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Psychology & Neuroscience of Mental Health & Wellbeing in Education - EDU00100M

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Dusana Dorjee
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22
    • See module specification for other years: 2020-21

Module summary

In this module you will gain essential up-to-date knowledge on the developmental processes in the mind and brain underlying mental health and wellbeing with particular focus on children and adolescents from the educational perspective. You will develop your literature search, digital literacy and critical analysis skills in working with up-to-date research papers and education policy materials, through readings, lectures, classroom debates and innovative assessments. 

Professional requirements


Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

This module aims to develop your essential knowledge and critical analysis skills enabling you to critically review cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience of mental health and wellbeing from the perspective of its implications and applications to education.

You will gain in-depth critical understanding of the key approaches to mental health and wellbeing from a developmental perspective. You will also acquire essential knowledge of key educational policies on mental health and wellbeing in education with focus on child, adolescent and teacher mental health and wellbeing. You will critically examine possible discrepancies and overlaps between mental health and wellbeing research, policy and practice from an applied perspective.

You will also gain a range of transferable skills in assimilating information from different sources and developing your own perspective on it, formulating reasoned arguments, analysing and synthesising theories and data from different sources, and developing your effective communication, literature search and digital literacy skills. 

Module learning outcomes


1. You will understand essential up-to-date psychological and neuroscientific research on developmental changes underlying mental health and wellbeing applied in the educational context. 

2. You will be able to identify and critically review main education policy and practice on  mental health and wellbeing in education.

3. You will acquire essential critical understanding of how to effectively communicate research to a range of audiences such as policy makers, teachers and researchers. 

4. You will gain knowledge of the main approaches to evidence-based mental health and wellbeing strategies and provisions in education. 

5. You will critically review examples of collaborative work between researchers, policy makers and teacher in improving mental health and wellbeing provisions in schools.

Module content

Week 2 - What is mental health and wellbeing and how can we measure it?

  • Introducing the concepts of mental health and wellbeing, educational wellbeing policy, prevention vs. intervention approaches
  • DSM (anxiety and depression), different types of wellbeing and their measures   


Week 3 - Can neuroscience measure mental health and wellbeing?

  • Introduction to methods of neuroscience
  • Examples of measuring neural bases of mental health and different types of wellbeing


Week 4 - The stress response, mental health and wellbeing

  • Developmental neurobiology of stress – understanding how it impacts wellbeing
  • Role of appraisals and their modulation by psychological strategies


Week 5 - Self-regulation, mental health and wellbeing 

  • Attention networks and their neural bases from a developmental perspective – links to mental health and wellbeing
  • Example measures of self-regulation and school-based interventions


Week 6 - Emotion regulation, mental health and wellbeing

  • Emotion regulation and its neural underpinnings from a developmental perspective – links to mental health and wellbeing
  • Example measures of emotion regulation and school-based interventions


Week 7 - Rumination, mental health and wellbeing

  • Positive and negative rumination, contribution to psychopathology, neural bases of rumination
  • Strategies for managing negative rumination, examples of school-based interventions for managing rumination 


Week 8 – Purpose and meaning in life, mental health and wellbeing

  • Distinguishing religious and existential wellbeing, existential awareness; relevant neuroscience evidence
  • Approaches to fostering existential wellbeing in education 


Week 9 – Wellbeing interventions in education

  • Critical examination of existing wellbeing programmes for education with particular focus on the underlying wellbeing conceptualizations of the programmes, their aims and limitations. 


Week 10 - The role of education in supporting mental health and wellbeing of the population

  • Comparing education policy with research theory/evidence
  • Considering implications of education practice – whole school approaches (including teacher wellbeing) and long-term perspectives on mental health and wellbeing



Task Length % of module mark
Policy consultancy report
N/A 70
Simulated job interview report
N/A 30

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Policy consultancy report
N/A 70
Simulated job interview report
N/A 30

Module feedback

Individual written feedback reports for summative assessments, with follow-up tutor meeting if necessary. The feedback is returned to students in line with university policy. Please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

Indicative reading

Davidson, R. J., & McEwen, B. S. (2012). Social influences on neuroplasticity: stress and interventions to promote well-being. Nature neuroscience15(5), 689-695.

Frankl, V. E., & Boyne, J. (2017). Man's Search for Meaning: Young Adult Edition. Beacon Press.

Hanh, T. N., & Weare, K. (2017). Happy teachers change the world: A guide for cultivating mindfulness in education. Parallax Press.

Lewis, G. J., Kanai, R., Rees, G., & Bates, T. C. (2013). Neural correlates of the ‘good life’: Eudaimonic well-being is associated with insular cortex volume. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience9(5), 615-618.

Lupien, S. J., McEwen, B. S., Gunnar, M. R., & Heim, C. (2009). Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behaviour and cognition. Nature reviews neuroscience10(6), 434-445.

Posner, M. I., & Rothbart, M. K. (2000). Developing mechanisms of self-regulation. Development and psychopathology12(3), 427-441.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American psychologist55(1), 68-78.

Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of personality and social psychology57(6), 1069.

Thorburn, M (Ed.) (2017). Wellbeing, Education and Contemporary Schooling. Routledge.

Martin, R. E., & Ochsner, K. N. (2016). The neuroscience of emotion regulation development: implications for education. Current opinion in behavioral sciences, 10, 142-148.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.