Are you a Psychology major in need of some guidance? Or perhaps, you're a student from another faculty looking for a great elective? No matter what your degree or academic background, these four Psychology courses at McGill are a great start! I have personally taken all of them, so I can attest to how fun and interesting the courses and their professors truly are. Log onto Minerva and register ASAP.

1. Social Psychology (PSYC 215)

Social Psychology has been taught by multiple professors at McGill and is offered to students in a variety of programs. For someone who knows very little about psychology, the Social Psychology course offers a great overview of topics that have to do with how we interact with one another. This course is great because not only does it help you to understand why others may act in a certain way, but it also gives you some insight into your own conscious and subconscious beliefs and attitudes, and how others may influence them. The course covers a variety of topics, including self-presentation, social influence and conformity, prejudice and stereotype threat, and subjective well being.

2. Psychology of Pain (PSYC 302)

This is a unique course offered by McGill and taught by Jeffrey Mogil, an excellent teacher and an expert on pain research. Although offered as part of the psychology department, this course is most comprehensive for individuals with a scientific background. In the Psychology of Pain course, you will learn about the history of pain from cultural, psychological, and physiological perspectives. Additionally, the course covers recent research and theories on pain, how we feel it, and why it can differ between individuals. You will also learn about acute and chronic pain, and how it can be managed with various medications and other non-pharmacological methods.

3. Human Motivation (PSYC 471)

The Human Motivation course taught by Richard Koestner is hands down the best class I have taken in all my years of university. The course focuses on recent goal and need-based theories of human motivation, but Koestner teaches in a unique, humorous way that makes each topic personally relevant to his students. The material is split into three main sections focusing on different aspects of human motivation. In the first section, Koestner discusses how to succeed in reaching your personal goals, followed by becoming an expert in a field you are passionate about, and ending with a discussion on how to motivate others. The course covers Baumeister’s theory of self-regulation, Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory, and theories of intrinsic motivation and internalization. Koestner organizes each class with a specific question related to motivation, including why we fail at New Year’s resolutions, why we persist in unrequited love, if Tiger Woods succeeds due to practice or intrinsic talent, and why Finnish children flourish in school.

4. Introduction to Personality (PSYC 332)

Richard Koestner also teaches the Introduction to Personality course at McGill, using an equally humorous and interesting style. The main topics are also split into three main sections. The first part of the course focuses on the big five personality traits that we can use to describe individuals, their limitations, and their stability over our lifetime. Koestner then discusses the three big motivations that drive us to behave in certain ways, and finally, how these make up our life stories. The course also covers different theories of personality by Freud, Rogers, Bandura, and Erikson. This course is also a must-take for fans of television show The Office, as Koestner often shares video clips in class, modeling different personality theories and concepts on characters in the show.

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