In 1999, a group of psychologists and academicians saw the immense need for an institution of higher education that could bring psychology into harmony with the truth and wisdom of the Catholic-Christian vision of the human person, a life of virtue and moral values. Mental health professionals that are grounded in an understanding of the nature and dignity of the human person can bring people to deeper levels of healing, and in effect, transform society on a greater level.


The Institute for the Psychological Sciences (Institute) was founded in 1997 by a group of mental health professionals, academicians, and clinicians, who perceived a need for a proper understanding of the interrelationship between psychology and its philosophical foundations.

In 1998, the Institute was initially incorporated as The Institute for Faith and Psychological Sciences in the Commonwealth of Virginia, sponsoring workshops for licensed mental health professionals, incorporating philosophy and psychology.

In 1999, the Institute for Faith and Psychological Sciences changed its name to The Institute for the Psychological Sciences and began offering instruction leading to the Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology.

In 2000, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) granted provisional approval for the University to confer the Master of Science and the Doctor of Psychology degrees in Clinical Psychology. The University awarded its first degrees in the Master of Science program.  The first students enrolled in the Doctor of Psychology degree program in Clinical Psychology. Also in 2000, the Institute founded the John Henry Cardinal Newman Lecture Series.

In 2004, the IPS Press is established to publish approaches to psychological sciences that are integrated with a Catholic view of the human person and the moral life.

In 2005, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC) grants accreditation to award master’s and doctoral degrees. The first doctoral degree in clinical psychology is awarded.

The Psy.D. Program is recognized in 2006 as an Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)/National Register Designated Doctoral Program in Psychology. The campus open the Center for Psychological Services for student practicum experiences. The IPS Press releases its first publication, The Person and the Polis: Faith and Values within the Secular State.

In 2008, the first Psy.D. graduates are licensed as clinical psychologists.

In 2009, IPS faculty author the first Catholic issue for the respected publication, Edification: A Journal of the Society of Christian Psychology.  IPS celebrates the 10th Anniversary since its founding in 1999.

In 2010, IPS is reaffirmed for accreditation for another 10 years by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC), successfully meeting all 86 SACS COC standards and requirements.

In 2012, the Master’s Program in Clinical Psychology is enhanced to broaden licensure opportunities at the master’s level in less time.

In 2014, the Institute launches its M.S. in Psychology program online, with its focus on educating working professionals and giving them the practical tools they need to become transformational leaders in their workplace or ministry.

In 2015, the institution changes its name to Divine Mercy University and announces the establishment of a School of Counseling to offer the Master of Science in Counseling with a specialization in Mental Health Counseling, beginning Fall 2016.

In 2016, the Psy.D. program is granted accreditation from the American Psychological Association. A new academic program, the M.S. in Counseling, opens.