Department of Human Development and Family Studies
College of Human Sciences, Texas Tech University
HDFS 6363 (Section 001) – Advanced Topics in Human Development -- Emerging Adulthood
(online lecture notes from Dr. Reifman's HDFS 3318 course, Development in Young Adulthood)
Summer II 2015 -- 2:00-3:50 pm Daily, Human Sciences 224


Teaching Assistant

Alan Reifman, Ph. D.  
Office:  HS 509, Phone: 806-834-5174
Office Hours:  Before and after each class (or other days by appointment)




Text (should be brought to class each day)

Expected Learning Outcomes

Throughout the university, renewed emphasis is being placed on documenting what, specifically, students are expected to learn in classes, and what they actually are learning.  Beyond grades and test scores, assessment of students' mastery of specific topics is desired.  Expected learning outcomes for HDFS 6363 and how they will be assessed are listed below. 

Upon successful completion of the course, students will...
  • Be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of theories and empirical research related to the transition to adulthood, including (but not limited to) Arnett's theory of Emerging Adulthood. 
  • Gain an appreciation of how the transition to adulthood may be affected by historical era, culture, and economic issues.
  • Appreciate how specific life transitions (e.g., higher education, entry into the workforce, marriage, becoming a parent) fit within larger ideas regarding development in young adulthood.
Achievement of these expected learning outcomes will be assessed by one or more of the following methods...
  • Examinations, papers, and class discussion.


Grades will be based on two mid-term exams (each 25% of the total grade), the final exam (30%), discussion participation (5%), and a project involving the keeping of a journal (15%). 

The final exam will contain items mostly from the latter part of the class, but will contain a small number of items from earlier weeks; in this sense, the final will be cumulative.  Exams will be multiple-choice plus short-essay.  Grades will generally follow a pattern of 90% = A, 80% = B, 70% = C, etc., but I reserve the right to modify the scale in a way that is generous to students.  For example, if the highest anybody got were in the 80s, I would still give the highest person(s) an A.  Or, if someone got below 70% but attended regularly and completed all the required work on time, that person could still receive a grade in the C range.  Pluses and minuses (e.g., A-, B+) will be used, so if you fall just below a cut-off you will only be slightly below the next highest grade, as opposed to being a full level below (e.g., A vs. B).  The University will show plus and minus grades on your transcript, but does not factor them into your GPA (e.g., B+, B, and B- are all counted as 3.0).  It could still be useful for some purposes to have a plus or minus there, however (especially a plus). Attendance will not be taken, but poor attendance will probably lead to poor discussion, exam, and assignment scores, thus contributing to grades indirectly.

The journal assignment will work as follows.  You will have to conduct interviews with friends and family members, and write up a brief paper for each, which you will e-mail to Dr. Reifman via attachment (2-3 pages).  To get the full credit, your write-up of a given interview should bring in concepts, theories, or research studies from class and discuss how the interviewee's experience does or does not fit with the course material.  The specific topics are shown below, with each installment counting 3% toward your course grade (15% in total). Due dates are shown further down below in the class calendar.

Administrative Matters

·     Missed Exams/Assignments.  Missed tests and late assignments must be made up, or course passage will be jeopardized.  If you have a compelling reason (e.g., medical emergency), documented by a note, for missing a test or not turning in an assignment on time, you can take a make-up test or get an extension on an assignment without penalty.  The instructor reserves the right to contact the writer of the note for verification purposes.  If you do not have a documented excuse, the work must still be made up, but will be penalized with point deductions (2 points off per working day for an exam; 1 point off per working day for a paper).  If you should fall behind on more than one thing (e.g., a missed exam and a paper not turned in), especially as it starts getting late in the semester, you  run the risk of receiving an F for the course and you might want to drop the class at that point (see below for drop deadlines).

·     Incompletes.  A grade of “I” will be awarded only by permission of the instructor prior to the end of the semester and only when a small amount of work remains to be completed for the course. A grade of “I” is awarded only in case of emergency (see above procedures on notes and verification) and when class performance at the time of the request is satisfactory. Poor planning or excessive absences are not valid reasons for requesting a grade of incomplete.

·    Withdrawals.  If illness or other problems keep you from attending class and/or lead to the missing of assignments and tests, then you should plan to drop the class by one of the deadline dates (July 10 and July 27), as shown on the university calendar of major deadlines on the web. Do not simply stop coming to classes as this may jeopardize your grade point average.  Do not plan on an “I” under these circumstances; it will not happen, nor will there be special assignments or extra credit for these circumstances. 

·    Disability Needs. Any student who, because of a disability, may require special arrangements in order to meet the course requirements should contact the instructor as soon as possible to make any necessary arrangements. Students should present appropriate verification from Student Disability Services during the instructor’s office hours (or before or after class).  Please note instructors are not allowed to provide classroom accommodations to a student until appropriate verification from Student Disability Services has been provided.  For additional information, you may contact the Student Disability Services office in 335 West Hall or 806-742-2405.

·     Academic Integrity. Students are expected to abide by all of the rules for academic integrity at TTU, as specified in the relevant Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog or in the web-based guidelines for academic integrity.  Any violations of these rules will be reported to the proper authorities for disciplinary review. As stated concisely by the Center for Academic Integrity (originally from the University of Central Florida), "Plagiarism and cheating - presenting another's ideas, arguments, words or images as your own, using unauthorized material, or giving or accepting unauthorized help on assignments or tests - contradict the educational value of these exercises."

 Summer II 2015 Schedule of Topics, Readings (in red), Tests, and Assignment Due Dates
(HH = Henig & Henig)

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
  July 7
Intro to course
HH Intro

July 8
Life span stages; media depictions of the transition to adulthood
Arnett Chapter 1 (online)
July 9
Concept of Emerging Adulthood;
today vs. previous generations

HH Ch. 1
July 10
Measurement of EA
Reifman, A., Arnett, J.J., & Colwell, M.J. (2007).
(article; instrument)
July 13
Gender, ethnicity; international comparisons

July 14
Identity during EA; relations with parents
HH Chapter 8

July 15
Catch-up and review for exam

July 16

July 17
Brain development, decision-making, risk-taking
HH Chapter 6;
Cornell article (online)
July 20
Education, career development
HH Chapters 2 & 3

July 21
Marriage, relationships, dating, ...
HH Chapter 4

July 22
Becoming a parent

HH Chapter 5

Reifman, A. (2011). Emerging adulthood and the transition to parenthood. NCFR Family Focus.*
July 23
Mental Health and Substance Use
Excerpt from Bachman et al., "Marriage, Divorce, and Parenthood.. Impacts on Drug Use and Abuse" (pp 253-263, 271-272).*
July 24
Catch-up and
review for exam

July 27

July 28
Political involvement
Republican perspective (link); (mostly) Democratic perspective (link)

July 29
Religion, Volunteerism
Excerpts from Ch. 12, Bishop, B. (2008). The big sort.*
July 30
Economics and finances (guests from Red to Black Center)
July 31

August 3
Public policy
Governing magazine article (online)

August 4
Catch-up and
review for exam
HH Chapter 9
August 5
FINAL EXAM (at regular class meeting)

  August 7
(official exam period 8:00-10:30 am, for anyone who wants to take it then)

*Reading will be provided by Dr. Reifman.

Lecture Notes

Introduction to Course/Emerging Adulthood
Sociological/Group Perspectives (Race-Ethnicity, Gender, Social Class, International)
Identity and Relations with Parents
Decision-Making/Risk Taking/Brain Development
Higher Education
Jobs and Careers (plus Cities and Relocation)
Marriage, Relationships, Dating...
Becoming a Parent
Mental Health and Substance Use/Abuse

Political Involvement
Religious Views
Volunteerism and Civic Engagement

Economics and Finances
Military Service
Public Policies to Facilitate Transition to Adulthood