Biological Considerations in Clinical Psychology


Tues/Thurs  8:30 – 10:30


Spring 2018



Instructor : Gary Rockman

Office: 5L30

Phone: 204-786-9405; E-mail:

Office Hours: email for appointment

Course Web Site:



Click here for PDF version of Course Outline  


Click here for Reading List


Click here for Grades


Click here for Seminar Topics / Dates



 Course Description:

This course will deal with the biological and neuropharmacological basis of several "psychological" disorders. In addition, the various biological and pharmacological treatments will be discussed and compared. Topics may include disorders such as Alcoholism, Anorexia Nervosa, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, Parkinsonism, Huntington's Chorea and Alzheimer Disease.


Required Text:

No specific text will be assigned for this course, however, students will be responsible for the assigned readings (see posted reading list) and to make use of the literature on each topic.


Course Requirements:


Class Tests:                                                        

There will be 3 tests each worth 20% of the final grade. Tentatively, Test # 1 will be on May 17/18, test # 2 will be in on May 31/18 and test # 3 will be a take home test that will be due on July 3/18 at 4:00 pm. Tests # 1 and # 2 will be made up of short essay question(s). Test # 3 will be made up of 1 essay question. The question for test # 3 will be provided during the last class (June 26/18). It will be on a general topic or issue in “Biological Considerations in Clinical Psychology”. Test # 3 is to be submitted to me by e-mail (as an attachment and I will confirm receipt).  The maximum length is 2 single spaced word processed pages.


Seminar Presentation:


Each student is required to present a class seminar (20 % of final grade, see Seminar Evaluation and Information below). Each student must select a topic (first come first served) prior to choosing a seminar date. Class presentations (3 per class, 35 mins each) will tentatively start on June 5/18. The preferred method of selecting a topic is to discuss it with me first and then to e-mail a description of your chosen topic and preferred seminar date. Each of you is required to: 1) to email the class 1 short representative article 1 class prior to your actual seminar date; 2)  on the day of the seminar, each presenter must provide each class member with a written summary of their seminar (max 1 single spaced double sided page 20 % of final grade). Summaries are to be written using full sentences and paragraphs (not point form) with references properly cited in the text (numbers can be used) and with a complete reference list. This summary is not to be merely a written version of your oral presentation. The summary is designed to compliment your in class presentation.  This will further be discussed in class; 3) on the day of (or prior to) your seminar you must provide me with 2 current “important” articles that you used as references for your seminar (articles are to be sent to me via e-mail in PDF). For copies to class, the secretary in the Psychology Office will provide you with a code for the copy machine.


N.B. There will be no “make-ups” for tests or seminars. However in extreme cases (i.e. death in  the family or extreme illness validated by a doctor), please contact me for  alternative arrangements. Failure to write tests, present your seminars, or handout summaries on time may result in a reduction of marks up to the total amount that each assignment is worth.


Example of Grading:


Test 1                            15/20

Test 2                            17/20

Seminar presentation    16/20

Seminar summary         18/20

Test 3                            16/20


Letter Grade: B+           82/100    


Letter Grade Equivalents:


  A +    95 +

  A       85.0 - 94.9

  A -     83.0 - 84.9

  B +    80.0 - 82.9

  B       75.0 - 79.9

  C +    70.0 - 74.9                  

  C       60.0 - 69.9

  D       50.0 - 59.9

  F        49.9 - and below


Please note the following examples illustrating the rounding of marks: eg., a 72.89  becomes 72.9 not 73.0, a mark of 72.99 remains as 72.9.


Seminar Information for 4730


Seminar Evaluation:


Style of presentation: /5.0

Integration and Organization: /5.0

Content of presentation: /7.0

Presenter’s apparent understanding of topic, issues, etc.  /3.0


Total:    /20


General Rules & Guidelines for Seminar Presentations


     As is noted in the course outline, each one of you is required to present a seminar to the class on a topic of your choosing. Below I have listed some of the "rules" and “guidelines”.


1. Choose a topic as soon as you can. "Good" topics usually go very quickly (first come first served) as well as the fact that choosing your topic early will provide you with plenty of prep time. This is particularly important if some articles you need have to be requested through "interlibrary loans" (this can take 2-3 weeks). It is suggested that you discuss your topic with me prior to doing any extensive work on it.


2. Topics in the past have been: Anxiety, Anorexia Nervosa, Parkinson's, Schizophrenia etc. The basic criteria is that the topic be included in the DSM V and that you discuss it from a biological and/or neurochemical perspective. Do not spend more than 2-3 minutes talking about incidence, diagnostic criteria, etc. The emphasis must be on the biological and/or neurochemical processes.


3. Length: Each student will be allotted a total of 35 mins for their presentation (includes time for questions)


4.  Powerpoint:  It is required that your presentation be a “Powerpoint Presentation” (or equivalent)


5. References: It is expected that you will prepare your talk mainly from the original references. The number of references required will vary depending on the topic, but a “ballpark” number would be ~ 10. Do not expect to prepare your talk from 1 or 2 books. You will probably be asked questions which may be related to specific studies and I may ask to see any of the references on your reference list. 


6. Evaluation: All seminars will be worth 20 marks and will be marked according to the above “Seminar Evaluation”


7.  Attendance:  It is expected that all students attend all seminar presentations, not only because you are an Honours student interested in the topics but also to show support for your classmates





University Regulations and Policies – Revised May 2018

Academic Dates, Regulations, and Policies from the UW 2017-2018 General Calendar see:


The voluntary withdrawal dates, without academic penalty:

Please be advised withdrawing before the VW date does not result in a fee refund, see:


Š       12-week courses: Thursday, July 5

Š       First six-week courses: Thursday, May 31

Š       Eight-week courses: Wednesday, June 13

Š       2nd six-week courses: Monday, July 16


The dates the University is closed for holidays:

Š       In lieu of Victoria Day (Monday, May 21—campus is closed): make-up day is Tuesday, May 29 for 4 and 8 week classes only; make-up day is Tuesday, June 12 for the 1st 6- and 12-week classes

Š       In lieu of Canada Day (Sunday, July 1 and Monday, July 2—campus is closed): make-up day is July 26 (for courses in the 2nd 6-week and 12-week terms). The dates when there are no classes: for 8-week courses only—May 30; 12-week term only—June 13

All work submitted must be either typed or text processed and you may be asked for photo I.D. when writing tests.


No equipment is authorized for use in tests/exams (e.g. calculators, dictionaries, hand-held devices, books), unless specified by the instructor prior to the test.


Please note that the grade distribution and letter grade equivalents are tentative and may be changed in either direction by (1) the professor, (2) the Departmental Review Committee, or (3) the Senate, when circumstances warrant.


It is important to note that only students University of Winnipeg email address ( will be used for course related correspondence


Please review the Regulations and Policies section of the Course Calendar dealing with academic regulations and policies including Senate appeals and academic misconduct (e.g. plagiarism, cheating).


Undergraduate students who plan to conduct minimal-risk research interviews, focus groups, surveys, or any other method of collecting data from any person, even a family member, must obtain the approval of the Departmental Ethics Committee before commencing data collection. (For greater-than-minimal-risk or Graduate student studies, approval of the UHREB is also required.) Exceptions are research activities in class as a learning exercise. For submission requirements and deadlines see:


            Students with documented disabilities, temporary or chronic medical conditions, requiring academic accommodations for tests/exams (e.g., private space) or during lectures/laboratories (e.g., access to volunteer note-takers) are encouraged to contact Accessibility Services (AS) at 786-9771 or email to discuss appropriate options. Specific information about AS is available on-line at All information about a student’s disability or medical condition remains confidential.


We ask that you please be respectful of the needs of classmates and instructors/professors by avoiding the use of unnecessary scented products while attending lectures. Exposure to scented products can trigger serious health reactions in persons with asthma, allergies, migraines or chemical sensitivities.  Please consider using unscented necessary products and avoiding unnecessary products that are scented (e.g. perfume).


            All students, faculty and staff have the right to participate, learn and work in an environment that is free of harassment and discrimination. The UW Respectful Working and Learning Environment Policy may be  found online at


            Students may choose not to attend classes or write examinations on holy days of their religion, but they must notify their instructors at least two weeks in advance. Instructors will then provide opportunity for students to make-up work and/or examinations without penalty. A list of religious holidays can be found at:


Students facing a charge of academic or non-academic misconduct may choose to contact the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA) where a student advocate will be available to answer any questions about the process, help with building a case, and ensuring students have access to support. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit our website at or call 204-786-9780