PSY4420 – Selection and development

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Course content

Human Resources (HR) is one of the main fields of employment in Work and Organisational Psychology. Especially in personnel selection and development, competence of personnel psychology is sought.

Nowadays, HR is often based on a competence model, which is developed specifically for the company. These competence models serve as a basis for planning the demand of competences in the firm, for recruiting new employees, for planning individual careers and for taking decisions on developmental options. This course therefore focuses on selection and development procedures based on competence models.

A brief description of the contents of the course:

Competence models

  • Structure and application of competence models
  • Personnel requirements in firms


  • Overview over selection procedures
  • Methods of selection
  • Job interview
  • Cognitive and personality tests
  • Biographical methods
  • Assessment centre (main focus)
  • Validity of these methods


  • Structure of HR development programmes
  • Roles of stakeholders (i.e. HR, supervisors)
  • Careers and career development
  • Planning of HR development programmes
  • Methods of HR development
  • On-the-job vs. off-the-job
  • Choice and development of methods, e.g. training, project work, formal education, job rotation, job change
  • Transfer of competences acquired off-the-job
  • Evaluation of development measures

Learning outcome

Knowledge and comprehension in the following fields:

  • Competence models and their application
  • Methods of recruitment and selection
  • Advantages and disadvantages of methods of recruitment and selection
  • Methods of HR development
  • Advantages and disadvantages of HR development methods

Analysis in the following fields:

  • Practices of selection
  • Practices of HR development

Knowledge utilisation in the fields of:

  • Planning a selection process based on scientific knowledge
  • Carrying out part of a selection process
  • Planning a programme of HR development

Metacognition in:

  • Developing and carrying out part of a selection process


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If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

This course builds on the knowledge acquired in the first semester of the master's programme.


Teaching methods:

The basic knowledge will be acquired based on a textbook or chapters of a textbook. Advanced knowledge will be acquired through papers on relevant topics. Some of the papers will be suggested. In addition, students have to do a literature search on specific topics.

Problem based learning will be done in work groups for

  • Analysing the practice in a firm either related to selection or development
  • Developing and training an assessment centre (each group develops one method and tests it with other students in the role of applicants and observers). Possible methods are presentation, group discussion, in-basket, strategic planning, job interview etc.
  • Planning an HR development programme

Participation in seminars is compulsory (min. 50%).

Compulsory tuition activities are valid for the 2 next semesters after approval date.

Absence from compulsory tuition activities

If you are ill or have another valid reason for being absent from compulsory tuition activities, your absence may be approved or the compulsory activity may be postponed.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Home examination.

The students will have to work on two assignments:

- One individual assignment

- One group assignment.

Students have to pass both assignments.

Previous exams

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

The department may use the acknowledged plagiarism filter for all written assignments when in doubt there may be a case of plagiarism in the submitted work.

Explanations and appeals

Ask for explanation of your grade in this course

Resit an examination

There is no make up exam for this course. Students who have been sick on the exam must register for the exam next time the course is scheduled. 

If one doesn`t sit for the exam one must submit proof of legitimate absence (illness, etc.), see § 5.5 in Regulations for studies and examinations at the University.

Students who have special conditions - for example, that one is chronically ill, prevented from further progression or lose the right to study at the university, may apply to have a postponed exam the same term. It is not automatically granted.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language