Course Syllabus

Welcome to PSYCH101: Introduction to Psychology. General information about this course and its requirements can be found below.

Course Designer: Dr. Helena (Mimi) Martin and Dr. Michael Poulakis

Course Description: A detailed introduction to the fundamental principles of psychology and to the major subjects of psychological inquiry. 

Getting Started

After familiarizing yourself with the following course syllabus, enroll in this course using the "Enroll me in this course” button located on the left hand toolbar. Once enrolled, navigate to Unit 1 of the course to read the Unit Introduction and Unit 1 Learning Outcomes. Links and instructions for all unit specific course resources will follow the introductory materials.

Earning College Credit

This course provides students the opportunity to earn actual college credit. It has been reviewed and recommended for 2 credit hours by The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT®). While credit is not guaranteed at all schools, we have partnered with a number of schools who have expressed their willingness to accept transfer of credits earned through Saylor. You can read more about our Saylor Direct Credit program here.

Evaluation and Minimum Passing Scores

In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, you may take it again as many times as needed, following a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. 

You will only receive an official grade on your final exam. However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, we recommend that you work through the materials in each unit. Throughout the course you may find practice quizzes or other assignments that will help you master material and gauge your learning. Scores on these assignments are informational only and do not contribute to your overall course grade.

If you are seeking to earn college credit, you must plan to take and pass the Saylor Direct Credit final exam. That exam will be password protected and require the presence of a proctor.

Technical Requirements

This course is delivered fully online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any auto-graded course assessments and the final exam.

To access the full course including assessments and the final exam, you will need to be logged into your Saylor Academy account and enrolled in the course. If you do not already have an account, you may create one, free of charge, here. Although you can access some course resources without being logged into your account, it's advised that you login to maximize your course experience. For example, some of the accessibility and progress tracking features are only available when you are logged in.

If you plan to attempt the optional credit recommended final exam that accompanies this course, then you will also need access to a webcam enabled computer. A webcam is needed so that our remote proctoring service can verify your identity, which will allow Saylor Academy to issue an official transcript to schools on your behalf. Full details about remote proctoring for credit recommended exams can be found here.

For additional technical guidance check out Saylor's tech-FAQ and the



There is no cost to access and enroll in this course. All required course resources linked throughout the course, including textbooks, videos, webpages, activities, etc are accessible for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.

This courses does contain an optional final exam that will provide students an opportunity to earn college credit. Access to the exam itself is free, though it does require the use of a proctoring service for identity verification purposes. The cost for proctoring is $25 per session.

Excelsior College UExcel Exam

This course is designed to align with Excelsior College's UExcel Psychology examination. Visit the Excelsior website to download the content guide for the PSYX-101 exam.  For more information about this partnership, and earning credit through Excelsior College, go here.


Time Commitment

While learning styles can vary considerably and any particular student will take more or less time to learn or read, we estimate that the "average" student will take 82 hours to complete this course. Each overall unit, resource, and activity within the course is similarly tagged with an estimated time advisory. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular (daily, or at least weekly) progress. It's a good idea to also schedule your study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.

It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit and then set goals for yourself. For example, Unit 1 should take approximately 8 hours to complete. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunits 1.1 (a total of 2 hours) on a Monday, subunit 1.2.1 (3 hours) on a Tuesday, subunit 1.2.2 (3 hours) on a Wednesday, and so forth for the other units.


Learning new material can be challenging, so below we've compiled a few suggested study strategies to help you succeed.

Review the objectives for each unit. After you have completed the assigned reading go back and test yourself on how you understand the original goals. 

Do not skip topics. It is very important to study all required materials in this course. 

Respond to the reading questions and the end of chapter discussion questions. These questions support your critical thinking skills related to the previous readings.

Review key terminology. You might try spending a few minutes reviewing material immediately after you've learned it. This helps you confirm that you understand the information, and reduces the time needed to "relearn" it when you review it again in the future. As you re-read material, use effective reading strategies to make sure that you're reading efficiently and intelligently. For instance, if you've just read a chapter in this text, you may only need to review section headings and the conclusion to start fixing information in your memory.

Although you may work through this course completely independently, you may find it helpful to connect with other Saylor students through the discussion forums. You may access the discussion forums at

Pay special attention to Units 2 and 3, as these may be particularly challenging to students who do not have a background in biology. Units 6, 7, and 8 are theory-based and will provide the foundation for more advanced psychology courses.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • identify the steps of the scientific method and explain how this method applies to psychological research methodology and statistical analyses;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the general history of the field of psychology;
  • explain the nature versus nurture argument and the current status of thinking regarding gene-environment interaction;
  • identify the basic components and mechanisms of the major biological systems often studied in psychology; and
  • demonstrate an understanding of the basic findings within a variety of areas of psychology, including:
    • sensation and perception,
    • learning and memory,
    • emotion,
    • development,
    • social psychology,,and
    • psychopathology.

Throughout this course, you'll also see related learning outcomes identified in each unit. You can use the learning outcomes to help organize your learning and gauge your progress.

Suggested Prerequisites

In order to take this course you should:

Last modified: Friday, 26 February 2016, 4:48 PM