PSY-251: Abnormal Psychology

Liberal Arts
Social Sciences
Academic Level
Course Subject
Course Number
Course Title
Abnormal Psychology
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
PSY-131, C or better
Catalog Course Description

This course covers the epidemiology, etiology, treatment, and ethical and legal considerations associated with psychopathology in society. Evidence-based criteria will be used to examine individual, group, community and cross-cultural therapeutic techniques.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Core Course Topics
  1. Historical perspectives on psychopathology
  2. Contemporary perspectives on psychopathology
  3. Legal, ethical, and professional issues related to psychopathology
  4. Assessment and diagnosis of psychopathology
  5. Neurodevelopmental disruptive disorders
  6. Eating, sleeping, and elimination disorders
  7. Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
  8. Mood disorders and suicide
  9. Neurocognitive disorders
  10. Stress and trauma-related disorders
  11. Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
  12. Somatic symptom and dissociative disorders
  13. Personality disorders
  14. Substance-related and addictive disorders
  15. Sexual and gender disorders
Core Course Learning Objectives (Separated)

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Describe several historical treatments for psychopathology.
  2. Evaluate the psychoanalytic paradigm in terms of today’s evidence-based standards.
  3. Explain why the concept of defense mechanism is not falsifiable.
  4. Compare different treatment paradigms for a specific disorder.
  5. Analyze a vignette to identify the client’s disorder and formulate an evidence-based treatment plan.
  6. Discuss why the multiaxial diagnostic approach was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
  7. Evaluate the impact of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders on society.
  8. Appraise the present use and misuse of psychoactive medications.
  9. Relate current evidence-based approaches to treating eating disorders.
  10. Explain why the personality disorders are frequently unresponsive to treatment.
  11. Summarize the epidemiological evidence relating to the incidence and prevalence of psychopathology in society.
  12. Present the symptomology of an individual with a neurocognitive disorder.
  13. Differentiate between sexual disorders that are treatable versus those that are typically intractable.
  14. Analyze several strengths and weaknesses of treatment strategies for addiction.
  15. Contrast cross-cultural approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of selected psychopathological disorder.
  16. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the International Classification of Diseases with regard to diagnosing schizophrenia.

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement
  • Exams consisting of objective questions and short essays.
  • Written case analysis of patients depicted in various educational videos.
  • Written analyses of selected films with psychopathalogical content.


General Education Categories
  • Social Sciences
Institutional Outcomes
  • Civil Society and Culture - U.S. and Global
MTA Categories
  • Category 4: Social Sciences

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Fall 2020
ILT Approval Date
AALC Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date
Review Semester
Fall 2020