Module code: PSYM142

Module Overview

This module builds on the knowledge gained in semester 1 module PSYM137 by addressing further key topics and concepts in Environmental Psychology research. This time the concepts are grounded within architecture and planning, thus practical implications and the application of the research will also be discussed. This will extend your practical understanding of how people's cognitions, emotions, and planned behaviours influence how they interact with built environments and simultaneously why these responses may occur due to different architectural designs and urban planning systems.

Students will have the opportunity to incorporate information learnt from semester 1 and 2 methodology modules to help evaluate built environments. Overall, through providing students with conceptual underpinnings that inform their research and practice approaches, the module enables students to apply their knowledge to assess and design better places for people and the planet, thereby enhancing their employability.

Each week a different topic or concept is discussed (e.g. affordances, privacy) or specific behaviours in certain conditions or environments are examined (e.g. crime and the environment). Indeed theoretical concepts and behaviours are explored across a range of environments including residential environments, work environments, hospitals, and public spaces, with research and examples from across the globe to enhance cultural capabilities. In class activities and discussions, along with the workshop offer a practical component to examining the issues presented in class lectures and suggested reading.

Module provider


Module Leader

PAYNE Sarah (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 30

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 2

Independent Learning Hours: 120

Lecture Hours: 9

Seminar Hours: 9

Practical/Performance Hours: 2

Guided Learning: 6

Captured Content: 2

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative topic areas are:

  1. The history of environmental and architectural psychology

  2. Environmental aesthetics

  3. Privacy, personal space, territoriality

  4. Cognitive and behaviour mapping

  5. Perspectives of place

  6. Environment and wellbeing

  7. Affordances and ergonomics

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation PRESENTATION 25
Coursework REPORT 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 a recorded version (e.g., voiceover on PowerPoint slides).

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate all the learning outcomes.

Thus the summative assessment for this module consists of a:

  • Individual presentation,

  • Design report grounded in the psychology of architecture and planning

The timed oral presentation accompanied with digital support (e.g. power point, interactive poster) addresses learning objectives 1, 2, 3, and 5. The design report has a set page/word limit, and will include written and illustrated components (e.g. drawings, photos) and addresses learning objectives 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

The timed and page/word restricted elements to the assessment tests students' knowledge gained from the module and their ability to apply it as a coherent argument for either an academic and non-academic audience, as appropriate.

Formative assessment and feedback

To support assignment preparation, class discussions and activities will be reflecting on key concepts and methods learnt during this and previous modules that will form the basis of the assignments. Throughout the module students will be asked to critically discuss topics, to examine and analyse existing environments, and design interventions and present their ideas to the class, providing opportunities for formative feedback. The workshop will provide time to start the assignments and to listen to verbal feedback from staff. Furthermore, peer feedback is provided when working together on the class and workshop activities, thus supporting the development of student resourcefulness and resilience.

These 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.

Module aims

  • Progress students' understanding of key topics and concepts in the field of Environmental Psychology particularly those relating to architecture and planning.
  • Advance students application of theories and methods to evaluate people-environment interactions.
  • Enable students to develop evidence-based design interventions grounded in environmental psychology theory and research.
  • Develop students' capabilities as practitioners who provide research and consultancy work on environment-behaviour issues.
  • Support students in developing and presenting critical thinking and evidence-based arguments that consider the quantity and quality of research evidence.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
002 Acknowledge the potential practical impact of research. PT
003 Apply appropriate methodologies to understand and assess people-environment interactions within built environment and urban planning contexts. KCPT
004 Provide practical design recommendations drawing on environmental psychology theories and evidence. KCPT
005 Formulate a coherent argument for an academic and non-academic audience. PT
001 Demonstrate a critical awareness of environmental psychology topics, concepts, methods, and research evidence in architectural and planning psychology. KC

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 ensure the module aims are met and students perform optimally in respect to the learning outcomes.

Students build on their prior knowledge and experience, understanding and critically analysing key topics and concepts (PSYM137) and incorporating new and previously taught methods to evaluate person-environment interactions within the context of architecture and urban planning. Knowledge is progressively attained by reflecting back on theories, concepts, and methods learnt in previous weeks (and modules) and discussing them in relation to the new topic or environment being discussed. This allows opportunities to reflect on what has already been learnt.

The weekly 2 hour classes comprise of a 'lecture', group discussions, and individual and paired activities. Some of the student activities will relate to students working with material they have read or gathered as part of their 'homework tasks'. Thus the students' interests and insights also direct group discussions as we collectively explore the homework outcomes.

Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their critical awareness of the psychology issues relating to architecture and planning and their capabilities in applying their knowledge each week in class through discussions. Similarly, a workshop will provide an active student-centered component where students will begin to work on assignments in a supportive collegiate atmosphere, with opportunities to provide and receive feedback from each other, thereby developing students’ resourcefulness and resilience. This will culminate in an in-class presentation assignment where they will demonstrate their ability to communicate a coherent argument in relation to the assignment topic.

The opportunities for active participation, particularly through the homework tasks and workshop, provide students with the opportunity for deeper learning as they can i) review their knowledge on a topic, ii) apply that knowledge to a new problem, and iii) gain feedback on their understanding. Furthermore, students can collaboratively work on these activities to build up their ability to communicate on the concept, method, and design recommendation. This is a transferable skill for when students need to communicate their decisions to others. For example, in the short term this will be important for communicating with dissertation supervisors, and in the long term is necessary for team roles in future employment or becoming a practitioner and communicating with clients

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: PSYM142

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:


The course adopts a research practitioner model and aims to provide students with the skills and abilities to develop evidence-based solutions to practical problems. This is particularly reflected in the design report assignment. The combination of the two assignments (presentation and design report) enable the student to demonstrate and develop their skills in communicating across different mediums, for different audiences, thus demonstrating their ability to formulate a coherent argument for an academic and non-academic audience. These skills will be valuable for future employment opportunities in industry or academia.

Digital Capabilities:

The oral presentation assignment must be supported by digital interfaces which support and provide key information regarding the critical evidence, evaluations, and understanding of the key topics, concepts and methods covered by the course. Therefore, the student can demonstrate their use of innovative digital presentation mediums that may also draw on digital representations of physical prototypes.

Global and Cultural Capabilities:

Students will be encouraged to reflect on architectural and planning examples from across the globe. This will be through examples presented in class by staff, but also through the activities and examples that students bring to class activities during homework tasks. This draws on students' lived experiences and global student population to ensure the diverse architectural and planning systems necessary to meet different cultural behaviours and climatic conditions are reflected upon.

Resourcefulness and Resilience:

Students will be challenged to apply their learning to address real and every-day challenges within the built environment. Through multiple opportunities to conduct activities with peers, students can build supportive relationships to explore their understanding of the problem and apply, with reasons, their knowledge to collectively decide appropriate methods and recommendations to assess and improve an environment. The opportunities to verbally discuss and communicate their thoughts will help provide a deeper learning and understanding of the issues and assist with gaining confidence in their independent assignments.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Environmental Psychology MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Behaviour Change 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 2025/6 academic year.