Module Catalogue 2024/25

PSY1017 : Foundations in Developmental Psychology

PSY1017 : Foundations in Developmental Psychology

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



To introduce students to the broad aims and methods of developmental psychological research. In the process of doing this, students are introduced to the major research methods and theories in developmental psychology, covering core topics.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module provides an introduction to a core area of Psychology - Developmental psychological research and theory. In the module, content covers prenatal development, perceptual and motor development during infancy, and some of the most influential theories of child cognitive development; including Piaget and Vygotsky. An introduction is also given to neurodiversity and to the transition from childhood to adolescence, adulthood and old age. We take a lifespan perspective of developmental psychology to encompass both childhood and the ageing process. The content also includes cultural influences on development, encouraging a broader understanding of factors affecting childhood development.

The aim of the course is to provide a foundation for modules in future years of the degree. Indicative content that the sessions may cover:

Prenatal development
Main research methods in developmental psychology Perceptual development
Motor development
Socio-Emotional Development
Cognitive development: Piaget and Vygotsky Lifespan Development: Considering age-related challenges

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the module students will be able to:

Describe a range of developmental psychological research methods
Discuss the various research questions and aims that drive developmental and psychological research
Explain the major dilemmas in explaining development: from infancy to older age
Describe and evaluate influential developmental theories of Piaget and Vygotsky
To be aware of cultural influences on development and the cultural biases implicit in research.
Be able to apply knowledge in a group-work task

Intended Skill Outcomes

Development of skills and insight into processes involved in accurately interpreting the results of developmental psychological experiments, as well as the steps involved in constructing suitable experimental designs for examining particular research questions. Improved observational skills and analysis of human developmental behaviour.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion341:0034:00Preparation for assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00Present in person: Lectures include interactive activities
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities81:008:00Non-synchronous completion of online tasks – attached to each lecture.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Present in person session - Group task in lecture theatre
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study361:0036:00Revise lecture notes: independent learning Assigned reading after every lecture
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide the framework for introducing core concepts in developmental psychology. During the session, students will be encouraged to interact with each other through the use of discussion exercises and short tasks.
Video footage of studies will be used to show research in practice and to demonstrate theoretical aspects. There will be Question and Answer sessions related to the lecture materials. There will be hand-outs which are to be completed both during the session and in their own time. These will help to provide a revision aid for students.
Lectures will include PowerPoint presentation and oral commentary. Private and self-study, using the recommended text will provide further depth of understanding.

MCQ questions set at the end/beginning of lectures will provide students the opportunity for formative practice of knowledge learning outcomes.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination901A100Multiple choice questions (90), unseen, PIP Inspera invigilated.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The Digital exam will involve students answering a series of multiple choice questions. At the introductory level of developmental, it is essential for students to have a broad knowledge base upon which they develop deeper insight and understanding of psychological research in the subsequent stages of the degree. The exam has therefore been designed to assess students for their breadth of understanding of the course material, but also a certain level of depth.

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

If the module is failed or deferred students will resit failed or deferred assessments in the same format during the August resit period.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2024 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2025/26 entry will be published here in early-April 2025. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.