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10 Online Psychology Courses for High School Students

For individuals with an interest in the field of psychology, the world of online psychology courses offers a remarkable avenue for exploration. By enrolling in these courses, you can delve deeper into the realm of psychology, acquire practical insights, and clearly demonstrate your passion for the subject.

Online psychology courses have the potential to greatly enhance your academic and professional prospects by showing your dedication to both academic excellence and practical knowledge in the realm of psychology. Admission committees and potential employers place great value on candidates who show a genuine passion so taking an online psychology course can enhance your academic and professional profile.

Courses from well-established institutions or those renowned for producing accomplished graduates can carry significant weight. However, irrespective of the course's prestige, emphasizing your coursework, achievements, and the skills you've honed through online psychology courses is important to effectively showcase your commitment to psychology.

Here are ten noteworthy online psychology courses that are great opportunities to look into if you’d like to further pursue psychology outside of the classroom.

What to consider when choosing an online psychology course:

  1. Accreditation & Credibility: You should look for courses that come from an institution with recognized accreditation in psychology for broad recognition.

  2. Instructor Qualifications: Look for instructors with strong academic backgrounds, potentially a Ph.D., and those who have a track record of engaging instruction.

  3. Course Content & Structure: Assess if the curriculum aligns with your interests, is well-structured, and offers a comprehensive overview of psychology principles.

  4. Interactivity & Support: You should prioritize courses that offer interactive elements like discussions and support from instructors and tech assistance.

In conclusion, when choosing the ideal online psychology course, prioritize key factors like accreditation, instructor qualifications, course content and structure, as well as the degree of interactivity and support. By considering these factors, you can make a well-informed decision that aligns with your educational and professional goals. Prior to enrolling in any course, always ensure you review the latest course offerings and confirm their suitability for your unique requirements and objectives:

1. Harvard Summer School Individual and Social Psychology Courses

Cost: $3,700 (4-credits) or $7,400 (8-credits) (Financial aid available)

Eligibility: Students aged 16-18 who Will graduate from high school and enter college in 2024, 2025, or 2026.

Application Deadline: January 10 (Early), February 14 (Regular), and April 10 (Late)

Course Dates: 7 weeks (June 22 – August 10, 2024)

Harvard Summer School's Individual and Social Psychology course offers an immersive and intellectually enriching experience for students eager to explore the intricate realms of psychology. This course delves deeply into the core concepts of both individual and social psychology, providing a comprehensive understanding of human behavior and its interaction with the social environment. With a strong emphasis on critical thinking and empirical research, students learn to critically analyze and interpret psychological theories and experiments. The curriculum covers an array of engaging topics, from cognitive processes and personality development to social influence and group dynamics. The interactive and discussion-oriented approach fosters dynamic learning, encouraging students to apply psychological principles to real-life situations and debates.

2. Stanford Pre College Summer Institute Topics in Psychology

Cost: $3,050

Eligibility: Grades 8-11 at the time of application

Application Deadline: March

Course Dates: Two weeks in June and July (2 sessions available)

The Stanford Pre College Summer Institute's "Topics in Psychology'' program offers an engaging and immersive experience for high school students interested in delving into the fascinating world of psychology. Throughout the course, students explore an array of captivating subjects, including cognitive psychology, social psychology, and abnormal psychology, providing a well-rounded understanding of the discipline. This program is designed to challenge and inspire, with a focus on critical thinking, experimental design, and interactive discussions. Students have the unique opportunity to work with Stanford faculty and researchers, gaining insights into cutting-edge developments in the field. Additionally, the program often incorporates hands-on experiments and group projects, enabling students to apply their newfound knowledge in a practical and collaborative context.

3. Cornell SCE Precollege Introduction to Psychology

Cost: $5,250

Eligibility: Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors

Application Deadline: December 4

Course Dates: January 2-19, 2024

The Cornell University School of Continuing Education (SCE) Pre College program "Introduction to Psychology" course offers a comprehensive exploration of the fundamental principles of psychology. Tailored for high school students, this program covers a wide range of captivating topics, including cognitive processes, human development, and the intricacies of social behavior. With the guidance of instructors, you will delve into the world of psychology, conducting experiments, analyzing data, and discussing psychological theories. This course is designed to cultivate critical thinking skills, research acumen, and an in-depth understanding of human behavior. Students not only benefit from Cornell's academic excellence but also have the chance to interact with peers who share a passion for psychology.

4. Harvard Summer School Psychology of Cults

Cost: $3,700 (4-credits) or $7,400 (8-credits) (Financial aid available)

Eligibility: Students aged 16-18 who Will graduate from high school and enter college in 2024, 2025, or 2026.

Application Deadline: January 10 (Early), February 14 (Regular), and April 10 (Late)

Course Dates: 7 weeks (June 22 – August 10, 2024)

Harvard Summer School's "Psychology of Cults" course provides an engaging and intellectually stimulating exploration of the intricate dynamics surrounding cults and their psychological aspects. Tailored for high school students, this program delves deeply into the psychological, sociological, and ethical dimensions of cults and extremist groups. Led by expert instructors, the course offers a comprehensive examination of how individuals become involved in such groups, the strategies used to influence them, and the psychological mechanisms at play. It encourages critical thinking and evidence-based analysis, allowing students to critically evaluate the factors that contribute to cult membership and the ethical dilemmas surrounding these groups. The program combines theory with real-life case studies, fostering a nuanced understanding of the psychological vulnerabilities that cults exploit. By delving into this complex field, students gain valuable insights into human behavior, group dynamics, and the ethical considerations that underpin the study of cults.

5. Johns Hopkins Psychopathology and its Development

Cost: $1950

Eligibility: High School Juniors and Seniors

Application Deadline: Rolling Basis (final deadline in May)

Course Dates: 2 Weeks Self Paced June 26 - July 7 and July 24 - August 4

Johns Hopkins University's "Psychopathology and its Development" program offers a profound exploration into the complexities of mental health and the mechanisms behind psychological disorders. Tailored for high school students, this course provides an in-depth understanding of psychopathology by examining various aspects of mental health, such as the origins, progression, and treatment of psychological disorders. Guided by accomplished instructors, students gain insights into the latest research, diagnostic tools, and therapeutic approaches. The program encourages critical thinking and analytical skills through interactive discussions and hands-on projects, enabling students to develop a comprehensive grasp of the subject.

Free Online Psychology Course Options

6. MIT OpenCourseware Introduction to Psychology

Cost: Free

Eligibility: Everyone is eligible to enroll in this course.

Application Deadline: Rolling Basis

Course Dates: Self-Paced

MIT OpenCourseWare's "Introduction to Psychology" is an outstanding resource for anyone looking to gain a deep understanding of the foundational principles of psychology. This free, self-paced online course offers comprehensive coverage of a wide range of psychological topics, from cognitive processes and social behavior to developmental and clinical psychology. Students have access to a wealth of high-quality lecture materials, readings, and assignments, all presented by MIT's esteemed faculty. The course's flexibility makes it accessible to learners of all backgrounds, whether they're new to the subject or seeking to deepen their existing knowledge. It not only provides valuable insights into the workings of the human mind but also embodies the spirit of open education by offering world-class educational content to a global audience, making it a valuable resource for anyone interested in exploring the fascinating realm of psychology.

7. HarvardX Fundamentals of Neuroscience 3 Course Package

Cost: Free without certificate and $672.30 with certificate (financial aid available)

Eligibility: Everyone is eligible to enroll in this course.

Application Deadline: Rolling Basis

Course Dates: Self-Paced

HarvardX's "Fundamentals of Neuroscience" is an exceptional online course that offers a deep dive into the intricate world of neuroscience. Designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to this complex field, the course covers essential topics, such as the structure and function of the nervous system, neural communication, sensory and motor systems, and higher-order cognitive functions. This course, offered by Harvard University through edX, is an excellent choice for those interested in understanding the biological underpinnings of the human brain and how they relate to behavior, cognition, and neurological disorders. Students benefit from the expertise of Harvard's renowned faculty and access to high-quality learning materials, including engaging video lectures, interactive quizzes, and assignments that reinforce their understanding of key concepts.

8. Coursera - Yale Introduction to Psychology

Cost: Free

Eligibility: Everyone is eligible to take this course

Application Deadline: Rolling basis

Course Dates: 14 hours

The "Introduction to Psychology" course, available on Coursera and developed by Yale University, offers a captivating and comprehensive exploration of the core concepts of psychology. This online course is an excellent starting point for learners seeking to understand the fundamental principles that underpin the science of human behavior and cognition. With a strong emphasis on scientific rigor and critical thinking, the course covers a wide array of topics, including the history of psychology, research methods, neurological processes, social interactions, and psychological disorders. Learners benefit from Yale's distinguished faculty and gain access to a wealth of high-quality learning materials, including video lectures, quizzes, and peer-graded assignments. The flexibility of online learning allows students to progress at their own pace, making it suitable for both newcomers to the field and those looking to expand their knowledge.

9. Edx - American Psychological Association Psychology In Action

Cost: Free without certificate and $348.30 for 3 Courses

Eligibility: Everyone is eligible to take it

Application Deadline: Rolling Basis

Course Dates: Self-Paced

This course package is a highly informative and comprehensive set of courses that provide an in-depth exploration of psychology's practical applications. This package consists of three distinct courses: "Psychology of Everyday Life," "Positive Psychology," and "Clinical Psychology." It is designed to offer learners a well-rounded perspective on the diverse aspects of psychology, from understanding human behavior in daily life to examining the principles of positive psychology and delving into clinical psychology concepts. Each course features engaging content, expert insights, and practical knowledge that empowers students to apply psychological principles to real-world situations. With a focus on research-based approaches and evidence-based practices, the APA-endorsed courses provide valuable insights for those interested in the field of psychology.

10. Coursera - Wesleyan Introduction to Abnormal Psychology

Cost: Free

Eligibility: Everyone is eligible to enroll in this course.

Application Deadline: Rolling Basis

Course Dates: Self-Paced

The "Introduction to Abnormal Psychology" course on Coursera, offered by Wesleyan University, is an exceptional educational opportunity for those interested in the complexities of psychological disorders and mental health. This course provides an in-depth examination of abnormal psychology, focusing on the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of various mental health conditions. Students explore topics like anxiety disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and personality disorders, gaining valuable insights into the spectrum of psychological conditions. Wesleyan's accomplished faculty guides students through engaging video lectures, interactive quizzes, and peer-graded assignments, fostering a comprehensive grasp of the subject. By the course's conclusion, learners are not only well-versed in the concepts and theories of abnormal psychology but also possess a nuanced understanding of the real-world implications for individuals and society. It's an excellent choice for those considering a career in psychology or anyone seeking a deeper understanding of mental health.

When you're thinking about an online psychology course, take a good look at what they're teaching, who's doing the teaching, and whether you need any specific knowledge before jumping in.

One other option - Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you would like to further explore the field of psychology and play a more direct role in research, you should also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Jessica attends Harvard University where she studies Neuroscience and Computer Science as a Coca-Cola, Elks, and Albert Shankar Scholar. She is passionate about educational equity and hopes to one day combine this with her academic interests via social entrepreneurship. Outside of academics, she enjoys taking walks, listening to music, and running her jewelry business!

Image Source: Harvard University seal

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