MEd Psychology of Education

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Social Psychology, the Classroom and Communities

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC60732
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Education
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit covers key theory and research relating to social psychology and supports students to recognise the relevance within educational contexts and related communities. 

Across the unit, social psychological theory is introduced in each session that considers relevant historical, ethical, methodological and conceptual research developments. Social psychological theory is considered across sessions that consider social processes at the individual level (e.g. the self), with others (e.g. working with peers) and social worlds (e.g. working in a classroom).  Studies involving education will form a regular feature that ensures the relevancy of social psychological research is tangible across the unit. 


The unit aims to:

  • To provide coverage of the BPS syllabus core area of Social Psychology 
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of theory and research in social psychological processes and their application to education

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to:


Indicative Curriculum Content

  • Introduction to Social Psychology
  • The Social Self
  • Perceptions of Others
  • Engagement and Motivation in the Classroom
  • Expectations in the Classroom
  • Friend or Foe? Inter-personal Relationships
  • Prosocial and Antisocial Behaviour
  • Social Influence: Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience
  • Contemporary Issues and Future Directions


Teaching and learning methods

The course unit will be delivered using a variety of methods including lectures and tutorials.  Students will be required to work both independently and in small groups and active participation will be encouraged at all times.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate understanding of social psychological theories
  • Evidence critical insight into the role of intra-personal processes, inter-personal processes and wider socio-cultural influences tied to the social psychology of education
  • Critically evaluate recent social psychological research
  • Recognise the relevance of social psychological theory and research to real-world contexts., such as school transition, bullying and school connectedness 

Intellectual skills

  • Apply learning to scenarios and educational settings
  • Present information, ideas and arguments
  • Engage in analysis and synthesis of current literature

Practical skills

  • Written communication
  • Oral communication
  • IT skills (word processing, accessing electronic databases and library facilities) 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Working with others
  • Undertake independent learning and reflect upon achievements.

Assessment methods

Assessment Task Length Weighting within unit
Students are to complete one assignment for this unit and answer one essay from a choice of titles. 3,000 words 100%


Feedback methods

Feedback will be submitted to and provided through Turnitin.

Recommended reading

In addition to the session specific recommended reading, students will be provided with an expanded reading list, including additional recommendations, reading lists of journal articles, chapters in edited texts and on-line resources. They are also expected to search relevant databases (e.g. PsycInfo) to find research that extends beyond explicit recommendations and the content that we cover in sessions.


These texts are useful as an introduction to the area and will support students regarding topics studied in the unit.


General core texts

Sutton, R., & Douglas, K. (2019). Social Psychology. United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan Limited.

Hewstone, M., Stroebe, W. & Jonas, K. (eds.) (2015). An introduction to social psychology (6th Edition)., West Sussex: Wiley.


Further reading

Aronson, E. (2011). The social animal (11th ed). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Babad, E. (2010). The social psychology of the classroom. Oxon: Routledge.

Crisp, R. J., & Turner, R. N. (2014). Essential Social Psychology (3rd ed.). London, UK: Sage Publications.

Hogg, M.A. & Vaughan, G.M. (2010). Essentials of social psychology. Essex: Pearson. ISBN: 0-273-73459-8 (also available as an e-book via library website)

Rubie-Davies, C.M., Stephens, J.M., & Watson, P. (2015). Routledge International Handbook of Social Psychology of the Classroom. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis.

Smith, J. R., & Haslam, S. A. (Eds.). (2017). Social psychology: Revisiting the classic studies. London, United Kingdom: SAGE Publications.

Nier, J. A. (2010). Taking sides: Clashing views in social psychology (3rd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22.5
Tutorials 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 122.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ola Demkowicz Unit coordinator

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