UMOnline Offers NEW Psychology of Pandemic Course

Artistic visual representation of diverse people coping with COVID-19. One coughs, one is wearing a mask, etc.

Psychology of the Pandemic is a brand new fully online, self-paced, non-credit course where prospective students from all walks of life will have the opportunity to dive into the ongoing race to understand the COVID-19 virus and its impacts on our world. The course is led by professors Dr. Bryan Cochran, Ph.D and Dr. Rachel Severson, Ph.D, in partnership with many other professional contributors across campus and beyond, making this unique course unlike any other. 

Dr. Bryan Cochran, Ph.D.  Dr. Cochran is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Montana and is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Montana. He received his doctoral degree at the University of Washington in 2003, with a focus on the mental health of marginalized populations (specifically, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other sexual and gender minorities, or LGBTIQ+ individuals). His current research expands on LGBTIQ+ populations, as well as on opioid use disorders and other substance use disorders (SUDs). 

Dr. Rachel Severson, Ph.D.  Dr. Severson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at University of Montana. She directs the UM Minds Lab, where she and her research team investigate how children attribute minds and internal states to human and non-human others (non-human animals, inanimate nature, and personified technologies, such as robots) and the social and moral consequences of doing so. She also directs the UM Living Lab, located in the new Missoula Public Library, to engage the public with research conducted at University of Montana. Dr. Severson received a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Washington. Prior to joining the faculty at University of Montana, she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of British Columbia and a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Oslo.

Faculty, graduate students, and affiliates of the University of Montana Department of Psychology have contributed to this course to explain human behavior in the context of the pandemic, including:

  • Dr. Jacqueline Brown, Ph.D., Associate Professor of School Psychology, UM Department of Psychology
  • Linus Chan, M.A., Doctoral Student in Social Psychology, UM Department of Psychology
  • Dr. Bryan Cochran, Ph.D., Professor of Clinical Psychology, UM Department of Psychology
  • Dr. Luke Conway, Ph.D., Professor of Social Psychology, UM Department of Psychology
  • Dr. Dan Denis, Ph.D., Professor of Quantitative Psychology, UM Department of Psychology
  • Dr. Robert Fischer, Scientist, Laboratory of Virology, Rocky Mountain Labs, National Institutes of Health
  • Dr. Desiree Fox, Ph.D., Indian Health Service, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
  • Dr. Anisa Goforth, Ph.D., Associate Professor of School Psychology, UM Department of Psychology 
  • Dr. Ciara Hansen, Ph.D., Indian Health Service, New Mexico
  • Emily Hicks, M.S., Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology, UM Department of Psychology
  • Dr. Nathan Insel, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, UM Department of Psychology
  • Kelley Jansen, M.S., M.A.C., Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology, UM Department of Psychology
  • Jenny Rotzal, M.S.Ed., Doctoral Student in School Psychology, UM Department of Psychology
  • Dr. Rachel Severson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology, UM Department of Psychology
  • Amy Allison Thompson, M.S.W., Executive Director, The Poverello Center (interviewed by Dr. Bryan Cochran)
  • Nora Uhrich, M.A., Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology, UM Department of Psychology
    Amy Violante, Doctoral Student in School Psychology, UM Department of Psychology

In this course students will explore how human behavior impacts the pandemic, and the interface between the virus and the societies in which we live. Packed with informational videos, interviews and links - students will explore some of the key lingering questions about the pandemic from a psychological perspective.

Though offered as a non-credit, this course is designed to meet 6 hours of Continuing Education credits for Montana's Board of Behavioral Health and Board of Psychologists. For specific situations and other disciplines, continuing education (CE) guidelines can vary. Students are recommended to check with their respective boards for clarification and approval on a case-by-case basis.

As mentioned, the course covers many topics regarding COVID-19, but an array of them can fall within the following categories: Children, Youth and the Pandemic; Mental Health; Disproportionate Impacts on Specific Populations; Fallout (Politics, Loneliness and Grief); Coping, Resilience and Health; and Finally - Vaccines, Variants and Understanding Pandemics. Within each of these themes, students will dive into deep analysis and common questions that are currently being sought.

This course is open registration, meaning students can begin the course anytime starting February 8, 2021. Students can visit the course informational web page for a more in-depth perspective on the course, or register online.