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The Department of Psychology at William & Mary offered its first courses in 1888, after the reorganization of the College. The courses were taught under the Department of Moral Science, Political Economy, and Civil Government.At this time, President Tyler taught the course, in which he alternated his lectures between psychology and civil government.(Henneman)

As early as 1905, Philosophy and Psychology were organized together, although each field was housed in separate buildings and there were no joint appointments. However, they were not listed as an official department until the 1938 Undergraduate Catalog.(Henneman) According to the 1942-1943 College Catalog philosophy and psychology were one department under Professor James Wilkinson Miller. In the next catalog for 1944-1945 psychology and philosophy are separate departments. Professor Miller is still the head of philosophy, while Professor Edgar Maria Foltin was the head of psychology. Under the leadership of Professor Joseph Roy Geiger, the Psychology department expanded its courses to include experimental and laboratory courses to supplement lectures.

Today, the Psychology department continues the pedagogy established by Geiger. The "classes cover topics such as human development, psychopathology, learning, personality and motivation, physiology, social behavior, community and health psychology, statistics, and research methods. We present psychology as a science in terms of its philosophy, principles, and methods." Additionally, the department continues their connection with communities outside of William & Mary. "The Psychology Department maintains active ties to local human-service institutions and organizations. A number of our faculty members are licensed clinicians with considerable practical experience."


  • 1938-39 Undergraduate Catalog, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, William & Mary.
  • Psychology department website
  • Richard Hubard Henneman, "Psychology at William & Mary," Alumni Gazette 8.4 (1941): 8-9, 25-28. University Archives Subject File, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, William & Mary.

Material in the Special Collections Research Center

  • Undergraduate Catalog
  • The Flat Hat
  • The William & Mary News
  • Colonial Echo


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A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.