Syllabus for HLS-610



The Psychology and Sociology of Disaster explores best practices for mitigating the adverse psychological and social impacts of disaster. The course discusses types of disasters, the way trauma typically affects victims, the means for assessing trauma after a disaster, the importance of early intervention during the response phase, and approaches suitable for the longer recovery phase of disaster. The Psychology and Sociology of Disaster uses current government and law enforcement sources to discuss specific disasters from the last two decades, both acts of terrorism and natural occurrences.


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Analyze types of disasters and the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional stress responses that may result from them.
  2. Appraise the types of victims that may be affected by a disaster.
  3. Explain methods for assessing trauma and mitigating harmful stress reactions.
  4. Model the process for the triage of behavioral casualties and analyze guidelines for referral to behavioral health specialists.
  5. Analyze the long-term effects of disaster trauma on victims.
  6. Synthesize knowledge to develop a plan of action that demonstrates effective readiness, response, and recovery operations when a disaster occurs.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

ISBN-13: 978-0521533454


Articles and Web Sites

The above text will be accompanied by additional resources in the form of documents, links, and Web sites, that offer information on the psychology and sociology of disaster. Each module will include its own list of resources.


The Psychology and Sociology of Disaster is an online course consisting of six modules. Modules include an overview, topics, study materials, and activities. You will complete a final project at the end of the course. Module titles are listed below.

Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, and complete a final project.

See below for details.Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to participate in twelve graded discussion forums within modules. Discussion forums are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

There are also two ungraded but required forums:an introduction forum in Module 1 and a concluding discussion forum that is part of the final project.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete six written assignments. The written assignments require you to research and write short reports (750 to 1000 words) on various topics. Each report/assignment should detail your process (i.e., resources, approach, search terms), your findings, and your analysis. All citations must follow APA guidelines.

Final Project

This course requires students to submit a final project, a researched paper of 2,500 to 3,000 words (10 to 12 pages). The project is described in detail in the final project area of the course; it is a plan of action for a particular disaster that addresses readiness, response, and recovery. All citations must follow APA format guidelines.

Students can begin their final project any time, but they should definitely begin work on the project by week 9 or 10 of the course. You are required to submit a first draft of your report as an attachment to the class discussion board within the Concluding Discussion Forum in Week 11. Your classmates will provide feedback that you may use to finalize your project. The final project must be submitted through the course site by the last day of class.

Turnitin Requirement for Final Project

You are required to submit the final project in this course to, an academic plagiarism prevention site, prior to submitting the project within your course space. You will receive immediate written feedback from Turnitin regarding writing style as well as a plagiarism gauge with tips for proper citations. You then have the opportunity to edit your assignment with this feedback in mind and resubmit it to Turnitin for additional checking. Once you are satisfied with the project, you are required to submit the Turnitin feedback (also known as the originality report) for the final version along with the project itself within the course space.

Read carefully the information found at the following link, as it will provide instructions for this requirement:

Turnitin FAQ Web Page


Details on accessing and using Turnitin may be found at the following link: Turnitin Details

This information can also be found within Using Turnitin for Assignments. You can locate this document in the topic list area of your course space.

Students please note: You have the option of submitting any of your assignments to Submit any additional assignments through the slots with the optional label. However, submitting other assignments is NOT a requirement and you should not submit originality reports for these assignments to your mentor.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:


















Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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