Psychology (PSYC) 289

Psychology as a Natural Science (Revision 5)

PSYC 289

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online or grouped study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science. Course can also be used to fulfill Science area of study (credential students only).

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: PSYC 206 (PSYC 289 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for PSYC 206.)

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Psychology home page

PSYC 289 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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This course introduces the broad areas of biological bases of behaviour, sensation and perception, learning and memory, and variations in consciousness. Specific topics covered include the brain, sleep, drugs, altered states of consciousness, touch, taste, smell, hearing, seeing, attention, visual perception, emotion, Pavlovian conditioning, operant conditioning, memory, and hypnosis.


The course consists of eight units of material. The units are composed of the following chapters in the main course text:

  • Unit 1: The Evolution of Psychology: From Speculation to Science
  • Unit 2: The Research Enterprise in Psychology
  • Unit 3: The Biological Bases of Behaviour
  • Unit 4: Sensation and Perception
  • Unit 5: Variations in Consciousness
  • Unit 6: Learning
  • Unit 7: Memory
  • Unit 8: Language and Thought


Your final grade in Psychology 289: Psychology as a Natural Science is determined by your performance on the eight unit quizzes and the final exam. Your score on each of the eight unit quizzes is worth 5%, so 40% of your course grade will depend on your unit quiz grades. The remaining 60% of your course grade will be based on your performance on the final exam. You must achieve a grade of at least 60% on the final exam in order to pass it and receive credit for the course, no matter how good your other marks are. You must also achieve a composite course grade of at least "D" (50 per cent) to pass the course.

In addition to the exam and quizzes, you are also required to either participate in a research project or do the alternative assignment. Research participation and the alternative assignment are graded on a pass/fail basis. You can obtain a pass for this activity simply by finishing it. Students who do not complete the research participation or the alternative activity within their course contract period will fail the course.

8 quizzes (5% each) Final Exam Research participation or alternative Total
40% 60% No credit weight, but required in order to pass course 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Weiten, W., and McCann, D. (2007). Psychology: Themes and Variations (First Canadian ed.). Toronto: Thomson Canada.

Other materials

All other materials, including the student manual, study guide, and quizzes, will be available to students online.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the PSYC 289 challenge registration, you must write the examination alone, worth 100% of your final grade, and you must achieve a grade of at least "C-" (60 per cent) or more on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 5, April 8, 2008.

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