PSYC 102 (3 cr): Introduction to Developmental, Social, Personality, and Clinical Psychology

Course Description and Prerequisites

Introduction to methods and statistics, motivation, assessment, developmental, personality, clinical, and social psychology.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of PSYC 100 and PSYC 102.

Prerequisite(s): None.

Course Objectives

This psychology course will introduce you to some of the major research areas within the field of psychology: the scientific study of behaviour.  The course covers several fundamental topics in psychology (for example, social behaviour, intelligence, motivation, emotion, development, and personality).  The course concludes with the topic of psychological disorders and their treatment.

By the end of this course, students should be able to

  1. Explain what psychology is and isn’t.
  2. Describe the history and evolution of the field of psychology.
  3. Describe the different types of psychologists and explain the sorts of work that each type of psychologist is engaged in.
  4. Understand the nature of scientific inquiry.
  5. Define modern psychology and identify the major perspectives within it.
  6. Recognize, recall, connect, and evaluate psychological concepts and theories from specific subfields (e.g., developmental and social psychology).
  7. Trace the history of the IQ test in particular, and of psychological testing in general.
  8. Describe some of the classic and contemporary lines of thought in the following subfields of psychology: Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Personality Psychology, and Clinical Psychology.
  9. Describe several areas of research related to motivated behaviours (e.g., hunger and eating, sexual behaviour).
  10. Understand the concept of stigma, as it relates to psychological disorders.
  11. Understand the history of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association, and be able to provide an informed critique of the DSM-5.
  12. Understand and explain basic research methods currently employed by psychologists.
  13. Explain the concept of an ‘experiment’; its strengths and its weaknesses.
  14. Use effective evidence-based study strategies based on current psychological research.
  15. Use and interpret basic descriptive statistics.
  16. Understand the purposes of inferential statistics, and be able to interpret some basic inferential statistics.
  17. Identify and avoid plagiarism when writing a psychology assignment.

Course Content

There are thirteen weeks of content in the course:

  • Week 1: What is Psychology? (Psychology’s History: Functionalism vs. Structuralism, Behaviorism, Psychophysics, Modern Approaches; Types of Psychologists)
  • Week 2: Research Methods Pt. 1 (Nature of Scientific Inquiry, Research Methods of Psychology and Statistics)
  • Week 3: Research Methods Pt. 2 (Nature of Scientific Inquiry, Research Methods of Psychology and Statistics)
  • Week 4: Motivation (Basic Concepts, Hunger & Eating, and Sexuality)
  • Week 5: Emotion (Physiology and Expression of Emotion, Theories of Emotion)
  • Week 6: Developmental Psychology (Cross-Sectional vs. Longitudinal Designs, Nature vs. Nurture Debate, Influential Theories, Infancy, Childhood, Adolescence and Adulthood)
  • Week 7: Psychological Testing and Intelligence
  • Week 8: Personality Psychology (Psychodynamic Perspective, Trait Perspective, and Humanistic Perspective)
  • Week 9: Social Psychology (Social-Cognitive Perspective, Attitudes and Behavior, Group Influences, Prejudice and Scapegoating, Altruism)
  • Week 10: Stress as a Concept, Stress & Health, and Adjustment
  • Week 11: Approaches to Atypicality
  • Week 12: Major Categories of Psychological Disorders
  • Week 13: Treatment of Psychological Disorders

Course Format

These distance education sections of PSYC 102 use the content-rich edx (see platform. The course uses an open-source text that is supplemented by many video-based lectures and online resources. In addition, the course contains interviews with some leading research psychologists and some demonstrations of psychological phenomena.

Each week in the course follows a similar structure:

  1. Completion of the assigned readings from the free-to-use online text.
  2. Self-check questions related to the assigned readings.
  3. Viewing of the online course videos and completion of the associated self-check questions.
  4. Online discussion(s).
  5. Completion of the weekly quiz.


Midterm 1 22%
Midterm 2 22%
Final Exam 35%
Readings-Review Questions 3%
Quizzes 10%
Discussion Questions 8%
Online Office-Hours Participation 2%

*The Midterms and Final exam uses Proctorio, an online invigilation tool built into Canvas, that monitors your activities while writing an online exam.


Required: OpenStax College. Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Sep 28, 2015. This text was selected for this course because it is of high quality, it is free and open to use, and is at an appropriate reading level for an introductory psychology course.

Optional: Gilbert, D., Schacter, D., Wegner, D., Johnsrude, I., and Nock, M. K. (2014). Psychology: Third Canadian Edition. Worth, ISBN-13:978-1429237215.  This optional text was selected for this course because it is of high quality, and is at an appropriate reading level for a first-year student.

Technical Requirements for edX-based Courses

This is an online course that uses the edX platform.  Browser requirements for use of the edX platform can be found here:


The course outline is subject to change. The official outline for this course can be found in the course materials.