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mercyhurst psychology


Psychology is 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.

Our students work closely with faculty to conduct research and present findings at regional and national 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. 

Our students reflect the idea that Psychology is a hub discipline – that people come to major in psychology for a wide variety of different reasons and interests and then go out into the world and work in a wide variety of different settings.  Many of our students pursue graduate school in psychology and many have pursued other disciplines as well, including law, medicine, social work, education, government, sports, and business.

Our unique program offers 3 specialized tracks at the undergraduate level in order to best support our students’ diverse interests: an applied track that focuses on clinical/counseling work (important skills for virtually any career that features working with people); a research track designed to prepare students for graduate school, and a general track designed for students who want to double-major or who are looking for flexibility with their busy lives.

And, with a 14-1 student-to-faculty ratio and an average class size of 20 students, you’re never just a number in the Mercyhurst Psychology Department. 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 features a core number of classes to ensure that all of our students are comfortable working with all the major areas of psychology and that they understand psychologists’ code of ethics, communication practices, and professional culture.  In addition, our program offers 3 specialized tracks so that students can personalize their education to fit their goals and interests: an applied track, a research track, and a general track.  Finally, our program offers optional concentrations 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) 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

The Psychology Department at Mercyhurst University fully adopts both the core values at Mercyhurst University and the American Psychological Association’s goals for undergraduate education and seeks to develop students that are:

Socially merciful, in that they are able to build and enhance interpersonal relationships, and adopt values that build community at local, national, and global levels.
Globally responsible through their application of ethical standards in their evaluation of psychological science and practice.
Compassionately hospitable through their ability to interact effectively and sensitively with people of diverse backgrounds and cultural perspectives.
Intellectually creative with their ability to interpret, design, and conduct basic psychological research and their firm foundation in psychology’s content areas.
Reflectively aware with their ability to apply psychological content and skills to explain behavior and mental processes, including accurate, critical self-assessment of performance and the ability to develop and execute strategies for exceeding performance criteria.

In accordance with the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines for Undergraduate Education in Psychology, Mercyhurst Psychology graduates will be expected to demonstrate:

  • A firm knowledge base in psychology
  • Scientific and critical thinking
  • Ethical and social responsibility
  • Communication skills
  • Professional development skills
  • Knowledge about the history and progression of the field of Psychology

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.

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

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

Marilyn Livosky
Office: Briggs 102A
Phone: (814) 824-2377

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

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

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