Online Graduate Psychology Preparatory Courses

Including William James College pre-requisite coursework for the Clinical Psychology PsyD Program

The Graduate Psychology Preparatory courses are offered entirely online with rolling enrollment. Please refer to the FAQ's below for more information. If you have any questions about the course format, please contact Jenny Hopf at


Applications are now being accepted for all three courses listed below. Start dates are offered almost every Monday, following the acceptance of your registration form. Please be sure to indicate on your registration form your Monday start date preference. We will do our best to accommodate all starts date requests.

Please click here to download the application (pdf) form.

Courses Offered

PY500 - Abnormal Psychology

This course presents a broad overview of the realm of abnormal psychology. Students will examine and review critically the cultural construction of mental health and illness, the history of psychiatric diagnosis, and the major historical and contemporary theoretical perspectives regarding the diagnosis, causes, and treatment of abnormal behavior. The course also introduces students to the major categories of child and adult mental disorders and the current North American system of psychiatric classification and nomenclature as illustrated in the most current edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V). 

This course fulfills the Abnormal Psychology pre-requisite for our PsyD Clinical program.

Instructor: Caroline Miller, PsyD
Course Textbook: Kring A,M., Johnson, S.L., Davison, G.C., & Neale, J.M. (2014). Abnormal Psychology, (12th Ed-DSM-5 Update). New York: Wiley. ISBN#: 9781118640883

PY501 - Developmental Psychology

This course offers an exploration of a person's development throughout the lifespan. This exploration plays particular attention to the wide variety of the human experience and to cultural variations. A developmental perspective tracks neurobiological, cognitive, affective, psychomotor and intra an interpersonal features of human growth. Key models of development representing psychodynamic, structural, behavioral and cognitive schools of thought will be reviewed as well as current trends in developmental research.

This course fulfills the Developmental Psychology pre-requisite for our PsyD Clinical program.

Instructor: Ronda Goodale, PhD
Course Textbook: Feldman, Robert (2018). Discovering the Life Span. 4th Edition.

PY502 - Theories of Personality

This course introduces the student to the concept and study of human personality and presents a survey and critical review of the major theories in the field, including their historical bases, core tenets and concepts, strengths, weaknesses, current status, and major applications. Among the approaches covered are the psychodynamic, interpersonal, social, behavioral, humanistic, biological, and evolutionary.

This course fulfills the Personality Theories pre-requisite for our PsyD Clinical program.

Instructor: Aimee Yermish, PsyD
Course Textbook: Sollod, R.N., Wilson, J.P., & Monte, C.F. (2009). Beneath the mask: An introduction to theories of personality. New York: Wiley. ISBN#: 978-0-471-72412-4

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does each course cost

 Each 3 credit course costs $500/credit + $50 student services fee, totaling $1550. Students who take more than one course at a time only pay one $50 student services fee per term.

Do these courses fulfill the pre-requisites listed on the PsyD application

 Yes! Several courses serve as pre-requisites for our PsyD in Clinical Psychology program.

Are the courses transferrable into any of the WJC programs

 No. Courses cannot be transferred into a William James College program, however they may be transferable to other institutions. Please contact the institution for their specific transfer policy.

How long does it take to complete a course

 Each course is 8 weeks long, and is broken up into 8 weekly modules. Students are expected to complete one module a week, for a total of 8 weeks.

Can I participate in the course at any time

Our Graduate Psychology Preparatory Courses are offered in an asynchronous format which means you can complete most of the course requirements at your own pace, provided you meet the weekly deadlines. For each week/module there will be several activities including readings, video lectures and assignments. Readings and lectures can be completed at any time during the week, however assignments must be turned in by the weekly deadline. A typical course calendar can be found below:

Dates indicate final deadlines. Early submissions are acceptable
Light Yellow = student due-date
Dark Yellow = instructor due-date

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 Course Opens     Discussion 1 Post Due     Assessment 1 Due
2 Discussion 1 Instructor Response   Assessment 1 Returned Discussion 2 Post Due     Assessment 2 Due
3 Discussion 2 Instructor Response     Discussion 3 Post Due   Assessment 2 Returned Assessment 3 Due
4 Discussion 3 Instructor Response     Discussion 4 Post Due   Assessment 3 Returned Assessment 4 Due
5 Discussion 4 Instructor Response     Discussion 5 Post Due   Assessment 4 Returned Assessment 5 Due
6 Discussion 5 Instructor Response     Discussion 6 Post Due   Assessment 5 Returned Assessment 6 Due
7 Discussion 6 Instructor Response     Discussion 7 Post Due   Assessment 6 Returned Assessment 7 Due
8 Discussion 7 Instructor Response     Discussion 8 Post Due   Assessment 7 Returned Assessment 8 Due
Course Evaluations Due
9 Discussion 8 Instructor Response         Assessment 8 Returned Last Day of Course
10             Final Grades Due
How often are courses offered

 The GPPC courses have an open and rolling registration with a start date every Monday. For applications received on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, students will most likely be able to start the course that Monday. For applications received on a Thursday or Friday, students will likely be enrolled for the following Monday. Upon receipt of your completed registration form, someone from the EdTech department will contact you regarding your course start date.

Will I be taking the online course with other students

 Since the GPPC courses are self-paced, you will not likely be a part of an online cohort of students. Instead you will have frequent interaction with your course instructor as well as guided interaction with the course material. If another student enrolls at the same time you do, there may be an opportunity for peer to peer collaboration. This will be determined by the course instructor.

Is there a limit to how many students can enroll in course

 Courses are limited to 10 students at a time, so that instructors can provide frequent interaction and ample feedback for each student. If a course meets maximum enrollment, applicants will be placed on a waitlist in the order in which they applied. Waitlist times will vary depending on the time of year, however it may be as short as one week.

What is your refund policy

 If you submit a withdraw request before your scheduled start date, a full refund will be issued. Please note however that no refund can be issued after a student has opened the online course.

Do I have to be tech savvy in order to be successful in a GPPC course

We design our online courses to be accessible to students even with the most limited of technological knowledge. However, to be successful in any online course, including the ones we offer here at William James College, basic computer literacy is required.

Since we know our students come from varied backgrounds, educations, and technological abilities, we have created a list to give you an idea of the technology abilities expected of our CE students. This is not a comprehensive list nor will you necessarily be using these specific skills in your CE course; however, the examples will give you a sense of the type of technology skills needed to succeed.

Here are some examples of things that people with basic computer literacy can do:

  •    copy and paste
  •    write and send e-mails, including with attachments
  •    refresh a webpage
  •    open a new browser tab or window
  •    download and save a file to your computer
  •    use a search engine
  •    basic word processing skills, including changing fonts

Having the right skills for an online program is important but equally essential is to meet the minimum technical requirements. Click here to see what we currently suggest

I have never taken and online course before - Is this the right format for me

 William James College's online courses are just as rigorous and engaging as the face-to-face courses, however the self-paced and intensive format may not be conducive to all learning styles. Please check out the quiz found below to see if online learning is right for you!

Distance Learning Readiness Quiz

Distance learning courses at William James College allow students to learn with great flexibility. Our online programs offer courses that can be taken "anytime/anywhere" as long as students meet the weekly deadlines. This type of learning environment is essential for students who work full time, have family obligations, or for various other reasons cannot come to campus to learn. It is important to note, however, that with great learning flexibility comes additional responsibility. To be a successful distance learner, students should be aware of the unique learning styles and techniques that are essential in an online course.

This short quiz addresses some of these characteristics, and will allow you to better evaluate if distance learning at William James College is right for you. Please write down your responses to each of the 10 questions.

QUESTIONS: Please write down your responses to each of the 10 questions.

  1. I believe that distance education courses require the same, if not more, of a time commitment than face-to-face courses.
    1. Agree
    2. Unsure
    3. Disagree
  2. I am willing to share and use my own experiences as part of the learning process.
    1. Agree
    2. Unsure
    3. Disagree
  3. I feel comfortable communicating my thoughts and reflections through writing.
    1. Agree
    2. Unsure
    3. Disagree
  4. I would characterize myself as someone who:
    1. Often gets things done ahead of time
    2. Needs reminding to get things done on time
    3. Puts things off until the last minute
  5. On a typical week, I can set aside 6-10 hours to commit to school work.
    1. Agree
    2. Unsure
    3. Disagree
  6. I would characterize myself as someone who is self-motivated.
    1. Agree
    2. Unsure
    3. Disagree
  7. When it comes to trying new technology, I feel:
    1. Comfortable
    2. Not 100% comfortable, but willing to learn
    3. Not comfortable
  8. Feeling that I am a part of a learning cohort is:
    1. Not particularly necessary to me
    2. Somewhat important to me
    3. Very important to me
  9. In order to feel confident in my work, I need instructor feedback:
    1. Within a few weeks so I can review what I did
    2. Within a few days or I forget what I did
    3. Right away or I get very frustrated.
  10. When reading instructional text:
    1. I usually understand it right away
    2. It might take me a few attempts to fully understand it
    3. I have trouble understanding written instructions

RESULTS: Please add up the number of A's, B's and C's you selected.

If you have mostly A's:Your results indicate that you may be a self-motivated and independent learner, who is comfortable learning in an online environment. We encourage you to apply to one of our distance education programs.

If you have mostly B's:You may be a successful online student but we recommend that you make a few adjustments in your schedule and study habits in order to be most successful. Online courses take at least as much time and effort and in some cases more time than traditional face-to-face courses. They also require a basic knowledge and comfort level with technology.

If you have mostly C's:Your results indicate that distance education courses may not be currently the best choice for you. While we do not discourage you from applying to one of our distance education programs, we recommend doing a little more research on what makes a successful online student, and adjust your schedule and study habits accordingly.