Module code: PSYM013

Module Overview

This module provides students with an advanced understanding of current theories and conceptualisations of social change and influence, including facilitators of and constraints on change. It offers a critical engagement with these theories and an application of them to a range of social issues that are a focus of the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. The applied aspect includes a consideration of the value of psychological conceptualisations of social change and influence for policy making, public health, and equality. This core module will allow students to build knowledge and skills that will prepare students for the rest of the programme and the optional modules

Module provider


Module Leader

FASOLI Fabio (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: 106

Lecture Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative key topics will include:

  • Social norms and social influence

  • Obedience, Persuasion, Conformity, Compliance

  • Majority and minority influence

  • Social norms

  • Collective action

  • Social stigma

  • Social policy

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to allow students to demonstrate that they have successfully met the learning outcomes.


The summative assessment for this module consists of:


Critical evaluation essay (100%, 3000 words)

This assignment aims to assess the ability to critically assess current psychological theories and corresponding empirical evidence in relation to campaigns aiming to ameliorate specific current social issues. Students will be asked to identify a recent social influence campaign addressing an issue related to the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. Next, they will need to critically evaluate the campaign through the lengths of a social influence theory or model.

Finally, they will need to suggest a theory-driven solution to increase the effectiveness of the campaign under consideration. The assignment will assess different skills including written communication, critical thinking, understanding and evaluation of the literature, and application of theories to practices (i.e., learning outcomes 1, 2, 3).


The formative assessment and feedback for this module consists of:

Students will receive formative feedback on the essay outline. Moreover, students will receive regular verbal feedback from the instructors and peers during seminars, including (1) commentary on ideas/suggestions raised during group discussions about key topic areas; and (2) feedback on structured exercises that are part of the guided learning activities. Feedback on the summative assignment will be provided via Surreylearn and will highlight the strengths and areas for improvement.

Module aims

  • To provide students with an advanced understanding of theories and conceptualisations of social change and influence, including facilitators of and constraints on change
  • To provide students with an advanced understanding of the social psychological theories and understandings of social change and influence
  • To equip students with the theoretical tools needed to conceptualise and analyse a variety of social change issues, including 'socially desirable' and 'socially undesirable' change
  • To enable students to contribute to the practical application of social psychological theories by formulating social responses to social problems that are relevant to policy and practice
  • To provide students with the skills to evaluate possible interventions in a variety of social domains

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Provide a critical evaluation of theories and empirical evidence relevant to processes of social change and social influence KC
002 Apply the analyses of social change and influence theories to issues central to the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals KC
003 Apply the knowledge and understanding gained during the module to suggest ways to increase the success of the campaign under consideration CPT

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:

  • Facilitate students’ understanding of key concepts and theories of social change and influence

  • Allow students to develop critical thinking

  • Allow students to put theory into practice

Through lectures, students will be able to gain knowledge and understanding of theories and models of social change and influence. This knowledge is key to understanding issues that are central to the United Nations Sustainability Goals and how social influence can be strategically used to implement social and behavioural changes. In doing so, they will have the opportunity to consider social issues that occur in different parts of the world or are affecting individuals worldwide.

In the seminars, students will be encouraged to engage in group discussions of case studies, current campaigns and interventions, and research. Practical examples will be presented by the staff members or developed by students. Students will also be asked to complete a range of different structured exercises as part of the guided learning activities. These exercises will vary in content but will allow students to develop and apply their critical thinking, and reflect on contextual and cultural factors in influencing social change. The different teaching strategies will allow students to use and familiarise themselves with software used for collaborative work (e.g., padlet) as well as to learn how to effectively engage the materials and readings available on Surreylearn. The final lecture will be dedicated to a self-reflection on what has been learned.


This is a core module that will offer the opportunity to develop or improve critical thinking skills necessary in other optional modules. It will also offer the first opportunity to apply theories to practice, something that will be done within specific topics in the optional modules chosen by students.


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: PSYM013

Other information

The School of Psychology 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: This module allows students to understand how social influence and social change happen and allow them to critically analyse existing campaigns and their success. This will allow students to develop different employability skills that are highly valued by employers. First, the ability to apply theories to practice and use knowledge to inform interventions and actions. Second, the ability to critically analyse research and provide solutions, and identify the strength and weaknesses of campaigns and interventions. Third, the ability to understand and communicate about research and its implications. Forth, students will perform a range of activities that will allow them to work well in a team and independently.


Digital capabilities: The module will allow students to reflect on theories of social influence and how technological changes have impacted the understanding of social influence in relation to different social issues. For instance, we will examine the role of technology in persuasive strategies. Students will also be involved in different structured learning activities that will allow them to engage with different software (e.g., padlet, google form). Moreover, while analysing the campaign and thinking about ways to increase its effectiveness, students will be encouraged to think about digital skills to apply changes.


Sustainability: The module considers different social issues that are central to the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (e.g., gender equality, reduced inequality, no poverty, conflict and peace, environmental issues, health and wellbeing). The in-class discussions and activities will focus on these sustainable goals and ways in which social influence can play a role. The assignment will allow students to critically analyse a recent campaign that has focused on one of those social issues asking students to reflect on its effectiveness and possible solutions.


Global and cultural capabilities: The module will offer the possibility to discuss cultural differences and the effectiveness of social influence across different contexts. The activities designed to put theories into practice will involve a discussion of their application to different contexts. Students will do group activities with students from different backgrounds that will allow them to exchange and reflect on each other experiences


Resourcefulness and resilience: Students will have the opportunity to work in teams and independently and this should allow them to build their confidence. They will also be invited to share their personal experiences and expertise since the module involves students from different cohorts. They will be encouraged to reflect on challenges faced by individuals in different contexts as well as ways to overcome them.

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
Social 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 2025/6 academic year.