Module code: PSY1018

Module Overview

This level 4 module is intended to cover some of 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, including cognitive, social, and emotional development across the lifespan.  It introduces developmental psychology as an evidence-based science and provides knowledge that is foundational to the level 5 developmental Psychology module (PSY2015) students will take in the second year of their programme.  More specifically, students will be introduced to a range of theories concerning the nature of human psychological development, to a range of research methods which can be used to collect evidence to test these theories, and to some of the main conclusions which have been drawn about these theories in the light of the empirical evidence which has been collected using those research methods. The module does not assume that students have studied psychology before, but if they have it is designed to help bridge the gap between A-level coverage of developmental psychology and the more advanced demands which are required of students at university level, especially skills in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the different research methods which are used in developmental psychology, and skills in evaluating theories concerning human psychological development against empirical evidence. 

Module provider


Module Leader

MARTEL Marie (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 2

Independent Learning Hours: 102

Lecture Hours: 22

Seminar Hours: 2

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Basic issues in developmental psychology

  • Attachment

  • Piagetian & Neo-Piagetian approaches

  • Adolescent development

  • Severe deprivation 

  • Theory of Mind

  • Face perception

  • Peer relations

  • Neurodevelopment

  • Perceptual development in infancy

  • Behavioural phenotypes


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

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

An ability to present clear, coherent, and concise arguments supported by appropriate evidence in both written and verbal form. Preparation for the formative assessments (group essay plan and class debate) will give students the opportunity to show communication and team-working skills. Students will receive written feedback on the group essay plan which will feed forward into the writing of the essay plan for their coursework essay (summative assessment). 

In the coursework essay students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to independently plan and present in written form a critical argument supported by appropriate evidence, as well as show knowledge of psychological research methods.

Learning outcomes 1 – 3 will be assessed by the online MCQ exam and coursework essay. Learning outcome 4 will be assessed in the coursework essay. The formative assessment and in-class debate will enable students yo demonstrate learning outcome 5.
Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Essay – 4 pages including a one-page essay plan presenting a critical argument supported by evidence

  • Online MCQ exam - lasting 60 minutes

Formative assessment and feedback for this module consists of:

  • Feedback on the group essay plan

  • Verbal feedback in workshops

  • Verbal feedback in the class debate

  • Verbal feedback in lectures

  • Feedback from both weekly short MCQ tests and a longer mock MCQ exam enabling students to assess their progress in terms of understanding of material presented in the lectures.


Module aims

  • Introduce developmental psychology as an evidence-based science.
  • Introduce a range of theories concerning the nature of human psychological development.
  • Introduce a range of research methods which can be used to collect evidence in order to test developmental psychological theories.
  • Develop skills in presenting a critical argument supported by evidence both verbally and in written form.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts and principal theoretical issues that are involved in the study of developmental phenomena KC
002 Demonstrate an understanding of the wide range of research methods which are used by developmental psychologists KCP
003 Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of how theories in developmental psychology can be tested using empirical evidence KC
004 Demonstrate an ability to develop critical arguments about the nature of human psychological development supported by appropriate empirical evidence and theory KCT
005 Demonstrate enhanced key transferable skills such as teamwork and communication PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

Methods of teaching and learning:

Lectures will be delivered across an 11-week period. They will be used to cover key material relating to theories and research on key topics in developmental psychology. This will include material on how cultural context impacts development and the importance of not applying research methods developed in a particular cultural setting to another quite different setting.

Seminar and Tutorial  There will be workshops conducted in groups of approximately 40 students, as well as seminars, both focussed on supporting the coursework assessment and developing critical argument skills.  Students will be scaffolded in developing their ability to present a critical argument in both verbal and written form.  In the seminar students will discuss an exemplar essay and will be introduced to ideas on how to structure an argument using appropriate evidence.  They will also be guided on how to construct an essay plan.  Following this students will be asked to work in groups online to develop an essay plan outlining a critical argument to be submitted for formative assessment. The tutorial will build on this and extend learning on presenting a critical argument by getting students to work together in groups to prepare for and engage in a class debate on a particular topic relevant to developmental psychology. 

Captured Content refers to educational video recordings used to supplement teaching. Captured content, made available on SurreyLearn, is designed to support students’ learning in relation to the topics covered in the lectures. It will be used to provide follow-up material which builds on what has been covered in the lecture, especially where the topic is content heavy. This allows room in the actual lecture for students to ask questions and/or for some more interactive activities.

Guided Participation.  Taking a flipped classroom approach, students will be asked to do an activity prior to their lectures and seminar, such .as watching a particular video, reading a specific journal article/chapter, or answering some questions.  These activities will be directly related to the content covered in the weekly lecture. Advice will be provided about how these should be approached. It is hoped that completing these weekly activities will help deepen your students understanding of the material covered in the lecture. 

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: PSY1018

Other information

The School of Psychological Sciences is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience.

This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: The learning aims and assessments of the module are designed to develop students’ employability skills, in particular key transferable skills in critical evaluation, in written and verbal communication, and in team-working. It is expected that students will work with peers on the development of their group essay plan and in planning the points they will present in the class debate (both formative assessments). The course aims to develop students’ critical analytical thinking, including the ability to: examine both evidence and theories closely, looking at the accuracy of researchers’ claims; identify researchers’ hidden assumptions, examining single issues from a variety of different theoretical perspectives; understand and explain why different researchers have derived different conclusions about developmental issues; explore whether there are possible flaws in the arguments which have been made by researchers and, the ability to draw reasoned, articulated, and justified conclusions from such an analysis.

Digital Capabilities: As with all modules, students are expected to engage with online material and resources via SurreyLearn, and other digital platforms. Following a flipped classroom approach, students will be asked to view digital learning material (guided participation) in advance of lectures and workshops. Students are encouraged to communicate with one another and work together in groups, utilising collaborative tools (WhatsApp, google docs, Microsoft Teams, Zoom). This will be especially important in producing a group essay plan for their formative assessment and in planning points with other students that they will present in a class debate.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: Working together in groups will provide students with an opportunity to interact, communicate and build relationships with people from different backgrounds. Students will also learn in lectures about how cultural context impacts development and the importance of not applying research methods developed in a particular cultural setting to another quite different setting.

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
Criminology and 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 2025/6 academic year.