Human Development Studies - Overview of LA1 courses

The Individual in Society and at Work

The Year 1 programme introduces students to the main areas of Human Development Studies by exploring contemporary experiences and understandings of the person, society and the world of work. In lectures, students study different views about human nature and about organization of the workplace. Particular attention is paid to those features of the workplace which express or enhance the values accorded to the individual. In practical classes, students enhance their career and personal development in the light of topics covered in lectures. A series of visits by various businesses and organizations is also part of this programme.

The year 1 programme is divided into a series of interconnected units of study:

Lectures Practicals

Understanding Human Nature I - Philosophical Approaches
(Fr Feidhlimidh Magennis)

Through our interaction with others and the world around us, we become aware of ourselves as individuals. In these lectures, students explore various ideas about human nature and its relation to human acts and ethics. Some ideas are drawn from the writings of various philosophers, both ancient and modern. Others are drawn from sciences such as psychology and biology. The aim of this unit is to equip the student with the various intellectual tools needed for such inquiry, in particular an introduction to philosophical method.

The Individual in the World of Work
(Miss Joan Campbell)

The world of work is a particularly important dimension of modern life which calls for exploration and analysis. It is the aim of this degree to equip all students for full, active and informed participation in that sphere of human endeavour. In year 1 we examine organizations as manifestations of human cooperation and production that characterise the experience of work. These lectures introduce students to the organisation of work and enable them to explore different organisational structures, their origins and aims. Students examine the human relationships which characterise different organisations, for example power and management. In the light of such studies, students will be able to broach value-laden issues such as productivity, pay and workers’ rights.

Understanding Human Nature II - Political Concepts
(Dr Birgit Schippers)

Questions about the organization of collective life, about the exercise and control of power, and about the allocation and distribution of resources are central to the study of politics. The diverse answers given to these questions are shaped by our understanding of human nature. Thus, building upon the philosophical examination of human nature, this unit investigates how assumptions about human nature manifest themselves in our understanding and use of political concepts. The unit will focus on two concepts: war and peace. The exploration of these key concepts will open up wider discussions relevant to the study of global ethics and will provide a foundation for LA2 Politics (Global Justice). The unit will also develop the critical tools you need to identify and assess competing political claims, thus enabling you to engage in a critical analysis of global politics and political debates, and to think critically about political issues.

Investigating Careers in the Workplace
(Ms Joan Campbell, Coordinator)

The Work Related Learning Programme within the BA Liberal Arts degree has the objective of inducting students into the theory and practice of organisational development within the regional economy. Participation aims to facilitate student contact with the work environment and to engender a culture of life-long learning and enhance employability. Work placements will take place in Years 2 and 3. The Year 1 programme is preparatory to these individual placement experiences.


In Year 1, students are addressed by representatives from selected businesses and organizations. Students gain from listening to the experiences of management personnel from each representative business or organisation and should begin to appreciate the reality of career mobility and the level of flexibility required to sustain employability throughout a working life. As the focus for Year One students is the ‘organisation’, information provided includes detail on the structure, nature and function of each business or organisation represented. By the end of the programme, students should have an understanding of the range of businesses and organisations that exist in our economy, placing them in a better position to make a knowledge-based decision on what nature of work-related placement they might like to secure during Year 2 and Year 3 of undergraduate study.

Career and Personal Development
(Dr Tom Patton)

This unit provides students with the opportunity to apply their acquired knowledge and understanding of the world of work to their own personal situation. This unit introduces students to skills needed for career development.