Kathryn Stanley, Ph.D., Chair of the Organizational and Leadership Psychology Department at William James College, joins us today to discuss their online Master’s in Organizational Psychology program.
1. Can you tell us about your online master’s program(s) offered at William James College?
The Masters of Organizational Psychology Program began in the Fall of 2008. We graduated our first cohort the Spring of 2009. I have been teaching in the program since then and over the years designed the curriculum and the courses. I pulled the content from my own doctoral level training as an organizational psychologist and from two decades of working in client systems as an internal and external organizational development practitioner.
This applied focus ensures that we are not teaching theory for theory sake. A comment I hear frequently from our students working in the field is, “I learned this last night and was able to apply it today at work.” This is the point – to teach what matters and is relevant so that our graduates go away with not only a full tool kit but mental models and ways of thinking and being that allow them to apply their tools to a diverse set of organizational circumstances.
2. How long does a typical master’s program take at William James College? What is the maximum and minimum time of completion?
MAOP is an accelerated, highly interactive and outcome oriented program where students attain their 30 credit masters’ degree in 11 months for full time and two years for part time.
3. What do you think makes William James College online Master’s in Organizational Psychology program stand out from other programs offered by similar schools?
Five things really differentiate our program from others out there:
- The use of problem based experiential learning ensures that every theory and model our students are introduced to they can also apply to real world organizational systems.
- Our Scholar/Practitioner faculty are able to speak about the field, theory, tools, and career paths for our students because they are all actively practicing organizational psychology as leaders or consultants. This is helpful to our students’ learning but also for career development.
- Our students leave the program with an in-depth application of the psychology of human systems. It allows them to decode the hidden dynamics on teams and assess, diagnose and consult at the individual, team, and enterprise level.
- Our thriving Alumni network called the Alumni Alliance provides current students and our graduates with ongoing professional development and networking opportunities.
- Last but maybe most important of all is that our programs are geared to the working professionals. Ninety percent of our students work full time, and many are also raising families while they go through the program. Our classes are online and/or blended which allows our students to maintain their jobs while getting a high quality graduate education. The use of technology to connect between the in person components allows our students to stay in contact with each other and our faculty over the distance. Our program is considered “high touch” which means faculty get back to students within 24 hours.
4. Does your online Master’s in Organizational Psychology program offer any concentrations or dual enrollment opportunities?
Yes! We offer a Talent Management concentration which is very popular with students who either currently want to work in talent management or human resources or want to. It’s applied focus ensures that students can hit the ground running in terms of applying what they learn in class to the work place.
Second, students who take our Graduate Certificate of Executive Coaching (GCEC) program are eligible to transfer 9 credits into MAOP giving them a Masters in Organizational Psychology with a concentration in Executive Coaching. GCEC is accredited by the International Coaching Federation.
Last, MAOP students who do well in the program are eligible for early admission to our Leadership Psychology doctoral program.
5.How important would you say accreditation is when choosing a Master’s in Organizational Psychology?
It’s very important because it demonstrates the quality of the educational experience you will have as a student. We are accredited by NEASC. As there is no licensure in Organizational Psychology we are not accredited by APA. However, we have aligned our competencies taught and the MAOP program in general to the guidelines put out by the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychologists (SIOP), Division 14 of APA. It’s also important to note that we are a non profit institution. This is increasingly important to note where there are so many for profit schools focused on profit versus student learning outcomes.
6. What kind of student characterizes your ideal candidate in the master’s program (i.e. personality traits, background, interests, career aspirations, etc.)?
Because our blended and online only options we have students from all over the world with diverse backgrounds and life experiences. Our students range from twenty something new graduates to career changers in their sixties.
The ideal candidate will have at least 5-7 years of work or leadership experience. We look for students who are passionate about working with human systems to make change for the better. Writing skills are very important as is the ability to handle the accelerated pace of the program. Professionalism, interpersonal maturity, and self awareness are also key personality traits we look for in candidates. Candidates looking to build and/or enhance careers in the following are well suited to the MAOP program:
- Organizational Development
- Leadership Training and Development
- Human Resources
- Talent Management
- Executive Coaching
- Change Management
- Management Consulting
- Leaders in any role
7. What are your class sizes for courses in the online master’s degree program?
We limit our class size to a maximum of 20-23 students per faculty.
8. What are the advantages to earning a Master’s in Organizational Psychology degree in general and where are you seeing employer demand for this degree?
The greatest advantage is that our graduates will be far more effective on the job and more successful over the entirety of their careers than people practicing Organizational Development who are untrained. Our students are recruited by big consulting firms like KPMG and Ernst and Young and smaller firms like Boston Consulting Group or big companies like Disney, Dunkin Brands/Baskin Robbins and Pepsico. They also find careers in organizational effectiveness teams in industries including high tech, health care, biopharma, and aerospace. Others are recruited by thriving boutique consulting firms to work with more experienced practitioners.
9. Is your university linked with any Government, Applied, or Industrial Partnerships to provide internships or practicum experiences for enrolled students?
Our students are eligible to apply for field placements at a number of local and international organizations who have experienced practitioners in leadership roles who sponsor and mentor our students as they include them in their work in organizational change, team development, restructuring, leadership development, human resources programs, etc.
10. Does William James College offer job placement for students who graduate with a Master’s in Organizational Psychology?
William James College has a career services department to help students develop their careers. Our Alumni Alliance also plays a big role in networking and mentoring current students and new graduates so that they can find work in the field.
11. What types of financial aid packages are available for students in psychology? Are there any fellowships, grants and scholarships available?
There are small grants/scholarships available to our students and all our programs are accredited meaning students can take out Federal loans/financial aid. Work study hours are also available to students who qualify.
12. Are graduate students enrolled in the online Master’s in Organizational Psychology program offered assistantships for teaching or research?
Through our work study program many of our students assist faculty in teaching and with research.
13. Do you have any advice for students enrolling in a master’s program for the first time?
Yes, do your homework about what work in this broad and deep field is. Look at the courses and see if they are for you. Surf our site and see the thoughts of our student ambassadors. Graduate school is a big investment so you want to make sure this is the field you really want to work in after you graduate. If you are already working in Organizational development or Human Resources you will see how the classes will bolster and enhance what you already know. For me this field organizational psychology and the practice and art of working with human systems to make them better places to be is a calling.
I really love it. Because of that I was eager to get trained well to do great work versus harm. The decisions you make and advice you give to leaders can mean a person fails or succeeds in their career – which is a profound thing to consult to. Candidates who have thought this through get into the program and do the best because they have a higher purpose when they enter. They also end up doing the best in their careers. Contact me or any of my faculty to ask questions about what the work looks like to ensure that you are making the right investment for your future! Most of us are not trust fund babies so making sure this wonderful investment you are making for yourself is the right one is critical.
14. What do you enjoy most about your position at William James College?
My favorite thing is working with students and seeing them make leaps of consciousness by learning new ways of seeing and being in the world. I love working as an organizational development practitioner so to be able to influence and help another person do that well – the work of making organizations better places to be - is an honor.
For more information on the online Master’s in Organizational Psychology program offered at William James College visit them online.
Thank you Kathryn Stanley, for sharing and participating in this piece.
That concludes our interview!
APA Accredited, NEASC
- Doctoral Program in School Psychology PsyD
- Master of Science in Clinical Psychology
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- Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology
- Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and Global Mental Health
- Masters in Organizational Psychology
- Psy.D. (doctorate) in Leadership Psychology
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