SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHC825421
Module Leader Monika McNeill
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Introduction to Biological, Cognitive and Developmental Psychology (or an equivalent), Research Methods (or an equivalent)

Summary of Content

The module will be delivered via a series of lectures over the 12-week term (2 hours per week) and accompanying them seminars over the 6 weeks (2 hours per week). This module will adopt an integrated approach to the evidence-based knowledge of human development. The module content will provide an overview of how behaviour, cognition, brain and experience are shaped by development. A range of topics will be discussed in the lectures, e.g. theoretical approaches in the study of development and the methods used to investigate developmental changes. Moreover, the module will focus on the development of different systems throughout the lifespan, i.e. cognition, communication and socio-emotional areas. The module content will also include a discussion of an array of developmental disorders. Furthermore, research carried out during the seminars will provide an opportunity to explore a selection of applied problems within developmental psychology. This will create an opportunity to implement 'real world problem solving' similar to the ones that the students may face in the future when working as practitioners. This approach is also aligned with the GCU Teaching and Learning Strategy (TLS)


The module will adopt an integrated approach on development that takes into account cognitive, socio-cultural and neuro-psychological perspectives in order to understand different aspects of human development throughout the lifespan. It will include the evaluation of key concepts and methodologies in developmental psychology, the developmental trajectories of different areas, e.g. cognitive development, language acquisition, socio-emotional development, understanding of self and others, autism and atypical development, moral development, etc. A particular emphasis will be placed on the application of the evidence-based knowledge to the real-world problems.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Gain a critical understanding of the key historical and psychological antecedents of Developmental Psychology (assessed via exam)2. Understand and critically evaluate multiple psychological perspectives in human development (assessed via exam)3. Understand the research methods used in Developmental Psychology to the extent of being able to critically appraise their use in the context of human development and the relevant research (assessed via coursework)4. Be able to plan, carry out a developmentally driven research, analyse the data and critically evaluate the findings in context of previous literature and the applied context (assessed via coursework)5. Produce a research outcome in a format of an academic poster (assessed via coursework)

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The lectures will refer to both, evidence based theoretical knowledge focused on the areas of human development and a selection of developmental disorders. Knowledge acquired during the lectures and via independent learning will be tested during the final exam. The seminars will offer students an opportunity to explore a problem selected from within the area of developmental psychology. That exploration will be carried out in a form of a psychological research, completed with a presentation of the findings in a format of a research poster. Both, teaching and learning during this module has been designed to facilitate performance by offering the students a range of learning tasks within the course. This in turn supports GCU Teaching and Learning Strategy, in particular the curriculum design principle for 'broader and deeper learning'. It will also create a greater opportunity for 'inclusive and accessible learning' (TLS), recognising that strengths in individual students may come to fore when allowed the opportunity to use different assessment methods. Coursework assessment in a format of a research-based poster is also a part of the final empirical project assessment. Current version of the Developmental Psychology module will create an opportunity for the students to perform that task before they do it as part of their undergraduate dissertation assessment. This will potentially result in a more 'engaged learning', which is another focus of GCU TLS.

Indicative Reading

A selection of general textbooks and other module related sources, e.g. -360 1. Leman, P.; Bremner, A. Parke, R. & Gauvain, M. (2012). Developmental Psychology . London: McGraw-Hill -360 2. Slater, A., & Bremner, G. (2017). An Introduction to Developmental Psychology. West Sussex: BPS & John Wiley & Sons -360 3. Gillibrand, R., Lam, V., & O'Donnell, V. (2011). Developmental Psychology, Second Edition. London: Pearson Education Limited -360 4. Arnett, J. J. (2014). Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood. London: Pearson Education Limited. -360 5. Feldman, R. S. (2008). Adolescence. New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall

Transferrable Skills

Students will develop a number of skills crucial for succeeding in the assessment of the module performance, as well as becoming note-worthy professionals in the future: -360 1. Critical thinking; 2. Evidence analysis; 3. Designing, developing and carrying out a piece of research; 4. Data analysis; 5. Presentation of research findings. 6. Students will also have an opportunity to learn about and implement a selection of real world problem solving.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 40.00
Independent Learning (FT) 122.00
Tutorials (FT) 2.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 50.00 35% 2 Hour Formal Examination
Coursework 1 n/a 50.00 35% Research Poster