Elective Course - Social Environmental Psychology

Course content

Everything happens somewhere – that is, in a “place”. Places can be specific rooms or buildings, environments and landscapes, or geographies defined by more abstract communities (e.g., neighborhoods and nations). How do people relate to the places that surround them? And, how do these places affect their thoughts, feelings, and actions?

Questions about the connection between people and places are an ongoing concern for the field of Environmental Psychology. Historically, research in this field has focused on how features of the physical environment contribute (or detract from) individual and collective well-being, functioning and performance, and health and recovery. More recently, environmental psychologists have been motivated by questions of when and why people take action to care for and protect their environment (e.g., in response to climate change). Throughout this literature there is an awareness that “there is no physical place setting that is not also a social and a cultural setting” (Proshansky, 1976), and as such that environmental issues are also socially-embedded, connected to how people understand themselves in relation to others with whom they share their environment, and infused with socially-significant meanings  

This module will explore classic and contemporary issues in environmental psychology. Topics might include: belonging, place attachment and place identity; restorative environments, health and well-being; perceptions of natural and urban environments; socially-marked spaces, stigmatized environments; territory, boundaries, contested spaces and environmental conflicts; pro-environmental action and environmental protection.

Seminars will be discussion-based and structured around weekly set readings that incorporate theoretical and empirical work (including quantitative & qualitative studies). Students will be oriented to the class topic each week by the lecturer. Specific groups of students tasked with preparing for and leading in-class discussions of the readings. All students will be expected to engage with the readings and actively participate in class discussions.

Learning outcome

The purpose of these modules is to expand knowledge or put the psychological subject area into perspective through theoretical or empirical specialisation within subject areas within or related to psychology. Upon completion of the elective subject module within the Department of Psychology, students are able to:

  • describe and account for relevant concepts and themes within the elective subject
  • describe and account for relevant methodological approaches in relation to the subject matter for the elective subject
  • explain contexts, analyse and/or conduct procedures relevant to the elective subject under supervision.
Not relevant
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Written assignment
Free written assignment submitted in Digital Eksamen according to the exam schedule.
The exam paper can be written in groups of maximum 3 students.
1 student max 12 pages, 2 students max 15 pages and 3 students max 18 pages
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 30
  • English
  • 30