Summer 2021 - PSYC 480 D100

Advanced Topics in Biological Psychology (4)

Biological Bases of Behaviour

Class Number: 3845

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    PSYC 201, 210, 280, 60 units, and a CGPA of 3.0. Other prerequisites vary by topic offering.



Course can be repeated for credit. Students may not take this course for further credit if similar topics are covered. See Psychology department website for course description.


This course will be taught FULLY synchronous.

Psyc 480/600
The objective of this seminar is to provide clinical psychology graduate students with breadth in the area of biological psychology, to meet Canadian Psychological Association accreditation standards for training programs in clinical psychology. The course is also open to other graduate students and senior undergraduates. The focus of the seminar will be on biological mechanisms and treatments of psychopathology, with special attention to psychopharmacology and new perspectives from the fields of chronobiology and sleep research. Disturbances of sleep and biological rhythms are among the most common comorbidities of psychological disorders, and may provide important insights into their correlates and causes.

1. Introduction
2. Biological foundations: pharmacology, chronobiology, sleep
3. Major depressive disorders
4. Seasonal affective disorder
5. Bipolar disorder
6. Neurogenesis in the adult brain: role in cognition and mood regulation
7. Schizophrenia
8. ECT and exercise for depression and schizophrenia
9. Stress disorders
10. Dementia and neurodegenerative diseases
11. Developmental and conduct disorders
12. New look at some old drugs.


During the first 2 weeks, we will review biological foundations of behaviour, brain signaling pathways and principles of psychopharmacology. Each week thereafter we will discuss a specific class of psychological disorders, and read corresponding chapters from the Handbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for Therapists (2017), one on etiology, diagnosis and treatment implications, and another on medications. In addition, we will read and discuss research as recent articles on notable advances or new directions in clinical neuroscience. Students will be assigned articles for short presentations to facilitate discussion. Students will also write short summaries (1-2 pages) of their assigned readings.


  • Mid-Term Exam: 25%
  • Participation: 35%
  • Writing Assignments: 40%

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112).