Human Development

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PSY 120

       Course Name: Human Development

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces study of human development.  Content includes physical, intellectual, emotional and social growth from conception to death.  Focus is on normal developmental stages and patterns of adjustment to differing life-time demands.  Theories and principles of human development examined in light of contemporary research.  Credit may not be earned in both PSY 211 and PSY 120.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. The student will learn a theoretical framework for studying human development.
  2. The student will compare and contrast the major developmental theories used in the study of human growth and development.
  3. The student will learn to define the human behavior studied within this course in operational terms, construct hypotheses, and gather, analyze and interpret data.
  4. The student will understand how psychology emerged as a field of knowledge, and how this influences psychological thinking today.
  5. The student will learn to describe and provide examples of the scientific approach to the study of human behavior, including the ability to differentiate fact from opinion.
  6. The student will be able to identify, compare, and evaluate alternative solutions that arise from various theories presented in this course.
  7. The student will communicate knowledge and application of the course content effectively in writing and/or speech.
  8. The student will recognize course content that can assist in building and maintaining effective human relationships.
  9. The student will identify significant developmental tasks appropriate for various age groups.
  10. The student will apply the principles of human development to observable human behavior.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Framework for Studying Human Development
    1. Partitioning the life-span
    2. The nature of developmental research
    3. Ethical standards for human development research
  2. Developmental Theories
    1. Psychoanalytic theories
    2. Behavioral theory
    3. Humanistic theory
    4. Cognitive theory
    5. Evolutionary Adaptation theory
  3. Biological Considerations
    1. Reproduction
    2. Genetics
    3. Nature vs. nurture
  4. Prenatal Development and Birth
    1. Stages of development
    2. Environmental influences
    3. Complications of pregnancy and birth
  5. The Newborn
    1. Senses and behaviors
    2. Individual differences
  6. Infancy
    1. Development of basic competencies
    2. Cognitive development
    3. Language acquisition and development
    4. Social bonding and the development of emotions
  7. Early Childhood
    1. Information processing and memory
    2. Cognitive foundations for social interactions
    3. Gender identification
    4. Family influences
    5. Peer relationships
  8. Later Childhood
    1. Moral development
    2. Pro-social behavior
    3. The world of school
  9. Adolescence
    1. Puberty
    2. Identity development
    3. Cognitive and moral changes
    4. Peers and family
    5. Dating, love, and sexuality
    6. Career development
  10. Early Adulthood
    1. Physical changes and health
    2. Options in life-styles
    3. Parenthood
  11. Middle Adulthood
    1. Physical changes
    2. Personality adaptations
    3. The workplace
  12. Later Adulthood
    1. The myths and realities of aging
    2. Psychosocial aspects of aging
    3. Theories of adjustment to aging
  13. Death
    1. The dying process
    2. The quest for "healthy dying"
    3. Bereavement

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Appropriate use of audio-visual materials
Observation and reflection
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

This course relies on the students' ability to read and understand college-level text material.  Students will be required to write for the class the equivalent of 12-15 typed pages of material that will be graded.  This writing may take the form of a research or term paper, summaries of journal articles, the recording of observations, and/or a series of shorter, analytical papers.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Representative texts include:

Steinberg, Laurence (2012).  Custom Life Span Development (w/ Access Code, Loose Leaf).  Cengage Learning, Boston, MA.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Individual instructors will determine their own grading and evaluation procedures.

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Attendance
  2. Class policy on make-up exams, late assignments, etc.
  3. Important dates

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.