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mercyhurst psychology


Question. Research. Discover. With a bachelor’s degree in psychology, you’ll study the source behind all academic disciplines, and you’ll be part of one of the broadest and most widely applicable fields of study. Whether your career leads you to probe the relationship between the brain and behavior, determine how police line-ups can be improved, study how salary incentives improve worker productivity, or help those with various challenges or disabilities — it’s all psychology.

Through our program, many of our students work closely with faculty to conduct research and present findings at regional and nationwide conferences. They also have opportunities to apply their developing knowledge and skills in a professional setting through unparalleled internships. Students are invited to join active student organizations, such as the Psychology Club and the international psychology honor society, Psi Chi. Additionally, every senior psych major completes an original research project that demonstrates his/her newfound expertise in psychology to potential employers and graduate school admissions committees alike.

Many of our graduates have used their Mercyhurst degree in psychology as a stepping stone to go on to do bigger and better things, such as pursuing doctoral degrees from other distinguished programs in the nation (i.e. Yale and Columbia); obtaining law and medical degrees; and even entering into the FBI and Secret Service. Other students have pursued entry-level careers after graduation in law, health and medicine, social work, education, government, sports or business. 

And, with a 14-1 student-to-faculty ratio and an average class size of 20 students, you’re never just a number at Mercyhurst. In fact, many upper level courses average 10 or fewer students. We keep our classes small so you can get individualized attention from professors to ensure your success in class and beyond.

The professional and educational opportunities in the field of psychology are virtually endless, and Mercyhurst offers plenty of options for you to enter this fascinating field. The psychology bachelor's degree has an optional concentration in neuroscience, and interdisciplinary minors in psychology of crime and justice and gender studies are offered to enhance the degree program. A psychology minor is offered for students in other major areas of study.

Majors(s) Psychology Major
Minor(s) Psychology Minor
  Psychology of Crime and Justice Minor
  Gender Studies Minor
Concentration(s)    Applied Behavior Analysis Concentration
  Neuroscience Concentration

Ready to begin your journey in psychology?  Apply online today -- it's free and getting your application started takes only a few brief minutes.  Interested students may also consult the course catalog for more information.  As a liberal arts institution, all undergraduate students complete Mercyhurst's core curriculum

Consistent with the mission of Mercyhurst University, the Department of Psychology inspires students to develop personally and professionally in a culture of strong faculty-student bonds and engaging lessons in- and out-of the classroom. Students are actively involved in a broad based program that focuses on the science of behavior and mental processes. The program equips students with skills necessary for success in a variety of fields. We stress critical thinking and an understanding of the scientific method as the best practice for evaluating scientific claims, theoretical concepts, and applications of psychological principles.

  • Properly use APA style
  • Demonstrate written and oral presentation skills appropriate to the field of psychology
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the historical context of the field of psychology
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the biological, psychological, social, and cultural bases of behavior and development
  • Distinguish among major statistical tests and select appropriate tests for specific data sets
  • Select methodology appropriate to a particular research question generated by the student
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical principles of psychology as established by the APA
  • Evaluate real world examples in terms of course content and knowledge, applying critical thinking skills
  • Make progress toward career planning and development

If you are considering a career or employment in the helping professions, the psychology faculty and the Career Development Center strongly encourage you to complete an internship within your area of interest.  These opportunities for hands-on experience enable you to “try out” your field while enabling you to apply what you’ve learned in the classroom.  We have dozens of active partnerships with internship sites throughout Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio, but are not limited to those already in place.  We can work with you to develop a suitable site in your home area or anywhere in the country.  Students have the option of doing their placements in the summer or during fall and spring semesters. Internships are generally completed in the summer following junior year, or during the senior year.

We are also fortunate to be able to take advantage of the breadth and depth of the many excellent local agencies and internship sites in the Erie community.  These sites allow students to work in a number of diverse settings such as jails, probation departments, substance abuse agencies, residential settings for children, adolescents, and adults, schools, public health agencies, crime victim centers, and human resource departments. Populations served by these sites include emotionally or behaviorally disturbed youth and adolescents, the developmentally disabled, adults with psychiatric disorders, or adolescents or adults involved with the criminal justice system.

Below is just a sampling of our psychology placements:

Abraxas Youth and Family Services

Achievement Center

Albion Correctional Facility – Mental Health Unit

Beacon Light Behavioral Health Systems

Children’s Advocacy Center of Erie County

Crime Victim Center

Dr. Gertrude A. Barber National Institute

Erie County Health Department

Erie County Adult Probation/Parole

Erie County Prison

Gannondale Residential Center

Mental Health Association

Millcreek Township School District

Perseus House

Safe Harbor Behavioral Health

Saint Vincent Health Center

Sarah Reed Children’s Center

Stairways Behavioral Health

The Family Institute

VA Medical Center

Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic

The Psychology Department is housed in Briggs Hall, which features 6000 square feet devoted to psychological science. The building houses psychology classrooms, faculty offices, a student lounge area, a fully equipped computer lab with workstations for data analysis, lab areas for student research and psychophysiological recording, and the Laboratory for Addictive and Impulsive Behavior.  The latter enables students to become involved in faculty-led research to explore behaviors associated with real-world problems such as smoking, gambling, and other impulse-control disorders.

All of our faculty maintain active research interests in a variety of basic science and applied areas of psychology, and all provide opportunities to become actively involved, either as research assistants or through designing and conducting their own projects.  Prior research collaborations have enabled our students to travel to both regional and national professional conferences where they have had the opportunity to present their research.

The psychology department at Mercyhurst is dedicated to helping students prepare for future professions and graduate study by making various research opportunities available. As part of the research methods sequence, students design and conduct independent research projects and present their research at the Western Pennsylvania Undergraduate Conference. Student projects and collaborative work with faculty have been presented at other regional and national conferences, such as the Association for Psychological Science annual convention. Psychology majors also have the option of completing a senior research project. In addition, faculty typically maintain active research programs which students are welcome to join.

Gerard Barron Psy.D. Associate Professor Office: Briggs 102B Phone: (814) 824-3375

Gerard Tobin Associate Professor Office: Briggs 100 Phone: 814-824-2468

Marilyn Livosky Ph.D. Professor Office: Briggs 102A Phone: (814) 824-2377

Matthew Weaver Assistant Professor Office: Briggs 103 Phone: (814) 824-2733

Melissa Heerboth Ph.D. Assistant Professor Office: Briggs 104 Phone: (814) 824-2371

Robert Hoff M.A Department chair and professor Office: Briggs 110 Phone: (814) 824-2380

Thomas Gamble Ph.D. President of Mercyhurst University and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Office: Old Main 113 Phone: (814) 824-2311