50 Free Open Courseware Classes About Psychology and the Human Brain

Psychology is the science that deals with behavior and mental processes, and professionals who work in the field research and study in order to better understand the role of mental functions and how they affect social behavior. It is a complex field that encompasses many branches, from developmental, gender and race, social, abnormal and even more specialties.

This study can often overlap with counseling, as both professions deal with studying different mental processes, brain functions, and how emotional and mental disorders affect the lives and behaviors of the patients they work with. If you’re interested in psychology, counseling or studying the functions of the human brain, there are many free courses you can take to get a better idea of which specialty most interests you and which direction to take in furthering your education.

General Psychology Courses


  1. Introduction to Psychology: MIT offers this basic course on mental life and human behavior.
  2. A Clinical Approach to the Human Brain: Learn about how the human brain works.
  3. Foundations of Cognition: Learn about cognitive science, which is a basic part of psychology.
  4. SALMON Psychology: This group of courses looks at basic psychology and the brain.
  5. Introduction to Personality Psychology: The University of Michigan offers this look at personal psychology.
  6. Psychology in the 21st century: The Open University offers this basic look at psychology today.

Brain Health and Neuroscience


  1. Cognitive Neuroscience: Learn the foundation of good neuroscience and psychology from this UC Berkeley course.
  2. Neuroscience and Behavior: Find out how the structure and function of your brain affects your behavior.
  3. Celleular Neurophysiology: Get an idea of how your brain is set up on a cellular level.
  4. Brain Laboratory: Learn about the brain, and study experiments involving brain tissue.
  5. Sensation and Perception: Focus on how the brain interprets information.
  6. Biochemistry and Pharmacology of Synaptic Transmission: Learn how different substances interact with the brain for different outcomes.
  7. Computational Neuroscience: Korea University offers a loo at how the set-up of the brain is inspiring computers based on biophysical models.

Developmental Psychology

Child psychology

  1. Developmental Neurobiology: MIT offers a course on how neurobiology develops, and influences how your mind works.
  2. Developmental Psychology: UC Berkeley provides insight into psychological development.
  3. Early Childhood Development: Early Learning, the Brain and Society: Find out about how children learn in the early formative years.
  4. Human Memory and Learning: Discover how the brain works to create memories and how it learns.
  5. Play, learning and the brain: Learn about how play is important to psychological development.
  6. Human Growth and Development: Tufts University offers a chance for you to learn about humans develop language, emotion and other attributes.

Gender and Race Psychology


  1. Psychology of Gender: MIT explores how gender affects psychology — and how psychology affects gender.
  2. Gender, Sexuality, and Society: Consider how different norms develop, and how we view gender as a society.
  3. Women’s and Gender Studies: Look at the development of female psychology, and explore gender.
  4. Masculinity, Sexual Behavior & Health: Get inside the psychological basis for masculinity with Johns Hopkins University.
  5. Race and Gender in Asian America: A study of how race and gender affect Asians in the U.S.
  6. Ethnicity and Race in World Politics: Learn about how our perception of ethnicity and race shape politics and how we think about others.
  7. Gender and Race, Work, and Public Policy: Looks at how public policy is developed in terms of what we know about gender and race.

Social Psychology


  1. Introduction to Social Psychology: Notre Dame offers a basic look at social psychology.
  2. Social Psychology: MIT offers theory and practice involved with social psychology.
  3. Social Attitudes and Public Opinion: Learn about how public opinion is influenced by social attitudes and psychology.
  4. Substance Abuse and the Family: UMass Boston provides a look at the social consequences of substance abuse in a family unit.
  5. Social and Behavioral Foundations of Primary Health Care: Studies the relationship between social psychology and how we handle health care.
  6. Behavioral Economics and Finance: Consider how social psychology affects economics.
  7. Relational Machines: This is an interesting class in which social psychology intersects with robotics and media.

Abnormal Psychology

Brain Scan

  1. Introduction to Abnormal Psychology: The College of Eastern Utah offers a course on the basics of abnormal psychology.
  2. Abnormal Language: Look at language development, and how it is affected by the breakdown of brain function.
  3. Understanding dyslexia: An overview of how dyslexia works in the brain.
  4. Cognitive Clinical Psychology: The University of Tokyo includes information on abnormal psychology, and how to treat these conditions.
  5. The autistic spectrum: from theory to practice: Learn about autism, and how it is diagnosed, and how it affects brain psychology.
  6. Parkinson’s Disease Workshop: Learn about how Parkinson’s affects psychology and the function of the brain.


Freud's Sofa

  1. Challenging ideas in mental health: The Open University provides an overview of mental health aimed at counseling practice.
  2. Marriage and Family Relationships: Utah State University offers a helpful look at marriage and family counseling.
  3. Introduction to Mental Health and Disaster Preparedness: How you can be a better counselor in times of disaster.
  4. Coping with Mental Illness and Crafting Public Policy: Learn how to counsel those with mental illness, and how it affects society.
  5. Contemporary Biosocial Problems in America: Tufts University offers this course on how to help patients deal with biosocial problems.

Specialty Areas in Psychology


  1. Managerial Psychology Laboratory: Learn about business psychology from MIT.
  2. Environment and Society: Learn about environmental psychology and how society interacts with the environment.
  3. Ethical Issues in Public Health: Study ethics and public health, and learn about health psychology.
  4. Anthropology of Religion: Look at religious development over time, and learn about the psychology of religion from Utah State University.
  5. Evolutionary Psychology: Study how our brains and perception have evolved.
  6. Topics in Brain and Cognitive Sciences Human Ethology: The study of the psychology of animals, including the human mammal.