Psychology (PSYC) 402

Biological Psychology (Revision 7)

PSYC 402 Course Cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online  (with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

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

Prerequisite: A senior high school level biology course (or an introductory university biology course) and a course in introductory psychology (or animal behaviour) are strongly recommended.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Psychology home page

PSYC 402 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Psychology 402 examines the relationship between the brain and behaviour. The course explores the biological basis of behaviour, learning, memory, language, and thinking, as well as disorders that arise from malfunctions of the nervous system.


  • Unit 1: Nerve Cells and Nerve Impulses
  • Unit 2: Synapses
  • Unit 3: Anatomy and Research Methods
  • Unit 4: Genetics, Evolution, Development and Plasticity
  • Unit 5: Vision
  • Unit 6: The Other Sensory Systems
  • Unit 7: Movement
  • Unit 8: Wakefulness and Sleep
  • Unit 9: Internal Regulation
  • Unit 10: Reproductive Behaviours
  • Unit 11: Emotional Behaviours
  • Unit 12: The Biology of Learning and Memory
  • Unit 13: Cognitive Functions
  • Unit 14: Psychological Disorders


To receive credit for PSYC 402, you must complete all of the course assignments, achieve a mark of at least 50 percent on the final examination, and at least D (50 percent) for the course composite grade. The weighting of assignments is as follows:

Activity Weighting
5 Quizzes 25%
Term Paper 35%
Final Exam 40%
Total 100%

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

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Kalat, J. W. (2016). Biological Psychology (12th ed.). Boston: Cengage.

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Other Resources

The online course materials include a student manual, workbook, and study guide. These can be accessed from the Moodle course page.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you 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 about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the PSYC 402 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) 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 7, September 6, 2017.

View previous syllabus