What Is Developmental Psychology?

What Is Developmental Psychology

What is developmental psychology and why is it worth studying? Dr. Brian Tilley, Associate Professor of Psychology at National University, defines psychology as “The study of humanity.” Developmental psychology takes this simple but eloquent definition and pushes the boundaries of our understanding by applying it to the entire spectrum of the human story. So, in reality, it’s the study of all of us and all our experiences as humans.

As an academic discipline, developmental psychology focuses on the major transitions in human life, all the way from fetal development through to death, taking into account the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional domains in which we all exist. This all sounds rather complicated — much like humanity itself. So, taking our cue from Dr. Tilly and attempting to describe the subject in layman’s terms, we can say that developmental psychology is simply the study of how and why human beings change over the course of their lives — from the cradle (and even before in the womb) to the grave.

 

Developmental Psychology Online Courses

As a student in National University’s developmental psychology class online, you will study the core concepts of developmental psychology. You will analyze and discuss the strengths, and the weaknesses of the major theories of lifespan development, as well as learn about the impact of biological and genetic influences, such as ethnicity, and gender, alongside other cultural factors, on physical growth, cognition, and behavior. You will then assess how current research supports and critiques these theories.

Significant areas of study in the National program include:

  • Nature versus nurture: Seeks to understand how our genetic inheritance (our nature) interacts with our experiences (how we are nurtured) to influence our development throughout life.
  • Continuity versus stages: Explores the difference between the skills that are continuously and smoothly added throughout our life experience versus more dramatic and sudden changes based on quick responses to specific interests.
  • Stability versus change: Examines which characteristics stay with us throughout our lives and what changes as we get older.

 

Why Study Development Psychology?

The developmental psychology online class is a requirement in National University’s Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree program, and can also be studied as an upper-division elective as part of the BA in Sport Psychology.

As is common with all National University classes, the developmental psychology online course is taught over a rolling four-week period, meaning that students are never more than 30 days away from starting their education and can better schedule their study around pre-existing work and family commitments.

The developmental psychology class online does have some prerequisite classes which must be completed before being accepted in the course. National University’s admissions and advising teams are always available to help you plan your course of study in the psychology program to meet your academic and career goals.

A Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology is a vital first step towards a career in therapy (although students will need to progress through the master’s program to achieve this goal) or as a stepping stone to a career helping to develop the mental resilience of a sports team or individual athlete. If you want to practice in a clinical setting, you will need further education and a license. However, there are many other career options open to students who major in psychology aside from the couch or coaching.

In fact, there are broader opportunties for psychology students whose primary interest is human behavior but have no interest in following a “traditional” psychology career.

According to National University’s downloadable career guide: Psychology: A Career that Opens Doors, psychology graduates can be found in careers as diverse as human resources, sales and marketing, journalism, retail management, law enforcement, and hospice care. It could be argued that the diversity of opportunities available to psychology graduates makes the subject a great degree opportunity for students who want to keep their career options open. If you are interested in the field, a good first step is to explore all the programs that National has to offer and see where your interests might take you.

 

Interested in People? Develop Your Understanding

If you have a real interest in people and want to know precisely what makes them tick, National University’s developmental psychology class online could help you develop your passion for studying humanity on a deeper level. To learn more about this class or request additional information, please visit our course page on the website.