Developmental Psychology

PSYC 251/3.0

Welcome to Psychology 251/3.0, a course designed to give you a general introduction to the field of Developmental Psychology. This course will cover both theories and research concerning infancy, childhood, and adolescence. It has three major learning objectives. First, by the end of the course you are expected to be able to describe the onset and changes in various behaviors. This is the "what" question in developmental research. Second, you are expected to examine and critically evaluate theories that have been developed to explain children’s behavior and age-related changes in that behavior. This is the "why" question in developmental research. Third, you are expected to learn how developmental psychologists actually conduct experiments as they attempt to describe developmental trends and assess developmental theories. This is the "how" question of developmental research.

Most developmental psychologists study infants, children, or adolescents. Our course reflects this bias. It also reflects the influence of biology, anthropology, computer science, sociology, and medicine in the field of developmental psychology. This will become apparent as you work your way through the textbook. I hope that you will find the course intellectually fascinating as well as useful to examine both your own assumptions and those of our culture about children and their development.

Learning Outcomes

After completing PSYC 251, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the general course of typical development from conception to late adolescence in the cognitive, linguistic, emotional and social domains to recognize their effect on one another.
  2. Compare and contrast the major developmental theories and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each theory.
  3. Discuss the different methods used in developmental psychology research and evaluate how these research methods are dependent upon the theoretical approach of researcher, developmental age of the participants and research question being asked.
  4. Recommend ways to promote children’s well-being and successful development, based on developmental research and theory.
  5. Critically discuss a variety of materials related to child development and effectively communicate ideas to different audiences.
  6. Collaborate with peers through problem-based learning activities to explore concepts and research related to child development.




This course is designed to be an introduction to the scientific study of human development, with an emphasis on social, cognitive, and neurobiological processes underlying perceptual, cognitive, and emotional development from infancy to adolescence.


Winter 2017
Course Dates: 
Jan 9 - Apr 7, 2017
Exam Dates: 
Apr 13 - 27, 2017




Online Weekly Quizzes (best 10 out of 11)


4 Learning Activities and Discussions


2 Term Tests


Written Assignment


*Proctored Final Exam


* You must write and pass the final exam in order to pass the course.

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

Final Examination

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.


Professor Stanka Fitneva (

Time Commitment


Students can expect to spend approximately 10 hours a week (120 hours per term) in study, listening and online activity for this course.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

OnQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into Moodle to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the OnQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

  • Laptop or Desktop computer purchased within the last 5 years. (mobile devices are not supported)
  • Windows Vista SP2/Mac OSX 10.9 or higher
  • Up to date versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari. Please note that Google Chrome is not recommended for use in our courses.
  • Most recent version of Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash

 See also Getting Started.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for 2016-17 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Canadian students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $648.40; for a 6.0-unit course, $1296.80. See also Tuition and Fees.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.