The psychology program at Holy Cross College provides students with the opportunity to develop a comprehensive understanding of psychology, whether they are interested in continuing their studies in graduate school, pursuing a career in a psychologically related field, or just interested in learning more about the human mind and behavior. The Bachelor of Arts program features a core curriculum that emphasizes the scientific and empirical bases of psychology. Holy Cross produce psychology major graduates with critical thinking skills based on their knowledge of the principles and methodology in psychology. A psychology major will provide the background necessary to pursue graduate education as well the basic skills for the practical application of psychological principles.

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If you are interested in human behavior and motivations, a major in psychology at Holy Cross College may be the right path for you. A background in psychology is a fundamental underpinning to many of today’s hottest fields including sales, marketing, education, nursing, social work, human resources, and law enforcement. Additionally, Holy Cross will prepare you for the graduate education you will need for careers in psychological testing, research, or therapy.

Psychology majors and minors are offered many unique and innovative educational experiences. Students are offered the opportunity to attend and receive course credit for professional conferences. Based on ideas gleaned from the conference, students are then encouraged to develop a research project and implement that research with the goal of submitting their research to a later conference. Psychology students must also complete internships within the area of psychology as part of the general education core.

Doris Van Auken
Doris M. Van Auken, Ph.D.
Chair, Psychology Department
Chair, Social and Behavioral Sciences Division
I was the first female full professor at Holy Cross College, and in my 20+ years here, I have been a professor, advisor, department chair and division chair. I get to know my students personally so I can be a pivotal part of their formation as psychology majors. I encourage my department to embrace dynamic, innovative teaching methods, and I personally teach all levels of psychology at the college, from Psych 101 to senior-level courses.\. I received a BA in history and BS in psychology from the University of Alabama, an MA in psychology from Mississippi State University, and was awarded my Ph.D. in psychology from Saint Louis University. My husband, Hugh, and I have have three terrific sons.

Cosette Fox, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
My educational background is in neuroscience, and I hope to bring an experimental psychology perspective to the psychology department. I have a BS in biology and a BA in psychology. I received my Ph.D. in experimental psychology with a specialization in behavioral neuroscience from the University of Ottawa, Canada. I completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, where I was able to be published in several neuroscience journals. While working at Cedarville University in Ohio, I established a research program looking at the effect of glucose and emotional activation on memory processing, and was able to involve undergraduate students in my research projects.

I was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, and have had the privilege of living in Japan and Ukraine. My husband, Sean, and I have been blessed with three biological children and a teenage daughter we recently adopted from Ukraine. I enjoy experiencing other cultures and have a passion for reaching out to the poor and those in need. In 2005, I led a student service learning trip from Fresno Pacific to Ukraine to work at an orphanage and reach out to teenage orphans struggling with depression. In 2008, I led another mission’s trip from Cedarville University to Jordan where the students and I helped run a vacation Bible school in a poor refugee community.

Hugh Van Auken, Ph.D., HSPP
I received my BA in psychology from the University of Notre Dame, my MA in psychology from Mississippi State University, and my Ph.D. in psychology from St. Louis University. In addition to being an adjunct professor at the college, I am a clinical psychologist, and a member of a clinical practice in Mishawaka, Indiana. My experience in the clinical field shapes the classes I teach and the way I teach them. Along with Dr. Doris, I enjoy traveling with Holy Cross College students as they attend research and professional conferences around the world, such as recent trips to Germany, New Zealand, and Australia.

Psychology majors are offered the opportunity to attend and receive course credit for professional conferences. Attendance at conferences also includes side trips that explore the people and culture of the conference destination. Based on ideas gleaned from the conference, students are then encouraged to develop a research project and implement that research with the goal of submitting their research to a later conference.

The Psychology Department International Congress program currently meets the college’s international study requirement. The Holy Cross College program has been recognized by representatives of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools as an innovative educational program.

Cosette Fox, Ph.D. presented at Neuroscience 2016, the annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience, along with two students, Sabrina Pajor and Maritza DeAnda. The abstract for her research on the effect of sugar and stress on memory in male students can be found here:!/4071/presentation/9647
neuroscience 2016

Cosette Fox, Ph.D., took five students, Rob Ackerman, Eryn Ray, Kim Moore, Elizabeth Hayes, and Sister Jan (Thu Trang Nguyen) to an undergraduate psychology conference, the Mid America Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference (MAUPRC), at Earlham College in southern Indiana to present their research projects.
mauprc 1 mauprc 2

Our students have interned in the area of developmental disabilities, treatment facilities, research opportunities. Some of the facilities they have interned at include Logan Center, Robinson Learning Center and Samaritan Center. Students have also completed research internships at IUSB and ND.
Psychology major graduates may find jobs in areas such as mental health, human resources and children’s and family services. Students may choose to pursue graduate level study, including the following areas:

  • Clinical psychology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Social psychology
  • School psychology
  • Counseling psychology
  • Industrial/organizational psychology

Graduates have also pursued advanced degrees in education, social work and nursing; some have also gone on to medical school and law school.

Additionally, an undergraduate degree in psychology is very valuable in many other career paths, because psychology students are trained in critical thinking, observation, and the complexities of human behavior. Opportunities are limited only by the individual’s willingness to explore their options, and their interests. Following are several examples of career options for bachelor-level psychology graduates:

  • Aides in educating or caring for the emotionally disturbed or developmentally disabled
  • Aides and activity specialists in day care or respite setting for children or older adults
  • Community mental health workers
  • Computer analysts for survey research
  • Substance abuse program workers
  • Social service agency workers
  • Organization managers
  • Customer service and customer relations employees
  • Legal aides
  • Police officers, probation officers and court employees
  • Authors and editors
  • Personal trainers or image consultants

Doris Van Auken, Ph.D.
Chair, Psychology Department
Chair, Social and Behavioral Sciences Division