Module code: PSYM138

Module Overview

This module will introduce students to key concepts in public policy development and how psychological theory and evidence can influence policy. Throughout the module students will be encouraged to build on their previous learning and apply their psychological knowledge and research skills to critically evaluate policy approaches to global societal challenges that are a focus of the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. They will engage in problem-based decision-making to develop interventions for change.  By the end of the module students will be equipped with critical understanding of the relevant psychological approaches to addressing public policy issues (e.g. understanding policies from the perspective of risk and behaviour change) and will have developed the knowledge and practical skills to engage in problem-based decision-making. This module will allow students to build knowledge and skills that will prepare them for the rest of the programme and the world of work.

Module provider


Module Leader

TIMOTIJEVIC Lada (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 10

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes: introduction to policy, policy and psychology of risk (e.g. risk perception, risk communication, risk governance), how to develop an intervention to address a contemporary societal and policy issue; evidence for policy.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework A PROPOSAL 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

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

  • Digital literacy – through use of different modes of communicating ideas (visually - through poster; through written format – as a strategy report; written format – as a proposal); through use of diverse data-bases to collate evidence; through reflection of ethical considerations associated with the use of different tools for communication.

  • Global and cultural capabilities: through the specific topics that students will be engaging in to develop their assignments, which are selected because they are current challenges and threats to the global mental health, physical health, environment and social cohesion.

  • Sustainability leadership: the assignments will open up new domains of interest because they will require that students understand the social, environmental, health impacts of different policy problem areas.

  • Resourcefulness and resilience: through unique nature of both assignments; through collaborative work to develop an innovative and unique intervention for change.

  • Employability: development of transferrable skills such as collaboration; creativity; problem-based thinking; project management; application of theory to real world problems.

  The summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • A poster (1 page) with a Summary risk communication strategy (1000 words) -written feedback and mark

  • A research proposal for a behavioural intervention that will address a current public policy problem (1400 words) - written feedback and mark


The formative assessment consists of:

  • Small group sessions - verbal feedback

  • Student presentations of their interventions – verbal feedback

  • Dialogue between students and staff in lectures and tutorials

  • Students can approach the lecturer to present their ideas if they are unable to or unhappy with the ideas developed in their designated small groups.



Module aims

  • To provide students with critical awareness of the role of psychological and social science in public policy development.
  • To engage students in problem-based learning through which they will be applying their research skills and knowledge, thus prepare them for the world of work.
  • To develop psychologically-informed analyses and solutions to policy issues, which pay particular attention to the diverse lived experiences and societal perspectives.
  • To work collaboratively and develop an ability to co-create required outputs.
  • To think creatively about how psychological theories can be used to address a policy issue.
  • To critically think about the range of evidence available to address a policy problem.
  • To provide students with opportunities to be effective communicators with the diverse audience through the development of skills of communicating in visual, oral and written formats.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate knowledge appropriate to the MSc level of key psychological theories that can inform public policy problem formulation and the ability to critically analyse the way in which psychological research evidence can inform and be used in developing public policy solutions and interventions across contexts. KC
002 Develop skills to define a problem, critically evaluate the quantity and quality of evidence to tackle the problem and develop informed solutions to tackle it.¿ PT
003 Critically integrate and apply psychological theories and research to a range of real-world challenges examining the implications for health, social justice and the environment.¿ T
004 Develop flexibility, adaptability and resourcefulness appropriate to MSc level, through tackling novel assignments on real-world topics. T
005 Use critical discussions and dialogue on research and theory advancements to co-construct novel ideas and meaning with others, in class discussion and group work T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy includes a combination of lectures, teacher and student-led discussions and small-group work—both in class and virtual. 

  • It gives students an overview of policy processes and the social, political and cultural contexts that affect policy development, developing their global and cultural capabilities

  • Provides students with the foundational knowledge to analyze policy processes and critically evaluate policy options

  • Enables reflection on key issues of our time including sustainability, health, the role of artificial intelligence, to hone students’ awareness of, and engagement with global and sustainability issues

  • Equips students with the skills to engage in effective and meaningful communication, using a range of tools

  • Fosters creativity to address policy problems through application of knowledge and critical skills

  • Develops critical awareness of the possibilities and limitations of digital revolution in shaping the world of policy and research through exploration of the role of big data in research and policy

  • Builds resilience and resourcefulness through strong emphasis on application of knowledge, team-work and engagement with innovative types of assessment.


The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures

  • Classes of group-based collaborative work to develop an intervention and evaluation of the intervention

  • One session during which students will present their group work and receive feedback on their ideas

Students are invited to contribute to discussions from their own background and experiences and are encouraged to be actively involved in problem solving, thus developing their own judgments and opinions. Students are further encouraged to engage with this through group work to develop intervention and evaluation of the intervention for their second assignment.

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: PSYM138

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: through small-group, collaborative work, problem-based learning and digital literacy, students will be developing professional skills and resilience necessary for the changing nature of work. They will engage in real-world problems to apply theory to practice and use their knowledge to develop interventions and actions. They will critically assess the range of evidence for the possible solutions before they decide on the course of action. The module will develop flexibility and adaptability to work effectively in a team to develop solutions. The module is designed to increase students’ confidence and ability to act on feedback (formative and summative) and critically reflect on their work.

Digital capabilities: Students will develop an ability to critically engage with academic literature, and an ability to critically review the literature and to assess the quality and quantity of evidence in psychology. They will develop critical awareness of the role of digital technology in knowledge production, highlighting to students their rights and responsibilities as citizens and future professionals vis-à-vis the use of big data. They will be introduced to the ethics and challenges of big data and artificial intelligence which are rapidly changing the way we interact at work, do science and develop policies.

Global and cultural capabilities: Students will develop skills to explore grand challenges affecting our world and broadening their awareness of the role of psychology in addressing these challenges. The module will nurture awareness of the key methods and approaches through which policy processes and outcomes for the global world can be influenced, including public participation and the precautionary principle.

Sustainability capabilities: by focusing on the global challenges of our era that are the focus of current policy processes, students will be developing the necessary skills as global citizens. The first assignment will be to develop a risk communication strategy on any of the following topics: reduction of meat consumption to achieve sustainability; tackling pollution to reduce environmental degradation; tackling social media bullying to achieve better mental health. The second assignment will be focused on interventions to address a burning social issue (e.g. increase of uptake of vaccines; reduction in food waste) . Students will be encouraged to address these topics from the perspective of diverse target audience.

Resourcefulness and resilience: The module develops resourcefulness through the opportunity given in both assignments to decide independently what psychological theory could be applied to help understand and interpret a policy problem, to critically assess the range of evidence to frame the problem and to work in small groups through which collaboration, social influence and co-creation are practiced. The students will develop resilience through formative assessments and feedback practices through which they will be encouraged to critically assess own work and revise in light of specific and general feedback. They formative and summative assessment are designed to “feed forward” to the subsequent assignment on the module and to the project/dissertation development as part of their Masters degree. 




Reading List


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Social Psychology MSc 1 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 2025/6 academic year.