Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x Nature news and views article (1500 words)  20%
Semester Assessment 1 x narrative analysis of interviews (1500 words)  20%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   written examination  60%
Supplementary Assessment 2 Hours   written examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1. Demonstrate an understanding of theories of life span development in late adulthood

2. Examine and evaluate the impact of ageing on biological, cognitive and psychosocial functioning

3. Discuss and evaluate current debates on ageing and the effect of the "greying" of the population

4. Apply theories of life span development to key issues in ageing research and critically assess their contribution to our understanding of the challenges of ageing;

5. Demonstrate their ability to conduct literature reviews and use different writing styles and qualitative methods of research analysis;


This module examines the role of psychology in understanding the processes of ageing. Ageing has become increasingly important as a topic for psychological investigation due to improvements in health care and increased longevity. The drive is now to not only increase quantity of life but also to improve quality of life across all functional domains. The ability of students to understand the use of psychological theory within applied settings such as the ageing population is important for their ability to relate their theoretical learning to real life situations.

Brief description

The module examines the use of psychology and psychological theory to explore the theoretical and empirical explanations for changes in functioning during late adulthood. Students will examine the biological, cognitive and psychosocial challenges of normal ageing and the impact of sub-optimal ageing on functioning in late adulthood. The issue of enhanced longevity and the protective factors important for quality of life in late adulthood will be considered within the context of applications of lifespan theory and research.


• Historical and cultural perspectives of ageing
• Theories of ageing
• Optimal/sub-optimal models of ageing
• Roles and relationships in later life
• Wisdom and meaning
• Life review; death and dying
• Theories of ageing from a biological perspective
• Cognitive decline in later life
• Alzheimer's Disease and neuropsychological impairment
• Longitudinal studies and The Nuns Study
• The effect of stress: resistance and coping with life events

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not directly applicable although students will be introduced to the key concepts of statistical analysis through the examination of research designs.
Communication Students will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and direct in their and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic and to focus on the objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching. Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the facilitator and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their assignment topics. The need to conduct interviews and transcribe and pool data for analysis to meet a deadline will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and PsychLit).
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of explaining a research process for a lay audience as well as an writing in different academic styles and seeing through the process to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of the two pieces of coursework will require that the student develops independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; use psychological theory to validate their opinions and estimate an answer to the problem; consider case studies and reason logically. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of both coursework assignments will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for seminar presentation will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken
Subject Specific Skills Students will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of subject specific skills that will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and research publications presented on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Assessment of scientific methods in psychology; • Differentiation between quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry; • Demonstration of a familiarity with the techniques required for literature searches; • Appreciation of the nature of ethical research in the social sciences;
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module. Working in small teams to complete the interview and analysis process will be an integral aspect of one part of the coursework.


This module is at CQFW Level 6