Surrey University Stag


Module code: PSYM149

Module Overview

This module explores theories and models of people's behaviour and how this can be influenced. Situating current approaches within their historical context, students will be introduced to a range of approaches that have been applied to understanding and influencing behaviour in such applied contexts as health (e.g., how can we help people be more active?) and sustainability (e.g., how can we help people recycle more?).

Module provider


Module Leader

GARDNER Benjamin (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code:

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 40

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 117

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 22

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:



- Historical perspectives on behaviour change


Theory, evidence and real-world implementation:

- Psychological theories of behaviour change

- Using theory to change behaviour


Intervention development frameworks Applications:

- Environmental behaviour change

- Health behaviour change

- Behaviour change in educational settings

- Behaviour change in the workplace


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) Group presentation 25
Coursework Individual essay 75

Alternative Assessment

In the event that a student cannot be assessed through the group poster, they can instead be assessed using a second essay. The goal of the group presentation is to act as a culmination of work through the semester in which students incrementally apply material from the module to tackle a behaviour-change challenge. These same outcomes could be assessed with an essay if necessary.

Assessment Strategy

Assessment combines group and individual elements. There will be 25% of credit awarded for a group presentation (which will be a culmination of group work in seminars) and 75% of credit for an individual written piece of work exploring how to design a behaviour change intervention, explain its theory/evidence basis, explain how it would be implemented in the real-world, and design a trial to evaluate it

Module aims

  • To provide students with a critical understanding of how researchers have attempted to influence behaviour in such contexts as health and sustainability.
  • To provide students with a critical understanding of historical and contemporary theories and models related to behaviour change
  • To equip students with the skills to design and evaluate a behaviour-change intervention

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 A critical understanding of core theories and models in behaviour change KC
002 Awareness of how behaviour change principles can be applied to real-world situations KPT
003 An ability to apply behaviour change principles to specific problems and awareness of how to evaluate the success of such interventions KPT
004 An ability to communicate behaviour change principles and applications to specific audiences KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

Lectures will deliver core material. These are supplemented with seminars covering such topics as:

- Presentation, discussion, debate re key papers

- Group work in which students incrementally draw on module content to tackle an applied behaviour change problem (chosen from a [small] range of options)

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: PSYM149

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Social Psychology MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Environmental Psychology MSc 2 Optional 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.