department of psychology

306 Chafee Hall, 142 Flagg Road, Kingston, RI 02881

uripsymajor@gmail.com401.874.2193 (p); 401.874.2157 (f)

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Multicultural Focus Area


The multicultural focus area is dedicated to training future psychologists that are culturally competent in their practice and research. We offer a multicultural focus area for those who share our value for multiculturalism and want to pursue training above and beyond the departmental requirement. This specialization is interdisciplinary with course offerings available within the Department of Psychology and other departments as listed below. Course selection for this specialization should be preceded by committee approval.


  • Formalize a doctoral training program with a substantive focus in multicultural psychology;
  • Develop a collaboration among psychologists and scholars from other disciplines on campus to study multicultural issues in psychology;
  • Establish research funding in the Department of Psychology for the study of issues in multicultural psychology;
  • Attract highly qualified doctoral students with interests in multicultural psychology;
  • Generate research assistantships and other funding for graduate students;
  • Recruit and retain high quality faculty and postdoctoral fellows in the area multicultural psychology;
  • Encourage greater interest and multicultural competence among faculty and graduate students; and
  • Promote infusion of multicultural issues into existing courses

Possible Multicultural Psychology Career Tracks

Graduates from the multicultural psychology focus area would be qualified to serve in numerous capacities, including:

  • Academia
  • Methodological Research (e.g. Research Centers)
  • Individual or Group Private Practice
  • Clinician (e.g., Schools, Hospital, Mental Health Facility, etc.)
  • Evaluation Research
  • Policy-Maker
  • And many more…

Student Preparation

Students pursuing a multicultural focus area are expected to take at least three courses in areas related to multicultural psychology. Courses that address cross-cultural issues in psychology; issues of privilege, marginalization, and oppression; and socio-cultural-political issues with psychological implications may be considered for this specialization. With program committee permission, up to two directed readings/special topics courses may be included in the total of three multicultural psychology courses.

When students prepare for their comprehensive exams, they should ensure that at least one question pertains 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.

Course Requirements for a Multicultural Focus

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).

Current Course Offerings in Diversity Issues/Multicultural Psychology and Interdisciplinary Multicultural Perspectives


  • 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 672 Multicultural Practicum
  • PSY 690 Multicultural Psychology and Mental Health
  • PSY 690 Practicum in Teaching Psychology (with multicultural focus)
  • PSY 692 Directed Readings/Research

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


  • NUR 651 Advanced Methods Nursing Research (Qualitative Research)


  • 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.

Psychology Faculty with Interest in Diversity

Kathleen Gorman (Hunger and poverty, low-income and racial and ethnic minorities)
Lisa Harlow (Increasing interest, performance and diversity in quantitative science; multivariate statistics, structural equation modeling; meaning in life, health, equity)
Margaret Rogers (Multicultural issues in psychology; advocacy; cross-cultural school psychology competencies; and recruitment and retention of students of color)
Lynda Stein (Diversity broadly defined and impact on intervention, health disparities, assessment)
Nichea Spillane (Substance use in Indigenous (First Nations and American Indian) communities)

Governance Structure

Chair: Presently open

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.


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