Science Prerequisites for Health Professionals

PSYO 1030: Abnormal Psychology, Spring 1

Credits - 3


This abnormal psychology course will explore basic concepts and theories related to abnormal psychology and how psychopathology is classified.   Emphasis will be placed on understanding the history of abnormal psychology, the negative impact of stigma related to the diagnosis of mental health disorders, strategies for clinical assessment, the biopsychosocial model for explaining mental illness, as well as the classification, etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of the major disorders. Upon completion, students should be able to distinguish between normal and abnormal behavior patterns as well as demonstrate knowledge of etiology, epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders.



This course uses a freely available, Open Educational Resource (OER) textbook:

Bridley, A., & Daffin, L. W. (2021). Essentials of abnormal psychology. Washington State University.


American Psychiatric Association. (2022). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5-TR (Fifth Edition Text Revision). American Psychiatric Association Publishing.

Learning Objectives and Outcomes

Program Outcomes

In lecture courses, students should be able to:

  • Communicate scientific concepts and information clearly.
  • Illustrate fundamental laws, theories, and principles of scientific disciplines.
  • Apply knowledge and critical thinking skills to scientific problems.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Explain how psychologists define abnormal psychology and how it is classified.
  2. Identify types of mental health professionals.
  3. Explain perceptions, diagnoses, and treatments of mental illness with appropriate historical context.
  4. Analyze the stigmas associated with mental illness.
  5. Evaluate mental illness using the biopsychosocial model.
  6. Employ appropriate methods for clinical assessment.
  7. Describe the etiology, epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of various anxiety disorders.
  8. Describe the etiology, epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of various obsessive-compulsive and related disorders.
  9. Describe the etiology, epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of various mood disorders.
  10. Describe the etiology, epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of various dissociative disorders.
  11. Describe the etiology, epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.
  12. Describe the etiology, epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of various personality disorders.


On the course start date, students will have access to orientation. This must be completed to be able to gain access to the first module in the course. Students must complete the first module to gain access to the next one. We recommend that students spend about 15 hours per week to complete a course in 16 weeks. When trying to complete the course in less than 16 weeks, we typically see students do this successfully within 12-14 weeks. Instructors will be timely in grading and feedback, but it will not be instant.


Self-Assessments/Matching Activities – Students will be provided a matching bank and will be asked to match key terms with their definitions or related concepts. Self-Assessments are not counted toward the student’s final grade.

Discussion Boards – Students will respond to a discussion prompt and will interact with peers by providing feedback to their discussion responses.

Clinical Assessment Assignment – In this assignment, students will watch a popular film depicting an individual with a mental health disorder and they will imagine they had an opportunity to administer a clinical assessment to the character and will complete the assessment with information provided in the film.

Reflection Papers – These written assignments ask students to reflect on different phenomena that occur in abnormal psychology in a manner that is informed by their own reading and research.

Problem-Based Learning Scenarios – These written assignments provide the student with a real-world example of a clinical issue from the subsection of diagnoses being addressed in that learning module.  The student will be expected to apply their knowledge of abnormal psychology to suggest a strategy for diagnosing and treating the individual.

Creative Activity – Students will be asked to create a possible new mental health diagnosis.  This proposed diagnosis will be justified using clinical research.

Holistic Case Study – In this written assignment, students will evaluate a complex case study of an individual with a mental health disorder.  The student will be expected to apply their knowledge of abnormal psychology to suggest a strategy for clinical assessment, diagnosing, and treating the individual. The student will also be required to apply the biopsychosocial model to fully explain the etiology of the disorder. 

Final Cumulative Exam (Proctored) – This is a 50-item, multiple-choice exam that is proctored. Students will have 90 minutes to complete the exam. Students may use a single page (front and back) of notes during the exam.  This Cumulative Exam must be taken through ProctorU. See UNE’s ProctorU page for information about signing up and scheduling your exam. An external webcam is required.

Practice Proctored Exam – There is a highly recommended Practice Proctored Exam available to all students. The first attempt is free. This exam does not cover course material and is not included in your overall course grade. It prepares test takers for what the testing environment will be like, what forms of identification are needed, and provides a chance to test your external webcam with a live proctor. This is a great way to become familiar with and prepare for your exam!

Grading Policy

Your grade in this course will be determined by the following criteria:

Grade Breakdown

Assignment/Category Grade
Self-Assessments/Matching Activities0%
Discussion Boards 9%
Clinical Assessment Assignment10%
Reflection Papers15%
Problem-Based Learning Scenarios36%
Creative Activity5%
Holistic Case Study10%
Final Cumulative Exam15%

Grade Scale

Grade Points Grade Point Average (GPA)
A 94 – 100% 4.00
A- 90 – 93% 3.75
B+ 87 – 89% 3.50
B 84 – 86% 3.00
B- 80 – 83% 2.75
C+ 77 – 79% 2.50
C 74 – 76% 2.00
C- 70 – 73% 1.75
D 64 – 69% 1.00
F 00 – 63% 0.00







Introduction to Abnormal Psychology

Textbook Chapter 1

Discussion Board 1

Self-Assessment – Types of Mental Health Professionals

Timeline Activity

Reflection Paper – Stigma and Mental Illness


Contemporary Models of Abnormal Psychology

Textbook Chapter 2


Article “Racism as a Stressor for African Americans: A Biopsychosocial Model”

Problem-based Learning Scenario – The Biopsychosocial Model


Clinical Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Textbook Chapter 3


DSM-5 – Basics in the DSM-5

Clinical Assessment Activity



Anxiety Disorders Part 1

Chapter 4: Anxiety Disorders (Sections 4–4.3.4)

DSM-5: Anxiety Disorders (Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Specific Phobia)

Video Anxiety Disorders


Problem-Based Learning Scenario – Anxiety Disorders


Anxiety Disorders Part 2

Chapter 4: Anxiety Disorders (Sections 4.5–4.6.3)

DSM-5: Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia

Video Scared to Leave Home


Self-Assessment – Anxiety Disorder Jeopardy

Creative Activity – Propose a New Diagnosis


Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders Part 1

Chapter 5: Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders (Sections 5–5.1.5)

DSM-5: Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders (Introduction and the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder entry)

Video OCD: A Monster in My Mind


Problem-Based Learning Scenario – Obsessive Compulsive Disorders – OCD


Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders Part 2

Chapter 5: Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders (Sections 5.2–5.2.5)

DSM-5: Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Video I Feel So Ugly: Body Dysmorphic Disorder


Self-Assessment – Matching OCD and BDD

Problem-Based Learning Scenario – Obsessive Compulsive Disorders – BDD


Mood Disorders Part 1

Chapter 6: Mood Disorders (Sections 6–6.1.5)

DSM-5: Depressive Disorders Introduction, Major Depressive Disorder, Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

Video Mood Disorders


Problem-Based Learning Scenario – Mood Disorders – Major Depressive Disorder


Mood Disorders Part 2

Chapter 6: Mood Disorders (Sections 6. 2 – end)

DSM-5: Depressive Disorders Introduction, Bipolar I and Bipolar II

Video Living the Roller-Coaster


Self Assessment – Mood Disorders

Problem-Based Learning Scenario – Bi-Polar I and Bi-Polar II

Discussion Board 2


Dissociative Disorders Part 1

Chapter 7: Dissociative Disorders (Sections 7–7.1.5)

DSM-5: Dissociative Disorders Introduction, Depersonalization Disorder, and Derealization Disorder

Video Dissociative Disorders


Reflection Paper – Dissociative Disorders – Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder


Dissociative Disorders Part 2

Chapter 7: Dissociative Disorders (Sections 7.2 – end)

DSM-5: Dissociative Identity Disorder and Dissociative Amnesia

Video: Dissociative Identity Disorder


Self-Assessment – Dissociative Disorders Fact or Fiction

Problem-Based Learning Scenario – Dissociative Identity Disorder



Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders Part 1

Chapter 8: Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders (Section 8 – 8.2.2)

DSM-5: Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders Introduction, (Schizotypal Disorder, Delusional Disorder, Brief Psychotic Disorder, Schizophreniform Disorder, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder)

Video: I am Not a Monster: Schizophrenia


Reflection Paper – Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders


Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders Part 2

Chapter 8: Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders (Section 8.3 – end)

Video: Schizophrenia: Neurotransmitter Tracts, Causes, Treatment & Assessment


Self-Assessment – Matching: Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorder

Problem-Based Learning Scenario – Treatment of Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders


Personality Disorders Part 1

Chapter 9: Personality Disorders (Section 9 – 9.2.3)

DSM-5: General Personality Disorder and Cluster A Personality Disorders

Video: Schizophrenia vs. Schizotypal vs. Schizoid Personality Disorder: the Differences.



Problem-Based Learning Scenario – Cluster A Personality Disorders


Personality Disorders Part 2

Chapter 9: Personality Disorders (9.3 – end)

DSM-5: Cluster B and Cluster C Personality Disorders

Video – Exploring the Mind of a Killer


Self-Assessment – Matching – Personality Disorder

Case Study Presentation


Review and Final Assessment

Review/Study Guide


Discussion Post 3

Final Cumulative Exam

Student Resources

Online Student Support

Your Student Support Specialist is a resource for you - they will monitor course progression and provide assistance or guidance when needed. Please don’t hesitate to contact them for assistance, including, but not limited to course planning, course materials, billing, current problems or issues in a course, technology concerns, or personal emergencies.

Questions? Visit the Student Support Science Prerequisites page

Instructor and Support Contact Information

Check Brightspace for specific instructor and support specialist contact information.

Student Lounge

The Student Lounge Discussion Board is a designated support forum in which students may engage with each other and grapple with course content. Feel free to post questions, seek clarification, and support each other, but be mindful of UNE's Academic Integrity Policy.

Your instructor will monitor this forum. However, if you are seeking specific and timely answers to questions about course content or your personal grades, please contact your instructor via course messages. For questions about course materials, program policy, and how to navigate and proceed through the course, please contact your Student Service Advisor through the Student Portal.


Proctored Examinations

The University of New England has contracted with ProctorU to provide students with the most convenient online exam proctoring system. This system provides a simple, no cost to the student, secure, online proctor for exams and allows the student to take all the exams at home and on their own schedule.

Upon enrollment into the course, each student will register with ProctorU and establish a login name and password. This will give the student access to all of ProctorU's services. When ready, students will schedule each of their proctored exams with ProctorU. Exams must be scheduled at least 72 hours in advance to avoid fees. Prior to taking their exams, students must be sure that they have downloaded any required additional software. They must also be sure their testing site's connection meets the minimum requirements by using ProctorU's "Test It Out" utility.

Upon the exam day and hour, students will log in to ProctorU and click on "exams". After following the procedures outlined at ProctorU's website, the student will log in to Brightspace and locate their correct exam. The proctor will then allow student access to that exam.

Students must use ProctorU and must follow all proctoring requirements for their exams to be credited. Please contact your instructor for specific feedback.

Course Discussions

Discussion topics cover events or materials related to this course that contribute to a deeper understanding of key concepts and allow you to interact with your classmates and the instructor. Each discussion topic may require you to conduct internet research, read additional materials, visit a specific webpage, AND/OR view a short video before writing a response following the specific guidelines in the discussion topic prompt.

To earn full credit you will need to post a response to the discussion topic, respond to the original posts of other students, and then contribute meaningfully to an ongoing discussion. You may need to post your initial response before you will see any posts from your classmates. For special cases where one or two students are accelerating faster through the course, the instructor will participate in the discussion so that everyone has the opportunity to interact.

Please see Brightspace for a full description, along with specific guidelines, for each discussion topic. Discussion board assignments should be completed, along with all other assignments in the course, in the order that they appear. Due to the course design, you may be unable to take a proctored exam if you do not complete all assignments that appear prior to that exam.

Please also refer to the Grading Policy/Grade Breakdown section of the syllabus to learn the percentage of your grade that each discussion is worth.

Technology Requirements

Please review the technical requirements for UNE Online Programs: Technical Requirements

Course Length

A schedule of lectures and assignments is included in this syllabus. This is, however a self-paced course and you can complete the course in less time.

  1. Courses in the SPHP program are equivalent to one-semester courses designed to be completed in 16 weeks
  2. Enrollment in the course begins the day your section opens which is listed in the Academic Calendar found on the Student Success Portal.
  3. Course start and end dates are in respect to Eastern Time.

Withdrawal and Refund Policies

Please visit the enrollment page to review the withdrawal and refund policies.

Grade Policy

Students are expected to attempt and complete all graded assignments and proctored exams by the end date of the course. View the incomplete grade policy..


Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, only the student may request official transcripts. This may be done online by going to the University of New England Registrar website and following the directions on the page.

To view your unofficial UNE student transcript:

  1. Log into uonline at
  2. Select Student Services
  3. Select Student Records
  4. Select Academic Transcript

To request your official UNE student transcript:

Please review your Unofficial Transcript prior to requesting an Official Transcript.

  1. Log into uonline at
  2. Select Student Services
  3. Select Student Records
  4. Select Request Printed/Official Transcript
  5. Follow the prompts

After you click Submit Request, your official transcript will be put into the queue to be printed in the Registrar's Office.

Academic Integrity

The University of New England values academic integrity in all aspects of the educational experience. Academic dishonesty in any form undermines this standard and devalues the original contributions of others. It is the responsibility of all members of the University community to actively uphold the integrity of the academy; failure to act, for any reason, is not acceptable.

Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to the following:

  1. Cheating, copying, or the offering or receiving of unauthorized assistance or information.
  2. Fabrication or falsification of data, results, or sources for papers or reports.
  3. Action which destroys or alters the work of another student.
  4. Multiple submission of the same paper or report for assignments in more than one course without permission of each instructor.
  5. Plagiarism, the appropriation of records, research, materials, ideas, or the language of other persons or writers and the submission of them as one's own.

Charges of academic dishonesty will be reviewed by the Program Director. Penalties for students found responsible for violations may depend upon the seriousness and circumstances of the violation, the degree of premeditation involved, and/or the student’s previous record of violations. Appeal of a decision may be made to the Dean whose decision will be final. Student appeals will take place through the grievance process outlined in the student handbook.