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SP10178: Social work and life course 1

[Page last updated: 01 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Assessment Group S: CW (100%) (SW) (CW 100% - Qualifying Mark: 40)
  • Assessment Group N: CW (100%) (CW 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: At the end of the unit students will be expected to be able to:
1. describe the major stages of human psychological development throughout the Life Course - child development, adolescent development, transitions to adulthood, ageing and older age and end of life. PCF5.3; 5.4
2. demonstrate a basic understanding of the basic concepts of psychology including theories of learning, personality, moral development, language acquisition, attachment and separation, and interpersonal relationships
3. begin to appreciate cultural diversity and its impact on individual development PCF 3.1
4. have an appreciation and emerging critique of the importance of psychological theory in social work knowledge PCF 5.1; 5.8

Aims: To ensure students meet both the Standards of Proficiency (HCPC) and Professional Capabilities Framework (TCSW) in relation to social work practice and principles.
SP10178 is the first of two Units that aim to provide students with an understanding of psychological theory in relation to social work. SP10178 Social Work & Life Course 1 aims to introduce students to the range of psychological theory with some application to practice (this is then extended in SP10179 SW & Life Course 2).
Students are required to demonstrate an initial understanding of the application of research, theory and knowledge from psychology, health and human growth & development to social work.
Students will learn basic concepts and knowledge, and then be able:
* To explain how human development is a lifelong process from infancy to old age
* To draw on knowledge from a range of disciplines
* To understand how development is an interaction between heredity, environment and social influences
* To explain how studying human development is relevant to social work practice
* To learn how social workers might intervene to promote rights, justice and wellbeing and challenge inequalities within the life course
* To recognise the diversity of life course and challenge assumptions and stereotypes about 'groups' of people, e.g. children and young people, older people
* To introduce key concepts, e.g. key principles of life course development; critical periods, transition; change and continuity; strengths, resources and resilience; adversity, vulnerability, risk and accumulation of risk.

Skills: After completing this unit students should be able to:
1. have an overview of basic psychological terms and concepts in relation to development (taught and assessed)
2. appreciate different levels of understanding and communication skills during child development and other life stages (taught, facilitated and assessed)
3. begin to engage in problem based learning exercises independently and within small groups(taught, and facilitated)
4. begin to identify some social work roles and functions; and show critical thinking in the application of Life Course concepts such as the social and medical models of illness and disability (taught, facilitated and assessed) PCF 1.2; 5.3

* Child Development Theories; how children mature and develop; physical developmental milestones; cognitive development and developmental psychology (e.g. theories of learning); language acquisition; moral development; psycho-social theories of personality development, attachment and separation.
* Theories of adolescent development: physical, cognitive, moral, sexual; identity development (including race/ethnicity); becoming independent.
* Critical perspectives on developmental psychology e.g. cross-cultural differences in attachment, cognition and communication; social constructions of childhood and adolescence and disability. Challenges to development: adversity; understanding the potential impact of social divisions and inequalities in children's and young people's lives; age-based discrimination; disablism.
* The implications of impairment and disability on childhood, adolescence, adulthood and a critical perspective on normative models of development.
* Transitions to adulthood; physical, psychosocial and cognitive changes; identity development; lifestyles; social networks and relationships; partnerships and becoming a parent; mid-life issues/'crises'
* Ageing and older age: physical ageing; common health problems associated with ageing and their impact (e.g. dementia); theories of ageing; life course perspectives on inequalities in later life; gender; ageism; social networks and relationships; grandparenting; continuities and change; managing transitions
* End of life: diverse perspectives on end of life and dying (e.g. cultural norms and expectations); unequal dying; acceptance and denial and death; loss, grief and mourning.

Programme availability:

SP10178 is a Designated Essential Unit on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB15 : BSc(Hons) Social Work and Applied Social Studies (Year 1)

SP10178 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.