Module code: PSYM168

Module Overview

This module covers the core psychology discipline of Developmental Psychology by introducing theories and empirical research. In this module we will critically evaluate empirical research and theoretical knowledge relevant to developmental psychology. You as a student will gain insight into how children develop from birth to late adolescence covering key topics in social, emotional, language, and cognitive development. One way we will engage in critical evaluation is to examine whether previous work is cross-culturally valid. You will demonstrate your breadth of knowledge through a multiple choice exam. You will develop your written communication skills through a report in which you will critically evaluate theories and methods to understand a topic more deeply from a socio-cultural perspective.

Module provider

SOL - Psychology

Module Leader

TENENBAUM Harriet (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: 105

Seminar Hours: 6

Guided Learning: 33

Captured Content: 6

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

We will begin with a discussion of central theories (e.g., constructivist, socio-cultural) in developmental psychology to give students a base and help them understand how evidence is evaluated in relation to theory. We will then examine topics (e.g., emotion) that help us understand how children develop from infancy to late adolescence. For every topic we cover, we will relate to how children develop in the context of important relationships and also within their cultural contexts. This module will support students in understanding the methods used in developmental psychology in particular and across Psychology more generally. Synchronous sessions will be devoted to hands-on experience of using and evaluating methods in this field.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination Online MCQ Exam (1 Hour) Review 30
Coursework Coursework - Critical Review 70

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

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

  • Core knowledge in developmental psychology.

  • A comprehensive understanding of a topic.

  • An ability to critically evaluate a specific topic.

  • An ability to critically evaluate the appropriateness of different methodological approaches to developmental psychological problems.

  • Appreciation of the stages of the developmental psychological research process.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • One  essay in which you need to critically evaluate a research topic at the end of the term (70%).

  • One hour-long multiple choice question exam (30%) in the middle of the term.

Formative assessment and Feedback

During the synchronous sessions, you will receive verbal feedback. There will be weekly multiple choice quizzes so that you can test your knowledge of the material covered. Many of the guided learning activities will included videos and sheets for you to check your answers and receive formative feedback.

Module aims

  • Provide an in-depth coverage of children's development
  • Explore the theories, methods, and applications of developmental psychology in relation to a variety of topics
  • Foster critical thinking, particularly in the analysis of developmental controversies by employing evidence-based reasoning
  • Develop research ability through readings and discussions about different research methods
  • Increase understanding of how development occurs in a socio-cultural context
  • Provide students with opportunities to be critical and effective communicators, through written assessment

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Be able to describe and explain how and why children develop K
002 Understand of why particular individuals may differ in certain aspects of development K
003 Articulate the main theoretical frameworks used to characterize change across childhood and adolescence K
004 Be able to critically evaluate the theoretical frameworks and empirical evidence in relation to the available evidence KCPT
005 Develop a sound knowledge of the research methods developmental psychologists use to study change and their application K
006 Understand that development occurs in a socio-cultural context C

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:

  • Provide you with core foundational knowledge in developmental psychology and the ability to critique the conclusions of this knowledge base.

  • Give you the skills to critically evaluate theory in developmental psychology.

  • Give you an enhanced literacy (including methodological literacy) of the current research in the field.

  • Develop a critical understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the major research methods used in psychology.

The captured content (asynchronous sessions) will enable you to gain core foundational knowledge in Developmental Psychology, including knowledge of theories and the evidence base. The seminars and guided learning will give you an opportunity to learn how developmental psychologists design studies (e.g., taking apart journal articles) and use empirical methods (e.g., conversation coding) to test their research questions. Further methods will give you an ability to question and critically evaluate research.

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: PSYM168

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework 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: 

Global and Cultural Capabilities:

You will read research conducted by scholars from the global south. As a result, you will read research that includes children from global majority ethnic backgrounds. Much of this research will critically evaluate whether particular developmental theories and evidence fits data collected from the Global South.

Digital Capabilities:

You will develop your digital literacy by searching for journal articles and learning how to use search terms in different databases. You will learn simple statistical procedures, such as kappa coefficients, and how to interpret them.


You will need to work to tight deadlines, develop your understanding of research articles, and synthesise your knowledge across different written pieces of material, which are all skills needed in employment.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology (Online) MSc(CORE) 1 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 50% 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.