The IPS Mission and Vision

IPS is a Catholic graduate school of psychology founded in 1999 dedicated to the scientific study of psychology with a Catholic understanding of the person, marriage and the family.  IPS offers Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctoral (Psy.D.) degrees in Clinical Psychology, and a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Psychology (also available as an online degree), and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC).

The Institute for the Psychological Sciences is governed by its Board of Directors, which has complete and final governing authority over the Institute.  The Board consists of the Bishop of Arlington, Virginia, seven lay Catholic leaders and three members of the Legion of Christ.  The Legion sponsors the Institute by providing a President and a Chaplain and helping to maintain the Catholic identity of the Institute.


The Institute for the Psychological Sciences will be an international center for scholarship and professional training dedicated to the development of a psychology grounded in an integral Catholic-Christian view of the human person. Maintaining the highest academic standards, it will educate new generations of psychologists as well as professionals in psychology-related fields and open new areas of research for psychological theories that explore the relationship of psychology and the Catholic-Christian understanding of the human person.


The Institute for the Psychological Sciences is an institution of higher education offering Master’s and Doctoral degrees. It is affiliated with the Legionaries of Christ. The Institute is dedicated to the renewal of the Catholic Christian intellectual tradition and the integration of the theoretical and empirical bases of psychology and a Catholic-Christian view of the human person.

The Institute seeks to provide students an effective academic and educational environment that supports the integration of the psychological sciences and a Catholic-Christian understanding of the person through teaching and learning both knowledge and critical skills. It assists students intellectually and professionally as they prepare themselves to respond to their vocation as mental health professionals or as men and women in helping professions. The Institute’s mission also involves dialogue about its integrative approach with practitioners and scholars, nationally and internationally.

Statement of Identity

The Institute for the Psychological Sciences (IPS or the Institute) is a Catholic institution formed to train leaders in the field of psychology. According to its mission statement, “the Institute is dedicated to the renewal of the Catholic Christian intellectual tradition and the integration of the theoretical and empirical bases of psychology and a Catholic view of the human person.”

The life of the Institute is rooted in and fully informed by the teaching of the Catholic Church. This vision involves every aspect of life at IPS, including the training model, education in the classroom and the clinic, intellectual and scholarly pursuits, and our common life as an academic community. The identity of IPS finds its primary source in the word of God, which is expressed in the whole Tradition of the Catholic Church (Scripture and Magisterium) (Dei Verbum [The Word of God, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation of the Second Vatican Council], DV, sec. 7-10).

The heart of the identity of IPS is belief in the Trinitarian God who has revealed himself through Jesus Christ. Believing all things are created by God and bear resemblance to him, we view reality and each person as a gift. We recognize the primacy of God’s gift, which humanity is invited to receive and to give in turn. Therefore, we seek to promote and participate in an authentic “culture of life” (Evangelium Vitae [The Gospel of Life], Encyclical of Pope John Paul II, 1995, sec. 28) at the Institute and in the broader culture.

We affirm that the human being has been created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), and so every person has transcendent dignity. Created by God, who is truth himself (John 14:6), the human person is called “to live the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). In Jesus Christ, the human person fully discovers himself as made in love and for love. Each person, in turn, can only find himself “through a sincere gift of self” (Gaudium et Spes [Joy and Hope, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World of the Second Vatican Council], 1965, sec. 24).

All are called to live a relationship of love with God. God calls each person through a unique vocation to holiness; the gift of self is the archetypal form of the person’s response to this call. Some people are called to special states in life (marriage, ordained, or consecrated celibacy). Everyone is called to glorify God and serve others through their work. We view the pursuit of graduate studies at IPS and the work of professional psychology in vocational terms, as a response to God’s call.

The human person is further recognized as a free and responsible being (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed., sec. 1738). God gave persons the possibility to accept or reject His love. In turn, we at IPS honor the freedom of all people: students, faculty, staff, clients, and others. We recognize that the human person is fallen and is wounded by sin, but is offered redemption in Jesus Christ through the Church and the grace of the Holy Spirit. In the light of faith, we live and affirm a vision of hope.

Those who come to work or study at IPS either personally hold the Catholic Church’s vision of God and the human person, or remain respectful of this vision. A concern for physical, psychological, social, and spiritual development and well- being motivates the Institute to clearly identify the qualities of character and conduct that the IPS community strives to attain. The Catholic identity of IPS has particular implications for the model of training at IPS and the form of our common life.


1) Through its Master of Science (M.S.) Program in Clinical Psychology, the Institute provides its students with basic education in the theoretical and empirical bases of psychology, as well as foundational training in clinical skills and their application in a manner consistent with a Catholic understanding of the person.  Such education and training prepares students for further graduate training in clinical psychology and allied fields or for career choices appropriate for master’s- level practitioners.

2) Through its Master of Science (M.S.) Program in Psychology, the Institute provides its students with a solid background in the theoretical and empirical bases of psychology and prepares them for further graduate studies in psychology and career choices where graduate training in psychology would be an important asset.

3) Through its Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) Program, the Institute provides its students with both basic and advanced education in the theoretical and empirical bases of psychology as well as both foundational and advanced-level clinical training and experiences.  Such a comprehensive, formative experience is aimed at producing practitioner-scholars, psychologists who can provide effective services in an ethical manner that is sensitive to human diversity and consistent with a Catholic understanding of the person.  The program also seeks to provide its students with knowledge and skill sets which allow for future development and participation in the wide variety of professional roles, leadership opportunities, and career choices available to psychologists trained at the doctoral level.

Ex Corde Ecclesiae

In conformity with The Application of Ex Corde Ecclesiae for the United States, approved by the Catholic Bishops of the United States on implementing the apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, professors of theology and philosophy at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences must acquire the mandatum* from the local Bishop. As well, at every IPS presidential inauguration the incoming president takes the Oath of Fidelity on Assuming an Office to be Exercised in the Name of the Church, as conforming to Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Ad Tuendam Fidem.

*”The mandatum is fundamentally an acknowledgment by Church authority that a Catholic professor of a theological discipline is a teacher within the full communion of the Catholic Church. The mandatum, therefore, recognizes the professor’s commitment and responsibility to teach authentic Catholic doctrine and refrain from putting forth as Catholic teaching anything contrary to the Church’s magisterium. The mandatum should not be construed as an appointment, authorization, delegation or approbation of one’s teaching by Church authorities. Those who have received a mandatum teach in their own name in virtue of their baptism and their academic and professional competence, not in the name of the bishop or the Church’s magisterium.” (“Guidelines concerning the Academic Mandatum in Catholic Universities,” U.S.C.C.B.)

Academic Excellence

IPS has been recognized since 2006 as a National Register Designation program by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB).

The Board of Directors, faculty, staff, and administration of IPS are committed to maintaining the highest academic standards in teaching and clinical training by supporting innovative programs and through an ongoing process of evaluation and continuous improvement.