The Psychology program seeks to acquire and impart knowledge about the human psyche in terms of both mental processes and human action. To impart this knowledge, the program grounds students in the foundational areas and methodologies proper to the discipline of psychology. Recognizing the overall unity of truth, the study of psychology is carried out in conversation with philosophical and theological insights into the human person. Teachers and students reflect on the relation between the theories of human action and behavior as hitherto developed by psychology and the understanding of the human person in the perennial philosophy and Catholic theology: philosophical wisdom provides a normative standard of judgment concerning the human person; theology completes this wisdom in an explicitly Christ-centered vision. Students develop an understanding of research methodology within the field of psychology to prepare for graduate and professional study in a number of disciplines. The Psychology program curriculum prepares students for professional and graduate study in psychology. High-achieving students will be expected to conduct original research and provide detailed and reflective analysis.

Explore the Psychology Program

Have you ever wondered about human nature—who we are, why we act as we do, how we change over time, and what makes us unique?  Am I a personal subject (a mind) or merely an object (a body)?  Are our actions freely chosen or determined?  Are we governed more by reason or emotion?  Are we influenced more by heredity (nature) or environment (nurture)?  Is the difference between humans and animals merely quantitative or truly qualitative?  Is human nature basically good or basically evil?  Are we limited by our past or called by our future?

Do you like to solve problems or analyze data?  Do you enjoy helping people?  Are you fascinated by human thoughts, emotions, and behaviors?  Would you like to prepare for a career in mental health, such as psychology, counseling, social work, or marriage and family therapy?  Or might you wish to develop skills in pursuit of a related career in education, business, law, health care, or human services?

If any of this sounds interesting to you, you may wish to join us as a Psychology major at Ave Maria University!

1.  Psychology is one of the largest majors at Ave Maria University, with nearly 90 declared majors.

2.  Psychology Senior Internships are in place with Catholic Charities, the David Lawrence Center (community mental health), and St. Matthew’s House (homelessness recovery), and additional affiliations are being developed.

3.  Students interested in Sport Psychology have had the opportunity to meet with sport psychology staff of the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins during Spring Training baseball in the Florida Grapefruit League.

In addition to the core curriculum, psychology majors take the following courses

PSYC 201 Principles and Methods of Psychology

PSYC 205 Foundations of Psychology as a Human Science

PSYC 230 Statistics for the Social Sciences

PSYC 301 Human Development and Learning

PSYC 305 Research Methods and Design

PSYC 317 Psychopathology

PSYC 425 Cognitive Neuroscience

PSYC 490 History & Systems of Psychology: Senior Seminar


Elective Options

PSYC 302 Educational Psychology

PSYC 310 Introduction to Counseling and Personality Theories

PSYC 320 Social Psychology

PSYC 350 Health Psychology

PSYC 360 Evaluation and Testing

PSYC 409 Christian Marriage

PSYC 415 Special Topics in Psychology

PSYC 495 Senior Internship

PSYC 497 Directed Research in Psychology

See the Academic Catalog for course descriptions


The following internship opportunities are currently in place for Psychology majors:

Catholic Charities of Collier County:  Direct Assistance program link

David Lawrence Center:  Crossroads Residential Treatment program link

St. Matthew’s House:  Structured Recovery program and Justin’s Place Recovery programs link


Please visit O*Net OnLine for detailed information on occupations in psychology and related fields: link

Keith Houde, Ph.D.

Chair of the Department of Psychology and Associate Professor of Psychology
Education: B.A., Psychology / Theology, Franciscan University; M.A., Psychology, Duquesne University; M.A., Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary; Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary.
Office: Henkels 3047A
Phone: (239) 280-1665
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Mary Hunt, Ph.D. (candidate)

Chair of the Department of Business, Assistant Professor of Business & Psychology, and Internship Coordinator
Education: B.A., Political Science & Spanish, Wellesley College; M.B.A., Marketing, Washington University; M.S., Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology; Ph.D. (candidate), Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology
Office: Henkels 2030
Phone: (239) 304-7128
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Stefanie Dorough, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Education: Ph.D., Psychology, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma; M.S., Psychology, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma; M.A., Psychology, University of Dallas, Texas; B.S., Psychology, Southern Nazarene University, Oklahoma
Office: Henkels 3020A
Phone: (239) 280-1552
Fax: (239) 280-1637