Developmental Psychological Science

Synopsis of Course Syllabus
(Download Complete Course Syllabus Below)

Required Texts
Berger, Kathleen S. (2014).The developing person: Through the lifespan. (9th Edition). New York: Worth Publishers.

Required: E-book &  Access Card to the Development Portal.

Purchase from bookstore or online at:

Miller, Lisa. (2015). The  spiritual child: The new science on parenting for health and lifelong thriving. New York: St. Martin's Press..

King, Rosalyn (2008). Enriching the lives of children. Cambridge, England: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

To order books, click below:


Goals and Objectives

The field of lifespan developmental psychology represents a relatively new approach to a longstanding interest in how people change with age. This course will examine the pertinent theories about development and discuss the findings from research, which reveal solutions, approaches, experimental and clinical evidence from measurement and testing.

THIS IS NOT A THERAPY COURSE. It is not designed to discuss your current or personal problems or perspectives, per se, in the classroom or to find immediate solutions to them.   We will, however, discuss application of theoretical information in great detail.

This course is designed for you to learn about the best that the field has to offer regarding guidelines, approaches, interpretations and solutions relative to the development of human potential across each phase of the lifespan. And, as a result, the course will contribute to your gaining new knowledge, understanding and the discovery of solutions to any current problems. Implications for application to everyday life will be drawn from the exploration of theories, research, and discussion. With this in mind, the following are the objectives of the course:

1. CURIOSITY: To develop and nurture a desire to learn more about development.

2. APPRECIATION: To appreciate the complexities and subtleties of change across the lifespan, and to appreciate
     individual differences.

3. UNDERSTANDING: To learn the basic theories, concepts, principles, approaches and recommended strategies,
     that comprise the body of knowledge about development.

4. APPLICATION: To apply the knowledge gained to your professional and everyday life.

5. KNOWLDEGE: To acquire new knowledge on the pertinent guidelines important for nurturing and maintaining,
     monitoring and encouraging individual growth and development.

6. ENJOYMENT: To enjoy the process of dialogue, exploration, inquiry, and learning in this course.

The first phase of this two semester course will focus on an overview and history of the field of developmental psychology and the critical questions and issues permeating the field. In addition, the course covers 5 of the developmental periods of the lifespan: conception and prenatal development, infancy and toddlerhood, early childhood, and a brief overview of early adolescence.

The second phase of the course will focus on the developmental periods of adolescence, young adulthood, middle adulthood, and mature (or late) adulthood. In addition, explorations will be made of the final transitional period of dying and death.

Policies, Procedures and Course Requirements

Course Format

This course will use a combination of activities in the classroom including lecture, discussion, group work, cooperative and collaborative learning, public forums, formal debates, media presentations, etc.

Class Preparation

The time constraints on this course are such that your professor may not be able to lecture on all aspects of your readings. YOU WILL BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL MATERIAL ASSIGNED IN YOUR TEXT OR SUPPLEMENTARY READINGS. Students are expected to read the assigned chapter(s)and any assigned readings before class and come to class prepared to participate. Individual students or groups of students may be asked to make special presentations in class periodically.

Required Written Assignments and Projects

Research Paper: You will be required to develop a theoretically oriented research paper. This paper can also include an applied side; that is, you may incorporate some action-oriented research, observation or field work into the research analysis.

The area of focus for your paper should be on one of the phases of development being covered during the semester(e.g.prenatal development, infancy, toddlerhood, childhood, etc.). Ideally, your research should on an area of development that you are most interested in or have plans to pursue in your professioanl career, or want to know more about as a parent or professional. This paper should be taken very seriously, and work on the research should begin early in the semester.

You will be required to develop an outline of your paper and submit it for approval by your professor. You should also be prepared to discuss your thinking about your research with your professor. Make an appointment to meet with her. A good time for arranging this appointment is during the development of your initial outline prior to its submission.

Projects: You also may develop a portfolio, photographic essay, video production or some other creative project. Your project should be similar to the requirements for a research paper. You may also include all developmental periods covered during the semester, for example, in a portfolio or photographic essay. However, you may also focus on one specific developmental period.

(1) PORTFOLIO  development will include a collection of articles and objects that are examples of concepts, theories, and information learned during the semester. The portfolio collection will illustrate what you have learned and how what you illustrate is connected to what you have learned. The portfolio can include articles, editorials, photographs, videoclips, interviews, exhibits, etc. Each item, article or object included in your portfolio must have a brief written narrative and you will be required to present your portfolios to the class during one of the open forums. If you are interested in portfolio development, you should request written guidelines from your professor along with the criteria on how portfolios are evaluated.

(2) FIELDWORK  can include field observation in a school, classroom, or other educational or developmental setting such as daycare center, nursery, preschool, kindergarten, alternative program, hospital, and so forth. You may also interview developmental psychologists, professionals or researchers.

If you are currently working in a developmental setting, you may use your setting for research. Your field experience must be prefaced with a review of the related literature. This review will provide the background information necessary to prepare for the fieldwork and to develop your field research questions. Therefore, your background research should be conducted prior to your going into the field. If you are interested in fieldwork, you should request written guidelines from your professor on preparing for fieldwork, including negotiating entry, observation methods, interview methods, field questions, preparing reports and how to exit the field site.

3) SERVICE LEARNING is an opportunity to do 8-16 hours of community service in a psychology-human development related setting.  Service learning programs involve students in organized community service that addresses local needs while at the same time developing your academic skills and sense of civic responsibility and commitment to the community.  You serve and learn.  In this regard, you will select an organization related to the areas of life span human development that we will be covering.  You are responsible for finding and negotiating entry into an organization for your service.  The Loudoun County Office of Volunteer Services can also help you.  They can provide you with a directory of volunteer opportunities.  You can contact them at (703) 777-0113 or locate their web page at:  You also may contact the Volunteer Services Office in Fairfax County at (703) 246-3460.  You are required to write a description of your service or produce a photographic essay and journal, or you can produce a videotape of your service.  You also are required to discuss the significance of your service to your personal, professional and academic development.  Students must also address how the service is related to lifespan human development content covered in class during the semester.  Your selection of service should be related to the areas covered during this semester.  If you are interested in participating in service learning, please obtain written guidelines from your instructor.

GRADING CRITERIA: All papers and reports will be read and evaluated based on a set of criteria and a point system totalling 100 points. Criteria will include: organization and format (10 points); clarity/quality of content (25 points); typed paper with cover page (10 points); documentation and citation of data sources in text, or review and discussion of literature, or thinking and analysis displayed (25 points); thoroughness and conciseness of content (20 points); and inclusion of a bibliography (10 points).

All projects will be evaluated using a different set of criteria as indicated on your guidelines handout for each type of project.


As a way of sharing research and knowledge, the course offers students the opportunity to participate in scholarly forums. Each semester forums are held on each phase of the lifespan where students can present their research findings. In Psy 231,  the forum covers the topics on: 1)  genetics, conception, prenatal development and infancy and toddlerhood; and 2) on early and middle childhood.

These forums are student coordinated and run. Student teams have the responsibility of identifying guest speakers and preparing abstracts of the presenters' research findings for dissemination to the class. These forums are open to the college and campus community and to invited guests of students.

Students who are interested in a particular phase of the lifespan must be prepared to present their research at the time of that particular forum. Students are encouraged to divide themselves proportional to the class size between the forums. The formal paper also should be ready to submit at the time of the forum, but the instructor will allow students to submit a draft paper initially. The final paper must be submitted within the next week.

Any topical subjects, such as domestic violence, rape, Alzheimer's disease, etc. should be specific to a developmental period rather than a general paper.

Portfolio Presentation

If you are developing a portfolio that includes articles or items from each phase of the life span covered during the semester, you may present at the last forum or divide your presentation between the relevant forums and submit your final portfolio for evaluation at the last forum.

Use of Creativity and Innovativeness

You can be as creative and imaginative as you wish during your presentation at the forum. You can use videos, overheads, handouts, or other forms of media. Student presenters should consider this experience as participation in a formal conference where participants are coming to learn new information. Therefore, you should behave and conduct your presentation accordingly. Your topic and an abstract of your presentation/paper should be provided to the instructor and your forum coordinator the week before the forum for inclusion in the program.

Invitation to Guest Participants

Course students can invite the public, parents, other students and guests to attend these forums. One or two students will be asked to volunteer from the group of presenters to serve as Forum Coordinator(s). THE COORDINATOR WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR COORDINATING STUDENTS, DEVELOPING THE PROGRAM, ADVERTISING THE FORUM TO THE CAMPUS AND PUBLIC,AND IDENTIFYING AND INVITING EXPERT GUEST SPEAKERS.


For this class, you are responsible for four products and therefore will have a total of four grades. Your course grade will be determined by adding raw scores from all assignments and examinations and computing the average score. Therefore, every assignment is important. IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE EVERY GRADE. MISSING ANY GRADE ASSIGNMENT CAN RESULT IN YOUR FAILING THIS COURSE. The grading system is as follows:

100-90 A
89-80 B
79-70 C
69-60 D
59 & Below F


Students are expected to attend all class sessions except in cases of emergency (e.g., illness, death in the family), the advent of religious holidays - the observance of which requires restriction of daily activity, or when participating in official college functions (e.g., field trips or other designated events):

In these cases, you are to inform the instructor prior to missing class as to the reason for your anticipated absence. In the case of absence for special personal reasons other than those mentioned, it is your responsibility to confer with the instructor as to whether the absence is to be considered as excused.

Students may be penalized for an excessive number of absences and reported to the Counseling Center and Dean of Students.

Attendance and participation may be factored into all grades. Points may be deducted from the total grade for persons with poor class attendance. PUNCTUALITY FOR CLASS ALSO IS IMPORTANT.


You can receive a number of bonus points to be added to your final average at the end of the semester for your participation in a variety of related class activities during the semester. You can download the Student Performance Record from this course website and keep up with your performance and points earned in this class.

 Download Course Complete Syllabus Below

PowerPoint: Getting Started with Launchpad



Psychology  235

Course Syllabus- SPRING 2018

Class Schedule-SPRING 2018


 Student Performance Record

Student Performance Record-Psy 235 - Fall Semester (PDF)

Student Performance Record-Psy 235 - Spring Semester (PDF)


 Opening Class Summary and One-Minute Motivator

Guidelines for Opening Summary and One-Minute Motivator

 First Day of Class Handouts

First Day Handouts



 College Resources Information Sheet


 Guidelines and Rubrics for Projects
(You will also find these documents on the lessons and handouts page.)

Guidelines-Portfolio Development - Student Packet (PDF)

Guidelines-Poster Presentations (PDF)

Guidelines-Reflective Journal - Student Packet (PDF)

Guidelines - Service Learning - Student Packet (PDF)

Making the Grade in Group Presentations (PDF)

When Ordering Books

You can use the link below to purchase assigned readings and other publications.