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Undergraduate

Psychology

Assumption psychology majors are known for their strong communication skills, understanding of human behavior, problem-solving skills, and ability to collect, organize, analyze, and interpret data and information.

Psychology is a science concerned with mind and behavior. The psychology program introduces students to a variety of ways to understand cognition, emotion, and behavior. In addition, the program prepares students for various career paths within psychology (community agencies and clinics, graduate study) or in other professions (business, education, public service).

Students who pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Assumption University are challenged to critically evaluate complex issues in today’s world. The curriculum requires students to sample from diverse courses that provide the foundation for understanding the major concepts and theoretical perspectives of psychology. Psychology majors also develop skills for understanding and conducting psychological research. The curriculum promotes personal growth and development and challenges students to critically evaluate complex social issues.

Students can explore opportunities for independent research and work in supervised fieldwork placements. The department apprises students of the many fields with which psychology shares borders of concern and inquiry in the pursuit of knowledge.

The psychology program faculty serves as teachers and mentors, helping students define their professional goals through classroom learning, research projects, community service learning, internships, and independent study.

Many students also pursue graduate degrees in a variety of areas including psychology, sociology, rehabilitative services and law. Assumption offers a nationally renowned graduate program in clinical counseling psychology, which is affiliated with the prestigious Aaron T. Beck Institute for Cognitive Studies, located on-campus in Worcester, MA.  Assumption also offers a graduate program in applied behavior analysis that meets the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB) requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination®.

Learning Goals of the Major in Psychology

  • Students will
    • develop a strong psychological knowledge base
    • sharpen their critical thinking and communication skills
    • understand psychological applications and research methods
    • develop a socio-cultural awareness
    • plan effectively for their career, academic, and personal futures
Program Contact

Leamarie Gordon, Ph.D.

Department Chair, Psychology, Associate Professor of Psychology
508-767-7514 Kennedy Memorial Hall - Room 145

100%
All classes taught by professors, none by teaching assistants
Students from 29 states and 21 countries
11:1
Student/Faculty ratio

Program Curriculum

  • Psychology majors take courses from the main representative fields in psychology, complete a sequence of research courses, and have the opportunity to develop depth in an area of their interest. This curriculum allows timely preparation for graduate school and strengthens students’ professional skills.

    Required Courses (4)

    Foundation Courses
    PSY 101 General Psychology (normally taken in the first year)
    Research Sequence
    PSY 224 Statistics (normally taken Fall of sophomore year)
    PSY 225 Research Methods (normally taken Spring of sophomore year)
    PSY 390 Research Seminar (normally taken junior year)

    Cornerstone Courses (4)

    Students must choose one course from each of the four cornerstones

    Social/Developmental Cornerstone (1)
    PSY 210 Social Psychology
    PSY 290 Psychology of Development: Infancy and Childhood
    Biological Cornerstone (1)
    PSY 250 Perception
    PSY 251 Introduction to Brain and Behavior
    Mental Health Cornerstone (1)
    PSY 216 Abnormal Psychology
    PSY 240 Psychology of Personality
    Cognition and Learning Cornerstone (1)
    PSY 252 Cognitive Psychology
    PSY 253 Psychology of Learning

    Capstone Seminar Course (1)

    Students must complete one capstone seminar course.  Students are encouraged to choose a 400-level seminar course that builds off a cornerstone course they have previously taken.

    PSY 408 Family Psychology
    PSY 409 Common Problems in Childhood
    PSY 410 Stereotypes and Prejudices
    PSY 416 Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology
    PSY 425 Clinical Psychology
    PSY 401 Senior Seminar
    PSY 402 Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience
    ABA 450 Applied Behavior Analysis: Implications for Practice

    Elective Courses (3)

    Students must take any three additional courses and at least one of the three courses must be 300 level or higher. Students may choose among the following elective courses:

    Any Additional Cornerstone or Seminar Course
    200-level Electives
    PSY 211 Psychology of Religion
    PSY 214 Psychology of Identity and Sexuality
    PSY 215 Psychology of Dreams
    PSY 217 Psychology of Women
    PSY 220 Interpersonal Communication
    PSY 281 Psychology of Adolescence and Maturity
    PSY 285 Women’s Studies I: Images
    PSY 218 Cultural Psychology
    PSY 286 Organization & Industrial Psychology
    PSY 295 Psychology of Deviance
    PSY 385 Women of the World
    300+-level Electives
    PSY 330 Positive Psychology (old PSY 230)
    PSY 386 Psychology of Aging (old PSY 186)
    PSY 301 Internship in Psychology
    PSY 335 Motivation and Emotion
    PSY 399 Independent Study
    ABA 340 Skill Acquisition
    ABA 350 Evidence-based Interventions

    Course Descriptions

  • This concentration focuses the psychology major on courses relevant to the interactions of brain function, cognition, and behavior.  This concentration is ideal for students interested in applying to graduate programs in cognition, neuroscience or certain clinical programs focused on the biological basis of psychopathology.  The major can be combined with further study in natural sciences, and with careful planning, it is possible to pursue a second major or minor in one of these disciplines.  Students who choose this concentration are also encouraged to do internships or independent students in laboratories studying psychophysiology, neurobiology or the biological basis of behavior.

    Required Courses
    PSY 101 General Psychology
    PSY 210 Social Psychology
    PSY 224 Research Methods
    PSY 225 Statistics
    PSY 216 Abnormal Psychology
    PSY 251 Introduction to Brain and Behavior
    PSY 252 Cognitive Psychology
    BIO 160 Concepts in Biology
    BIO 210 Genetics
    PSY 335 Motivation and Emotion
    PSY 390 Research Seminar
    PSY 402 Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience Seminar
    BIO 415 Principles of Neuroscience
    And one additional psychology elective

    Course Descriptions

  • This Major in Psychology with a Concentration in Child and Adolescent Development trains students in the major areas of human development, including physical, cognitive, perceptual, social, personality, and emotional development, and exposes students to theory, research, and application of the developmental psychology field. In addition to a broad foundation in psychology across the lifespan, the coursework allows students to focus on the earlier developmental periods (e.g. childhood and adolescence). Students also have opportunities to take courses that focus on typical (e.g., common problems in childhood) and atypical development (e.g., abnormal child and adolescent development), as well as optimal functioning (e.g., raising happy and successful children, family psychology). This major is ideal for providing students with the background to pursue graduate degrees in a variety of areas such as Developmental Psychology, Human Development, Family Studies, Applied Behavior Analysis, School Psychology, Special Education, Counseling Psychology, Social Work, School Counseling, and Child Life programs. Many psychology-based graduate programs require a strong foundation in psychological theory and research and this major prepares students for such programs. The coursework also provides the research, conceptual, and applied background for students who may seek employment in organizations (e.g., schools or agencies) that work with children and adolescents that may or may not have developmental psychopathology or impairments.

    Foundation Course (1)

    PSY 101 General Psychology

    Research Sequence (3)

    PSY 224 Statistics
    PSY 225 Research Methods
    PSY 390 Research Seminar

    Foundations in Psychology and Child and Adolescent Development (6)
    (Completing these foundation courses fulfills the cornerstone psychology requirement)

    PSY 216 Abnormal Psychology
    PSY 281 Psychology of Adolescence and Maturity
    PSY 250 or PSY 251 Perception (PSY 250) or Introduction to Brain and Behavior (PSY 251)
    PSY 253 Psychology of Learning
    PSY 290 Psychology of Development: Infancy and Childhood
    PSY 301 Internship in Psychology (internship approved by Child and Adolescent Development coordinator)

    Child and Adolescent Development Capstone Seminar (Choose 1)

    PSY 408 Family Psychology
    PSY 409 Common Problems in Childhood
    PSY 416 Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology

    Child and Adolescent Development Elective Courses (Choose 1)

    PSY 386 Psychology of Aging
    PSY 392 Raising Happy and Successful Children
    PSY 399 Independent Study (topic approved by concentration coordinator)
    PSY 408 Family Psychology (Unless taken as Capstone)
    PSY 409 Common Problems in Childhood (Unless taken as Capstone)
    PSY 416 Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology (Unless taken as Capstone)

    One additional Psychology elective (1)
    May be from any area: elective, cornerstone in the Psychology major (Social/Developmental Cornerstone; Biological Cornerstone, Mental Health Cornerstone, and Cognition and Learning Cornerstone), or seminar

    Recommended Courses in Other Disciplines

    ABA 340 Applied Behavior Analysis: Skill Acquisition
    ENG 263 Children’s Literature
    EDU 260 Teaching Students with Special Needs
    EDU 265 Effective Classroom Management
    HRS 235 Normal Speech and Language Development
    HRS 241 Prevention and Intervention: Models and Approaches with Youth
    HRS 321 Social Skill Development for Youth
    HRS 421 Loss and Bereavement Across the Lifespan

     

  • The Major in Psychology with a Concentration in Mental Health and Pre-Clinical Counseling is designed for Psychology majors with a particular interest in clinical or counseling psychology or clinical social work. The concentration lays a solid foundation in coursework, research, and field experiences to help students decide if they wish to apply to a graduate program and obtain licensure to practice in a clinical field (e.g., Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Social Work, etc.). Students will pursue coursework, applied work, and research emphasizing clinical psychology as a science, and the best practices for diagnosis and treatment within the scientific paradigm. Students will be prepared for entry-level positions related to the field of psychology, and also prepared for entry into graduate study in areas such as social work, counseling, school psychology and clinical psychology. Courses will include Abnormal Psychology, Internship in Psychology, and an advanced seminar in Clinical Psychology.

    Foundation Course (1)

    PSY 101 General Psychology

    Research Sequence (3)

    PSY 224 Statistics
    PSY 225 Research Methods
    PSY 390 Research Seminar

    Foundations in Mental Health and Pre-Clinical Counseling (6)
    (Completing these foundation courses fulfills the cornerstone and capstone seminar psychology requirement)

    PSY 210 or PSY 290 Social Psychology (PSY 210) or Psychology of Development: Infancy and Childhood (PSY 290)
    PSY 216 Abnormal Psychology
    PSY 251 Introduction to Brain and Behavior
    PSY 253 Psychology of Learning
    PSY 301 Internship in Psychology (internship approved by concentration coordinator)
    PSY 425 Clinical Psychology (Capstone)

    Social, Emotional, and Cultural Influences (Choose 1)

    PSY 217 Psychology of Women
    PSY 218 Cultural Psychology
    PSY 220 Interpersonal Communication
    PSY 240 Psychology of Personality
    PSY 330 Positive Psychology
    PSY 335 Motivation and Emotion
    PSY 386 Psychology of Aging
    PSY 408 Family Psychology
    PSY 410 Stereotypes & Prejudice

    Advanced Mental Health and Pre-Clinical Counseling Elective (Choose 1)

    PSY 399 Independent Study (topic approved by concentration coordinator)
    PSY 409 Common Problems in Childhood
    PSY 416 Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology
    ABA 340 ABA: Skill Acquisition
    ABA 350 ABA: Evidence-Based Interventions

    One additional Psychology elective (1)
    May be from any area: elective, cornerstone in the Psychology major (Social/Developmental Cornerstone; Biological Cornerstone, Mental Health Cornerstone, and Cognition and Learning Cornerstone), or seminar

  • A Major in Neuroscience utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to empower students to: 1) develop and refine skills of inquiry with a focus on the brain and mind, 2) gain a strong understanding of classic and contemporary findings in neuroscience, 3) comprehend and appreciate the dynamic, multidisciplinary nature of this field, 4) ask thoughtful questions and strategically select approaches to answer questions, 5) develop informed hypotheses and design/execute experiments to test hypotheses, 6) critically analyze data and determine if data supports hypotheses, and 7) explore philosophical questions about the nature of human life, consciousness, and free will.

    Neuroscience explores the complex interactions between the distinct aspects of brain, mind, and behavior. The Major in Neuroscience engages students through a holistic, interdisciplinary approach rooted in rigorous science and augmented by philosophical perspectives that address the brain, mind, and human nature.

    In addition, students are encouraged to engage in activities offered by the Center for Neuroscience (CfN), which include research internships, an interdisciplinary lecture series, and community service. Students who major in neuroscience will be prepared to pursue careers in industry, health professions, and graduate studies within the field of neuroscience.

    The Major in Neuroscience with a Psychology Path features curriculum that explores concepts related to human neuroscience, namely:

    1. Neuroanatomy and function of the nervous system
    2. Neural mechanisms of human perception, thought, and behavior
    3. How context, environment, experience, and brain function interact to influence human behavior
    4. Developmental, neurological, and psychiatric disorders
    5. Familiarity and experience with experimental designs and tools used to study human neuroscience
    6. Philosophical conversations about the relationship between brain and mind, free will and human consciousness.

    REQUIRED COURSES (16)

    Foundation Courses (9)
    PSY 101 General Psychology
    PSY 250 Perception
    PSY 251 Introduction to Brain and Behavior
    PSY 252 Cognitive Psychology
    PSY 335 Motivation and Emotion
    BIO 160 Concepts in Biology (+lab; 4-credit)
    BIO 280 Sensory Systems (+lab; 4-credit)
    BIO 415 Principles of Neuroscience (+lab; 4-credit)
    PHI 267 Person, Mind, & Brain
    Choose one of the following BIO courses (1)
    BIO 375 Milestones in Neuroscience (3-credit; no lab)
    BIO 310 Animal Behavior (+ lab; 4-credit)
    Research Sequence (3)
    PSY 224 Statistics
    PSY 225 Research Methods
    PSY 391 Experimental Techniques in Human Neuroscience (+lab; 4-credit)
    Neuroscience Capstone (1)
    PSY 402 Social and Affective Neuroscience
    PSY 403 Cognitive Neuroscience
    Electives (2)
    Any Psychology course (200-level or above)
    Any Biology course (200-level or above)
    MAT 117 Calculus I
    CSC 117 Introduction to Programming
    Recommended Courses (NOT REQUIRED)
    MAT 117 Calculus I (if not taken as elective)
    CSC 117 Introduction to Programming (if not taken as elective)
    PHI 152 The Human Difference -OR- PHI 153 Book of Nature
    THE 151 Faith and Reason

     

  • To complete a Minor in Psychology students must complete six Psychology courses—PSY 101, one course from each of the four cornerstones, and one elective.

    Required Course (1)
    PSY 101 General Psychology (normally taken in the first year)
    Cornerstone Courses (4)

    Students must choose one 200-level course from each of the four cornerstones:

    Social/Developmental Cornerstone (1)
    PSY 210 Social Psychology
    PSY 290 Psychology of Development: Infancy and Childhood
    Biological Cornerstone (1)
    PSY 250 Perception
    PSY 251 Introduction to Brain and Behavior
    Mental Health Cornerstone (1)
    PSY 216 Abnormal Psychology
    PSY 240 Psychology of Personality
    Cognition and Learning Cornerstone (1)
    PSY 252 Cognitive Psychology
    PSY 253 Psychology of Learning
    Elective Course (1)

    Students must take one additional course from any area: elective, cornerstone, or seminar

    Course Descriptions

  • Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the application of principles of learning and behavior used to solve socially significant problems (to influence changes in behavior that are meaningful to individuals and those around them). ABA is relevant to human behavior in a variety of contexts, including developmental and intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, general and special education, clinical psychology, medicine, counseling, job effectiveness, business, animal training, sports training, environmental protection, exercise and health, criminology, and other areas. The Minor in ABA provides an introduction to behavior-analytic theory and methods for assessment and intervention; it complements coursework in the Education, Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies, and Psychology majors. Given the prevalence of developmental and intellectual disabilities in society, the minor may also be of interest to students in other majors, such as Business Studies, Biology, and Criminology. Students who complete undergraduate courses in ABA will learn how to effectively apply behavior-analytic procedures to solve behavioral problems that occur in their professional and personal lives.

    Assumption’s minor in applied behavior analysis is open to students in any major and complements coursework from psychology, human services, and education. Students interested in pursuing a Minor in ABA are encouraged to take PSY 253 and ABA 340 during their Sophomore year, ABA 350 and PSY 301 during their Junior year, and ABA 450 during their Senior year.

    It is recommended that interested students talk with the ABA Program Director, Dr. Karen Lionello-DeNolf, as well as work with their academic advisor to plan their course of study.

    Minor in Applied Behavior Analysis Required Courses (6 courses)

    PSY 253

    Psychology of Learning

    ABA 340

    Introduction to Behavior Analysis and Therapy

    ABA 350

    Survey of Behavioral Interventions

    ABA 450

    Advanced Topics in Applied Behavior Analysis

    PSY 301

    Internship in Psychology*

    *Internship placement must be approved by the ABA Program Director.

    Applied Behavior Analysis Elective (1 course)

    Students choose one elective from among the following list. Students are encouraged to choose a course outside of their major field of study.

    EDU 101

    Schools in American Society

    EDU 260

    Teaching Students with Special Needs

    EDU 265

    Effective Classroom Management

    HRS 119

    Introduction to Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies

    HRS 121

    Human Development and Disability across the Lifespan

    HRS 225

    Introduction to Human Communication and Its Disorders

    HRS 321

    Social Skills Development Strategies for Youth

    PSY 101

    General Psychology

    PSY 216

    Abnormal Psychology

    PSY 220

    Interpersonal Communication

    PSY 290

    Psychology of Development: Infancy and Childhood

    PSY 225

    Research Methods in Psychology

    PSY 309

    Common Problems in Childhood

    PSY 316

    Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology

    PSY 383

    Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder


    Course Descriptions

Faculty

All of our faculty bring experience from clinical or research positions in a variety of fields of study, and we enjoy working side-by-side with our students in our state-of-the-art research facilities.

Leamarie Gordon, Ph.D.
Department Chair, Psychology Department Chair, Psychology Associate Professor of Psychology
Zachary Aggott
Adjunct Faculty
Leslie Bourne
Adjunct Faculty Psychology
Jacleen Marie Charbonneau
Adjunct Faculty
Amy M. Cirillo, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Ashley Dhaim
Adjunct Faculty
Leonard A. Doerfler, Ph.D
Professor of Psychology, Director of the Aaron T. Beck Institute for Cognitive Studies
Anne M. Farmer
Adjunct Faculty
Paula A. Fitzpatrick, Ph.D
Adjunct Faculty
Anthony Giuliano
Adjunct Faculty
Thomas Gould
Adjunct Faculty
Rachael Hickey
Adjunct Faculty
Maria D. Kalpidou, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Psychology
Joseph Kennedy
Adjunct Faculty/Psychology
Dana Kennedy
Adjunct Faculty Grad Psychology
Brenda King
Adjunct Faculty Grad Psychology
Regina Kuersten-Hogan, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Psychology, Director of Clinical Counseling Psychology/Beck Institute
Karen Lionello-DeNolf, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Director of Applied Behavior Analysis
Lauren Moye
Adjunct Faculty
Benjamin Charles Nephew
Adjunct Faculty
Nicole Pantano, Ph.D, BCBA-D, LABA
Assistant Professor of Practice
Maria Parmley, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Psychology
Lauren E. Patterson
Adjunct Faculty
Elizabeth Plante
Adjunct Faculty
Allison Rothschild
Adjunct Faculty
Rachel Schein
Adjunct Faculty
Hannah C. Smith
Adjunct Faculty
Adam M. Volungis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
Ashley Warhol
Adjunct Faculty
Nevila Weagle
Adjunct Faculty
Andrea Wolloff
Adjunct Faculty
Fang Zhang, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Psychology

Experiential Learning

Assumption's Rome Campus

At Assumption's campus in Rome, Italy, the city and the country become your classroom through daily and weekend-long excursions throughout "the eternal city" and the Italian countryside. This unique study abroad experience will enrich your academic and cultural pursuits as you walk in the footsteps of emperors and gladiators then enjoy delectable Italian cuisine or perhaps a cappuccino after class in a local cafe. (Did you know that your financial aid follows you to Rome?)

Explore the Rome Campus

Faculty/Student Research

The Assumption curriculum encourages scholarly and real-world experience. With hands-on research conducted alongside faculty mentors, students gain a depth of knowledge and skills that lead to professional success and personal fulfillment.

Study Abroad

At Assumption University, the world is your classroom. Students can study and explore abroad in over 50 places from Vienna to England, South Africa, and even our own campus in historic, yet modern, Rome, Italy. Assumption’s study abroad program offers culture, history, and a living classroom for all.

Internships

Internships are a valuable way for you to gain experience outside of the classroom and to develop professional skills and insight. As part of their internship, psychology students complete an academic component that usually consists of a reflective journal, readings in the field, and a comprehensive research paper. There are two types of internships. Students can earn academic credit by working with an academic advisor and the internship site. Or students may participate in a career internship, which provides valuable experience but does not offer academic credit. All internships may be paid or unpaid and generally occur during or following junior year. Some recent internship locations have included:
  • Accelerated Learning Lab
  • Charles River Center
  • Community Healthlink
  • Elderly Services of Worcester
  • UMass Medical School
  • Worcester Public Schools
  • Worcester District Court
  • Worcester Juvenile Court


Recent Employment Opportunities

The psychology program prepares students for successful and fulfilling careers in an array of fields, including nonprofit and entrepreneurial organizations, corporations, and local, state and federal government.

Outer Cape Health Services

Horace Mann Educational Associates

Mental Health Services

Ostrow and Company

Shire

University of Massachusetts Medical School

Community Health Link

Sovos Compliance

Baypath Elder Services

First-rate Academics in a Catholic University Setting

Assumption University awakens in students a sense of wonder, discovery, and purpose, forming graduates known for their intellectual seriousness, thoughtful citizenship, and devotion to the common good. Students are provided an education that shapes their souls, forms them intellectually, and prepares them for meaningful careers. Enlivened by the harmony of faith and reason, here, students’ minds and hearts are transformed.


Assumption is dedicated to providing a clear understanding of what your education will cost

We’ll help cut through the complexity of financing your education, ensuring you understand what you need, how to apply for aid, and what’s expected of you. You will be assigned a personal financial aid advisor who will guide you through the process and answer all of your financial aid-related questions.

PREPARING STUDENTS FOR ADVANCED STUDY


Dual Degree Programs

Apply as a high school senior to an undergraduate and graduate program with one application. If admitted, you will be enrolled in both programs - allowing you to seamlessly transition from your undergraduate studies into one of our graduate programs. We offer the following dual degree programs:

The Pursuit of an Advanced Degree

The program also prepares students for graduate study in a variety of specializations such as counseling psychology, applied behavior analysis, school psychology, social work, developmental psychology, social work, forensic psychology and guidance counseling. Recent Assumption psychology graduates have pursued graduate education with: Assumption University; Boston College; University of North Carolina, Chapel-Hill; University of Virginia; Springfield College; and Tufts University .

Programs Related to Psychology