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What are the Different Types of Psychology Courses?

By T. Carrier
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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While psychology courses at lower educational levels typically focus on broad, general learning, higher education psychology courses present a wide range of learning specialties. Areas of interest to psychology students may include research design courses, psychology history and theory courses, classes devoted to mental illnesses, and teachings highlighting various aspects of the human mind. Such courses may range from studies in personality to investigations into how humans behave in groups.

General psychology courses provide a basic informational background on all aspects of psychology. Information covers nearly every topic, but the information will not be as in-depth as in a more focused topics class. Younger students such as those in high school may benefit from gaining a solid foundation for understanding human behaviors. Many undergraduate programs also require a basic psychology course as a criterion for graduation.

Building on a basic framework, courses outlining the history of psychology are often required of students majoring in the field. These classes go into further detail about various psychological theories. Individuals also study significant figures in the development of these theories and the advancement of psychology as a whole.

Testing has also become an important tool in psychology. Researchers and specialists develop numerous examinations intended to measure factors such as intelligence, personality, and susceptibility to certain mental ailments. Proper design and administration of these tools is essential, and thus courses addressing the testing nature of psychology are abundant. General classes that teach scientific research methods and statistical analysis can be additional valuable sources of information for the psychology student. Courses that outline methods in counseling may also address these issues, as well as various therapeutic techniques.

In addition, mental illness is perhaps the most well-known, but least-understood, aspect of psychology. Numerous factors go into diagnosing an individual with a mental disorder. Psychology courses like abnormal psychology often provide comprehensive details about the diagnosis, symptoms, causes, and treatment of psychiatric illnesses.

Human personality and human thinking constitute two more prominent sub-disciplines in psychology studies. As such, a sizable percentage of higher education institutions will mandate completion of psychology courses in these areas for the prospective psychology graduate. Students in personality classes will work to understand what factors mold an individual’s life outlook and interactions with his or her environment. Meanwhile, class offerings like cognitive psychology or learning and memory explore how an individual stores and uses information received from outside factors. Developmental psychology courses, in turn, trace a human’s mental development through a lifespan.

Psychology course requirements vary by institution. A mandate at one school may be an optional class at another. Since psychology impacts nearly every aspect of an individual’s life, the potential areas of study are vast. Further courses may focus on child psychology, sports psychology and social psychology.

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