Unit description

This unit explores the development of human physiological function from the embryo to extreme old age with a particular focus on exercise capacity and the influence of physical activity and exercise at all life-stages through teacher directed activities and problem-based learning. Developmental pathways of people with congenital and acquired disabilities, and life-stage related mental and physical challenges are emphasised.

Unit content

Topic 1. Definitions and Theories of Human Development. Consideration of data sources and the quality of evidence in this area.

Topic 2. Pregnancy, pre and post-natal and infant development: with particular reference to the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, GIT and neurological systems including the special senses.  Maternal changes during pregnancy and the effects of physical activity, exercise, nutrition and environmental exposures will be considered.

Topic 3. Early and middle childhood and adolescence:  major systems revisited with a focus on the endocrine system. Influences on individual development including gender, social and nutritional opportunity, physical activity and training level will be considered. Exercise related public health policy and promotions for this age group.

Topic 4.  Life-stage challenges of adolescence and young adulthood: neurological and cognitive development, mental health, addictions, diets and dawning independence. Consideration of the evidence that life-style and dietary choices made in the teens/twenties predict functional competence in older age.

Topic 5. Use it or lose it: changes in the major physiological systems during early and middle adulthood with a focus on the endocrine systems in women and the relationship of mental and physical health with physical activity and training. Exercise related public health policy and promotions for adults.

Topic 6. The role of physical activity and exercise in the promotion of mental and physical health in people with congenital and acquired disabilities.

Topic 7. Late adulthood: classifications, theories of ageing, ageism and healthy ageing

Topic 8. Late adulthood: changes in major physiological systems. Exploration of the evidence on individual differences and the role of physical activity, training and nutrition on both the cognitive and physical changes related to age and pathology. 

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

Learning outcomes and graduate attributes

Teaching and assessment


Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every session. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

Southern Cross University employs different teaching methods within units to provide students with the flexibility to choose the mode of learning that best suits them. SCU academics strive to use the latest approaches and, as a result, the learning modes and materials may change. The most current information regarding a unit will be provided to enrolled students at the beginning of the study session.

Fee information


Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.
Commencing 2018 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 2

Fee paying courses
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Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.