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Study information

Environmental Psychology

Module titleEnvironmental Psychology
Module codePSY3455
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Katherine Ashbullby (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Environmental psychology explores the relationships people have with their environments, whether those be built, social, natural or virtual – how we interact and engage with our surroundings, how we influence and change our environments, as well as how our environments impact upon us.

In this module we introduce you to some of the key topics in this broad research area, including

  • relationships between spending time in natural environments and human wellbeing
  • how the design of built and urban environments can affect behaviour, learning and health
  • the psychology of pro-environmental behaviour and sustainability
  • perception of environmental risks

No prior knowledge is needed to take this module and it is suitable for inter-disciplinary pathways.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module introduces literature on environmental psychology, including contemporary studies in this area. You will examine differing approaches and research methodologies for the study of the relationships between humans and their environments and will critically evaluate the contribution these make to our understanding of human behaviour, with relevance for the formation of social policy.

In this module we will consider questions such as:

  • How can spending time in natural environments (including green and blue spaces) influence people’s wellbeing and the extent to which they want to protect nature?
  • How do children engage with natural environments and how can childhood experiences influence the health of people and the planet?
  • How can cues in the environment affect people’s behaviour? This question can be considered in relation to the design of workplaces, hospitals, and schools.
  • How do the public perceive environmental problems relating to climate change, plastics, and the loss of biodiversity? How can we encourage people and organisations to adopt pro-environmental behaviours to tackle these issues?

These questions will be considered by reference to the most recent research and theories in environmental psychology and behaviour change. Invited speakers will enrich the learning experience by providing real world examples of how people are working to reduce environmental problems and use the natural environment to promote health.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe current research topics and methods in environmental psychology.
  • 2. Critically evaluate traditional and contemporary approaches to the study of environmental psychology.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Understand and apply theoretical ideas to the development of practical strategies for tackling environmental problems and promoting the health of people and the environment.
  • 4. Think critically, creatively, and independently, and fully appreciate the complexities of the issues in environmental psychology

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Problem solving (linking theory to practice, developing your own ideas with confidence, showing entrepreneurial awareness, being able to respond to novel and unfamiliar problems)
  • 6. Managing structure (identifying key demands of the task, setting clearly defined goals, responding flexibly to changing priorities)
  • 7. Time management (managing time effectively individually and within a group)
  • 8. Collaboration (respecting the views and values of others, taking initiative and leading others, supporting others in their work, maintaining group cohesiveness and purpose)
  • 9. Audience awareness (presenting ideas effectively in multiple formats, persuading others of the importance and relevance of your views, responding positively and effectively to questions).

Syllabus plan

It is envisaged the following topics will be explored:

  • Using the natural environment to promote health
  • Restorative natural environments
  • Community gardens for people experiencing dementia
  • Children and the natural environment
  • Cues in the environment and the impact on behaviour and health: Schools, hospitals, and workplaces
  • Public perceptions of environmental behaviour and challenges: Climate changes, plastics, and biodiversity loss
  • Theories of behaviour change in relation to pro-environmental behaviours
  • Organisations and the environment

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching33Seminars (11 x 3)
Guided Independent Study82Preparation for seminars and wider reading
Guided Independent Study35Preparation for assessments and examinations

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written plan for an in-class debate500 words1, 2, 3, 6 & 9Oral
Debates, in-class discussions and practical activitiesOngoing (throughout module)AllOral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination403 hoursAllWritten
Essay or Magazine article or Lesson plan for primary school class (children aged 5-11)602000 wordsAllWritten

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExaminationAllAugust ref/def period
Essay or Magazine article or Lesson plan for primary school class (children aged 5-11)Essay or Magazine article or Lesson plan for primary school class (children aged 5-11)AllAugust ref/def period

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module. Where you have been referred/deferred in the examination you will have the opportunity to take a second examination in the August/September re-assessment period. Where you have been referred/deferred in the coursework you will be required to resubmit the coursework. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%; deferred marks are not capped.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Environmental Psychology: An Introduction, 2nd Edition (BPS Textbooks in Psychology) 11 Jan. 2019 by Linda Steg (Editor), Judith I. M. de Groot (Consultant Editor) Book 23 of 29: BPS Textbooks in Psychology Online version (being purchased by the library)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages
Credit value15
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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