Skip Navigation
Distance Learning
Home > Academics > eLearning > Course Formats > Online > PSYC Online Course Descriptions > PSYC-203 Abnormal Psychology

PSYC-203 Abnormal Psychology

Through this introduction to the field of abnormal psychology, the student will be able to describe both historical and current issues involved with defining and recognizing mental illness, to describe the causes of mental illness, to compare and contrast the major treatments of mental illness, and to describe some of the ways to prevent mental illness. In addition, the student will learn to be more critical of abnormal psychology information as found in the mass media.

Although the course activities of a TeleWeb course are conducted online, much of the course material is presented through pre-produced telecourse videos, “The World of Abnormal Psychology.” Students will be required to view these videos. Videos are available on HCC TV and are also streamed on the HCC library E-Reserves page. DVD’s may also be borrowed from the HCC Library.

PrerequisitesCompletion of PSYC-101 with a C or better or consent of the instructor.
InstructorSusan Keach Sweeney
OfficeST 156
Phone(443) 518-4112

 Overall Course Objectives | Major Course Topics | Course Format | Orientation | Course Requirements | Texts and Materials | Exams

Overall Course Objectives

Once you have completed this course you will be able to:

  • List and explain the topics of the field of abnormal psychology
  • Discuss the difficulties in defining mental illness
  • List various causes of mental illness
  • Compare and contrast various types of mental illness
  • Compare and contrast various views for treating mental illness
  • Analyze the mass media for examples of abnormal psychology concepts
  • Write documented essays (using APA format) on selected topics
  • Report increased confidence in their ability to be responsible for their own education

Top of Page

Major Course Topics

List the major topics

  • Defining mental illness
  • Explaining the causes of mental illness
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Autism
  • Anxiety
  • Multiple Personality
  • Sexual Disorder
  • Physical Treatments
  • Psychological Treatments
  • Case Studies
  • Prevention
  • Legal and Ethical Issues

Top of Page

Course Format

This course:

  • Is not self-paced.
  • Does require on-campus meetings. There is one on-campus orientation.
  • Does not require real-time chats but does require on-line threaded discussions to be completed at any time during each week.
  • Includes an option for service learning in a local mental health setting (a term paper may be substituted).

Top of Page


There is no on-campus orientation for this class. Please log-on to the course during the first week of the term to begin the on-line orientation that is available for enrolled students.

Top of Page

Course Requirements

  • Review the “What you should know before you register” section of the eLearning Homepage.
  • Twelve on-line discussions requiring citations and references. These are really on-line "papers" of 450 words, also requiring 50-word responses to another student, amd APA-Style citaations and references.
  • Two comprehensive exams, including multiple choice and essay questions requiring citations and references.
  • One term project which is either a service-learning experience including a journal and short paper; or a paper on an approved topic, with APA-Style citations and references.
  • Attendance at one mandatory orientation on campus.

Top of Page

Texts and Materials

Textbook information:  To visit our bookstore's online sales site, please visit and follow the instructions for selecting textbooks.

Technical Requirements and Plug-Ins:

Review the Technical Requirements link above. The following plug-ins are required for this course: (Instructor: Delete any plug-ins from the following list that are not required for your course. All online students should have Internet Explorer and Word or the Word Viewer. Most all students should have PowerPoint or the PowerPoint Viewer, unless your course does not require viewing or creating PowerPoint presentations.)

  • Acrobat Viewer
  • Excel Viewer, if you don’t have the full version of Microsoft Excel
  • Flash
  • Internet Explorer
  • Java installed and enabled
  • Netscape
  • PowerPoint Viewer, if you don’t have the full version of Microsoft PowerPoint
  • QuickTime
  • Real Player
  • Windows Media Player
  • Word Viewer, if you don’t have the full version of Microsoft Word

Top of Page


For purposes of verification and assessing learning outcomes, this course has a proctored mid term and final exam at the HCC Test Center for students in the local region or at a regional institution for remote students. The exam will have a flexible window of time during which it needs to be taken rather than a single date and time.

If you have any questions or comments about this course, please send a message to Susan Keach Sweeney,

Last updated on 30-Jun-09
© Howard Community College

Student Profile - Maribel