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Teaching of psychology in Iceland

Psychology is first taught in upper-secondary schools for students aged 16–20 years. The curriculum for psychology teaching is prescribed by the Ministry for Education.

Qualification of teachers in upper-secondary schools: the minimum requirement of psychology education is a B.A. degree or equivalent and then a two year M.Ed. in Teaching Studies.

Courses offered in the national curriculum:

  • PSY 103 General psychology
  • PSY 203 Developmental psychology
  • PSY 213 Biological psychology
  • PSY 303 Abnormal psychology
  • PSY 313 Disability, trauma and aging
  • PSY 403 Personality and social psychology

The most common class size is 20 – 30 students.  On average students spend around 4 hours a week studying psychology and each term is about 15 weeks.  Many different teaching methods are used, including lectures, practical exercises, cooperative learning and laboratory work. Conditions vary between schools.

Psychology is a quite popular subject in upper-secondary schools in Iceland but usually it is not a mandatory subject for all students.  Most often though it is mandatory in study programmes specially designed for those preparing for social sciences at university.

The International Baccalaureate Program (IB) is taught in English at Hamrahlid College. It consists of a preparatory year plus two years diploma studies where psychology is one of the  Group 3 subjects.

The national association for psychology teachers (and teachers of pedagogy) is called Samtök sálfræði- og uppeldisfræðikennara.

Web: http://www.bhs.is/uppminsal/

Harpa Hafsteinsdottir
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Useful Websites

Ministry of Education, Science and Culture