Psychology 646

PSYC 646: Psychology of Death and Dying

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Credit Hours: (3)

Course provides student with a broad introduction to the field of thanatology, while considering the influence of death and its associated psychological effects on human behavior. Death-related variables such as socio-cultural forces, life-threatening illness, medical ethics, grief and bereavement, funerals, etc. will be evaluated as their contributions to the development of individual differences across the lifespan.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Topics to be addressed include the following:

1. Death and society
2. Cultural and historical views of death
3. Death in the lives of adults
4. Death in the live of children
5. The law and death
6. Funerals
7. Terminal or chronic illnesses
8. Grief and bereavement
10. Suicide
11. Disenfranchised losses such as pet loss, job loss, miscarriage, infertility, adoption, etc.


Detailed Description of Course

A lecture format supplemented by textbook readings, group discussion experiential in-class activities, videotapes, guest speakers, and field trips, is utilized to promote student learning.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Students will develop a broad knowledge base regarding the field of death and dying in present day society as well gaining a deeper understanding of their own death related attitudes and beliefs. Primary course objective is to foster insight into the process of loss as a developmentally natural part of the human experiences.


Assessment Measures

Graded assignments include a weekly journal entry, in class exams, a final examination, written research paper, and class preparation and participation.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

January 1999 Course number change 562 to 646