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

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 human service, health care, education, business, or law?

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

History of the Psychology Major at Ave Maria University

The Psychology department at Ave Maria University wishes to express gratitude for an unexpected and generous gift from the Richard C. Stillman Foundation for Adoption made at the direction of William L. Pierce, Ph.D., who served as President and Executive Director of the Foundation.

Psychology courses at Ave Maria University have been available to students since 2008, but the major and minor was not established at the Florida campus until 2011. The first eight Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology were conferred in 2012. Since its inception (through the 2017-2018 academic year), the Psychology program has graduated 143 majors and 32 minors.

The Psychology department at Ave Maria University has grown from 1 faculty member to 4 faculty members, with current specialty areas in clinical, developmental, educational, and organizational psychology. Faculty within the department have conducted research, presented, and/or published on the history of psychology, the undergraduate psychology curriculum, measurement problems in psychology, character/virtue/moral formation, and work-life balance. During its first year, the Psychology major offered eight required courses and five regular elective courses. At present, the major offers eight required courses and twelve regular elective courses.

1.  Psychology is one of the largest majors at Ave Maria University, with around 90 declared majors and numerous declared minors.

2.  Psychology Senior Internships are available with Catholic Charities of Collier County (direct assistance), the David Lawrence Center (community mental health addiction recovery and prevention education), Community Pregnancy Clinics (unplanned pregnancy services), and Naples Equestrian Challenge (equine-assisted therapy), 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

Required Core Courses in the Natural Sciences

  • BIOL 201 and BIOL 202; or BIOL 211 and BIOL 212; or BIOL 304 and BIOL 309 (or approved equivalents)

Required Courses for the Major

  • PSYC 201 Principles and Methods of Psychology
  • PSYC 205 Foundations of Psychology as a Human Science
  • PSYC 230 Applied Statistics for Psychology
  • PSYC 301 Human Development and Learning
  • PSYC 305 Research Methods and Design
  • PSYC 317 Psychopathology
  • PSYC 425 Cognitive Neuroscience
  • PSYC 490 History and Systems of Psychology: Senior Seminar
  • Elective Major Courses (three required)


The following internship opportunities are currently available for Psychology majors:

Catholic Charities of Collier County: Family Resource Center (Direct Assistance Program)

Community Pregnancy Clinics: Unplanned Pregnancy Services

David Lawrence Center: Crossroads Addiction and Recovery Services

David Lawrence Center: Prevention Education Program

Naples Equestrian Challenge: Equine-Assisted Therapy



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

Keith Houde, Ph.D.

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: Prince 106
Phone: (239) 280-1665

Mary Hunt, Ph.D. (candidate)

Assistant Professor of Business & Psychology
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

Stefanie Morris, Ph.D.

Chair of the Psychology Department, Associate Professor of Psychology
Education: B.S., Psychology, Southern Nazarene University; M.Psy., Psychology, University of Dallas; M.S., Psychology, Oklahoma State University; Ph.D., Psychology, Oklahoma State University
Office: Prince 107
Phone: (239) 280-1552

Timothy Reilly, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychology 
Education: B.A., Psychology, Indiana University; Ph.D., Education, Stanford University
Office: Prince 108
Phone: (239) 304-7930