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Graduate Studies

Multicultural Focus Area

Have you considered adding a multicultural focus area to your training?


    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 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 may be entirely based on course offerings within the Department of Psychology, but may also be interdisciplinary with course offerings drawn from within the Department of Psychology and other departments as listed below. Preparation for a multicultural focus should include courses, applied experiences, and research which together address the pillars of multicultural competence: awareness, knowledge, and skills.


  • To formalize a graduate training program with a substantive focus in multicultural psychology we aim to;
  • 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 graduate students with interests in multicultural psychology;
  • Generate research assistantships and other funding for graduate students;
  • Recruit and retain faculty and postdoctoral fellows in the area multicultural psychology;
  • Encourage greater interest and multicultural competence among Department of Psychology faculty and graduate students;
  • Promote infusion of multicultural issues into existing courses, applied training experiences, and research activities;
  • Provide students who specialize in this focus area with awareness, knowledge, and skills in multicultural psychology to better prepare them for their future career and professional life.

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 four courses in multicultural psychology. The courses need to address and provide opportunities to acquire multicultural competencies in each of the major pillars of competence (awareness/attitudes/beliefs, knowledge, and skills) and should be preceded by approval by your committee.

    Courses that address cross-cultural issues in psychology; issues of privilege, marginalization, and institutional and interpersonal oppression; self-reflection and examination of pre-existing beliefs, biases, and social identities, and socio-cultural-political issues with psychological implications would be considered for this specialization. With program committee permission, up to two directed readings/special topics courses may be included in the total of four multicultural psychology courses with the concentration addressing the three pillars of multicultural competence.

    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 would continue to be 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 would take 3 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 500Theories and Research in Nonviolence and Peace Studies
PSY 505Community Psychology
PSY 600Multicultural Issues in Psychology: Theory, Research, and Practice
PSY 625Psychology of Trauma
PSY 643Multicultural Psychology and Mental Health
PSY 672Multicultural Practicum
PSY 690Gender, Culture, and Sexuality
PSY 692Directed Readings/Research
PSY 696Practicum in Teaching Psychology (w/ multicultural focus)
Human Development and Family Studies
HDF 505Human Sexuality and Counseling
HDF 559Gender Issues in Therapy
HDF 575Cultural Commpetence in Human Service
HDF 576Diversity in Higher Education
NUR 651Advanced Methods Nursing Research (Qualitative Research)
SPA 590The Hispanic Presence in the United States
Women's Studies
WMS 490Advanced Topics in Women's Studies
WMS 501Human Trafficking and Contemporary Slavery
WMS 502Campaigns and Services for Victims of Trafficking and Slavery
Textiles, Fashion Merchandising, and Design
TMD 524Cultural 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 African American 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

  • 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)
  • Shanette Harris (Gender role behavior and cross-cultural interactions, cross-cultural differences in drug behavior and self-image, cognitive/behavioral therapy for individuals and groups) Dr. Harris is currently not working with graduate students
  • Jasmine Mena (Teaching multiculturalism, clinical psychology multicultural competencies, impact of privilege and marginalization, and health and mental health disparities research)
  • Patricia Morokoff (Gender and cultural issues in sexuality: HIV prevention)
  • Kathryn Quina (Multicultural teaching, sexual abuse, HIV, women in prison)
  • 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)
  • John Stevenson (Evaluation research in multicultural settings; empowerment of participants in community health promotion research)

Professors Emeritus

  • Al Lott (Social psychology and men's studies)
  • Bernice Lott (Interpersonal discrimination; multicultural issues; gender issues; social learning; feminist psychology; poverty and social class)

Proposed Governance Structure

Co-Chairs: Jasmine A. Mena, PhD & Ann M. Varna Garis, PhD

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.

Multicultural Focus Area Checklist

Multicultural Focus Area Report 2012

URI Psychology Department presentations and publications, 2007 -2011, addressing multicultural issues, broadly defined