Module code: PSYM096

Module Overview

This course is intended to cover the core BPS curriculum in developmental psychology and as such is a broad coverage module dealing with a range of topics in the sub-discipline. This is combined with a research project in which you design a study, code data, analyse, and report the findings from it.


Module provider


Module Leader

TENENBAUM Harriet (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 122

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 6

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content


  1. Socio-cultural theories

  2. Attachment

  3. Parent-Child Interactions

  4. Gender Development

  5. Emotion Understanding

  6. Play

  7. Children’s Experiences with Media

  8. Severe Deprivation

  9. Language and Literacy Development

  10. Constructivism and Science Learning

  11. Mathematics


Two tutorials are based around reading key articles prior to the tutorials which are then critically evaluated via group discussions and short presentations in the sessions. Three tutorials are methods bases in which students learn about reliability, validity, ethical issues related to research with children, coding naturalistic data, and statistical analyses.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework RESEARCH REPORT (2,200 WORDS) 50
Examination WRITTEN and MCQ EXAM (90 MINUTES) 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

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

  1. they have core knowledge in 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

Outcomes 1 –3 will be assessed in an exam. Outcomes 4 and 5 will be assessed with a research report

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         One 90 minute unseen essay and MCQ format examination (50%) (in formal semester exam period)

·         One developmental research methods essay (2,200 words - 50%)

Formative Feedback

Students will receive feedback on MCQ questions.


Students will receive feedback on sample MCQ questions (different from the exam questions). Students will receive verbal comments on the formative assessment from the lecturer and other students during the second seminar. They will also receive verbal feedback in tutorials and lectures. Importantly, there is a discussion group on Surrey Learn where students can ask questions about the assignment and receive quick feedback.

Module aims

  • Provide an in-depth coverage of selected topics in the study of children's social, emotional, linguistic, and cognitive development, with a focus on the changes children progress through in these areas
  • Explore the theories, methods, and applications of developmental psychology in relation to these topics
  • Foster critical thinking, particularly in the analysis of developmental controversies
  • Apply developmental research to children's every day, lived experience
  • Develop research ability through guided practical work in designing, carrying out, analysing and writing up a small-scale developmental experiment, and setting this in an appropriate theoretical and empirical context.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Describe change in human development (K,C) KC
2 Have an insight into how and why developmental changes take place, for example in cognition and social understanding (K) K
3 Have an understanding of why particular individuals may differ in certain aspects of development, for example in reading achievement (K) K
4 Have an understanding of the main theoretical frameworks used to characterize change across childhood and adolescence (K) K
5 Be able to critically evaluate the theoretical frameworks in relation to the available evidence (C) C
6 Have knowledge of the principal empirical findings that have been obtained on the selected topics covered in social and cognitive development (K) K
7 Have a sound knowledge of the principle research methods developmental psychologists use to study change and their application (K) K
8 Have the ability to design, run, and analyse a small scale developmental study. (C, P, T) CPT
9 Demonstrate competence in research skills, including conducting statistics and reporting them correctly. (K, C, P, T) KCPT

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 core 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 or 2hrs duration for 11 week

  • Two tutorials of 2 hours duration

  • Two tutorials of one hour duration

  • 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: PSYM096

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology (Conversion) MSc(CORE) 2 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 50% 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.