Module code: PSY1023

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the main psychological approaches to personality, focusing on key theorists and the empirical evidence testing each theory.

Module provider


Module Leader

MASON Oliver (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 126

Lecture Hours: 21

Seminar Hours: 3

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Each week, we will discuss one key theoretical approach to personality. We will also consider practical issues in studying, measuring, and applying personality, and synthesise the different theories in relation to each other and different areas of psychology.

Topics will include:

  • Introduction to personality and the nature-nurture debate

  • Freud and psychoanalytic approaches to personality

  • Humanistic personality theories

  • Learning personality theories

  • Social cognitive personality theories

  • Cognitive personality theories

  • Trait approaches to personality

  • Biological personality theories

  • Methods of researching and assessing personality

  • Revision and synthesis

Tutorial 1: Essay preparation

Tutorial 2: Personality research study

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination EXAM (90 MINUTES) 75

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in both an essay and exam, as well as learn how to critically discuss empirical evidence in an essay format.

 Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • An essay (4 pages, 25%) and exam with a combination of short answer questions and multiple choice questions (90 minutes, 75%)

Formative assessment

A mid-semester quiz takes place.


Extensive summative feedback is given on the essay by the markers and this is discussed in a one-to-one tutorial. 

Module aims

  • This module aims to introduce students to the main approaches to personality that have developed over the history of psychology. Each theory will be considered critically from a past to present perspective, covering the key aspects of the theory and the ways in which the concepts have been developed, tested and applied, right up to the present day. Links will be made between theories and across other areas of psychology

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Describe how different theorists view personality and its development
2 Explain key influences on the development of classic theories in personality psychology
3 Relate the concepts of personality theories to contemporary psychology and everyday life
4 Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of personality theories
5 Synthesise theories of personality to illustrate their different perspectives on human nature and influences on behaviour

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

This module is made up of weekly lectures, two tutorials, and independent study.

The online Virtual Learning Environment, SurreyLearn, will be a key resource for supplementary materials, links, and a dedicated Discussion Board (

Interactive quizzes in class and practice questions on SurreyLearn will provide formative feedback on students’ progress. 

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSY1023

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.