Psychology Books for College: 9 of the Best Textbooks
Get ready for your return to studying with these great college psychology books.
Or for a little light reading over the summer, here are some great college or university level textbooks to get you in the right frame of mind for studying psychology.
Some are standard course texts, others provide different perspectives that may be useful as you pursue your studies or just learn more about psychology as a general hobby.
The Psychology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been studying psychology at school already or if you are a complete novice, we all need a little refresher course sometime.
So if you only have time to read one book before the new semester starts, make it The Psychology Book. All major concepts and perspectives are covered in enough detail to be useful for students, but this is also an engaging book for those with just an interest in the area.
With visual imagery, step-by-step diagrams and cartoons, it is easier to take on board the ideas described than with a traditional textbook, particularly for visual learners. A well thought-out book, it presents bite sized chunks of information that won’t overwhelm the reader.
Psychology 11th Edition
Psychology 11th edition is a standard course text that is popular in many colleges. It comes with an access card that opens up a host of online extras to enhance your learning, with quizzes, student media resources and much more. An easy-to-use text that breaks down key topics into an understandable format.
It’s worth checking the standard course texts well in advance of your course starting: some are used heavily in lectures and you will struggle without them, other colleges will suggest a couple of different ones for guidance. I would recommend this whether it appears on your list or not.
Complete psychology is the definitive standard text for undergraduates in the UK. It is a great textbook that’s easy to use and is right up to date with the BPS (British Psychological Society) guidelines.
It gives valuable advice on research methods and statistics, which can often be daunting for students without a scientific or mathematical background. The text is concise and waffle-free, and quite simple for those starting out.
But it does cover everything you will need to know. It encourages critical thinking and suggests further resources, which will be valuable as the course progresses. If you are studying in the UK, I would definitely encourage you to get this.
Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology
Research methods are a significant part of any psychology study program and again, it can prove difficult for those not used to designing experiments and using statistics.
The coverage of different statistical tests and how and when to use them is excellent. I personally am not sure I would have passed my course without this book, so check it out here now.
Social Psychology 9th Edition
Social psychology is an important constituent module of any psychology course. It is generally covered in most psychology textbooks to some extent, but social psychology 9th edition is a great read if you require more in-depth information.
Full of review questions and an informal tone, this is a very accessible text. It is equally interesting for personal use as for study.
This 9th edition is right up to date and gives lots of real-life examples and case studies that help give the information context.
Cognitive Psychology: A Student’s Handbook
Widely regarded as the leading undergraduate textbook in cognitive psychology, this is the new 7th edition and the authors continue to bring the latest information and research into the text.
This updated edition includes a new section on computational cognitive science. There are lots of case studies included to put the theories into context, and the key ideas are broken down into “theory”, “evidence” and “evaluation” which really helps to clarify what you are learning.
Cognitive psychology is again a significant part of any course, so this is definitely worth considering.
How to Become a Clinical Psychologist
If you have ambitions of becoming a Clinical psychologist, this is a great little book that will guide you in the right direction.
There are several routes to this career; doing a degree then a PhD. is not the only way forward.
Having this information at this stage may seem premature, but it will help point you in the direction of extra-curricular activities that you will need to do, such as volunteering, as well as discussing research projects and interview techniques which you can make headway into as you progress through the course.
Majoring in Psych? Career Options for Psychology Undergraduates (5th Edition)
If you are taking a psychology course because you love the subject, but aren’t sure what you want to do with your degree, this book takes you through lots of career options. It is full of practical advice and high quality information.
Like the clinical psychology book, it may seem too early to be thinking about what happens after college, but being armed with information early on about what employers expect from you will put you ahead of the game.
Majoring in Psych may also give you career options you didn’t know about, and help you decide what modules to take.
Psych 101: Psychology Facts, Basics, Statistics, Tests, and More!
If your brain is frazzled by page-after-page of complex theories, this light-hearted read will give you a break.
This is a humorous and informal crash course into the application of psychology into everyday life. It still contains a significant amount of useful information, covering most basic concepts, and may prove particularly useful to read before the course commences.
Not a weighty text but an average paperback size, this has been cited as a great read for all, whether studying psychology or merely expressing a passing interest.