Course Title: The Science of Human Nature

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: The Science of Human Nature

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2021


City Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2021


RMIT University Vietnam


173H School of Health and Biomed


Viet2 2023

Course Coordinator: Dr Robin Laycock

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7400

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 202.04.035

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course will provide you with foundational knowledge regarding views of human nature and its psychological and biological underpinnings.  The course will integrate perspectives from biology, anthropology, economics, history, psychology, sociology and neuroscience in exploring the evolutionary perspective. 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the development of the following Program Learning Outcomes for BP154 Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology):

  • PLO 1:  Understand appropriate and relevant fundamental and applied evidence based knowledge and undertake lifelong learning to improve personal and professional practice 
  • PLO 2: Demonstrate a capacity to employ a variety of approaches and procedures to research to permit judgements and decisions to be supported by appropriate evidence that places practice within a global and local context.
  • PLO 3:  Applies knowledge to diagnose and solve problems in a wide range of diverse situations, with an ability to work independently or with others and incorporate the analysis of evidence based scientific literature to solve psychological problems.
  • PLO 4: Engage in dialogue with a diverse range of people and communicate in a broad range of forms (written, electronic, graphic, oral) to meet the circumstances of the situation and the capabilities of the audience.

On successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Discuss and critically evaluate the various theories of human nature
  2. Explain the role of evolutionary psychology in relation to concepts of human nature
  3. Identify and elaborate the contribution of the environment to concepts of human nature
  4. Develop an understanding of history, environment and genetics to concepts of human nature 
  5. Argue the impact of genes and environment during development and how it shapes the brain and our psychology

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be actively engaged in a range of learning activities such as lectorials, tutorials, practicals, laboratories, seminars, project work, class discussion, individual and group activities. Delivery may be face to face, online or a mix of both.

You are encouraged to be proactive and self-directed in your learning, asking questions of your lecturer and/or peers and seeking out information as required, especially from the numerous sources available through the RMIT library, and through links and material specific to this course that is available through myRMIT Studies Course.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through myRMIT Studies Course.

There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student portal.

A Library Subject Guide is available at

Overview of Assessment

Assessment Tasks 

Assessment Task 1: Content Quizzes  
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLO 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 

Assessment Task 2: Written Assignment
Weighting 30%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 

Assessment Task 3: Essay
Weighting 50%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 

If you have a long-term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more.