PSYC 340

Understanding Death and Dying

4 Undergraduate credits
Effective March 12, 1996 – Present

Graduation requirements this course fulfills

This course examines the many meanings death has for individuals. Its goals are to convey information, stimulate thought and promote a deeper awareness of this subject through readings from literature (fiction, poetry and essays) and humanistic psychology. Topics include death as an idea, death anxiety, children and death, the dying process, grief and loss, death metaphors, suicide, and longevity, survival and immortality.


Learning outcomes


  • Evaluation of the perspective will be made by analyzing historical work in literature, philosophy and religion
  • Students will evaluate the historical perspective of death and dying as well as social and cultural similarities and differences within these topics
  • Students will learn the approaches to the study of death and dying
  • The psychological perspective will be compared to other approaches to these topics

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 5: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
  • Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
  • Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.