Lifespan Development: Critical Questions for Aging and the Lifespan

Earn a Certificate of Completion.

The course is designed to address real world questions about aging and the natural progression of life, taking answers from diverse subjects in the field of gerontology and providing applied contexts. Theoretical models will be utilized to explore lifespan opportunities and encourage debate, challenging preconceptions about aging societies. The course will have a central theme of application and employability, demonstrating the application of knowledge and the pathways to employment after education.

June 3, 2024
June 17, 2024
July 1, 2024
July 15, 2024
July 29, 2024
August 5, 2024
August 19, 2024
September 2, 2024
September 16, 2024
September 30, 2024
October 14, 2024
October 28, 2024
November 11, 2024
November 25, 2024
December 9, 2024
December 23, 2024

Combined coursework of recorded lectures, readings, and assignments is approximately 20-25 -hours to be completed at the student’s own pace. Students are expected to complete the course in two to four weeks.

Students must be at least 14 years old or older and enrolled in a high school or secondary program. International applicants must demonstrate English proficiency.

Recent high school graduates, students taking a gap year or time off from college and are older than 18 can request an exemption to apply by emailing and include a short paragraph (no more than 200 words) stating your interest and how this program will add value to your academic or career plans.

$1990 USD
$35 application fee


Featured Topics

  • Gerontology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Demography
  • Biology
  • Social Policy
  • Nutrition


  • Dementia
  • Caregiving
  • Pension & Financial Planning
  • Physiological Change Retirement
  • Ageism
  • Loneliness & Social Isolation
  • Aging Society & End of Life Care

Learning Outcomes
Following the completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Relate the core biological, psychological and sociological approaches within gerontology to applied lifespan contexts
  • Develop critical and analytical skills, evidencing the ability to distinguish between research and opinion
  • Identify application of gerontology within new and emerging career areas, demonstrating the understanding of aging as a central tenet across sectors
  • Cultivate an appreciation of research, the fundamentals of conducting research and the importance of evidence based policy

Format and Course Length
The course is structured around 5 critical questions, addressing the current applied areas of research within Gerontology. Each of the topics comprises specialized areas where students will be exposed to lecture style content, industry interviews, expert panels and audio-visual resources to create multi-modality learning. Recorded content will be presented alongside live discussion based delivery to allow students the opportunity to share and explore their own learning. Continuous and varied, summative and formative assessment will enable students to gauge their own development and knowledge acquisition whilst compiling a portfolio to both demonstrate this and also provide a resource for future reference.

Combined coursework of recorded lectures, readings, and assignments is approximately 20-25 -hours to be completed at the student’s own pace. Students are expected to complete the course in two to four weeks.


Paul Nash
Paul Nash, PhD Instructional Associate Professor of Gerontology
USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

In this course, you’ll be taking class with USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology faculty member, Paul Nash, PhD. Nash gained his doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Glamorgan whilst working as a researcher at Swansea University in the Centre for Innovative Aging. He has coordinated national research projects in Wales (UK), working across sectors with private organizations, the public sector and older people to create publications and reports to influence government policy.

Nash has held several leadership positions in the UK including being the Honorary Secretary for the British Society of Gerontology (2016/17) and Chair of Trustees for Age Cymru Swansea Bay (2013-2017). He continues to work closely with colleagues and organizations in the UK to continue the ‘older person-centered approach that directs both his teaching and research philosophies.

Informing his teaching practice is the commitment to research, epitomized by his work on ageism with the World Health Organization (WHO). Nash is actively pursuing research on interventions to address both implicit and explicit ageist prejudice as well as continually developing challenging curriculum to reflect the dynamic nature of the field.


Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis. Applicants who submit a completed application can expect an admission decision within 3 – 5 business days.

  • Include basic contact information from you and your parent(s) or guardian.
  • Tell us why you want to take the course and a little about yourself through a short-answer essay.
  • Share a piece of writing, video or social media content that reveals something about yourself (optional).
  • Submit the $35 application fee.
  • Students must be at least 14 years old or older and enrolled in a high school or secondary program.


In addition to the requirements listed above, international applicants are expected to be proficient in English. International students who successfully complete an online course will receive a digital Certificate of Completion and by request a USC Pre-College Program transcript at no additional cost.


* Scroll right to view full table
Monday, June 3, 2024Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Monday, June 17, 2024Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Monday, July 1, 2024Wednesday, June 26, 2024
Monday, July 15, 2024Wednesday, July 10, 2024
Monday, July 29, 2024Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Monday, August 5, 2024Wednesday, July 31, 2024
Monday, August 19, 2024Wednesday, August 14, 2024
Monday, September 2, 2024Wednesday, August 28, 2024
Monday, September 16, 2024Wednesday, September 11, 2024
Monday, September 30, 2024Wednesday, September 25, 2024
Monday, October 14, 2024Wednesday, October 9, 2024
Monday, October 28, 2024Wednesday, October 23, 2024
Monday, November 11, 2024Wednesday, November 6, 2024
Monday, November 25, 2024Wednesday, November 20, 2024
Monday, December 9, 2024Wednesday, December 4, 2024
Monday, December 23, 2024Wednesday, December 18, 2024


Application fees are nonrefundable. All course cancellations requests must be made in writing to Any tuition paid to the university will be refunded, not including fees, if requested no more than three (3) days past the course start date. Requests to drop the course more than three (3) days after the start date will not be eligible for a refund.

The university will not refund tuition for Pre-College Online Exploration courses for students who are removed from the program due to a violation of our Letter of Understanding for Online Participation and our Student Code of Conduct.