Department of Psychology
The psychology department faculty represent a highly accomplished and diverse group of scholars who are widely known in their fields having received national awards and grants, and who share a dedication to mentoring students in their labs, courses and theses. The department is strenuously committed to providing the high level, individualized instruction for which the College is known.
Examining Mental Health-Related Topics
Faculty research and course offerings investigate cognitive or social/emotion disabilities such as social stigmatization, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, autism, eating disorders, as well as caffeine and opioid abuse. This clinical emphasis is in line with the College’s Jesuit mission to help serve the wellbeing of others and allows students to integrate their interests in service with their academic program and potentially their post-graduate vocation.
Interdisciplinary Research Endeavors
The spirit of open inquiry at Holy Cross encourages interdisciplinary innovation, and many in the psychology department are actively engaged in work that moves beyond the borders of the discipline. Currently, psychology faculty are involved in science education, the intersection of psychology and nutrition, neurobiology, Holocaust studies, adolescent development, and health psychology, just to name a few.
Students also benefit from the faculty members’ involvement in collaborative teaching, from seminars in Montserrat, the College’s intensive first-year program that immerses students in richly layered living, learning and doing “clusters,” to honors seminars for upperclass students.
Intensive Introduction to Scientific Methodology
A notable set of course offerings within the department is the Statistics and Research Methods sequence, spread across both the fall and spring semesters, which provides an unusually intensive introduction to scientific methodology as well as an important site for students, relatively early in their academic careers at the College, to engage in independent research. Courses of this sort are common at other colleges and universities. Less common is the way the department has students pursue and present their own research, culminating in an end-of-year colloquium that brings them all together in an exciting rite of passage marking their entry into the role of psychologist.
Exploring the History and Foundation of Psychology
The History and Theory of Psychology course explores foundational questions about the discipline. It encourages students to think deeply and critically not only about the discipline of psychology but about the human condition, the nature of inquiry, and some of the “basic human questions” prized in the College’s mission statement.
The psychology department houses two state-of-the-art computer laboratories. These facilities are designed to enhance collaborative interactions among students in the Statistics and Research Methods courses, as well as in courses such as Developmental Psychology, Perception and Social Neuroscience, and Cognition and Memory.
Each computer lab is equipped with Dell PCs designated for student and faculty use. The computers are set up with all of the software that is commonly used on campus (e.g., Microsoft Office, Photoshop and Acrobat) as well as statistical programs that are used in the psychology department.
Minor in Neuroscience
Psychology majors interested in the brain mechanisms underlying behavior might consider pursuing an interdisciplinary minor in neuroscience. The minor draws on psychology, biology, and related disciplines that have lent insights and approaches to understanding the structure and function of nervous systems.