Global Psychology

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

GLOBAL PSYCHOLOGY, also referred to at times as INTERNATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY is an emerging branch of psychology that focuses on the worldwide enterprise of psychology and is (i) concerned with an understanding of challenging contemporary topics that are not geographically bound, and which have a psychological dimension and (ii) designing contextualized, ethical, and socially responsible actions to address these challenges and support individual and social well-being (research, consultation, practice).

The goal of the course is to sensitize students to global psychological issues of particular significance to low-income countries.

This course is grounded in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will provide an opportunity for students to observe, examine and understand human behavior within its natural context in a low-income country, and the kinds of psychological help offered to members of the society.

As part of the course, students will be engaged in a 3-month obligatory field experience (internship) to gain an understanding of the complex socio-cultural, historical, political, economic issues affecting how people, organizations and environments interact. The goal is to facilitate the development of cultural sensitivity and awareness. Students will learn to establish respectful and ethical relations with global populations, considering the impact of their own culture on global cultures.

Psychology is a product arising from interaction among ecological, cultural, and political systems. Mainstream psychology as it is practiced in much of the world is rooted in the realities of Western industrialized countries. This approach to a large extent has shown very little cognizance to cultural, political, ecological, and social factors that affect people¿s emotions, thoughts, and behavior. Western conception of human behavior, thoughts, and emotions as well as its practice are often transported from one part of the world to the other in packages of "absolute truths". Notwithstanding great results, they have sometimes proven to be ineffective and even detrimental to the receiving group of people. Moreover, psychological services are often provided in a manner devoid of cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity and at best minimum cultural competence.

The crux of the course is to help students to expand their cultural horizon and provide them with first-hand close observation of psychological services in a low-income country

Learning Outcomes


At the end of the course the student should be able to:

  • Describe the health care system of the LMIC (i.e. low or middle-income country) where the internship takes place.
  • Identify and describe indigenous psychological health care practices in the LMIC that the internship takes place.
  • Discuss how the social, cultural and political systems of the country the internship occurred may shape behavior, thoughts and emotions of the people in the country


  • Discuss how one's culture of origin views may facilitate or impede working with people of of cultural backgrounds different from one's own
  • Discuss how cultural-bound syndromes may arise from cultural beliefs and practices of a cultural society.
  • Discuss culturally based ethical dilemma one may face when working in different cultural contexts
  • Learn to cope with acculturative stress

General competence

  • Develop a global and an international perspective of psychology as a field
  • Develop an understanding for the limitations mainstream psychology may have when applied to people living in LMIC.
  • Understand how psychological practices are rooted in the socio-cultural, ecological political structures of the society
  • Relating competently and sensitively with people of different cultural backgrounds

ECTS Credits


Level of Study

Master / Third year Professional Psychology degree during their GAP semester

Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

The first part of the course will be taught at the University of Bergen, and the second part (Internship) is hosted at a university in a Low-and middle income country (LMIC).

For the 2021/22 Academic year, the hosting LMIC university is the University of Ghana in Accra.

Required Previous Knowledge
Students should have completed at least 2 years of psychology, or an equivalent bachelor degree in psychology or social sciences.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
The student should preferably have a psychology or a social sciences background
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course
Psychology students from the Professional Program in Psychology.
Teaching and learning methods
  • 2 weeks in-person and/or online seminar/lectures at the University of Bergen
  • 12 weeks Internship in a Low & Middle-income country
  • Self-study involving defining study area in accordance to the objectives of the course
  • Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
  • Active participation in the 2-week in-person/ online lectures and seminars
  • 1-week preparation for internship in a low-income country (to take place at UiB)
  • 12 weeks of Observational Internship involving clinical/ pedagogical/consultation activities in relevant settings for global psychology (lasting 12 weeks).
  • The 12-week observational internship should include between 2 - 3 days of observation, and 1 to 2 days of course auditing. (Assessment is based on bi-weekly report of approximately 500 words submitted to course leader)
  • Forms of Assessment

    Final grade (will be based on (i) active participation in all the different parts of the course and (ii) written essays based on (a) reflection papers -- (to be assigned) -- and (b) an approved self-chosen topic from the country of the internship.

    Both the reflection paper and the self-chosen topic for the essay should be in line in the learning objectives/outcomes of the course


    Class attendance and active participation in class discussions

    Bi-weekly report of the preceding 2-3 weeks¿ activities. [There should be at least 4 and no more than 6 of such reports during the 12 weeks. The reports will be submitted in groups of 2 or 3 students to the course leader. The reports should be approximately 500 word long]


    Two individual papers based on assigned topics ranging from the health systems of the country, the socio-political and cultural context for understanding psychology in the country to self- reflection of one¿s cultural awareness and ethnocentric views arising from the internship. [The 1st of the two assigned essays should be submitted 6 to 8 weeks into the internship, and the 2nd submitted at the end of the internship. The essays should be approximately 500 word long]

    An essay of an approved topic originating from the country of internship. [The essay (report) is to be about 2500 word long (APA style). Approximately 10 pages double]

    Oral presentation of the written essay based on the approved self-chosen topic.

    The (i) class attendance; (ii) 4 - 6 bi-weekly (group) reports, (iii) two assigned reflection essays, (iv) the approved (group) self-chosen essay and its oral presentation will be evaluated as either PASS or FAIL.

    Grading Scale
    Pass or Fail
    Assessment Semester
    Autumn semester
    Reading List
    A reading list with recommended literature will be made available before the start of the semester
    Course Evaluation
    The course will be evaluated in accordance with the routines for participatory evaluation of the Faculty of Psychology and the Quality Assurance System of the University of Bergen.
    Examination Support Material

    No restrictions

    Open access

    Programme Committee
    Department of Psychosocial Science
    Course Coordinator
    Department of Psychosocial Science
    Course Administrator
    Faculty of Psychology