Online course - History of Psychology

History of Psychology Online

Presented by the Center for the History of Psychology
The University of Akron


Introductory psychology


This course, taught by Dr. David Baker, Margaret Clark Morgan Executive Director of the Center for the History of Psychology and professor of psychology, is designed to provide an introduction and overview of the historical development of the science and practice of psychology. Ever-increasing specialization within the field often makes it difficult to discern the common roots from which the field of psychology has evolved. We will examine this “shared past”, which among other things, will provide a context for understanding the intellectual history of psychology and how it developed into the discipline we know today. This will be accomplished through

  • Readings
  • Online modules
  • Writing assignments
  • Online discussions

Course materials are accessed online and all assignments are submitted online.

The course is richly supported with original source materials from the holdings of the Center for the History of Psychology.

Course Content

  1. Introducing psychology’s history
  2. The philosophical context
  3. The physiological context: Early research on the nervous system
  4. Wundt and German psychology
  5. Darwin’s century: Evolutionary thinking
  6. American pioneers
  7. Structuralism and functionalism
  8. Applying the new psychology
  9. Gestalt psychology
  10. The origins of behaviorism
  11. The evolution of behaviorism
  12. Mental illness and its treatment
  13. Psychology’s practitioners
  14. Psychological science in the post war era
  15. Linking psychology’s past and present


Goodwin, C. J.  (2012, 4th ed.). A History of Modern Psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

(Can be purchased as an E-book for much less than print)


Available on request.