Surrey University Stag

KEY QUESTIONS IN ENVIRONMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY - 2023/4

Module code: PSYM137

Module Overview


The module introduces students to some of the key questions which currently guide research and practice in environmental psychology. The module addresses issues around architectural psychology as well as global and local environmental problems facing our world today. It provides an insight into the psychology of environment-behaviour issues focusing on built (residential, work and public) and natural environments. The main focus of the module will be to provide an insight into the research and theory development to date and to familiarise students with the practical and multidisciplinary nature of the field. By the end of the module students should have an advanced understanding of the nature and scope of some of the principal theoretical and methodological developments in this area of research and an understanding of the application of psychological theory and concepts to an important area of everyday life.

Module provider

Psychology

Module Leader

RATCLIFFE Eleanor (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: C810

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 50

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 108

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

N/A

Module content


The module largely addresses two topics in environment-behaviour research:


  1. Architectural psychology and environmental design. This includes topics such as environmental aesthetics, restorative environments, nature and health, and environmental stress;

  2. The psychology of sustainable development. This includes topics such as understanding pro-environmental behaviours, attitudes and values, and environmental risk.



Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation GROUP PRESENTATION 25
Coursework 7 PAGE ESSAY 75

Alternative Assessment

In case a student cannot participate in Assessment 1 on the day of the presentation (due to approved ECs), they will be required to provide written/recorded evidence of their contribution to the presentation development (e.g., voiceover on PowerPoint slides).

Assessment Strategy


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

Assessment 1: Group presentation - analysing existing environments


  • Their ability to analyse physical environments using environmental psychology theories and methods

  • Their knowledge of environmental psychology theories and research evidence in a global context

  • Their ability to consider the practical impact of research

  • Their ability to formulate a coherent argument for an academic and non-academic audience



Assessment 2: Individual essay


  • Their knowledge of environmental psychology theories, methods and research evidence

  • Their ability to critically evaluate the quantity and quality of evidence in environmental psychology

  • Their ability to provide practical solutions to environmental problems based on environmental psychology theories and evidence



Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


  • 10-minute group presentation, 25%, in which students are asked to describe a specific environment and analyse the positive and negative aspects of this environment drawing on environmental psychology methods, theories and evidence.

  • 7-page essay, 75%, in which students answer one essay question focusing on a key topic from the module taught content.



The assessments will also allow students to demonstrate key employability skills, specifically their ability to present clear, coherent and concise arguments to an audience. The presentation assesses students' ability to present a persuasive, evidence-based verbal argument; to integrate theory with evidence in a practical context; and to work in a group with peers. The coursework essay enables students to present a critical, evidence-based argument in writing and to work independently.


Formative assessment and feedback: Students will be given formative feedback in class throughout the module, in particular via the in-class exercises where students will work in small groups to conduct a range of tasks, e.g., the analysis of the university campus, an evaluation of the usefulness of different environmental psychology methods/theories to examine certain behaviours, and discussions of proposed interventions to address an environmental problem. Feed-forward points will be provided in response to Assessment 1 (presentation) with signposting as to how students can apply these when writing Assessment 2 (essay).

Module aims

  • Provide students with an understanding of the major theoretical formulations and models in the area of environmental
    psychology, in order to provide a conceptual underpinning to inform their approach to research and practice
  • Support students in developing critical thinking and evidence-based arguments
  • Engage students in review of environmental psychology evidence drawn from global contexts
  • Provide students with a knowledge of individual, organisational and social aspects of approaches to environmental psychology

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate an awareness of environmental psychology theories, research evidence, and different perspectives on environmental psychology topics KCP
002 Critically evaluate the quantity and quality of evidence in environmental psychology KCPT
003 Consider the practical impact and implications of environmental psychology research, and provide solutions to real-world environmental problems drawing on environmental psychology theories and evidence KCPT
004 Analyse physical environments using environmental psychology methods KCP
005 Able to conduct research and consultancy work on environment-behaviour issues as a practitioner KCPT
006 Formulate a coherent argument for academic and non-academic audiences CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning


The learning and teaching methods include combined lecture and seminar sessions, interactive workshops, and an assessed presentation session (Assessment 1). Within the seminar sessions students will be invited to contribute to discussions informed by their own backgrounds and experiences. Students are further encouraged to engage with this through Assessment 1 group work, and in responding to others’ presentations, e.g., by posing questions. Within workshops and seminars students will also be set individual and/or group tasks to prompt critical thinking, reflection, and exploration of applied research contexts. This learning and teaching strategy is designed to:


  • Provide students with a foundational understanding of key psychological research methods used within the field.

  • Give students familiarity with environmental psychology theory and evidence in a global context

  • Provide students with the foundational knowledge to enable them to describe key theories in environmental psychology

  • Support students in developing the critical thinking skills to evaluate different theoretical perspectives and evidence

  • Provide students with the resourcefulness to critically discuss the implications of key findings relating to environmental psychology in applied contexts

  • Enable students to develop, demonstrate and apply communication skills



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

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSYM137

Other information

Resourcefulness and resilience: Students are required to apply their knowledge of the campus environment to Assignment 1 (presentation) in order to evaluate different spaces in relation to environmental psychology theory. This involves being resourceful and using the university environment as an evidence base. Students are required to show resilience in responding to constructive criticism about their work and feeding forward their comments from Assignment 1 into learnings for Assignment 2.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: Students are encouraged to consider evidence from a global context in their learning about environmental psychology, and to critically consider how biases in science may have informed which theories and evidence are most prominent in the field.This will be achieved through presentation of diverse evidence and texts during lecture sessions, and posing relevant reflective questions during seminar discussions/tasks. Students will also be asked to consider this as a reflection point during their two assessments. In their group presentation (Assessment 1) students will be asked to reflect on their group diversity and how this may have informed their work.

Sustainability: By engaging with the module content, students will develop their learning regarding several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including good health and wellbeing, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption, and life below water and on land. Students will also develop skills needed to design and implement interventions that can drive progress towards these goals.

Employability: The learning aims and assessments are designed to develop students’ employability skills. The assignments involve group work and public speaking (presentation) as well as individual written work (essay). It is expected that students will work with peers on the development of their presentation, developing strong interpersonal skills that supplement their learning, in support of their own independent research.

This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the International Engagement Office email: ieo.incoming@surrey.ac.uk

 

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Environmental Psychology MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% 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 2023/4 academic year.