By conducting hands-on research that helps solve problems in our community and society, Psychology students are prepared for graduate school as well as a wide range of careers, including human resources, management, marketing, and education.
Hold a Human Brain
RWU is one of only two higher ed institutions in Rhode Island to have a plasticized human brain for neuroscience education, giving students a unique hands-on opportunity. According to Victoria Heimer-McGinn, assistant professor of Psychology, it's difficult to teach the anatomy of the brain with just a book. "With a brain in your hand, all of a sudden, students want to come to class. They want to explore the brain, look at it, and wonder about the person it belonged to, their memories and their past. It’s an educational tool and an outreach tool, and I’m hoping that throughout the years we can use it for many other things,” she said.
Explore Psychology at RWU
Success By The Numbers
Placement of 2022 Grads
Our 2022 graduates found success in employment or in graduate school within 6 months of graduation.
Graduate With More than A Single Major
The majority of 2022 Psychology majors graduated with a second major or minor, giving them the skills and diverse experience that are most desirable for employers and graduate school admission.
A significant number of student- and faculty-led research projects take place annually in SSNS, with many opportunities even for first-year students.
Customize Your Studies
Most Psychology Students Blend Majors & Minors
At RWU, 85 percent of Psychology students graduate with more than just a single major. You can build your unique career advantage with a double major or combination of minors. Many students combine Psychology with Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, Education and Marketing.
Earn a Graduate Degree
RWU offers graduate degrees that complement the bachelor’s degree in Psychology, including a Master of Arts in Forensic Mental Health Counseling, which prepares students for clinical work or for a Psy.D. program. The 3+3 Juris Doctor (J.D.) program allows students to pair their primary major with a second major in Legal Studies to pursue an accelerated opportunity to earn their Juris Doctor degree. Accepted students will take first-year courses in the School of Law along with legal electives to fulfill undergraduate fourth-year requirements.
Learn About Health Professions Advising
Are you interested in a career in the health professions and want more information on developing your studies toward professional preparation? Visit Health Professions Advising for resources on how you can explore your options for health professions pathways.
Learn from Faculty Experts
Victoria Heimer-McGinn, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
In 2019, Victoria Heimer-McGinn received the Next Generation Award from the Society for Neuroscience for her innovative work to educate the public about the human brain. Heimer-McGinn co-founded the annual Brain Week RI and connects with local K-12 schools to get young students excited about careers in brain science through its BRAINY program. She established a popular Introduction to Neuroscience course at RWU and collaborates with undergraduate students on research into the roles of memory and social functioning in the brain. She has also been a Fulbright Scholar, National Hispanic Scholar and Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Scholar.
Alejandro Leguizamo, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
Professor of Psychology Alejandro Leguizamo is an expert in multicultural aspects of sexual aggression and sex offender treatment, and risk assessment with ethnically diverse sex offenders. He works with students on research projects that tackle real-world issues.
“I can be both involved in a hands-on way and serve as a guide," he said. "It’s about how I can best serve the students. I helped my students design the collection tools that they then used to enter data, and we will analyze the data together.”
Alumni Share Their Experiences
“I got to do a lot of hands-on projects really early on. I’ve been doing Psychology research since the beginning of my sophomore year. Because it’s a smaller school, you have the opportunity to be able to take a class with a professor and have them ask you to participate in their research.”
Abby Maxwell '20
Graduate Student at American University, Washington, D.C.
Majors at RWU: Psychology and International Relations
“The Psychology department gave me a perfect foundation of knowledge to build a career. My time in this program positioned me to find a role administering therapy to youth with autism spectrum disorder, and my Psychology professors were more than willing to help me however I needed as I applied to graduate programs.”
Connor Burt ’21
Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapist at APEX Behavioral Consulting in Boston
Majors at RWU: Psychology and Marketing
“Psychology was a given because I always found the thoughts behind people’s actions interesting. My classes were beneficial because I was going to be working with all different demographics and ages. I learned about people and culture, and how to work with a wide variety of individuals.”
Nicole Bauer '15
Behavioral Health Therapist at Brightline in Braintree, Mass.
Majors at RWU: Psychology and Cultural Studies
“I felt really supported from my career advisor who always made it a point to be on a first-name basis as we worked on my resume and narrowing the scope of what kinds of jobs I wanted. My professors knew my name. I knew I could reach out any time.”
Kristina Rauccio '17
Senior Anti-Money Laundering Analyst at Santander Bank in South Boston
Majors at RWU: Psychology and Criminal Justice
Research As Early As Your First Year
At RWU, even first-year students can get involved in research projects, and every Psychology student graduates with direct research experience. Many students participate in conferences, sharing and presenting their work, or publishing their work in respected journals.
Working with Assistant Professor of Psychology Victoria Heimer-McGinn, students participated in hands-on neuroscience research that could lead to treatments for bipolar disorder. Funded by an INBRE grant, RWU Psychology students used lab facilities at Brown University to study the cognitive behavior – including recognition memory and cognitive flexibility – in male and female mice to address gaps in the field of neuropsychiatric diseases.
Psychology students have conducted many other research projects over the years, including:
- How accurate is eyewitness testimony?
- Jury selection in the courts: A scientific model
- Do men and women learn differently?
- Is “whiteness” part of “multiculturalism?”
- How do we choose our romantic partners?
- How do parents balance the needs of work and family?
Get a Great Internship
All Psychology students complete a guaranteed internship and are supported before, during and after their real-world experiences. Students have recently interned with organizations including Butler Hospital, Newport Mental Health, Communities for People, State of Rhode Island DCYF, East Bay Mental Health, and Adult Correctional Institutions.
Ways to Get Involved
Internships, Community Engagement
All Psychology students complete a guaranteed internship and are supported before, during and after their real-world experiences. Students have recently interned with organizations including Butler Hospital; Newport Mental Health; Communities for People; the state of Rhode Island's Department of Children, Youth, and Families; East Bay Mental Health; and Adult Correctional Institutions.
Students also partner with community organizations and businesses to solve problems that matter. Examples include promoting mental health and well-being with youth in Jamaica, working with the Bristol Health Equity Zone to study the impact of community cooking demonstrations, and analyzing policies and programs at an elementary school in Providence and Head Start in Fall River, Mass.
Psi Chi Honor Society
Undergraduate students majoring and minoring in Psychology are encouraged to visit the Psi Chi website to apply for membership into the Psi Chi International Honor Society. In order to be eligible you need a 3.5 GPA in Psychology as well as 3.3 overall GPA. In addition, you need a minimum of 12 credits in Psychology. After filling out the online application to become a member of the RWU Chapter of Psi Chi and verification of your status is complete, payment of $75 is made to the chapter advisor. This fee includes $55 membership and $20 for expenses at the university level. Induction takes place in the spring semester.
The Psychology Club is dedicated to both advocating for mental health and serving students interested in pursuing their passion in Psychology. The club is tailored entirely to the needs of its members and hosts fundraisers, career panels, networking events, conferences, and other events involving Psychology, both academically and socially.
The Brain Club is for any students interested in learning more about the brain. Members can teach young children about the brain as well as participate in guest talks, fun games, field trips, and more.
To read more about our academic offerings, or to view full course descriptions, please refer to our University Catalog.