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Online Psychology Certificate Curriculum

Our Online Psychology Certificate Curriculum focuses on important psychological concepts. But it’s also designed to be practical, career-relevant, and instantly applicable to real-world settings. Choosing specialized electives that fit your strengths, interests, and goals, you will be able to build a program that works best for you.

Required courses

S01 - Introduction to Psychology I  

This course explores introductory concepts in psychology. This course helps students to think like psychologists and understand why scientific and critical thinking is so important to the decisions they make in their own lives. This course provides an overview of psychology that emphasizes critical thinking, gender, and culture.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Define the science of psychology.
  • Explain the purpose of conducting research within psychology and identify key concepts of ethical research in psychology.
  • Explain how genes, chromosomes, DNA, and genomes all relate to one another and their importance to psychology.
  • Identify and describe the major structures of the central nervous system and their primary functions.
  • Define circadian rhythms and explain how the body's "biological clock" works and what happens when it doesn't.
  • Distinguish between the basic processes of sensation and perception, explain how the doctrine of specific nerve energies applies to perception, and discuss how synesthesia contributes to our understanding of sensory modalities.
  • Describe the basic principles of classical conditioning, including the extinction and recovery of a classically conditioned response, how higher-order conditioning takes place, and the process of stimulus generalization and discrimination.
  • Compare social norms and social roles, and note how each contributes to the social rules that govern a culture.

Credit Hours: 3

S02 - Introduction to Psychology II  

This course builds on what you've learned in Introduction to Psychology I (S01). That foundation included topics such as defining psychology, exploring the brain and nervous system, becoming familiar with sensation and perception, learning and conditioning, and the ways by which behavior is shaped by social and cultural influences. In this course, Introduction to Psychology II (S02), we'll press onward to gain insights into an array of topics that include thinking and intelligence, memory, motivation, theories of personality, emotions and stress management, development over the lifespan, an overview of psychological disorders and, finally, an exploration of treatments and therapies for addressing the various kinds of psychological disorders.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Explain the rational and irrational processes involved in thinking and describe approaches to the measurement of intelligence.
  • Discuss and explain the nature of memory, including the ways we reconstruct the past, the three-box model, and techniques for enhancing memory.
  • Describe the nature of emotions and the various influences of emotion on our health and well-being, including guidelines for managing stress.
  • Discuss and explain variables related to motivation, including weight management, love vs. infatuation, the biological root of sexuality, the cultural influences of gender bias, and our drive to achieve personal goals.
  • Outline and discuss human development over the lifespan, including infancy, early childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age, and an understanding of the stages of cognitive and moral development.
  • Discuss and explain theories of personality, including psychodynamic models originating with the work of Sigmund Freud and modern personality theories based on identifying personality traits, while appraising genetic, peer, family, and cultural influences on personality development.
  • Outline and discuss the various forms of mental disorders.
  • Outline and discuss the various approaches to treating or alleviating the different kinds of mental disorders.

Credit Hours: 3

Course electives

S03 - Human Growth and Development I  

This course provides an exciting and comprehensive overview on human development. It highlights lifespan development and its fascinating theories and applications. This course enriches the student's understanding of lifespan development and demonstrates how this can be applied to the student's own life. Finally, this course highlights how the student can develop a sense of awareness of the similarities of growth and developmental changes everyone shares.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Summarize the relationship of lifespan development, heredity, and genetic influences along with their prenatal impact.
  • Describe the labor and birth processes, potential birth complications, and the competent newborn.
  • Explain the infant's growth and development in relation to motor, sensory, cognitive, information processing, and language development.
  • Discuss the infant's cognitive growth as it relates to information processing and language development.
  • Compare the evolution of the infant's social and personality formation and a child's physical and intellectual changes in beginning childhood.
  • Describe the intricacies of a preschooler's psychosocial, social, and moral development.
  • List the physical, intellectual, and educational developments of a child in middle school.
  • Explain the adolescent's physical and cognitive development and potential threats to this population.

Credit Hours: 3

S04 - Human Growth and Development II  

This course offers fascinating insight into human growth and development from middle childhood to late adulthood. Students will build on the knowledge they attained in the first part of this course, which looked at lifespan from infancy to middle childhood. New discoveries that continue to draw scientific and personal attention about the ongoing nature-nurture debate and its impact on human development will be discussed. Students will also delve into the interesting topic of the human condition and reflect on how their own lives will evolve.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Compare social and personality development of middle childhood with early adulthood.
  • Describe relationships in the life of the adolescent.
  • Explain the intellectual and physical development of adults and how experiences impact this group.
  • Summarize the various changes that occur during middle adulthood.
  • Discuss social, personality, and balance changes that affect middle adulthood.
  • State the physical, cognitive, and health changes in late adulthood.
  • Explain the intrinsic and extrinsic variables that affect late adulthood.
  • Describe the effects of death and dying, along with grief and bereavement, on late adulthood.

Credit Hours: 3

S05 - Social Problems  

This course invites you to look at problems of poverty, urban sprawl, and white-collar crime, among others, as determined and resolved at a societal level. The course places an emphasis on sexual variance, alcohol and drugs, crime and delinquency, violence, poverty, family problems, physical and mental illness, war, population, aging, urban problems, and environmental destruction.
Credit Hours: 3

S06 - Social Psychology 

In this course, students are introduced to concepts related to the behavior of individuals as members of the larger society as expressed in varying beliefs, norms, attitudes and attitude changes, along with basic ideas and concepts related to group influence and persuasion. Proceeding from this basic foundation, students will explore the nature of group dynamics, cultural influences, conformity, attraction and intimacy, aggression and its sources, prejudice and its effects and sources, as well as the opposition of altruism and conflict in social life.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Describe the field of social psychology, including the methods that social psychologists typically use in research.
  • Explain how the self-concept is developed across time.
  • Discuss human behavior in terms of social cognition, social perception, and attitudes.
  • Describe how social roles affect conformity and compliance.
  • Illustrate how other individuals and groups influence an individual's behavior.
  • Express how stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, and aggression are formed, and how they influence human behavior.
  • Describe the factors that influence attraction and the nature of relationships.
  • Discuss the concept of prosocial behavior.

Credit Hours: 3

S07 - Abnormal Psychology  

Completing this course will not turn you into a trained clinician, nor will you suddenly become a trained researcher puzzling over statistical or experimental data. Nevertheless, you'll have a pretty good understanding of the role of clinicians as they assess, diagnose, and attempt to treat a wide variety of psychological disorders. You'll also have some understanding of how researchers conduct scientific studies to try to shed light on the mysteries of the human mind.

Among many other topics, you'll become familiar with the distinctions between normal and abnormal behavior. From that starting point, you'll be able to outline the history of the discipline from the ancient philosophers to today's cutting-edge diagnostic tools that scan the brain. You'll be able to discuss specific anxiety disorders, including PTSD; describe obsessive-compulsive disorders; and explain somatic dissociative disorders. You will also be able to describe bipolar and depressive disorders, and feeding and eating disorders. Moving on, you'll be able to define and explain gender dysphoria, sexual dysfunctions, paraphilic disorders, and substance-related and addictive disorders. Near the end of this course, you'll be able to explain the schizophrenia spectrum and its relationship to other psychotic disorders. Whew! Just for fun, scan what you've just read. Count the number of terms you can't define. Are you feeling challenged? Good. Just keep in mind that you can meet these challenges. And you may even gain some insights into the twists and turns of your own mysterious mind.

Bon voyage!

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Describe differences between normal and abnormal behavior, the history of treatments, research methods, and various perspectives.
  • Discuss the goals of assessing, diagnosing, and treating abnormal psychological disorders.
  • Describe the nature and symptoms of impulse control disorders, somatic disorders, and dissociative disorders.
  • Discuss bipolar disorders, depressive disorders, eating disorders, and the epidemiological factors that may affect them.
  • Discuss the characteristics of and treatments for sexual dysfunctions and substance-related disorders.
  • Describe psychotic disorders and personality disorder clusters and the etiological factors related to them.
  • Describe the etiology of intellectual deficiency, learning disorders, and disorders related to aging.
  • Explain the relationship between law, ethics, and treatment issues in abnormal psychology.

Credit Hours: 3

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Psychology as a career asset

Psychology is a broad professional skill that can be applied in almost any workplace or career path. If you see this certificate as a way to stand out from the competition in your field, we’re right behind you—and so are our exclusive Career Tools. As an Ashworth College student, you’ll have access to personalized career guidance and specialized classes in interview techniques, resume writing skills, and more. With The Ashworth College Central Network, you’ll also have the opportunity to build your personal brand and enhance your job search using the latest digital platforms.

Thinking ahead to career growth

The Undergraduate Certificate in Psychology is more than just a semester toward the next degree level, it's your launch pad for career growth. Make every lesson count by taking advantage of the career services provided by the Ashworth College Central Network. From the moment you enroll, you gain access to a complete toolkit of resume and letter templates so you can pitch your new job skills before your coursework is done. After you graduate, feel free to revisit your account any time. Learn more on the Career Services page.

Advance your career in our online API Program Name program. Call 1-800-957-5412