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U of R’s Psychology Department ranks sixth in Canada

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: December 16, 2021 2:00 p.m.

Dr. Nick Carleton presents the results of his Mental Disorder Symptoms Among Public Safety Personnel study.
Dr. Nick Carleton presents the results of his Mental Disorder Symptoms Among Public Safety Personnel study. Photo provided by Dr. Chris Oriet

The University of Regina’s Psychology Department has landed a top spot in Times Higher Education’s list of Best universities for psychology degrees in Canada 2022, ranking number six of 27 Canadian universities. 

The Department of Psychology offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts (Honours), and Bachelor of Science (Honours) degrees in psychology. An Honours degree in psychology is the starting point for continuing on to graduate level training in clinical, counselling, or experimental and applied psychology. 

Once someone has completed their Honours degree, the department also offers graduate degrees at both the master's and doctoral levels in Clinical Psychology and in Experimental and Applied Psychology, for those who are interested in continuing their studies in the field. 

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Dr. Thomas Hadjistavropoulos and
graduate student Amy Hampton
connecting a community volunteer
to sophisticated psychophysiological
equipment used in the study of
pain in older adults.
Photo courtesy of SHRF. Debra Marshall
for SHRF.

Aside from the variety of programs offered, Dr. Chris Oriet, Acting Psychology Department Head, believes that research is one of the biggest strengths of the department. The researchers in the Department of Psychology are among the best-funded on campus, receiving nearly $60 million in funding for their research programs over the past 10 years. 

“What really makes our department stand out is that on nearly every measure of research impact, we rank at or near the top among psychology departments in Canada,” says Oriet. 

Research-related strengths include being a national leader in internet-delivered cognitive-behavioural therapy and mental health, and well-being in public safety personnel. In addition, the department has produced internationally recognized research on aging, pain, and mental health; stress, anxiety, and pain; and the effects of the menopause transition on mental health. 

Oriet notes that many researchers in the department are recognized as international experts in their fields. Their research spans every topic imaginable within psychology including forensic research on child witnesses, jury biases, and eyewitness memory; cognitive research on face recognition, memory, attention, and misinformation; social research on intimate partner violence, and supports for gender non-conforming and queer youth. 

Dr. Oriet also highlights the quality of research supervision for undergraduate and graduate students in the U of R’s Psychology Department. 

“The quality of supervision received by our students is evident in the awards they receive and the positions they secure upon graduation,” says Oriet. “Many of our students have won the Governor General’s Award and the President’s Award, the highest honours given at convocation to graduate students who have completed their program.” 

Graduate students in the department currently hold master’s and doctoral awards from all three tri-agencies (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Social Sciences and Health Research Council, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada), the Alzheimer Society of Canada, SGI, Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, and  Cystic Fibrosis Canada, among others. Approximately 65% of graduates from the Honours program go on to graduate programs in psychology, with others choosing to pursue medicine, law, criminology, health studies, speech-language pathology, and education. 

The department’s Psychology Training Clinic also provides psychological services to residents in the Regina area while providing Clinical Psychology graduate students with the opportunity to practice delivering psychological services under the supervision of highly trained supervisors. 

The Clinic serves individuals with moderate to mild psychological concerns who may not be able to easily access other services. Sessions are offered at a reduced rate for community members and at no charge for U of R students. The Clinic is currently offering individually based cognitive behavioural therapy for adults with symptoms of anxiety and depression, and assessments for a variety of child and adult mental health disorders. 

The department has two very active student associations – The Psychology Students’ Association and the Psychology Graduate Students’ Association

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Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Honours)
and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
(Honours) student Shae Sackman.
Photo courtesy of Shae Sackman

The Psychology Graduate Students’ Association has recently focused on combatting racism in psychology and academia. To that end, the students have organized the extremely successful Anti-Racism Speaker’s Series, now in its second year. To date, six sessions – offered over Zoom and attended by people from all over Canada and beyond – have taken place. These presentations have focused on topics such as racism in mental health, racism in research and academia, and truth and reconciliation in everyday practice, among others. 

Shae Sackman is the President of the Psychology Students’ Association. Before they even began their psychology degree, they had their eye on getting involved with the association. 

“I saw that the Psychology Department was small, and very engaged. I thought, ‘I could absolutely leverage that to make students’ lives better’,” says Sackman. “And I knew that the way to do that was through the Psychology Students’ Association.” 

Over the past two years, the Psychology Students’ Association has completely refocused its purpose and now has a wide variety of events, programs, and training opportunities for students. This includes a peer-to-peer mentoring program where first and second year students are matched with third and fourth year students, as well as microgrants for textbooks. Some of the training opportunities for students have included an APA writing workshop, goal-setting workshops, naloxone training, Positive Space training from UR Pride, and the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s The Inquiring Mind Post-Secondary

Sackman is currently taking two degrees simultaneously – a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (Honours). They are already ambitiously thinking about the future and the next steps after completing these two undergraduate degrees. 

“Psychology is a fantastic degree because it really lets you do anything you want,” says Sackman. “I plan to take my master’s and I want to combine those two areas of study and eventually write academic philosophy about theoretical psychology.” 

Photos of Dr. Nick Carleton and Dr. Thomas Hadjistavropoulos taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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