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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Psychology and Sociology
Course Prefix and Number: PSYC 381
Course Title: History and Systems of Psychology
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Overview of historical antecedents and major theoretical and historical systems within psychology. Students majoring in Psychology must earn a grade of C or higher. Prerequisites: PSYC 101 and sophomore standing.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): PSYC 101 and sophomore standing.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered Spring.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

An Introduction to the History of Psychology
By Hergenhahn, B. R. (Brooks/Cole)
History and Systems of Psychology
By Brennan, J. F. (Prentice-Hall)
A History of Psychology
By Leahey, T. H. (Prentice-Hall)
Course Objectives

• To describe the key contributions of individuals in the history of psychology (e.g. Aristotle). • To describe how historical trends and events have impacted on the development of psychology (e.g. Renaissance). • To demonstrate how past, current and future influences of history impact psychology (i.e. circular nature of history). • To describe the major schools of psychology (e.g. Behaviorism). • To explain major themes which have influenced psychology throughout its history (e.g. nature/nurture). • To produce a paper(s) in APA format and style.

Measurable Learning

• Describe major themes which have impacted psychology, including science/non-science, free-will/determination, nature/nurture, and monism/dualism. • Describe philosophies of science (e.g., Popper, Kuhn). • Describe each of the following contributions to psychology by identifying major individuals and their ideas: - Ancient Greeks - Middle Ages - The Renaissance - Empiricism, Sensationalism, and Positivism - Rationalism - Romanticism and Existentialism - Early Experimental psychology - Structuralism - Darwin - Functionalism - Behaviorism - Neobehaviorism - Gestalt psychology - Psychodynamic psychology - Third Force psychology - Cognitive psychology - Biological psychology • Describe and explain the history of the treatment, attitudes, explanations and diagnosing of those with mental disorders. • Critically evaluate contemporary psychology and its potential future. • Produce a paper in APA format and style that demonstrates a synthesis and critical analysis of a topic/person in the history of psychology.

Topical Outline:
  • Psychology as a science
  • Greek philosophers
  • Psychology in the Renaissance
  • Empiricism, sensationalism, and positivism
  • Rationalism
  • Romanticism and existentialism
  • Early experimental psychology
  • Structuralism
  • Darwin's impact on psychology
  • Functionalism
  • Behaviorism
  • Neobehaviorism
  • Gestalt psychology
  • History of the treatment, attitudes, and diagnosing of mental disorders
  • Psychoanalytic psychology
  • Humanistic psychology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Neuroscience
  • Contemporary psychology
  • The future of psychology
    Culminating Experience Statement:

    Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
    During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Graham Higgs Date: January 14, 2013
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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