Psychology

Critical thinking, openness to new worldviews and an appreciation for diversity – these are the values that a degree from RWU in Psychology provides. You’ll learn how to apply these skills to research that helps solve problems in our community and society.

All Psychology majors complete a guaranteed capstone experience – either an Applied Practicum/Internship or a senior thesis. Many students combine their passions by double majoring or minoring to prepare for careers in their areas of expertise. Our graduates are prepared for graduate school as well as a wide range of careers, including human resources, management, marketing and education.

Hold a Human Brain 

Two students hold and inspect a plasticized 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.  

Success By The Numbers

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Placement of 2021 Grads

Even with the challenges of the pandemic, our 2021 graduates found success in employment or in graduate school within 6 months of graduation.

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Graduate With More than A Single Major

The majority of 2021 Psychology majors graduated with a second major or minor(2), giving them the skills and diverse experience that are most desirable for employers and graduate school admission.

graphic representing more than 35 research projects
Research Projects

A significant number of student- and faculty-led research projects take place annually in SSNS, with many opportunities even for first-year students.

Degree Requirements

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Download Fact Sheet

To read more about our academic offerings, or to view full course descriptions, please refer to our University Catalog.

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. 

Learn from Faculty Experts 

Victoria Heimer-McGinn, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor of Psychology 
 Professor Victoria Heimer-McGinn speaking and holding a human brain.
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. 

“Professor Heimer-McGinn involves our students in her outreach activities, as well as establish important connections between biology and psychology in her popular classes. Professor Heimer-McGinn, thus, embodies the core purpose of the university ‘to strengthen society through engaged teaching and learning,'” said SSNS Dean Benjamin Greenstein.  

AlProfessor Alejandro Leguizamoejandro 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.” 

A Psychology student working in a neuroscience lab Research Spotlight

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.  

Among other examples, Psychology students have also worked on these research projects: 

  • 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? 

Graduates Share Their Experiences   

RWU graduate Abby Maxwell “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

Student Jenn Reale next to a poster explaining her research“When I was at Roger, a lot of my learning was applied. I was involved with research projects that were very hands-on and meaningful. Having the opportunity to do work like that and not have it be abstract was important to me.” 

Jenn Reale '20
J.D. Candidate at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston
Majors at RWU: Psychology and Legal Studies 

RWU graduate Nicole Bauer“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  

RWU graduate Kristina Rauccio“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

Participate in 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. 

    An interior shot of Global Heritage HallOpportunities Abound for 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. 

    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. 

    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 

    A student in the health profession program 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.

    Explore Health Professions Advising

    Employers
    • State of RI DCYF
    • Butler Hospital
    • Child and Family Services of Newport
    • Proctor & Gamble
    Graduate Study
    • Roger Willams University School of Law
    • John Jay College
    • University of Rhode Island
    • Suffolk University
    • Hofstra University
    • Rutgers University
    • SUNY: Binghamton
    • Tufts University
    • University of Central Florida
    • Columbia University
    • NYU
    • Smith College
    • New School of Social Research NYC