Centre for Continuing Education

Psychology Course: An Introduction

Psychology. Explore the human mind.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses both online and in-person. Please check the delivery format for each class before you enrol.

Please note that course materials for all classes (excluding prescribed textbooks) are shared electronically within 48 hours of a course starting. Printing is not available.

Would you like to understand why and how people think, feel and behave the way they do? In this course, we will explain the nature of psychology as a scientific discipline and how it can answer this question, so that psychological knowledge can be applied to everyday life. Topics covered will include the history of psychology, personality theories, learning, child development and intelligence, psychobiology, abnormal psychology and social psychology.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • describe the major trends in psychology
  • define the key issues in psychology
  • evaluate human behaviour from different theoretical perspectives
  • apply psychological concepts to everyday life and the workplace.



We will commence with an overview of content, look at the history of psychology so that we can consider the question: what is psychology?

Personality I

We will look at the question – what is personality? – with special reference to the foundational theories of Sigmund Freud and the psychoanalytic school’s views about the structure (id, ego and superego) and development of the psyche through the oral, anal-sadistic and phallic stages.

Personality II

Other theories of personality and the impact of personality differences on relationships will be assessed by covering Jung’s typology and his archetypal perspective, Rogers' humanist reaction to psychoanalysis, Behaviourism and trait theories of personality including the Five Factor model of personality.

Learning theory

How do humans learn? We will look at the foundational research by Pavlov on classical conditioning, Skinner on instrumental conditioning and consider the everyday applications of learning theory to child rearing, advertising and the explanation of addictions.

Child development

We will consider how early foetal and infant experience affects later child development by examining attachment theory research derived from Harlow’s early work with monkeys, by considering temperament studies and Piaget’s views on how cognition (thinking) develops in children.


What is intelligence and how can we measure it? We will consider these questions by looking at the foundational research by Binet, by examining the strengths and weaknesses of intelligence tests and by considering the nature (heredity) versus nurture (environment) debate within psychology.


What is the connection between our brain, our feelings and our behaviour? We will approach this question by looking at the anatomy and physiology of the human central nervous system and how these underpin psychology. Discoveries through contemporary scanning technology will also be considered.

Abnormal psychology I

What is mental illness? We will look at this question by reviewing the history of mental disorders as understood by the French dissociationists, Freud’s early discoveries and the behaviourists' contributions. The main clinical disorders will be discussed beginning with Anxiety Disorders and Mood Disorders (Depression and Bipolar Disorder).

Abnormal psychology II

We will continue our examination of the main clinical disorders by looking at Schizophrenia, Eating Disorders and Personality Disorders.

Social psychology

In our final week we will look at some ways humans behave when around others by considering the early studies on social influence (conformity and obedience), group dynamics including Groupthink, leadership research and prosocial behaviour.

Intended audience

Suitable for anyone interested in understanding why and how people think, feel and behave the way they do, so that such psychological knowledge can be applied to everyday life in terms of personal understanding and personal relationships. It is also suitable as an introduction to other CCE courses in psychology.

Delivery style

Delivered as an interactive lecture with open and structured discussion, including DVD’s with summaries.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

What others say.

  • This course has an excellent facilitator and the course content was great. A wonderful experience!

  • A great introductory course for anyone interested in psychology. I enjoyed how it covered all the main areas of psychology, and how the tutor gave examples on the studies and experiments, as well as many suggestions for further reading on each topic.

  • An excellent teacher. Every lecture was the same excellent standard so the tutor obviously loves this subject area. Every question that was asked by the students was considered with the same respect and responded sincerely and generously.

  • An excellent tutor, very knowledgeable with an ability to keep us interested – the lessons flew by all too quickly.

  • The course was fantastic. It’s given me a great insight into psychology, which is exactly what I was after.

  • An excellent teacher and course convenor, whose enthusiasm and passion for psychology is infectious. Great course.

What others say.

  • The tutor is excellent and very engaging. They answered questions well and provided excellent course material. I will be looking for more of their classes to enrol in. Very worthwhile.
  • An excellent tutor, very knowledgeable with an ability to keep us interested - the lessons flew by all too quickly.
  • The course was fantastic. It's given me a great insight into psychology, which is exactly what I was after.
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