Module code: PSY3090

Module Overview

Please note: This module is part of the Developmental Psychology stream of Level 6 optional modules and will not be running every year. In some years an alternative optional module within the Developmental Psychology stream will be offered instead.

This final year course introduces students to theories, methods, and research findings in the area of social and personality development during childhood and adolescence. We begin by looking at development in the context of important relationships, such as peers and friends, families, and schools. We next examine the development of the self and other categories that make up who we are (e.g., ethnicity). This module takes a socio-cultural perspective to try to understand development in context.

Module provider


Module Leader

TENENBAUM Harriet (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 22

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the departmental exchange coordinator.

Module content

Indicative content includes:

Lectures (11 x 2 hours) Seminar-oriented lectures and class discussions. Students will be expected to do short activities outside of class (e.g., watch 20 minutes of children’s television) to augment the lectures.

After an introduction outlining the basic issues in developmental psychology and the strengths, weaknesses and applications of the principle research methods used in the field, the lectures will focus on the following topics: families, peer relations, schools, development of self, emotion understanding, aggression, moral development, discrimination, children’s rights, and gender.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 6 PAGE ESSAY 50
Examination 1-HOUR EXAMINATION 50

Alternative Assessment

Students who take temporary suspension partway through this module may not be able to complete the remaining classes for this module on their return if it is not running in the following academic year. Such students will have the choice to take a replacement module, or, if they have already completed an assessment for the original module, to attend classes from a new optional module within the same stream (area of psychology) and complete an alternative assessment based on this content that meets the learning outcomes of the original module. The specific alternative assessment will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that

  1. they have core knowledge in social and personality developmental psychology

  2. they have a comprehensive understanding of a topic

  3. they can critically evaluate a specific topic

  4. an ability to critically evaluate the appropriateness of different methodological approaches to developmental psychological problems

  5. their appreciation of the stages of the developmental psychological research process

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • One 60 minute unseen essay format examination (50%) (in formal semester exam period)

  • One developmental essay (6 pages-50%)

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will complete a 250-word essay before submitting their assignment.


Students will receive written comments on the formative assessment. They will also receive verbal feedback in lectures. Importantly, there is a discussion group on Surrey Learn where students can ask questions about the assignment and receive quick feedback.

Module aims

  • The aim of this module is to build on Level 1 and Level 2 Developmental Psychology, and to introduce students to the many competing theoretical positions and foci of research in this field. As much as possible, we will take a cultural perspective to issues of development. Students will have the opportunity to identify promising future directions for research as well as to become aware of current trends in the field

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Compare and contrast theoretical perspectives in social and personality development K
2 Understand the various measures and methods used to conduct research in this field KC
3 Critically evaluate relevant research literature KC
4 Understand the contexts in which development occurs K

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Give students the skills to critically evaluate theory in developmental psychology

  • Provide students with foundational knowledge in developmental psychology and the ability to critique the conclusions of this knowledge base

  • Give students an enhanced literacy (including methodological and statistical literacy) of the current research in the field. 

  • Develop the capacity to explain and to narrate how research questions form and change in developmental psychology

  • Develop a critical understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the major research methods used in psychology

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures of 2hrs duration for 11 weeks

  • Use of Surrey Learn discussion board facility

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: PSY3090

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Liberal Arts and Sciences BA (Hons)/BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Psychology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics with Psychology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology with Psychology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional 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.