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

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.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

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

This is an online course. Learning activities will include online lectures, virtual lectorials and online learning modules. Lectures will enable you to acquire a framework of relevant knowledge and an understanding of underlying theoretical/conceptual material. Lectorial exercises will help you to engage in critical analysis of relevant knowledge and underlying theoretical/conceptual material. The online learning modules will enable students to engage in the online lecture and lectorial content. You are expected to develop responsibility for a synthesis of knowledge and problem-solving skills as either an individual or within a group.

The assessment associated with this course will comprise diagnostic, formative and summative elements and incorporate a variety of assessment modes including quizzes and written assessments.

These assessments will include use of online technology and are designed to require students to demonstrate a critical analysis of the core principles presented in the course.

Assessments begin early in the semester and continue throughout semester. These assessments will provide feedback on your progress. Ongoing feedback on your skills will be provided from peers and staff.

Overview of Learning Resources

The learning resources associated with this course will include targeted readings taken from a range of both primary and secondary sources. Material chosen may be digitally available to you. Lecture material may utilise a variety of available technologies including Echo360, Discussion Board interaction and Canvas Collaborate workshops. Skill development activities will be provided in a variety of ways, including simulated learning activities.

A Library Subject Guide is available at

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements. 

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