List of Free Online Psychology Courses, Classes and Learning Materials
See our list of top free online psychology courses. Learn about what courses are available, what topics they cover and whether you can use them to get college credit.
Online Psychology Courses for Credit
Students can find a number of free online psychology courses that don't require registration or tuition, but these courses don't result in college credit. Students interested in earning alternative forms of credit for the courses they complete online might want to look for online sources that charge a fee in exchange for access to course materials.
Education Portal has this type of distance learning program via its quick and informative video lessons with corresponding self-assessment quizzes. There are also free transcripts available for the video lessons. Both of these resources can prepare students to earn college credit. Students interested in studying psychology can find two courses available through Education Portal: Psychology 101: Intro to Psychology and Psychology 102: Educational Psychology. Some chapters in the Psychology 101 course include:
- Biological Bases of Behavior - This chapter examines the biological factors that can affect behavior and includes videos on neurons, the nervous system, neuroplasticity and the endocrine system.
- States of Consciousness - Topics covered include the sleep cycle, hypnosis, psychoactive drugs and theories about dreams.
- Social Psychology - Some of the subjects covered in this chapter include stereotypes, attitudes, persuasion, conformity, group behavior and altruism.
Psychology 102: Educational Psychology features some of the following chapters:
- Cognitive Perspectives in Psychology - Learn about categorizing memory, short-term memory, mnemonic devices, information transfer types and cognitive thinking.
- Developmental Psychology in Children and Adolescents - Topics covered here include Piaget's theory, assimilation, identity formation, linguistics and gender differences in the classroom.
- Motivation in Learning - This chapter covers how motivation affects learning, social-cognitive learning theory, attribution theory, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and more.
Free Online Non-Credited Psychology Courses
Teachers and independent learners can access these course materials without registration; however, their use isn't accompanied by interaction with professors or the ability to earn credit.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MIT offers learning materials that provide an overview of the field and explore some of its subdivisions. Evolutionary Psychology is a graduate-level course that traces the development of mental activities like reasoning and using language as well as the expression of emotions. Lecture notes from the course aren't included; course materials consist of reading and assignment lists. The undergraduate survey course Introduction to Psychology exposes students to a wide variety of perspectives within the field, including cognitive, biological and psychoanalytical. Learners can listen to 23 audio lectures; additional course materials provide a reading list and define writing assignments.
In Psychology of Gender, students apply theories and research to question commonly held ideas about gender differences, examining topics like political influences and the social construction of gender. Lecture notes aren't available, but learners have access to a lengthy reading list and links to resources for further study. In the undergraduate-level Social Psychology course, learners have access to detailed class notes as well as reading and assignment lists. Lecture notes are in PDF format and explore topics like the social construction of reality, conformity, propaganda and discrimination.
University of California at Berkeley
- Clinical Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Psychology of Dreams
- Research and Data Analysis in Psychology
- Social Cognition
The Department of Psychology at Berkeley makes many of its courses, from introductory survey to specialized topics, available as audio and/or video podcasts through its page of webcasts and through iTunes University. Syllabi, reading lists and assignments aren't provided. Clinical Psychology, in 22 audio podcasts, investigates theories and scientific research related to psychological disorders in addition to evaluating different therapeutic approaches. In Cognitive Neuroscience, 25 audio podcasts explore the biological basis of cognition through the use of techniques like electroencephalography (EEG) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
The 25 audio podcast lectures in The Psychology of Dreams explore cultural and historical perspectives, Freudian theory, Jungian theory, dreams as art and lucid dreaming. Video and audio podcast topics for Research and Data Analysis in Psychology include T-tests, effect size, regression and chi-square tests. Lectures for Social Cognition, also available through video and audio podcasts, examine social perception, social memory and social judgment, among other topics.
University of Cape Town
Psychology and Religion in the Search for Personal Wholeness examines the work of Carl Jung, Erich Fromm, M. Scott Peck and William James. Course materials include PowerPoint lecture slides and a list of recommended readings.
University of Notre Dame
Introduction to Social Psychology explores a variety of social relationships, structures and behaviors, looking at both how social participation influences individuals and how individuals affect social groups. Lecture topics explore socialization and self-concept in the context of work, family and school environments. Course materials consist of written lecture notes, some of which include links to articles.
The lectures in Introduction to Psychology are available in several formats, as low- or high-bandwidth video, audio and transcript. Students have access to a syllabus with a textbook list. Some topics in this comprehensive exploration of behavior include love, memory, art and dreams. Separate lectures are devoted to the work of Sigmund Freud and B.F. Skinner.