Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design - learn more

Online Psychology Course

General Psychology

An understanding of human psychology is essential for any designer. In this online psychology course, you'll build a foundation in theories of the mind. The course focuses on the biological and environmental bases for human behavior, including motivation, emotions, states of consciousness, learning, and personality. Students examine classic theories and theorists in psychology and complete research- and reflection-based projects.

General psychology course image 

What makes humans tick?

Root your creative choices in an understanding of human behavior

Instructor-Led Course

Feedback from design professionals

Creative Projects

Stretch your skills, grow your portfolio

Learn at Your Own Pace

Self-paced and scheduled programs available

Course Outline

1 - Foundations: The Players and the Game

We'll begin by introducing the main schools of psychology and meeting some key players in the history of psychology. We'll also learn how sound psychological research is conducted. In your reading for this week, you'll look at the anatomical side of psychology, exploring how the brain works and controls the body.

2 - Development: Blame It on the Genes?

Human development has been broken down into stages by many psychology experts. In this lecture, we'll look at the most prominent findings from Piaget, Freud, Erikson, and Kohlberg, covering cognitive, psychosexual, social, and moral development respectively. As we look at each discovery, think about your own personal development. Can you relate to any of these stages? Which stages relate more to genetics or more to the surrounding environment?

3 - What Moves You?

Now, how do I taste that ice cream? How do I feel its cool temperature? Why does Diet Pepsi taste different than a Diet Coke? Why do I want to do Pilates? Why do I feel happy when I see my cat walking up to me when I come home? In this lecture, we're going to explore what moves us and how we feel those moves: sensation, perception, motivation, and emotion.

4 - Consciousness: State of Arrest

Throughout this lecture, we'll explore the states of consciousness, including sleep and associated disorders. Your ability to learn and remember things is closely tied to the states of consciousness, so we'll take a close look at important aspects of learning in the lecture and memory in the required reading.

5 - Intelligence: Smart or Smarter?

What is influencing your "smarts?" The main argument is genes or nature. Although environment can have an effect, there is a strong link between intelligence and genes. So the first question we must answer in this lecture is "What is intelligence?" From there we'll discuss types of intelligence and how it is measured. Memory and language are important to expressing our intelligence, so we will explore each of these major topics including types of memory and how we build language.

6 - Personality: Me, Myself, and Who?

We will start our lecture off with a look at what makes up a normal personality, including extroversion, introversion, and some more Freudian analysis. We'll then get into abnormalities and disorders that are harmful to personality as well as mood, well-being, sociability, and the body.

Course Outcomes

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Define the origins of psychology including the basics of the five main schools and the most important theorists.
  • Identify the five main research methods and their procedures.
  • Define the nature versus nurture argument and related theories on cognitive, psychosexual, social, and moral development.
  • Relate a situation to appropriate stages of development.
  • Explain how sensory stimuli are received, perceived, and measured.
  • Identify the stages of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and apply these to personal life.
  • Discern motives, emotions, and moods.
  • Identify the states of consciousness including each stage of sleep and define common disorders and altered states of consciousness.
  • Define and compare the primary types of learning and conditioning.
  • Create a dream diary and use it to perform a Freudian dream analysis.
  • Identify types of intelligence and means of measuring intelligence.
  • Define the three main types of memory and the stages of language learning, and associate these with types of intelligence.
  • Identify methods of assessing personality types and define Freud's personality structure and defense mechanism theory.
  • Identify major anxiety, mood, and personality disorders and associated treatments.

Course Registration

Interested in this course? Scheduled enrollment options are available. Ask Admissions about taking this course as part of a degree program.

Course LevelClasses startRegistration FeeTuition
Degree course
3-credit course, 15 week
Jan, Apr, Aug$200$510/credit
* Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for updates to course or program content.

Software and Supplies

To take this course you'll need:

  • Computer with Internet connection.
  • MS Word or equivalent program.

Who’s Teaching

Course developed by Janelle Simmons

Getting Started

Enrolling online is easy and convenient.

Chat with our knowledgeable admissions staff to select course and program options.

Complete your registration entirely online.

Related Programs

Did you know? You can take this course as part of an award-winning certificate or degree program.