The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences has nearly 200 majors in our undergraduate program and approximately 35 full-time graduate students in our master’s program.

Both programs provide students with a solid foundation for pursuing further study or employment in basic psychological science or in applied areas such as clinical or counseling psychology. The undergraduate program is also attractive to students who want a clearer understanding of human behavior as part of a liberal arts and sciences education.

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences of Villanova University represents the basic and applied science of psychology within the University community.  The Department promotes the discovery and dissemination of knowledge about behavior and mental processes and encourages application of this knowledge to improve the condition of individuals and society.

The Department is committed to offering strong undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students to be constructive members of society by providing them with a solid foundation in the psychological principles that underlie thought, emotion, and behavior.  At the undergraduate level, the psychology program seeks to foster two complementary objectives.  As a strong Liberal Arts and Sciences major within the College, the psychology program prepares students for a range of post-baccalaureate careers through its emphasis on critical thinking skills that incorporate evidence-based decision making, reasonable skepticism toward theories or claims regarding behavior, and respect for human dignity and diversity.  At the same time, the undergraduate psychology program also offers solid preparation for subsequent graduate study in psychology and related fields through its advocacy of a strong foundation in current principles and methods of psychological science and its promotion of an awareness of ethical issues in the science and practice of psychology.  At the graduate level, the psychology program provides excellent preparation for further graduate study in the field through a rigorous, research-based course of study.

The Department firmly believes in the mutually supportive relationship between teaching and research.  It encourages and supports high-quality scientific research and scholarship that advance knowledge, understanding, and application of psychological principles.

GOAL #1 – Knowledge Base of Psychology

Demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology.

Objective 1: Demonstrate understanding that psychology is a science of mind and behavior.

Objective 2: Demonstrate knowledge of the key influences and events in the history of psychology.

Objective 3: Demonstrate knowledge of major principles and findings of:

  • learning, memory, and cognition
  • sensation, perception, and physiological
  • developmental and social      
  • personality and individual differences


GOAL #2 – Research Methods in Psychology

Understand and apply basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.

Objective 1: Demonstrate understanding the different research methods used by psychologists.

Objective 2: Evaluate the appropriateness of conclusions derived from research.

Objective 3: Choose research designs that are appropriate to study questions.


GOAL #3 – Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology

Respect and use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when possible, the scientific approach to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.

Objective 1: Evaluate the scientific evidence for psychological claims.

Objective 2: Demonstrate reasonable skepticism and understanding that psychological explanations are often complex and tentative.

Objective 3: Demonstrate critical thinking skills.


GOAL #4 – Application of Psychology

Understand and apply psychological principles to personal, social, and organizational issues.

Objective 1: Demonstrate understanding that basic research can be applied to real-world problems.

Objective 2: Recognize and demonstrate knowledge of the major fields of applied and professional psychology:

  • clinical and abnormal
  • measurement and assessment
  •  industrial/organizational
  • health psychology
  •  forensic psychology


GOAL #5 – Values in Psychology

Value empirical evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, and reflect other values that are the underpinnings of psychology as a science.

Objective 1: Demonstrate understanding how the APA ethics code applies to psychological research.

Objective 2: Demonstrate understanding how the APA ethics code applies to professional psychology.

Objective 3: Recognize and respect human diversity.

Tolentine Hall 334
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Ave
Villanova, PA 19085

Chair: Michael Brown, PhD
Staff: Trish RobinsonLouise Carbone