department of psychology

306 Chafee Hall, 142 Flagg Road, Kingston, RI 02881 – 401.874.2193 (p); 401.874.2157 (f)

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Multicultural Focus Area


The multicultural focus area offers a unique specialization which goes above and beyond basic multicultural competence requirements and is in line with current multicultural psychology knowledge. Through research, courses and applied experiences our students increase their multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills. As a result of the multicultural focus in psychology graduates will be better equipped to conduct research, teach, and practice in an increasingly diverse world.

Graduates from the multicultural psychology focus area serve in numerous capacities, including: Academia, Methodological Research (e.g. Research Centers), Individual or Group Therapy Private Practice, Clinician (e.g., Schools, Hospital, Mental Health Facility, etc.), Evaluation Research, Policy-Maker and more.


The multicultural focus area goals are to: 1) formalize a graduate training program with a substantive focus in multicultural psychology and 2) prepare future psychologists who can competently address multicultural issues in the conduct of research, teaching, and practice.


  • Collaboration with psychologists and scholars from other disciplines on campus
  • Increased research assistantships and other funding opportunities
  • Recruit and retain faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students
  • Enhance interest and multicultural competence among the Department of Psychology community
  • Promote infusion of multicultural issues into existing courses, applied training experiences, and research activities
  • Prepare students for a multicultural world

Program of Study

Multicultural focus area students should take four courses that meet specific multicultural course requirements, and should be preceded by your committee’s approval.

In addition to the didactic component, at least one of the students’ comprehensive exam questions should pertain to multicultural psychology. Alternatively, a published book chapter, journal article, or grant submission in the area of multicultural psychology may fulfill this requirement.

Finally, students are expected to have several research and applied experiences (15 weeks in duration) with a focus on multicultural issues. These could include research with faculty, externships, practica, and internships.

The Multicultural Focus Area Checklist can help you keep track of your progress.

Course Requirements

All doctoral students are required to take one of two core multicultural courses:

  • PSY 600 Multicultural Issues in Psychology: Theory, Research, and Practice
  • PSY 643 Multicultural Psychology and Mental Health

Students who concentrate in the multicultural focus area take three additional multicultural courses, most likely drawing some from within psychology and others outside of psychology (see suggested options below).

Psychology courses:

  • PSY 500 Theories and Research in Nonviolence and Peace Studies
  • PSY 505 Community Psychology
  • PSY 600 Multicultural Issues in Psychology: Theory, Research, and Practice
  • PSY 625 Psychology of Trauma (Not currently offered)
  • PSY 643 Multicultural Psychology and Mental Health
  • PSY 672 Multicultural Practicum
  • PSY 690 Gender, Culture, and Sexuality (Not currently offered)
  • PSY 692 Directed Readings/Research
  • PSY 696 Practicum in Teaching Psychology (W/ multicultural focus

Other courses:

  • Human Development and Family Studies
    • HDF 505 Human Sexuality and Counseling
    • HDF 559 Gender Issues in Therapy
    • HDF 575 Cultural Competence in Human Service
    • HDF 576 Diversity in Higher Education
  • Kinesiology
    • KIN 578 Cultural Studies of Sport and Physical Activity
  • Nursing
    • NUR 651 Advanced Methods Nursing Research (Qualitative Research)
  • Spanish
    • SPA 590 The Hispanic Presence in the United States
  • Women’s Studies
    • WMS 490 Advanced Topics in Women’s Studies
    • WMS 501 Human Trafficking and Contemporary Slavery
    • WMS 502 Campaigns and Services for Victims of Trafficking and Slavery
  • Textiles, Fashion Merchandising, and Design
    • TMD 524 Cultural Aspects of Dress
Note: Courses are offered on a variable basis. Also, through faculty appointments and cross-listed courses, the Psychology Department has close ties to the Women’s Studies program (Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies), the Africana Studies Program, the Multicultural Center, the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, the Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America, and the Urban Initiative.


The Department of Psychology is committed to creating a climate of inclusivity through our multicultural values and philosophy. We are also dedicated to training future psychologists whose research, teaching and practice is consistent with the expectations outlined by the American Psychological Association’s multicultural guidelines and ethics code.

Focus Area Chair
Jasmine Mena (Teaching multiculturalism, clinical psychology multicultural competencies, impact of privilege and marginalization, and health and mental health disparities research)

Focus Area Faculty
Paul Bueno de Mesquita (Primary prevention, mental health consultation, problem-based learning, child development, exceptionalities, diversity, nonviolence, and social emotional learning)
Charles Collyer (Psychology of violence and non-violence)
Paul Florin (Community psychology, substance abuse in communities of color)
Kathleen Gorman (Developmental, hunger and poverty, cross-cultural psychology)
Lisa Harlow (Friendly science approaches to teaching and increasing women in the sciences; multivariate statistics, methodology, meaning in life, women’s health)
Mark Robbins (health disparities and “cultural tailoring” of health promotion and health behavior interventions)
Margaret Rogers (Cross-cultural training of psychologists, cross-cultural school psychology competencies, and recruitment and retention of students of color)
Lynda Stein (Incarcerated adolescents, substance abuse)

Professors Emeritus
John Stevenson (Evaluation research in multicultural settings; empowerment of participants in community health promotion research)
Al Lott (Social psychology and men’s studies)
Bernice Lott (Interpersonal discrimination; multicultural issues; gender issues; social learning; feminist psychology; poverty and social class)

Additional Information

Proposed Governance Structure

Faculty in Behavioral Science, School, and Clinical Programs and staff in psychology and in other closely-related departments may affiliate with the Multicultural focus area upon request. Graduate students will be included as representatives. Focus area meetings will be scheduled at least once per semester.

What if I have more questions?
You may direct questions to Jasmine A. Mena, PhD, or 401-874-2665.

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