The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences has more than 300 majors in its undergraduate program and approximately 35 full-time graduate students in its 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 knowledge of major principles and findings of learning, memory, and cognition.
Objective 2: Demonstrate knowledge of major principles and findings of physiological processes, sensation, and perception.
Objective 3: Demonstrate knowledge of major principles and findings of clinical, abnormal, and personality psychology.
Objective 4: Demonstrate knowledge of major principles and findings of developmental and social psychology.
GOAL #2 – Research Methods in Psychology
Understand and apply basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.
Objective 1: Understand the different research methods used by psychologists.
Objective 2: Choose research designs that are appropriate to study questions.
Objective 3: Evaluate the appropriateness of conclusions derived from research.
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 understand that psychological explanations are often complex and tentative.
Objective 3: Demonstrate critical thinking skills when addressing psychological issues.
GOAL #4 – Application of Psychology
Understand that basic research principles can be applied to real world problems, including personal, societal, and organizational issues.
Objective 1: Demonstrate knowledge that major principles and findings of social psychology can be applied in organizations and industry.
Objective 2: Demonstrate knowledge that major principles and findings of personality psychology can be applied in educational and mental health settings.
Objective 3: Demonstrate knowledge that major principles of psychological measurement can be applied in school, forensic, and health care settings.
The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences is committed to working actively to foster diversity, equity and inclusion. We believe that all members of our community benefit when we respectfully incorporate a broad range of perspectives into our scholarship, our teaching and our service.
To ensure a diverse, equitable and inclusive department, we will:
- Acknowledge the historical roots of entrenched bias and prejudice.
- Identify and remove barriers to access, retention and advancement of our faculty, staff and students.
- Accept our individual and collective responsibility to actively and continually create environments that are open to diverse perspectives, that foster cultural consciousness and that support all individuals to reach their full potential.
- Use our disciplinary expertise to support efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in our department and in the university.
- Monitor demographic factors in our departmental practices (for example, when considering the makeup of committees) and use that information to maximize diversity as much as possible.
- Recognize that the process of achieving these goals is ongoing.