Online Psychology Courses Find the best open online classes for learning psychology

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Richard
Richard Singer Richard Singer is an award-winning author…Read full bio

Psychology is seen in every part of our lives—from how we communicate with others to how we handle our romantic relationships and everything in between. Individuals interested in learning more about psychological theories can enroll in online psychology courses to further their knowledge and earn professional certificates. This guide explores the online psychology classes available to individuals who don’t necessarily want to pursue a psychology degree but still want to learn more about the field.

Search for Online Psychology Courses

The choices of online psychology courses are as diverse as the field itself. However, with so many options, prospective students may have difficulty narrowing the focus of their online psychology courses. The search tool below allows users to sort online psychology classes by criteria that matters most to them—like cost, start date or course length.

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Types of Online Psychology Classes

Psychology is a field that appeals to a wide variety of individuals. Some students are interested in expanding their current knowledge, while others are interested in learning more to decide whether to pursue a career in psychology. The table below describes some of the students best suited to online psychology courses and what they gain from the experience.

Certificate For-credit Informational
What is this type of course?
Certificates can be earned by those who complete one psychology course online or a series of courses. These classes generally cannot be completed for college credits, but do award professional certificates to students who pass. Colleges and universities offer online psychology classes that can be completed for credit. Most students are earning their psychology degree. Informational psychology courses allow students to explore their interests and learn new skills independently. Classes may be scheduled or self-paced. Some courses are offered for free.
Who takes this type of course?
Usually professional psychologists who are trying to remain current with industry trends. Students may take for-credit psychology courses in order to meet the requirements of a degree program. Also, some students take psychology classes as electives. Those who want to learn the basics of psychology and apply concepts to their own lives.

10 Must-Take Online Psychology Courses

How does memory work? Why is my dog behaving this way? What causes mental disorders? How do you know when someone is lying? Online psychology courses answer these types of questions and many more. The following is a list of top ten online psychology courses covering a wide array of topics in the field for beginners and professionals alike.

Foundations of Psychology
  • Offered by: RMIT University
  • Price: Free
  • Length: 4 weeks
  • Format: Videos, quizzes, and assessments
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

This course explores how psychologists understand human behavior from different theoretical frameworks, as well as diagnose and treat psychological disorders. Students learn about the different perspectives of psychology, how mental disorders are classified and how psychologists make decisions about treatment.

Understanding Memory: Explaining the Psychology of Memory through Movies
  • Offered by: Wesleyan University via Coursera
  • Price: Free to audit, $49 for course certificate
  • Length: 5 weeks
  • Format: Videos, readings, and quizzes
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

From passing memories to long-term recollections, this class provides a scientific look at how memory works, including how memories are formed, stored and recalled in the brain. In addition, the course also discusses impairments to memory and the ways memory changes as people age.

Psychology at Work
  • Offered by: University of Western Australia via Coursera
  • Price: Free to audit, $49 for course certificate
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Format: Videos, readings, and quizzes
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

Students learn how to look at people’s workplace behavior from a psychological perspective. The course covers topics such as working in teams, employee motivation, conflict and how personality impacts work performance. In addition, students also study topics related to leadership, such as what leadership styles are the most effective.

The Psychology of Criminal Justice
  • Offered by: University of Queensland via edX
  • Price: Free to audit, $99 for course certificate
  • Length: 8 weeks
  • Format: Videos
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

Students in this self-paced course have the opportunity to explore the relationship between psychology and the criminal justice system by analyzing a fictional case. The class covers myths about the justice system and how the justice system can be improved.

Positive Psychology
  • Offered by: The University of North Carolina via Coursera
  • Price: Free to audit, $49 for course certificate
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Format: Videos, assignments, and final exam
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

This course explores positive psychology methods and tips for improving quality of life in yourself and others around you. The goal of the course is to focus on the positive aspects of psychology rather than the negative.

Counseling Psychology 101
  • Offered by: Universal Class
  • Price: $50 to audit, $75 for course certificate
  • Length: 14 hours
  • Format: Lessons, assignments, and exams
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

This class gives an overview of the counseling profession to those interested in pursuing a career in the field and also serves as a refresher course for professionals who want to sharpen their skills. Students learn about the daily responsibilities of a counselor, including how to treat patients and maintain records.

Understand The Psychology of Violence and Aggression
  • Offered by: Udemy
  • Price: $20
  • Length: 1 hour
  • Format: Videos and quizzes
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

This course explores the psychological component of aggression and violence, including the reasons that anger can escalate to these levels. While working at their own pace, students delve into theories about the evolution of human aggression, gender influences on violence and whether aggression is caused by biology or social influence.

Forensic Psychology: Witness Investigation
  • Offered by: The Open University
  • Price: Free
  • Length: 8 weeks
  • Format: Videos
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

This class explores the nature of eyewitness testimony and how it can contribute to injustices in certain criminal cases. Students learn how police elicit statements from witnesses by watching videos of a police investigation.

Developmental Theories in Psychology
  • Offered by: Udemy
  • Price: $20
  • Length: 30 minutes
  • Format: Videos and quizzes
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

Students learn two important frameworks in the study of psychological human development: Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytical and Psychosexual Development theory and Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Developmental theory. Through these theories, the course provides an understanding of the psychological milestones that people meet from pediatrics to geriatrics.

Child Psychology 101
  • Offered by: Universal Class
  • Price: $50 to audit, $75 for course certificate
  • Length: 7 hours
  • Format: Lessons, assignments, and exams
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

Those who are interested in exploring a career in child psychology can get a foundation through this course. Students learn the biological, social, environmental and psychological factors that affect childhood development, as well as techniques for diagnosing and treating those with developmental issues.

Main Benefits to Taking Psychology Courses Online

The depth and breadth of the psychology field gives students a lot of areas to study and a lot of ways to incorporate psychology principles into their day-to-day lives. The following are some of the key reasons why people take online psychology classes.

1 Stay up-to-date with new research

For students, teachers, counselors, and other professionals working in psychology or related fields like social work or rehabilitation, keeping up with the latest theories and findings is a must. Online courses can be an accessible way to learn about advances in the field without going back to school.

2 Improve work performance with concepts from psychology

Enrollees in online psychology courses can take their newly learned skills into the workplace. Psychology courses with an emphasis on improving oneself can help to teach effective communication skills, conflict management solutions, ideas for boosting productivity, and tips for managing stress.

3 Gain new parenting skills with a psychology prospective

Online psychology classes can provide a grasp of human development, which can help parents better understand their children’s behavior. Parents can learn about the best forms of discipline for a specific age group, strategies for building a connection with their children and appropriate forms of play.

Top Apps & Podcasts for Learning Psychology

Apps

Students who want to learn more about psychology outside of their courses can find an app for that. In fact, there are several apps that can put the latest psychology information at their fingertips.

PsychGuide

Free
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PsychGuide

This app includes information for people studying psychology for the first time. Has audio clips of prominent psychologists like B. F. Skinner and Sigmund Freud.

PsycExplorer

$3.99
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PsycExplorer

This app is designed for psychology professionals and students, as well as those generally interested in the field. Includes information on the latest psychology research, blogs, podcasts and interviews with leading psychologists.

Personality Types

$2.99
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Personality Types

This app provides in-depth information for people who want to understand their own personality and the personalities of those around them.

3D Brain

Free
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3D Brain

3D Brain is an interactive app that explains how each region of the brain works and what happens when someone suffers from damage to the brain. Includes the latest research and case studies.

Live Happy

Free
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Live Happy

This app features interviews from thought leaders in the positive psychology field. Tune in for advice to build a happier life proven through science.

Podcasts

Podcasts can open up listeners to a whole new world of different perspectives on psychology, which can further contribute to their knowledge and understanding of the mind. Psychology podcasts offer an insider look at the psychology field, as many are hosted by psychology experts with diverse backgrounds.

This podcast from National Public Radio (NPR) focuses on the subconscious and its relationship to human behavior.

Features interviews with professionals in the field on a wide range of psychology topics.

Invisibilia Lulu Miller, Alix Spiegel Recent Episode to Try: The Personality Myth

This podcast discusses the ideas, emotions, beliefs and assumptions that contribute to human behavior.

All in The Mind Lynne Malcolm Recent Episode to Try: Voices and Mental Illness

Includes information about the relationship between the brain and behavior.

NeuroPod Nature Publishing Group Recent Episode to Try: NeuroPod: December 2015

Focuses on neuroscience, including the mysterious nature of the mind.

Expert Tips for Taking Online Psychology Courses

What can students expect to learn in an online psychology course?
Richard Singer

Online psychology classes that I’ve taught and developed go into great depth about the history of psychological science from before Sigmund Freud up to current technological advancements in neuroscience. In addition, several interesting personality theories are discussed including Freud’s psychosexual stages, Erik Erikson’s psychosocial stages, humanistic theories, and others. Students learn a great deal about their own personality development when discussing these topics. An introduction to many other exciting topics are perused including consciousness, sensation and perception, health and well-being, learning theories, memory, intelligence, and other specialty areas of psychology, such as social psychology and evolutionary psychology. I believe students come out of the class knowing much more about themselves due to online classes being much more writing intensive and thought provoking.

How can students who are not psychology majors benefit from taking these courses?
Richard Singer

Principles of psychology and knowing oneself better provide a foundation for any career one chooses or for any field they choose to major in. It’s impossible to live each day without needing psychology. Anything you do in life, including any career you choose, psychology is the basis of it. Studying psychology and actually learning about yourself and others will make you much more effective in school, work and life in general. In addition, the health benefits for your mind, body, and soul are infinite. For example, learning about stress and how to deal with it effectively will certainly put you above those who allow stress to control their lives.

What skills can students gain from studying psychology online?
Richard Singer

They can certainly learn effective study habits, scientific principles involved in research, critical thinking skills, basic life skills, communication skills, and much more. If students apply themselves and become inquisitive, they will find their online psychology course to be life changing and an incredible foundation to start their college career and their lives in general.

How can students apply psychology course material to their daily lives?
Richard Singer

Psychology can help you to gain so many life skills. Online courses allow you to really dive into the material of the course and discuss the concepts in depth with other online students involved in the course. The students can really learn so much about the mind-body connection and our ability to prevent diseases by combating stress, as well as using more positive thinking in our lives. They can also learn warning signs of mental illness and things like substance abuse.