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The Human Being from a Developmental Perspective, 15 Credits

Swedish name: Människan i ett utvecklingsperspektiv

This syllabus is valid: 2013-09-16 valid to 2021-08-22 (newer version of the syllabus exists)

Course code: 2PS049

Credit points: 15

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Psychology: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Department of Psychology

Revised by: Head of Department of Psychology, 2013-10-01


The course will cover modern research, trends and debates within the field of developmental psychology. The course content will be related to and exemplified by the teachers' ongoing research activity and interests within developmental psychology and its applications.

Part 1: Controversial issues and trends in developmental psychology (7.5 hp).
This part of the course provides theoretical and methodological questions that are crucial to human development. The course will also provide a deeper understanding of the controversial issues and trends in the international research field of developmental psychology. The course will cover important subjects like the development of the self, children’s theory of mind, adolescence and identity, development of executive functions, different aspects of socio-emotional development (including attachment) as well as brain development and early brain deviations.

Part 2: In depth project: Developmental test methods and applications (7.5 hp)
Provides in-depth knowledge of a well-defined area of developmental psychology with a focus on developmental test methods and its applications.

Expected learning outcomes

After completion of the course the student should independently be able to:
• Thoroughly account for, analyze and critically reflect around current research and debates within modern developmental psychology
• Critically and systematically integrate knowledge in modern developmental psychology in order to analyze, evaluate and handle complex phenomena and questions
• Independently formulate one or several research questions that emerges from recent empirical and theoretical knowledge within the field of developmental psychology
• Write a written report according to APA standard
• Acquire advance knowledge about children’ development of executive control functions and its measurement problems
• Demonstrate ability to give a developmental perspective: of (a) acquisition of emotions (emotional capacity of infants, differentiation into secondary emotions and implications) (b) development of relationships (family sibling, peers and intimate relationships)
• Ability to integrate developmental aspects from the physical and cognitive domains to understand socio-emotional development and to use this information to understand and resolve issues in applied areas of developmental psychology (i.e. schooling, career choice and  relationship)
• Reflect on and thoroughly account for current issues, methods and findings concerning the development of the self, including important influences and clinical applications
• Be able to understand and critically reflect upon how children develop a “Theory of mind”, both in normal and children with disabilities.
• Be able to understand how adolescents develop identity and self-esteem, and critically evaluate normal and deviant adolescent development from a theoretical frame of reference that takes into account different factors between the individual and the environment
• After the lecture and seminar, the student will have knowledge of general principles of cerebral and CNS development, disruptions to early brain development, and plasticity in relation to deviations in brain development

Required Knowledge

90 ECTS in psychology, medicine or related subjects.

Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish Upper Secondary course English A.
Where the language of instruction is Swedish, applicants must prove proficiency in Swedish to the level required for basic eligibility for higher studies.

Form of instruction

The course consists of lectures, seminars and course assignments. In addition the students are expected to engage in independent studies.
Before the start of the course the student should have basic knowledge in the field of “Developmental psychology”, equivalent, for example, to Berk, L. (2013). Child development (500 pag approx.). Boston: Pearson.

Examination modes

Part I:
The examination consists of a written exam, active participation in seminars, group work, oral and written presentation of a project work and active participation in group discussions. If the student does not participate in an examination or fails, the compensatory task will be to do a written summary corresponding to the task at the seminar.

Part II:
This part is examined individually by an independent project work documented in a written report. The research subject is chosen by the student from of the research areas discussed during the first part of the course. The independent report will be examined by the supervisor of the project and both the written report and the work process will be judged.
The written exam will graded Failed, Passed or Pass with honor. The compulsory seminars, presentations, group discussions and the report will be graded either Failed or Pass with honor. The course will be graded Failed, Passed or Pass with honor.
Students who have failed twice in an exam have the right to apply for another examiner at the department of psychology. Students have the right to five examination sessions within two years from the first registration date. To pass the course the student has to pass all exams and compulsory parts of the course. The course grade will constitute a summarized judgment of the results from all examined parts and it will be set when all parts have been passed.
For more information see ”Regler och riktlinjer för betyg och examination”, dnr: 500-4-05.

Academic credit transfer
Crediting will be tested on an individual basis.

Other regulations

The course is normally given in English.


Valid from: 2013 week 38


Articles will be provided by the teachers. The literature consists of approximately 500 pages, mainly articles.