Syllabus for PSY-350



Abnormal Psychology provides a unique opportunity to see how real people with particular psychological disorders actually behave. The primary purpose of this course is to observe a variety of human behaviors classified as abnormal. The course focuses on the causes of abnormality, the prevalence of different forms of abnormal behavior, various theories that have been put forth to explain abnormal behavior, and common forms of treatment.


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of abnormal behavior, stress and anxiety, personality disorders, substance abuse disorders, sexual disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and behavioral disorders of children.

  1. Describe the manifestation of depression and coping strategies.

  1. Describe phobias.

  1. Describe the symptoms that characterize the schizophrenias and explain and identify the criteria that are used in diagnosis.

  1. Describe features of alcohol, nicotine, and cocaine addiction.

  1. Demonstrate understanding of organic mental disorders, Alzheimer's and AIDS dementia complex.

  1. Describe behavioral therapy and psychopharmacology.

  1. Identify methods for preventing psychological disorders.


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:  978-0133852059


Abnormal Psychology is a 3-credit course consisting of nine modules.  Modules consist of study materials and activities.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in six online discussion forums, complete six written assignments, and take two proctored examinations—a midterm and a final. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

Abnormal Psychology requires you to participate in six graded online discussion assignments, in addition to an ungraded, but required, "Introductions" forum in module 1. Each discussion takes place in a separate forum on the class Discussion Board.


Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct assignments: an initial response to a posted assignment and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete six written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

Many students find it helpful to read over the assignment questions for a module before beginning the reading for the module.


You are required to take one quiz in this course. This quiz, found in Module 1, will assess your mastery of basic terminology and concepts from that module. All quiz questions are multiple choice. You may use any materials that you like in taking the quiz, and there is no time limit for taking it. You are encouraged to take the quiz multiple times for additional practice. You will see a somewhat different set of questions each time, and the gradebook will record your most recent score.


For a list of key concepts that may appear on your exams, refer to the study guides available in the Examinations section of the course website.

You are required to take two proctored online examinations: a midterm exam and a final exam. Both exams require that you use the University's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.


Online exams are administered through the course Web site. Consult the Course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.

Midterm Examination

The midterm exam is two hours long and covers material from Modules 1-5 in the course. It is closed-book and contains multiple-choice and short-essay questions.

In addition to the exam study guide, a practice midterm exam is available. The practice exam is ungraded, and you may take it as many times as you'd like for additional review; you will see some different questions each time. The practice exam contains questions that are similar to those on the graded exam and provides feedback, so it is an effective way of preparing for the exam. In the Examinations section of the course Web site, click on the Practice Midterm Exam link to begin.

Final Examination

The midterm exam is two hours long and covers material from Modules 6-9 in the course. It contains multiple-choice and short-essay questions.

In addition to the exam study guide, a practice final exam is available. The practice exam is ungraded, and you may take it as many times as you'd like for additional review; you will see some different questions each time. The practice exam contains questions that are similar to those on the graded exam and provides feedback, so it is an effective way of preparing for the exam. In the Examinations section of the course Web site, click on the Practice Final Exam link to begin.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during an exam. Cheating means:

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in an exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.


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 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


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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