PSY 3210

Abnormal Psychology

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

A descriptive and theoretical survey of the major forms of psychopathology in children, adolescents, and adults.  The course will examine current trends and research in the fields of mental health and psychopathology.

Course Objectives:

By the end of the semester students should have an understanding of:
  1. abnormal behavior in a historical context
  2. the current system for the classification and assessment of mental disorders
  3. the behaviors and syndromes necessary for the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders
  4. the gender, cultural, psychological, biochemical, and environmental factors which predispose individuals toward mental disorders
  5. the different approaches used in treating mental illness including psychotherapy, medical, and non-psychiatric methods such as 12 step programs
  6. how psychologists use research and statistics to answer questions about mental illness
  7. how legal issues influence the treatment of mental illness

Prerequisites and Corequisites:

General Psychology

Course Topics:

A suggested sequence of course topics, perhaps noting that students should complete certain core modules prior to moving to elective or more advanced modules.
  • Module 1     What is mental illness and where does it come from
  • Module 2     How do you tell if someone is mentally ill
  • Module 3     How do psychologists know what they know
  • Module 4     Anxiety and mood disorders
  • Module 5     Somatoform and dissociative disorders
  • Module 6     Eating and sleeping disorders
  • Module 7     Mind and body connection
  • Module 8     Sexual and gender identity disorders
  • Module 9     Substance related disorders
  • Module 10   A different world
  • Module 11   Developmental and cognitive disorders
  • Module 12   Psychology and the law

Specific Course Requirements:

A description of any special course requirements, such as knowledge of specific software, and why it is necessary for successful completion of the course.
Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course:

Supplementary Materials:


Hardware Requirements:

No specific requirements

Software Requirements:

No specific requirements
Instructor Information
  Please see the separate page inside the course to find instructor contact information as well as a statement of virtual office hours and other communication information.
Assessment and Grading

Testing Procedures:

Online assessments, group activities

Grading Procedure:

A detailed statement of how grades are related to or reflective of the expected learning outcomes. A statement of what constitutes high achievement in the course. 

Grading Scale:

A   90 - 100%
B    80 - 89%
C    70 - 79%
D    60 - 69%
F    <60%
Assignments and Participation

Assignments and Projects:

48 points     Threaded group discussion

50 points     Exam #1 

50 points     Exam #2

50 points     Exam #3

50 points     Exam #4

10 points     Paper #1

10 points     Paper #2

10 points     Paper #3

Threaded Group Discussion (40 points)

Involvement in study groups

Involvement in lecture


Each student will submit three papers during the course of the semester.  The papers will give you an opportunity to put your knowledge of psychology into practice.   The purpose of the paper is to bridge the gap between theory and reality.  Each paper is to take some real life story from a news source, either television, magazine, or newspaper and discuss/explain it by using the psychological concepts presented in class. Papers will be judged on grammar, accuracy, and the ability to synthesize information between the "real world" and theory.  While it is permissible to discuss the paper with other students in the chat group, each student is responsible for writing his/her own paper.  Specific information about the paper and APA style will be discussed in class.  Each paper is to be between 3-4 pages in length and must conform to the publication style of the American Psychological Association (APA).  


There will be a total of four examinations.. Each quiz will be based on material in the textbook and material discussed in the chat room.  Each quiz is worth 50 points.  The exams will include multiple choice, true-false, and matching type questions.  The tests are not cumulative.  

Class Participation:

Students must participate in all interactive aspects of the course if interaction is part of the course design. For example, students must communicate with other students in the chat room, students are expected to communicate with the instructor as a learning resource, students must check the course bulletin board frequently for announcements, and students must actively participate in threaded discussion events.


A statement of course milestones to keep the students on track in an asynchronous environment. 
Course Ground Rules
  A reiteration and emphasis of certain rules and course expectations.  For example, Participation is required, Expected to communicate with other students in team projects, Learn how to navigate in WebCT, Keep abreast of course announcements , Use the assigned college or university e-mail address as opposed a personal e-mail address, Address technical problems immediately, Observe course netiquette at all times. 
Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members.

Discussion Groups:

  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other's ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


  • Introduce yourself to the other learners in the chat session.
  • Be polite. Choose your words carefully. Do not use derogatory statements.
  • Be concise in responding to others in the chat session.
  • Be prepared to open the chat session at the scheduled time.
  • Be constructive in your comments and suggestions.

Web Resources:

  The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in the Regents Degree Program. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading must be included in all courses.
Students With Disabilities
  A statement of accommodation for students with special needs such as voice recognition software or special hardware.
Syllabus Changes
  A statement that any necessary changes to the course syllabus will be sent to the student by e-mail and posted on the bulletin board.
Technical Support

Telephone Support:

If you are having problems logging into your course,
timing out of your course, using your course web site tools, or other technical problems, please contact the AskRODP Help Desk by calling

1-866-550-7637 (toll free)

or go to the AskRODP website at: