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Special Topics in Psychology

Course Code: PSYC 2901
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Psychology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 Weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course examines a special topic or emerging questions in the field of psychology of direct relevance for students in a wide range of disciplines. Readings and topical content will be approachable to students with no prior coursework in psychology and will include theory, critical debate, and applications relevant to the specific topic.

Course Content

The general framework of a lower-level special topics course in psychology can be represented as below:

  1. Historical Context
  2. Theories
  3. Mechanisms and Processes
  4. Applications
  5. Remaining Questions

A specific example of topics for a course on Decision Making:

  1. The origins and limits of human rationality
  2. Assumptions of rationality in humanities and sciences, utility theory, prospect theory, two-system theory, somatic marker hypothesis
  3. Evidence of biases and fallacies in judgement and decision making
  4. Observing and exploiting/compensating for human decision-making tendencies
  5. Individual and cultural differences, neural mechanisms, implications for artificial intelligence

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:

  • Lecture
  • Audio-visual materials
  • Small group discussion
  • Problem-based learning
  • In-class research projects

Means of Assessment

The course evaluation will be in accordance with Douglas College and Psychology Department policies. Evaluations will be based on the course objectives. The specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

  • Weekly reading quizzes 10%
  • Small group assignments 10%
  • Term project paper 20%
  • Midterm exams 40%
  • Final exam 20%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Identify and describe relevant theoretical influences on current scholarship relating to the specific topic of the course.
  2. Define key terms and concepts relating to the specific topic of the course.
  3. Recognize and apply concepts from the course in/to real world situations.
  4. Locate and leverage appropriate sources of information relating to the specific topic of the course, such as peer-reviewed papers.

course prerequisites

Courses listed here must be completed prior to this course:

  • No prerequisite courses


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.