Learning on a Dime: 10 Great Psychology Courses You Can Take for Free

Artem Zavyalov
Go Highbrow
Published in
6 min readAug 3, 2016

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Are you looking to expand your knowledge in the field of Psychology, but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg? Several online teaching tools offer free psychology classes or portions of classes if you are interested in the subject but do not want to pursue a degree or certification.

Some of my favorite options are listed below.

1. Introduction to Psychology

Platform: Open Yale Courses
Course Duration: 20 lectures
Time: 1–2 hours/lecture

Have you ever wondered what a Yale class would be like? Now you can watch an Introduction to Psychology course that was offered at Yale in 2007. This course was taught twice per week in 75 minute time slots.

Learn about some of the most complicated psychology subjects including communication, religion, love, hunger, fiction, art, and dreams. The course also looks at differences between children and adults, and differences between individuals.

2. The Theories of Sigmund Freud

Platform: Listenable
Course Duration: 10 audio lessons
Time: 5 minutes/lesson

This course is designed to introduce you to the life of Sigmund Freud and to explore a few of his most significant ideas and theories. As one of the most prominent theorists in the history of psychology, Freud pioneered the design and implementation of talk therapy as a method for treating mental illness. In this course, you will learn more about Freud the person, his background, his beliefs, and his legacy.

In addition, this course will provide a detailed overview of Freud’s key theories on the unconscious, human development, and personality. We will also discuss psychoanalysis, the first form of talk therapy that heavily contributed to the development of modern-day psychotherapy. After completing this course, you will have obtained a more in-depth understanding of Freud’s life, as well as his contributions to psychology and the treatment of mental illness.

3. Introduction to Personality Psychology: The Big 5 Traits

Platform: Listenable
Course Duration: 10 audio lessons
Time: 5 minutes/lesson

This course is designed to introduce you to the world of personality psychology. Specifically, the course will focus on The Big 5 Trait Theory, the most dominant and commonly utilized personality theory in psychology, which is comprised of five unique traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

In this course, you will learn what each of these traits are, how they predict real-life behavior, how traits interact, and whether personality can be changed. After completing this course, you will have a more in-depth understanding of why people do the things they do, as well as new insight into your own personality.

4. Psychology of Popularity

Platform: Coursera
Course Duration: 6 weeks
Time: 1–2 hours/week

Have you ever wondered how your popularity as a child affects you as an adult? This course explores how popularity concepts can be utilized to be more successful at work and lead a happier life. This knowledge may also help you be a better parent as well. Limited features of this course are available for free. The complete course is available for a fee. Financial aid is available.

5. Positive Psychology

Platform: Coursera
Course Duration: 6 weeks
Time: 2–4 hours/week

Positive psychology studies strengths of an individual or a community that allow them to survive and thrive. It assumes that everyone wants to be their best self and enhance their individual experiences.

This course explores this concept in a way that can help you be more positive in your daily life. It also discusses the beneficial and helpful consequences of positive thinking. Each class includes videos, readings, and a quiz. A portion of this class is free, but you can take the whole class for a fee. Financial aid is available.

6. Understanding Anxiety, Depression and CBT

Platform: FutureLearn
Course Duration: 5 weeks
Time: 3 hours/week

Anxiety, depression, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are confusing topics, especially if you or a loved one are experiencing emotions associated with depression or anxiety. This course looks at these conditions in depth to help you develop a better understanding of the disorders. In particular, it explains how these disorders differ from normal feelings or behavior. It also discusses how CBT can be used to treat this disorder.

The course is ideal for anyone that wants to understand more about mental illness generally.

7. Logical and Critical Thinking

Platform: FutureLearn
Course Duration: 8weeks
Time: 4 hours/week

Thinking logically and problem solving are both a vital part of psychology. This course works to improve your critical thinking skills by identifying common thinking mistakes, providing you tools to analyze arguments, and helping you develop skills to evaluate arguments. The course provides general critical and logical thinking concepts as a base and then puts those concepts to use in later classes.

8. Becoming a Resilient Person — The Science of Stress Management

Platform: edX
Course Duration: 8weeks
Time: 2–3 hours/week

Everyone experiences stress. How you handle it is what sets you apart. Chronic stress can put serious strain on your body and mind, but using specific strategies to combat or reduce stress can be extremely beneficial. These tactics can help you adjust faster after a setback or be more effective at work or during school. It can even help in your relationships with others.

This course explains the concept of stress and provides some of these strategies that you can use in your daily life.

9. The Science of Happiness

Platform: edX
Course Duration: 8weeks
Time: 4–5 hours/week

Believe it or not, there is a science behind happiness. This course teaches the concepts of Positive Psychology, with a focus on increasing your own personal happiness. It also emphasizes social connections and the science behind the feeling of empathy.

Positive Psychology specifically focuses on the greater good of the whole and the sense of happiness or satisfaction that someone has when they contribute to something bigger than themselves. The concepts of mindfulness and gratitude are also discussed. This course can be completed in roughly 4 to 5 hours per week for 8 weeks.

10. Applied Psychology — Introduction to Consumer Behavior

Platform: Alison
Course Duration: 3–4 hours

Applied Psychology allows you to take general Psychology concepts and use them in the real world. This course focuses how consumers make decisions when they buy products and services. This would be particularly helpful for small business owners or someone who wants to learn about the psychology behind marketing.

This class is noted to be a more advanced course, so it would be more appropriate for someone who has already learned the basics.

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