Critically exploring psychology 2

This module continues from Critically exploring psychology 1 by introducing you to further core theories, debates and research methods in contemporary psychology. The focus of this module will be on areas of individual differences and developmental psychology. You'll explore a range of exciting topics, including how and why individuals differ, and the impact this has in different situations, and the influence and importance of social and cognitive development across the lifespan. You'll also have the opportunity to develop your research skills to carry out an independent piece of research.


D811 is a compulsory module in our:

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

What you will study

This module is the second part of the MSc in Psychology (Conversion) and will continue to introduce you to a range of aspects of the core curriculum which underpins Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society. The topics covered include intelligence, personality, attitudes, motivation, attachment, early experiences, social relationships, moral development and gender development. Throughout all topics, there are references made to real-world applications using engaging current literature and case studies to bring the content to life. The module draws on a range of voices to encourage critical thought and debate, and issues around diversity will be directly embedded into the curriculum.

The module is comprised of three study blocks, with the first two being theoretical content and research methods, which will prepare you for the project block.

Block 1 focuses on individual differences in psychology. This includes chapters on intelligence, looking at how intelligence is defined and measured and the implications of the tests used; Personality, exploring how we measure personality and the influence it has on aspects such as leadership, the workplace and creativity; attitude development and the impact on an individual’s behaviour; and why individuals differ in motivation.

Block 2 explores aspects of developmental psychology. You'll look at cognitive and social development across the lifespan from babies to older age. You'll consider the influence of attachment and social relationships in childhood and adulthood, learning difficulties and diversity, moral development in children, and the development of gender identity.

Running alongside the theoretical material, you'll have the chance to develop your research skills and apply these to the topics you are studying.  Each week will include an in-depth look at the different perspectives taken in psychological research and draw on examples from theory to illustrate where our psychological knowledge comes from. On completion of the first two blocks, you will have developed the skills to carry out your own independent piece of research.

Block 3 is devoted to the completion of an independent piece of research and culminates in the submission of a dissertation. Throughout this block, you’ll be supported to develop a research question and design a project to collect and analyse data whilst considering the ethical implications of your proposed work. You’ll have the opportunity to develop your skills in your chosen methodology and technique of analysis; you’ll be supported throughout to use relevant specialist software packages where necessary. At the end of the module, you will produce a dissertation presenting your research findings.

You will learn

On successful completion of this module, you’ll have:

  • an advanced understanding of some of the core domains within psychology as specified by the relevant professional bodies
  • demonstrated a critical understanding of the types of evidence and research methods used in psychology
  • an awareness of the importance of ethical issues in the practice of psychology and apply such knowledge in the critical review of published research and in the design of original projects.
  • critically examined how psychological theories and research methodologies are used in practice or professional contexts
  • demonstrated the appropriate skills to design, undertake and write up an independent piece of research.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your studies on this module, you will be supported by your module tutor. They will help you by:

  • marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback to highlight your areas of strength and identify areas where you can improve
  • guiding you to additional learning resources
  • providing individual guidance, whether that is for general study skills or specific module content
  • facilitating online discussions between your fellow student in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

Professional recognition

This is one of the two core modules in our British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited MSc in Psychology (Conversion).

Course work includes

5 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
1 Interactive computer-marked assignment (CMA)
End-of-module assessment

Future availability

Critically exploring psychology 2 starts once a year – in September. This page describes the module that will start in September 2024. We expect it to start for the last time in September 2032.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

Entry requirements

This module is not available for standalone study. To study this module, you should have completed Critically exploring psychology 1 (D810) for the MSc in Psychology (Conversion) (F92).

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


Start End England fee Register
07 Sep 2024 Jun 2025 £4075.00

Registration closes 15/08/24 (places subject to availability)

06 Sep 2025 Jun 2026 Not yet available

Registration opens on 12/03/25

This module is expected to start for the last time in September 2032.

Future availability

Critically exploring psychology 2 starts once a year – in September. This page describes the module that will start in September 2024. We expect it to start for the last time in September 2032.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

Ways to pay for this module

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

Study materials

What's included

You will be provided with a research methods workbook and have access to a module website which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • module materials
  • audio-visual content
  • assessment guide
  • online tutorials and forums
  • links for further study.

Computing requirements

A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Mobile devices and computing devices that do not meet the specs listed below​, including Chromebook laptops or tablets running the Linux-based Chrome OS as its operating system,​ will not be able to install or run the SPSS statistics software required and thus are not suitable​ for parts of this module. Inability to use SPSS will prevent you from passing the module.

Additional software will be provided, including the SPSS statistics program. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run this software on a desktop or laptop computer with either:

  • Windows 64-bit (10 or 11)
  • macOS (Ventura or higher)
  • 3GB hard drive free space and 4GB of RAM

The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms, we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone.

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile App will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It's not available on Kindle.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio and video components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available to download. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader (and where applicable: mathematical and scientific materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way). Other alternative formats of the module materials may be available in the future.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.

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