Psychology Syllabus

Course Description: This is a general psychology class especially designed to allow students to explore the various aspects of the world of psychology. The class explores the field of psychology by engaging students in a series of class discussions and thought-provoking activities.  Psychology is a study of the history of psychological inquiry, methods of scientific research, biological basis of behavior, human development and individual differences, states of consciousness in learning and memory, psychological disorders and treatments, and terminology and theories.

Course Objectives:  After instruction and activities throughout this course students will understand and apply:

  1. contemporary perspectives used by psychologists to understand behavior and mental processes in context

  2. major subfields and career opportunities that comprise psychology

  3. research strategies used by psychologists to explore behavior and mental processes

  4. purpose and basic concepts of statistics

  5. ethical issues in research with human and other animals that are important to psychologists

  6. development of psychology as an empirical science

Course Procedures:

  • Teacher and student led discussions

  • Activities

  • Investigations and research questions

  • Critical thinking activities

  • Quizzes and Exams

Course text: Rathus, Spencer A. Psychology, Principles in Practice. Austin: Holt McDougal, 2010. Print.

Notebooks:  Students need a notebook for this class. Students should print course syllabus, study guides, and handouts and keep in notebooks.   Students should have a section in notebooks to take notes and define terms relating to each unit being studied.

General Class Policies

Psychology will be a very challenging but interesting course. To get the most out of it, you should learn these policies and procedures for the course.

Writing Assignments
All writing assignments and group projects will be brief in nature and need to be completed in Google docs.  If you do not have a gmail account or you cannot remember your password, it is IMPERATIVE that you have a working account.  Most of our work will be done using Google apps or should be done in MS Word. If you do not have that program, convert the finished document to RTF format.

Throughout the class, you will be asked to participate in discussions. These are very important for many reasons, and you need to participate early and often. You need to think carefully about what you write. You will not be graded on each specific discussion. Class discussions are a healthy form of communication, especially in a course like psychology. Participation is KEY with a successful discussion. You will respond in complete sentences, and you WILL be respectful at all times.

Homework Expectations
Your psychology class will have homework assignments on occasion. You may have to read case studies, watching video segments, or practice keeping a journal for projects.  These might need to be done in “real time” but the lengths will vary greatly.  Some might involve photos, texts, and the like, so many won’t actually feel like homework.

Plagiarism, speaking in the simplest possible terms, is presenting the work of others, whether a classmate or a professional writer, as your own. Recent research indicates that a very high percentage of students in almost all classes plagiarize at least part of their assignments. Plagiarism will be treated very seriously in this class, not just because it is cheating or even violating the law, but also because the experience you get doing an assignment correctly is where you get all the important learning in the class. Your first unit will go into the rules of plagiarism in detail.

The penalty for plagiarism depends upon the nature of the particular offense. If a major assignment is wholly or partially plagiarized, the student will receive a zero on the assignment and be turned in to the school administration for further action. Each school will have its own set of penalties, so you should check with your school if you want to know what will happen to you. In rare cases, plagiarism may be an honest error in documentation, in which case the student may receive deductions for improper citations. It is teacher discretion as to the appropriate action in each case.


  • Grades for this class are on a points earned basis. In other words, exams aren’t weighted more heavily than other grades.

  • Assignments will be given due dates and should be completed by that day for full credit.  Late work will be accepted, but will be reduced credit unless your absence is excused. Expect zeroes to be entered on all assignments, even if you have an excused absence.  It is up to YOU to make arrangements for make up work during Panther Period or another time that is appropriate for you and me.

  • If you are absent for an in class discussion, you may be required to submit your contribution to the discussion in WRITING in order to receive credit for that discussion assignment.

  • Each unit contains a 100 point exam at the end of the unit.  Notebook quizzes, vocabulary quizzes on the terms for the unit, and other work will be assigned throughout each unit.  On occasion, I will allow you to use your notes on exams, so you need to have your notebook with you every single day.  Also, there will be a CUMULATIVE final exam at the end of the year, so it is very important to keep ALL notes and vocabulary terms to study for a comprehensive final exam.

Email Etiquette
Email etiquette does not just mean being polite. It describes important rules about using email so that you can communicate effectively. If your email has an odd username like ‘gamer4life’, I will not know who you are; make sure you put your name in the subject line of every email you send.  Use proper grammar, proper capitalization, and polite terms.  


You need to be present in class as much as possible.  Attendance policies for this class will follow Southside High School and Etowah County guidelines, especially with regard to make up work.
For a PDF of this syllabus, click here:
 Psychology Syllabus.pdf
Psychology Course of Study: Psychology COS.pdf