This unit (ASW2103) explores some of the key concepts in understanding social and human behaviour across the lifespan. It also introduces the lifespan from infancy to old age accounting for the individual, social, cultural and structural dimensions. It encourages students to make the links between their own personal values and a range of social and cultural phenomena, and the implications of this for social work practice.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


96 credit points of first year core ABSW units. For HBSD students only - 96 credit points of First Year core HBSD units.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of human development from infancy through to old age, using different theoretical perspectives;  
  2. Reflect on personal experiences in light of human development theory; and  
  3. Demonstrate a developing critical awareness of human development from a variety of cultural perspectives.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Quizzes (900 word equivalent) (2x15mins) 20%
Presentation Group presentation and individual reflection (15mins) 30%
Essay Critical analysis of selected topic (1,800 word equivalent) 50%
To gain a pass in this unit students must attain a minimum overall grade of 50% and attempt and submit all assessment tasks. Each assessment task covers discrete areas of knowledge and skill required for the successful completion of the social work course.

Required reading

A critical approach to human growth and development 1st ed.
Nicolson, Paula. (2014)
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Understanding human development 3rd ed.
Harms, L 2021
Oxford University Press, Docklands, Victoria.

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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