Topics in Psychology

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PSY 290

       Course Name: Topics in Psychology

       Credits: 1-4 (0-4 lecture; 0-4 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

May vary by topic

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course surveys major issues relating to field of psychology. Topics selected from subspecialties: biological bases of behavior; sensation and perception; emotion, consciousness, learning, memory, developmental psychology, personality, psychological disorders, therapeutic methods, and social interaction. Focus and/or scope differ from other psychology courses currently offered. Can be repeated on different topics up to three times for up to nine credits. Prerequisite may vary by topic.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Students will identify, compare, and contrast major concepts and constructs relating to the specific topics selected for study.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

One major topic or several minor topics relating to an overall theme will be selected for study.

Examples of possible topics and themes are as follows:

  • Topic examples
    • Uncommon Therapies: An in-depth study of ten to twelve therapeutic approaches which are outside the more traditional approaches of psychoanalysis, behavioral and client-centered therapy.
    • The Origins of Madness: An historical review of human psychological disorder from prehistoric times to the present.
    • Achievement Motivation: A review of McClelland's research and how it relates to other theories.
    • Environmental Factors Affecting Memory: An examination of the physiological, social, emotional, and political factors which reduce or enhance our abilities to remember.
  • Theme examples
    • The Psychology of Athletic Performance: How do psychological factors -- central nervous system, sensation and perception, learning, motivation, personality, and human development -- relate to an athlete's ability to perform?
    • Dreams and Their Meanings: An analysis of theories relating to the origins, functions, and meanings of dreams considering physiological, perceptual, emotional, and developmental factors along with personality attributes.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Instructional methods vary with the instructor and may involve any of the following:  lectures, discussions, readings, papers, audio-visual resources, group projects, simulation games, guest speakers, case studies, exercises, group interaction, role-playing.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

This course relies on the student's ability to read and understand college-level text material.  Students will be required to write for the class the equivalent of 12-15 typed pages of material that will be graded.  This writing may take the form of a research or term paper, summaries of journal articles, and/or a series of shorter, analytical papers.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

The typical materials for a social science course (textbooks, library materials, movies, sound/slide programs, media based course materials) will be used.  Materials will be assigned according to the specific topic requirements.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Exams (objective, short answer, essay), analyses of books, research papers, group work, and student presentations are likely strategies to be used in evaluating student learning.

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Attendance
  2. Class policy on make-up exams, late assignments, etc.
  3. Important dates

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.