Psychology: An Introduction (Online)

Course summary

Psychology: An Introduction (Online)


This course introduces the science of Psychology, exploring the richness of human functions, uncovering the brain’s secrets, revealing its complexities. Studies from the biological, psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioural and social approaches are presented. This course is appropriate for gaining understanding of Psychology and in preparation for more specialised courses.

Listen to Dr Anna Scarna talking about the course:

Psychology is the study of human behaviour. It takes the form of a number of different approaches, including biological, psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioural and social theories. In this course students are introduced to key research studies in each of these areas, and find out the answers to questions such as: What does the brain look like? How does it work? How do we think? How do we learn languages? How do we remember, and why do we forget? Why do we like to eat, drink, sleep and have sex? Why do we conform and whom do we obey? Why do we disobey? Why and how do we fall in love? How do relationships break up? This course explores the richness of human functions and uncovers the secrets behind the brain, revealing its complexities and answering questions about how and why we behave (and misbehave!). The course reveals how psychologists study human behaviour in laboratory conditions and explains some of the difficulties encountered in doing so. The course is designed for those wishing to acquire an understanding of Psychology as a science, and the contributions of psychologists in the understanding of human behaviour.


For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.

Programme details

  1. A history of psychology
  2. This is your brain
  3. The development of thought and language
  4. How memories are formed
  5. Behaving ourselves: Reward and punishment
  6. The development and measurement of personality
  7. Why do we conform and whom do we obey?
  8. Eating, drinking, sleeping and sex: Theories of motivation
  9. Why do fools fall in love? Theories of attraction and relationship formation
  10. When it all breaks down: Brain damage, tumours and strokes

We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.

Recommended reading

To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following text:

Nolen-Hoeksema S., Fredrickson B., Loftus G.R., Wagenaar W., Atkinson & Hilgard's Introduction to Psychology,(Cengage, Andover, 2009).

The 16th or 15th editions are preferred. However, if you only have access to the 14th edition from 2003 (written by Smith, Nolen-Hoeksema, Fridrickson and Loftus) you may use this and the corresponding chapters.


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £10 fee.

For more information on CATS point please click on the link below:

Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.

All students who successfully complete this course, whether registered for credit or not, are eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Completion consists of submitting both course assignments and actively participating in the course forums. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.


EU Fee: £255.00
Non-EU Fee: £295.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00


Dr Anna Scarnà


Dr Anna Scarnà has worked as a university lecturer for several years and is interested in attention, memory, and language function in depression, bipolar disorder, and other psychological disorders.

Course aims

This course aims to introduce students to an understanding of five approaches in psychology: biological, psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioural and social psychology.

Teaching methods

  • Guided reading of texts
  • Group discussions of particular issues
  • Online participation in mock experiments
  • Discussions of experimental and ethical issues
  • Students will be directed to websites relevant to each session (occasionally as a requirement, usually as optional additional reading)

Teaching outcomes

By the end of the course you will be able understand:

  • Aspects of psychology from multiple theoretical perspectives with reference to their history
  • The major theories of psychology and what psychologists do
  • How psychologists conduct experiments
  • Why some psychologists (e.g. Skinner, Freud, Milgram) used certain methods
  • The tools used for appropriate evaluation of the science behind the main topics in Psychology

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.

Level and demands

FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.