BSc Psychology / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Lifespan & Ageing

Course unit fact file
Unit code PSYC10311
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Division of Psychology and Mental Health
Available as a free choice unit? No


The course covers each major lifespan stage (adolescence and early, middle and late adulthood) and is supported with a bespoke textbook with chapters relating to each of the four stages. At every stage, biological, cognitive, social and individual difference approaches to change and development will be covered. The opening lecture introduces students to research methodology in lifespan research to equip them with the background knowledge to appreciate how researchers acquire knowledge about lifespan development. The first five lectures consider biological and cognitive development, the following five lectures consider social factors affecting development at different life stages. Students will have a weekly question to consider relating to the key themes for that week. In a synchronous teaching session at the end of each of the relevant week of teaching responses and related issues will be discussed and considered.


This unit aims to:

Provide students with an overview of human development from adolescence to late adulthood. Introduce students to psychological approaches to development throughout the lifespan. Draw upon cognitive, biological, social and individual differences psychology research to provide students with an overview of factors relating to lifespan and ageing.

Familiarise students with the major theories of human psychological development, emphasising the fundamentally interactive nature of psychological processes.

Introduce students to the breadth of research methods that are used to understand development through the lifespan, including longitudinal, cross-sectional and cross-cultural studies.

Teaching and learning methods

This unit is delivered via lectures and seminars.

E-learning provision: supplementary reading and resources, and a monitored discussion board will be provided via Blackboard.

Knowledge and understanding

Appreciate the importance of the study of lifespan development and change to the understanding of human behaviour.

Develop an understanding of the key approaches to lifespan development.

Demonstrate knowledge of cognitive, biological, social and health psychological approaches to human development beyond childhood.

Intellectual skills

Appreciate the contributions of different areas of psychological research to adult development. Integrate findings from different fields of research to understand lifespan development. Ability to summarise the evidence base for findings from the main approaches to development (biological, cognitive, social, health). 

Practical skills

Apply knowledge to real world cases in the field of human development.  

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Students will have the opportunity to develop their skills in: Synthesising information; summarising theories and evidence; critical thinking; evaluating research; working in groups; communicating effectively both orally and in writing; presenting concise and persuasive arguments 

Assessment methods

Essay worth 100%

Feedback methods

Students will receive a grade and written feedback.

Recommended reading

“Lifespan: Human Development” by Sigelman & Rider 8th Edition; Cengage Learning

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 87.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Nils Muhlert Unit coordinator

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