Advanced Studies in Psychology

Create a course of study selected from psychology courses taught by Northwestern University faculty to prepare for graduate-level programs. Students in the Advanced Studies in Psychology program complete four to eight courses, building a foundation for future study in in psychology, counseling, social work, and other fields that involve the science and research of human behavior.

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About Advanced Studies in Psychology

Advanced Studies in Psychology Required Courses

Select at least four courses from the following:

  • PSYCH 205 Research Methods
  • PSYCH 213 Social Psychology (was PSYCH 204)
  • PSYCH 215 Psychology of Personality
  • PSYCH 228 Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYCH 244 Developmental Psychology (was PSYCH 218)
  • PSYCH 303 Psychopathology
  • PSYCH 306 Introduction to Clinical Psychology
  • PSYCH 310 Special Topics in Social/Clinical/Personality (was PSYCH 314)
  • PSYCH 330 Special Topics in Cognition/Neuroscience (was PSYCH 314)
  • PSYCH 350 Topics in Psychology (was PSYCH 314)
  • PSYCH 369 Pyschological Tests & Measures (was PSYCH 375)
  • Other 300-level psychology courses*

*Any 300-level psychology course offered in SPS may be applied toward the certificate. 300-level courses are offered on a rotating basis each academic year.

View Advanced Studies in Psychology Courses

Advanced Studies in Psychology Tuition

Post-baccalaureate students at Northwestern's School of Professional Studies pay per course. For more information about financial obligations and tuition, please visit the Tuition page.

Admission for Advanced Studies in Psychology

In addition to completing an online application, you'll also need to submit a few supplemental materials. A list of requirements for admission including application deadlines and tips on how to apply can be found on the Admission page.

Advanced Studies in Psychology Registration Information

Whether you're a first-time registrant or current and returning student, all students register using our online student registration and records systems. Important information about registering for courses at SPS, including registration timelines and adding or dropping courses in which you are already enrolled, can be found on the Registration Information page.

Advanced Studies in Psychology Pre-Health Professional Student Group

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Program Courses:Course Detail
Research Methods in Psychology <> PSYCH 205-CN

The main goal of this course is to build students' foundational skills as consumers and producers of research involving human behavior. As consumers of research, students will learn how to systematically evaluate the validity of different claims that students might encounter in a future psychology textbook, a psychology research article, or the media. As producers of research, students will learn how to generate hypotheses, design studies, interpret data, and present findings, all in the style of psychological scientists. This is an active learning course in which students will be discussing examples and working through exercises and problems during class meetings. Students will pursue course goals through a combination of assignments, including research writings, exams and quizzes, and active participation and engagement. May not be audited. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 201.

May not be audited. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 201.


View PSYCH 205-CN Sections
Social Psychology <> PSYCH 213-CN

This course will survey the field of social psychology, which is the study of how social forces and social relationships shape individual thinking and behavior, with a focus on the classic studies and enduring topics in the field. Sample topics include: the self and self-esteem, altruism, aggressive behavior, close relationships, stereotyping and prejudice, and behavior in groups. Students will also be exposed to recent research and current debates on these topics. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.

This course was formerly PSYCH 204 Social Psychology.


View PSYCH 213-CN Sections
Psychology of Personality <> PSYCH 215-CN

This course will provide a summary of the research on personality, or the many factors that make individuals unique and different from one another. People can be unique in a variety of ways—in terms of their traits, values, motivations, or the stories they tell about their lives. This course will provide a brief introduction to each of these areas of personality, where they come from, and why they matter. Carries science or social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.


View PSYCH 215-CN Sections
Cognitive Psychology <> PSYCH 228-CN

Introduction to research into mental processes such as memory, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. Carries science or social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.


View PSYCH 228-CN Sections
Developmental Psychology <> PSYCH 244-CN

The focus of this course is the development of perception, cognition, language, personality, and social interaction from infancy through adolescence. The course considers perspectives and methods in developmental research. As each new topic is introduced, students are encouraged to think critically about the assumptions and methods that underlie research on particular issues. A central goal is to help students develop an appreciation of different criteria for evaluating research and other forms of evidence. The course will have weekly quizzes and a comprehensive final exam. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.

This course was formerly PSYCH 218 Developmental Psychology.


View PSYCH 244-CN Sections
Psychopathology <> PSYCH 303-CN

This course introduces the study of psychopathology with an emphasis on the continuum between normal and abnormal patterns of behavior, emotional regulation, and thought processes. Students will learn about different types of psychological disorders including mood disorders, panic, anxiety, obsessions, personality disorders, schizophrenia, substance abuse, eating disorders, sexual dysfunctions, childhood-onset disorders, trauma, and neurocognitive disorders. We will consider biological, psychological, and societal causes of dysfunction. We will also explore how psychopathology has been understood throughout history, how those views have evolved to inform psychological treatments available today, and how culture continues to play a role in shaping our conceptualization of mental illness. Lastly, opportunities for prevention and organized efforts to promote mental health will be discussed, including research on how to cultivate happiness. Lectures will draw from real-world examples, fictional depictions of mental illness, and clinical case studies. Students will be assessed through a midterm exam, a final exam (non-cumulative), and a research paper. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.


View PSYCH 303-CN Sections
Intro to Clinical Psychology <> PSYCH 306-CN

This course introduces major concepts and methods of clinical psychology. The course emphasizes four main areas relevant to clinical psychology: (1) fundamentals of clinical psychology with some discussion of the history of the field, (2) psychological assessment, (3) psychotherapy, and (4) research that has been used to investigate the efficacy of interventions in clinical psychology. Ethical issues as they relate to the field are also be considered. Course requirements include an annotated bibliography and research paper, two essay exams, and class attendance and participation. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent. Completion of PSYCH 303 is recommended for students enrolled in PSYCH 306, but not required.


View PSYCH 306-CN Sections
Special Topics in Social/Clinical/Personality <> PSYCH 310-CN

Topics vary. Past topics include: Moral Psychology; May be repeated for credit with different topic. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.


There is no available section.
Psychology of Attitudes <> PSYCH 311-CN

Survey of social psychological research on attitudes; focus on the formation of attitudes, the relationship between attitudes and behavior, and attitude change. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110.


View PSYCH 311-CN Sections
Relationship Science <> PSYCH 313-CN

Social-psychological analysis of close relationships, with an emphasis on romantic relationships. Interpersonal processes associated with relationship formation, development, and dissolution. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110. Carries social science credit. 


View PSYCH 313-CN Sections
The Holocaust: Psychological Themes & Perspectives <> PSYCH 317-CN

This course will be an exploration of how particular psychological theories and concepts can inform our understanding of the events of the Holocaust at both a group and individual level. Material from the fields of Social and Clinical Psychology will be a particular focus of the course. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.


View PSYCH 317-CN Sections
Topics in Cognition/Neuroscience: Brain/Technology <> PSYCH 330-CN

This course will look at digital technologies and devices from the neuroscientific, psychological, and cognitive points of view. We will discuss how modern digital technologies affect our everyday life, behavior, mood and cognition. Our discussions will include how internet, email, social networking, and other digital activities from mobile devices influence our everyday living. The second part of the course will be focused on technological advances in neuroscience and mental health practice. It will introduce methods and techniques aimed to investigate brain functionality and assist a person in improving psychological well-being as well as modifying undesired behaviors. Through demonstrations and practice exercises, students will get first-hand experiences. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent. Carries science or social science credit.

This course was formerly PSYCH 314 Topics in Psychology.


There is no available section.
Psychology and Law <> PSYCH 340-CN

Examines the application of psychology to law, including topics such as the insanity defense, criminal profiling, eyewitness testimony, and interrogation. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.


There is no available section.
Evolutionary Psychology <> PSYCH 342-CN

Theory, methodology, and empirical data related to how evolution has influenced human psychology and behavior. Emphasis on mating. Carries science or social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.


There is no available section.
Psychology of Beauty <> PSYCH 343-CN

The purpose of this course is to thoughtfully consider psychological theory, methodology, and empirical data relating to questions regarding what makes us find beautiful people beautiful, how evolutionary psychology explains why we find certain features beautiful, whether beauty is really in the eye of the beholder, and how beauty ideals have shifted over history. We will also examine how gender roles and sexual orientation are related to beauty and its pursuit and the ways that beauty biases can affect how we perceive and treat others. Disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and body dysmorphic disorder will be examined from the perspective of beauty pressures. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.


There is no available section.
Cultural Psychology <> PSYCH 344-CN

Introduction to concepts and empirical methods used to study how culture shapes mind, brain, and behavior over multiple time scales, including over generations and the lifespan and across situational contexts. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.


View PSYCH 344-CN Sections
Topics in Psychology <> PSYCH 350-CN

Topics vary. Past topics include:Older Adulthood and End of Life; Psychology of Film; Identity Development. May be repeated for credit with different topic.

Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.


There is no available section.
Topics: Psychology of Film <> PSYCH 350-CN

In this course, we will be studying film from a psychological perspective. There are three aspects to this perspective: the psychology of the characters, of the viewers, and of the creator. Readings that present these three aspects of the psychology of cinema will be a part of the course, as well as readings about each of the individual movies. All of the films viewed in the course are psychologically insightful and have received critical acclaim, and include Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock), Ordinary People (Robert Redford), Autumn Sonata (Ingmar Bergman), Blue Velvet (David Lynch), and Hannah and Her Sisters (Woody Allen). The chief assignment is writing a paper on a movie of your choice. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent


View PSYCH 350-CN Sections
Topics: Effect of Pandemics <> PSYCH 350-CN

Description TBA. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.


View PSYCH 350-CN Sections
Deception: Processes & Detection <> PSYCH 354-CN

This course will introduce nonverbal, verbal, and physiological indicators of deceit and how to detect lies using these indicators. First, the course covers descriptions of the types of lies and the reasons why people lie; how often people lie; individual differences in telling lies; the "intuitive" and professional techniques and tools for detecting lies and deception; nonverbal and verbal cues to deception; and accuracy in lie detection. The equipment and methods using physiological markers associated with lying, such as Polygraph or Event-Related Potentials (Brain Waves) recordings will be discussed. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.


There is no available section.
Stereotyping & Prejudice <> PSYCH 366-CN

This course analyzes causes and consequences of stereotyping and prejudice, as well as methods used to study these issues. Students may conduct original research. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 205 or equivalent.


View PSYCH 366-CN Sections
Child Psychopathology <> PSYCH 367-CN

This course examines the major psychopathologies of childhood and adolescence. Various theories for the etiologies of child and adolescent psychopathology are considered, and the implications for diagnosis, consultation, and treatment are also addressed. The general purpose of this course is to facilitate an understanding of developmental psychopathology and related principles addressing the range of processes and underlying mechanisms that result in the emergence, escalation, and maintenance of psychopathological adaptation in children and adolescents. Course requirements include a long literature review paper, several shorter case papers, and co-leading a class discussion with peers. Carries social science credit. Prerequisites: PSYCH 205 and PSYCH 303, or equivalents, are helpful as background, but not required.


There is no available section.
Psychological Tests & Measures <> PSYCH 369-CN

This course explores the science of psychological assessment, including its history, test construction and evaluation, and common measures of personality, psychopathology, and ability. Students create and evaluate their own psychological measures. Carries social science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.

This course was formerly PSYCH 375 Psychological Tests and Measures.


View PSYCH 369-CN Sections
Decision Making <> PSYCH 373-CN

Human decision making from both descriptive and prescriptive perspectives. Theories and models of decision making applied to a variety of contexts. Carries social science or science credit. Prerequisite: PSYCH 205, PSYCH 228.


There is no available section.
Human Memory PSYCH 374-CN

Scientific study of human memory, including memory systems of the brain, amnesia, remembering, forgetting, encoding, consolidation, memory suppression, and memory distortion. Emphasizes original research reports in cognitive neuroscience. Carries science credit. PSYCH 205-CN; or consent of instructor.


There is no available section.