Psychology is one of the largest and most active departments in the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. It is an especially popular undergraduate program for students interested in investigating the various facets of the psychology field. Our graduate program in Community Social Psychology is a national exemplar of excellence. Leaders in the field of community psychology consider it one of the finest master of arts programs in the country. Program graduates are actively involved in improving the social fabric of communities as well as pursuing further educational opportunities.
The mission of the Department of Psychology is to foster critical and creative thinking grounded in the principles, methods and ethics of psychology as a scientific discipline and as a profession. The Department values both basic and applied research; we are especially committed to scholarship that is innovative, collaborative and/or interdisciplinary and that is relevant to diverse populations and to individual or community well-being. The faculty emphasizes high quality instruction, research and creative activity as well as service to the community through coursework, supervised research, and partnerships. We strive to enable students throughout the University to understand human behavior, contribute solutions to human problems and achieve the capacity to respond to a changing world. In this way the Department is actively committed to the University mission to promote sustained regional, social and economic development.
Faculty members teach a wide variety of courses that attract majors and non-majors alike. Their specialties focus on clinical, developmental, cognitive, health, social, community, and experimental orientations and they have a substantial interest in questions of diversity, feminist approaches to psychology and workplace equality. Some faculty accomplishments include:
- Becoming president of the national organization of community psychologists
- Developing a local family resource center
- Creating a nationally recognized youth sports program
- Directing a university research center
- Editing the largest existing website on community development
A commitment to community action permeates the curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The value that the department places on community engagement is reflected in the annual awards given to undergraduate and graduate students for their involvement.
A hallmark of the undergraduate program is the option to specialize in developmental disabilities. Developed in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation, it combines supervised field placement with classroom studies. Additionally, graduate students may incorporate clusters that revolve around the themes of family studies, diversity studies and community and organizational development.
Research is another major component of study that is encouraged at both undergraduate and graduate levels. The department is affiliated with several prestigious research centers including the Center for Women and Work, the Center for Community Research and Engagement, and the Laboratory for Children and Families.