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PSYC5242 Life Span Development Advanced

Graduate Diploma Unit


One trimester


Graduate Diploma of Psychological Science – AQF Level 8

Credit points:

6 (out of 54)



Mode(s) of delivery:

Online and on-campus




The unit covers theory and research related to major themes of psychological development across the lifespan

Unit Description

The aim of the unit is to provide an advanced understanding of issues and methods used in the psychological study of human development across the lifespan. Topics covered in the unit include theoretical perspectives on lifespan development; physical and biological development; the development of cognition, intelligence, and language; social, emotional and moral development; contexts for development; love and intimacy; gender and sexuality; and ageing and death, dying and bereavement.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

a)      discuss and critically evaluate the key themes related to various stages of the life cycle, theoretical approaches, issues and methods of study of life span development, including cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and moral development from infancy to old age;

b)      describe and critically evaluate the different approaches to studying development across the lifespan;

c)      observe, classify and describe behaviour across various ages in test situations, compile group data, and interpret the data in terms of hypotheses being tested;

d)      identify and critically analyse key life cycle issues related to family context, culture, and minority status;

e)      critically evaluate empirical evidence and relate to issues and theoretical approaches;

f)       evaluate ethical issues associated with life span developmental research;

g)      communicate research concerning lifespan issues to demonstrate an advanced understanding of theoretical and methodological concepts accessible to a wide audience.

Unit content

  • Introduction to the life span developmental perspective; Explanations of development.
  • Biological and physical development and change.
  • Cognitive development and intelligence.
  • Language development.
  • Emotional and social development.
  • Moral development
  • Contexts for development I: Work and career.
  • Contexts for development II: Gender and sexuality
  • Contexts for development III: Family, love and intimacy.
  • Ageing; Death, dying, bereavement and grieving.

Learning and teaching process

This unit comprises 10 weekly 2.5 hour lectures and 9 weekly 1 hour tutorials. Attendance at tutorials is compulsory. Attendance at lectures is highly recommended. Lectures will be captured electronically at the time of delivery. These recordings of the slide content and oral presentation will be available for downloading as soon as it is feasible after the lecture.

Study schedule

N.B. This unit is at a higher level than that taken by the Bachelor’s degree students, and therefore students will be expected to adopt a critical and evaluative position on the topics and be ready to engage with the tutor at an advanced level.

Assessment Summary

Assessment information provided at the commencement of the unit in the online class space

Recommended text(s)

For more information regarding recommended texts for specific units, please see the Psychological Sciences Textbook List.

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. This includes plagiarism of any nature. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand what constitutes plagiarism in order to ensure that you do not engage in it. Please refer to the full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.

Parallel teaching statement

This unit involves parallel teaching. In order to ensure the required coverage of psychology and meet the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council Standards, students enrolled in this unit will attend the same lectures as undergraduate students enrolled in the second and third years of the psychology sequence. To ensure learning at the appropriate level, however, students enrolled in this unit will attend separate laboratory and/or tutorial sessions from the undergraduate students. These sessions, rather than focusing on reinforcing the learning of material presented in lectures, are designed to extend this learning in more depth and at an advanced level. This will involve students preparing for these sessions by reading more advanced material. Assessment tasks also differ from the parallel undergraduate unit to ensure students are able to demonstrate the higher level of learning that is required for successful completion of the unit.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of trimester on the online class space.