5 Classes Most Psychology Students Take

  • Statistics
  • Experimental Psychology
  • History of Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology

Common courses in a psychology degree program will give students a good overview of the field. Students may wait until they are in graduate school to pick a specific area of concentration, but a broad range of classes as an undergraduate helps them understand the scope of psychology as a discipline.

Related resource: Top 10 Online Colleges for Psychology

1. Statistics

Statistics is generally required for graduate students and may be required for undergraduates, but it is one of the common courses in a psychology degree program even for students who do not plan to go on to graduate study. Statistics teaches students to understand how experiments are designed and results are analyzed. Examples of topics that would be covered in a statistics course include how to account for sampling errors, how to determine probabilities and how to look at correlation and regression.

2. Experimental Psychology

In tandem with statistics, students should also get some background in experimental psychology. This course might have a name like research and design instead of experimental psychology, but the overall aim is to teach students how to research and design experiments, assign participants at random, develop a hypothesis and manipulate and measure variables. Students might also learn about other types of research, such as case studies and correlational research. One component of the class will probably involve students designing experiments themselves.

3. History of Psychology

Classes in the history of psychology are common in a psychology degree program and examine the origins of the field, which reach back thousands of years and began as part of philosophy. Students will also learn about the major figures in psychology’s history and how past concerns and events have shaped the present. Psychology became a separate discipline in the 1800s. As an article in VeryWell Mind explains, understanding the history of psychology is key to understanding contemporary concerns and how theories and treatment have developed over time.

4. Developmental Psychology

Developmental psychology is the branch of psychology that looks at how people grow throughout their lives. Some developmental psychologists focus specifically on child development, but the field as a whole looks at the entire span of human life. It encompasses social, emotional and cognitive development and also looks at the influence of the environment, including friends, family, and other influences. According to the American Psychological Association, people who specialize in developmental psychology may go on to work with individuals who have developmental disabilities or to focus on people at a particular stage of development, such as the elderly.

5. Abnormal Psychology

Another common course in a psychology degree program is abnormal psychology, the study of mental illness. Its scope includes conditions ranging from anxiety and depression to schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis. In addition to studying mood and personality disorders, neurocognitive disorders and other types of abnormal psychology, people in abnormal psychology courses will also learn about causes as well and diagnosis as well as various approaches to treatment. The course would also cover different approaches to treatment, including cognitive, medical, psychoanalytic and behavioral.

It is important for students to get exposure to many different facets of psychology, from understanding how to work with data and research to know the field’s history and about specific branches of study. These common courses in a psychology degree program are among those that will provide them with a solid grounding in the discipline.