their full-on Biological Psychology course.

Alina Kemp

Course starting: January 2012

Review posted: September 2012

This was by far my favourite module. The combination of science and psychology worked well for me. The module is very modern and very relevant. The Multi Media guide provided is an excellent way to bring rather dry topics, such as neuronal functions, synaptic connections and the biological/chemical impact of different substances to life. The audio and video material provided for each section is first class. The structure of the module is very clear and the four books, all dealing with a different aspect and topic of mental health are written in an easy to understand way.

As expected from a Level 2 module, the TMAs are a challenging way to test the understaning of each section. They all follow the same structure, short questions about specific topics of each module, a research methods part and an essay. I overlapped this module with SD226 and both modules complement each other really well. Maybe the OU might want to think about combining both modules and make it a 60 pointer.

Not only did I come away with a really good result, thanks to my great tutor who was always there when I had a question, but also with a much wider and broader understanding of mental health. The biology in this module might provide a challenge for more psychology orientated students and the psychology might provide the same challenger for a science student, however, the combination of biology and psychology makes this module so fantastic and challenging at the same time.

I was a bit sad when it was over, although, the EMA made me sweat blood several times. If you are interested in the science behind the mind, current mental health issues such as depression, OCD, addiction or dementia take this course. By no means an easy option but worth every second of study time.

Tobias Nehm

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: August 2012

Excellent course! I chose this because I was interested in the dementia part, my nan had vascular dementia so it had a personal interest for me. I was disappointed before I started about such a large chuck being on "addiction" but this proved to be one of the most interesting aspects of my degree. I did not understand at all before this how addiction could be classed as a mental health problem and I learned so much about it that it completely changed my perception on addiction. As an ex-smoker I could also relate to aspects of this myself. This course will always stand out to me as being absolutely fantastic and I got a Level 2 grade for my efforts. Loved it!

Course starting: October 2010

Review posted: June 2012

I thoroughly enjoyed this course, especially with my interest in mental health. Course material was well-written and the biology part was helpful when I did this course alongside SK277. I was very lucky to have a supportive tutor who left me constructive comments in my marked TMAs and did not make me feel intimidated or dumbed down. Missed out on getting a distinction due to a lower TMA score, but still well-pleased with my overall grade 2 pass. I'd study this course all over again if I could!

Anna Maria Prince

Course starting: October 2010

Review posted: June 2012

Please note

Each of the views expressed above is an individual's very particular response, largely unedited, and should be viewed with that in mind. Since modules are subject to regular updating, some of the issues identified may have already been addressed. In some instances the faculty may have provided a response to a comment. If you have a query about a particular module, please contact your Regional Centre.


Module satisfaction survey

The figures below are taken from a survey of students who sat the exam/completed the end-of-module assessment for the October 2016 presentation of SDK228. The survey was carried out in 2017.

315 students (a response rate of 21%) responded to the survey covering what they thought of 10 aspects of the module.

Please note that if the percentage of students who responded to this module survey is below 30% and/or the number of responses is below 23 it means that only a small proportion of students provided feedback and their views as shown here may not be fully representative of all students who studied the module.

See this page for the full text of questions and more information about the survey.

% Count
Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of this module 80.4 250
Overall, I am satisfied with my study experience 76.4 236
The module provided good value for money 68 206
I was satisfied with the support provided by my tutor/study adviser on this module 77 241
Overall, I was satisfied with the teaching materials provided on this module 79.7 248
The learning outcomes of the module were clearly stated 83.8 259
I would recommend this module to other students 68.9 213
The module met my expectations 69 214
I enjoyed studying this module 74.9 233
Overall, I was able to keep up with the workload on this module 69.8 215
Faculty comment: "The module team would like to thank all students who took part in the survey and are delighted that the great majority of respondents are satisfied with the overall study experience, quality of materials and tutor support experienced. Open comments indicate that respondents particularly value the combination of printed books and online interactive activities. Some of the comments indicate that the assessment is more time-consuming and complex than expected, and the module team continues to try to address this with more streamlined assessment and clearer instructions. "
Enter a module code to find a review

To send us reviews on modules you have studied with us, please click the sign in button below.