I’ve compiled a reading list based on the books I acquired during my undergraduate and graduate psychology programs. I’ve not listed the year I took the course because, with the exception of Introduction to Psychology being required first year and History and Systems being required in our last year (History and Systems was supposed to serve as a GRE study aid), the order of the courses were very flexible. Although there were some topics that were more likely to be taken in the second or third year, that was primarily due to how the instructor had structured the course; courses with more rigorous writing or exam requirements were reserved for later years. Because you will be conducting a self-study, you should generally be able to read/explore these topics in the order that you want.
Also, please note that all programs have a range of elective topics and areas of concentration that will vary. Finally, these books were all sufficient textbooks but are not the only option. In my experience, if you look at the top three psychology textbooks on Amazon for a given topic (e.g., social psychology) they will generally cover the same information and should meet your needs. I recommend using this list as a starting place to develop a list of psychology topics, rather than a strict list of books. You can read textbook reviews or consumer feedback and determine which book you prefer for a given topic. I have listed the most recent editions for the books that I used, but for most topics (except perhaps the neuropsychology books and abnormal [due to DSM-5]) you could safely use older editions dating back ten years.
Introduction to Psychology: This will provide you with an introductory overview of the field, including major theories and areas of psychology. The areas listed in this book (biological psychology, sensation and perception, consciousness, learning, memory, thinking/language/intelligence, motivation and emotion, lifespan development, human sexuality, personality, social psychology, and abnormal psychology) make up the core classes that were part of my undergraduate program.
- Hockenbury, D. H., & Hockenbury, S. E. (2012). Psychology. Worth
Publishers. ISBN: 1429243678
Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2001). Abnormal Psychology. McGraw Hill. ISBN:
Barlow, D., & Durand, V. (2014). Abnormal psychology: An integrative
approach. Cengage Learning. ISBN: 1285755618
Halgin, R. P. (Ed.). (2000). Taking sides: Clashing views on
controversial issues in abnormal psychology. Dushkin/McGraw-Hill.
- Brehm, S. S., Kassin, S. M., & Fein, S. (2001). Social Psychology.
Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN: 0-618-12964-2
Kalat, J. (2012). Biological psychology. Cengage Learning. ISBN:
Kolb, B., & Whishaw, I. Q. (2009). Fundamentals of human
neuropsychology. Macmillan. ISBN: 0716795868
Sensation and Perception: Neuropsychology specific to the five senses
- Goldstein, E. (2013). Sensation and perception. Cengage Learning.
Lifespan Development: The psychology of cognitive, emotional, and social development from birth to death.
Berger, K. S. (2003). The developing person through childhood and
adolescence. Macmillan. ISBN: 1-57259-429-2
Berk, L. (2013). Development through the lifespan. Pearson Education
India. ISBN: 0205957609
History and Systems of Psychology: While Intro to Psych will provide an overview of major areas and disciplines of psychology, this will provide a better sense of the development of psychology as a field and origin of different branches of psychology.
- Thorne, B. M., & Henley, T. B. (1997). Connections in the history and
systems of psychology. Houghton, Mifflin and Company. ISBN:
Behavior Therapy/Learning: This was an undergraduate introduction to classic learning theory and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Powell, R., Honey, P., & Symbaluk, D. (2012). Introduction to
learning and behavior. Cengage Learning. ISBN: 111183430X
Spiegler, M., & Guevremont, D. (2009). Contemporary behavior therapy.
Cengage Learning. ISBN: 049550906X
Seligman, M. (1975). Helplessness: On depression, development, and
death. A series of books in psychology. New York, NY: WH
Freeman/Times Books/Henry Holt & Co. ISBN: 0-7167-0752-7
- Miracle, T. S., Miracle, A. W., & Baumeister, R. F. (2003). Human
sexuality: Meeting your basic needs. Prentice Hall. ISBN:
Research Methods and Statistics: Included here because it is required in most programs, though it may not be of interest to you.
Smith, R., & Davis, S. (2012). The psychologist as detective: An
introduction to conducting research in psychology. ISBN: 0205859070
Gravetter, F., & Wallnau, L. (2006). Statistics for the behavioral
sciences. Cengage Learning. ISBN: 0-495-60220-5
My graduate work focused on clinical psychology and research, which this reading list reflects:
- Sansone, C., Morf, C. C., & Panter, A. T. (Eds.). (2003). The Sage
handbook of methods in social psychology. Sage Publications. ISBN:
- Knapp, S. J., & VandeCreek, L. D. (2006). Practical ethics for
psychologists: A positive approach. American Psychological
Association. ISBN: 1-59147-326-8
- Egan, G. (2013). The skilled helper: A problem-management and
opportunity-development approach to helping. Cengage Learning. ISBN:
- Dobson, K. S. (Ed.). (2009). Handbook of cognitive-behavioral
therapies. Guilford Press. ISBN: 978-1-60623-437-2
- Beck, J. S. (2011). Cognitive behavior therapy: Basics and beyond.
Guilford Press. ISBN: 978-1-60918-504-6
- Corrigan, P. W., Mueser, K. T., Bond, G. R., Drake, R. E., & Solomon,
P. (2012). Principles and practice of psychiatric rehabilitation: An
empirical approach. Guilford Press. ISBN: 978-1-60623-344-3
- Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2012). Counseling the culturally diverse:
Theory and practice. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN: 978-0-470-08632-2