PSYC5242 Life Span Development Advanced

Graduate Diploma Unit


One trimester


Graduate Diploma of Psychological Science – AQF Level 8

Credit points:

6 (out of 54)




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

Learning and Teaching Process

This unit comprises ten (10) weekly 2.5 hour lectures and nine (9) weekly 1 hour tutorials.  Lectures commence in Week 1 of the trimester and will be captured electronically at the time of delivery and will automatically be made available online within the following 24 hours. Attendance at tutorials is compulsory; students should attend, from Week 2, the tutorial class into which they are enrolled.

All students are provided with secure online access to comprehensive unit learning resources via the Student Portal. Unit Coordinators, Lecturers, and Student Support staff are available to students (in all modes of delivery) at designated times via email and telephone contact throughout the duration of the unit.

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

Week Lecture Topic Tutorial Topic

Introduction to the life span developmental perspective; Explanations of development.

No tutorial Wk 1

Biological and physical development and change.

The physical developments of adolescence and their psychological effects.

Cognitive development and intelligence.

Approaches to the study of cognition.


Language development.

The development of language: Parentese.


Emotional and social development.

Attachment: The changing role of parents.

Moral development.

Moral development: Care, justice, and moral dilemmas.

Contexts for development I: Work and career.

Career exploration.


Contexts for development II: Gender and sexuality.

Gender identity.


Contexts for development III: Family, love and intimacy.

Family experience and romantic love.


Ageing; Death, dying, bereavement and grieving.

Death and dying.

Assessment Summary

Type Weighting Length
Assessment 1: Online Quiz 5% 25 Multiple Choice Questions; 30 minute time limit
Assessment 2: Laboratory Report 30% 2000 words
Assessment 3: Online Quiz 5% 25 Multiple Choice Questions; 30 minute time limit
Assessment 4: Conference Presentation 10% 5 minute recording
Assessment 5: Final Exam 50% 90 Multiple Choice Questions and 2 Short Answer Questions; 2 hour time limit


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time.