PSYC 320 (6 cr): Psychology of Gender

PSYC 320

Course Outline

  • Journalling
  • Teleconferences
  • Discussion Forums
  • Two Group Activities
  • Final examination

Course Description

Student Profile

Stephanie Bertrand-Nicoll, 4th year Linguistics Major

Stephanie Bertrand-Nicoll

“I’m not always brave enough to participate in class on campus, but it’s really easy to participate via the [online] forums. The teleconference presentations are much less intimidating than in-class presentations!”

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Whether students are beginning their exploration of gender for the first time or are already well acquainted with the possible influences of gender, they will find this course offers a balanced and academically strong examination of current issues in the psychology of gender. In addition to this strong academic approach, however, students will take the courageous — and often times very rewarding– step of examining their own lives for evidence of gender socialization. For not until gender research, theory, and statistics are personalized and “grounded” in students’ everyday lives can they meaningfully understand the obvious and subtle aspects of gender socialization. To facilitate this “grounding” process, as well as integration of self into society, the course is offered in a seminar style, with ongoing online discussions. Students will have the opportunity to explore a wide and “spicy” variety of topics, as well as, have the opportunity to critique the very enterprise of gender study itself.

NOTE: Psychology of Gender is an on-line course. The use of a computer and internet connection are essential.

Intended Audience

Psychology 320 explores the meaning and influence of gender on every aspect of life. In addition to Psychology majors, this course, therefore, should be of interest to Sociology, Education, Health Sciences, Nursing, and Women’s Studies students, as well as anyone interested in understanding the role gender plays in influencing men and women.

Click here for Student Testimonials.

Course Overview

This course has been organized into three units.

Unit 1 – The Foundations for the Study of Gender

Students explore the meaning of gender and why it is important for us to place it under close scrutiny. Students will cover the following topics: distinguishing gender from sex; biology vs. socialization; gender-relevance in science and research; objective vs. subjective ways of inquiry; becoming gendered and doing gender; theories of gender socialization; femininity, masculinity, and androgyny.

Unit 2 – Weaving the Tapestry of Gender

Students explore specific topics known to be gender relevant. These topics include: agents of gender socialization; sexuality and relationships; pro-social and emotional behavior; parenting and reproductive issues; work and achievement; cognitive abilities; physical and mental health and vulnerability; aggression and abuse of power.

Unit 3 – Connections and Future Directions

Students will tie all the previously presented evidence together to explore how the personal becomes political with regards to gender, that is, how gender issues do not only affect us on a personal level, but influence societal structures, laws and policies. In addition, students, in small groups, will choose one issue they would like to explore from a list of currently relevant gender topics. Each group will research and present on their chosen issue. And finally, students will read about and make their own suggestions for future directions for the study of gender.

Requirements and Activities

In this course, students will have required readings, a final multiple choice exam, and several introspective and interactive activities designed to assist students’ self-examination of how gender has influenced their own development, beliefs, and behaviours. The emphasis in these activities is on qualitative exploration. In particular:

  1. Students are required to keep a journal (of 6 entries, submitted in three intervals throughout the course), chronicling their thoughts on how gender influences/influenced their own life;
  2. Students will participate in on-line discussion forums, as well as two time specific group activities; and
  3. Students are required to participate in a minimum of four one-hour long telephone conferences, and make one 10-minute presentation at one of those conferences.


Three Journal submissions – 6 entries total 20%
Two group activities (10%; 15%) 25%
Teleconference participation (minimum of four) 10%
Teleconference presentation 5%
Participation in discussion forums 10%
Final examination (60 multiple choice questions) 30%
Total: 100%

Learning Resources

The materials for this course consist of the PSYC 320 website (which contains the course contents, website activities and assignments) and the textbooks as listed below.

Required Textbooks:

Caplan, P.J., & Caplan, J.B. (2008). Thinking Critically about Research on Sex and Gender (3rd ed.). Allyn & Bacon. ISBN: 9780205579884

Unger, R., & Crawford, M. (2004). Women and gender: A feminist psychology (4th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 9780072821079

Kilmartin, C. (2007). The Masculine Self (3rd ed.). Sloan Publishing. ISBN: 9781597380058

PSYC320 Textbook Order Form

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