May 22, 2024  
2021-2022 Rivier University Academic Catalog 
2021-2022 Rivier University Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

The University

The University

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Rivier University is named in honor of Blessed Anne-Marie Rivier, Foundress of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary. Established in 1933 in Hudson, New Hampshire, the University moved in 1941 to the present campus site in Nashua. The University was incorporated in 1935 under the laws of the State of New Hampshire, and through two separate charters was invested with the power to confer both graduate and undergraduate degrees. Rivier is recognized for both on-campus and online programs that serve the needs of traditional-aged students as well as adult learners.

In conjunction with the bicentennial of the founding of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in 1796, the University formally recommitted to Anne Marie Rivier’s mission of teaching and serving the poor by making social justice and service to others a special focus of its work. The University’s core curriculum, Journeys of Transformation, educates students for lives as servant-leaders in an increasingly interdependent global community, where understanding and engaging with others is essential not only to individual success but also to a stable and sustainable world.

As part of its strategic plan, VISION 2020, Rivier has underscored its longstanding commitment to educating the whole person through a University-wide model of strengths-based well-being. By focusing on what students do well, Rivier fosters positive self-concept, a sense of purpose, and an alignment of strengths with life goals and career opportunities. Rivier faculty and staff are focused on student success, providing transformative learning experiences both in and beyond the classroom. Through service learning, faculty-led trips, study abroad, internships, student research, leadership activities, Rivier’s unique Employment Promise Program, and other high-impact educational practices, the University prepares students for meaningful lives and rewarding careers.

Rivier’s rich history of supporting the academic and personal success of all its students is reflected both in broad-based learning in the liberal arts and in programs of professional practice, including business, education, nursing, and professional psychology. Having gained University status in 2012, Rivier now has over 70 undergraduate and graduate programs, including three doctoral programs, in education (Ed.D), nursing (DNP), and counseling and school psychology (Psy.D.).

Core Mission

Founded in 1933 by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary and Sister Madeleine of Jesus, Rivier University is a Catholic institution of higher education dedicated to transforming hearts and minds to serve the world.

The Rivier Mission

Committed to the faith heritage, intellectual tradition, and social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, the University educates the whole person in the context of an academic community that cultivates critical thought, sound judgment, and respect for all people. This community supports the intellectual growth of all its members while offering them opportunities for social, cultural, moral, and spiritual development. The challenge to the University community is to search for truth through the dialogue between faith and reason.

Rivier creates an environment in which integrated learning is the shared responsibility of students, faculty, staff, and administrators, and is pursued in all the curricular and co-curricular programs of the University. To participate in the life of Rivier University is to strive for academic excellence, to take responsibility for ourselves and for others, and to engage in dialogue about basic human issues facing society, especially the plight of the poor and powerless. The University extends to all of its members, and also to the greater community, an invitation to join in intellectual inquiry and dialogue.

Download and share our Rivier University Mission.

Accreditation and Memberships

Rivier University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, (NECHE).

Accreditation of an institution of higher education by NECHE indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality periodically applied through a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation.

Accreditation by NECHE is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution.

Inquiries regarding the accreditation status by NECHE should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact:

New England Commission of Higher Education
Burlington Woods, Suite 100
Burlington, MA 01830
(781) 425-7785

All education programs are approved by the New Hampshire Department of Education, Division of Higher Education, Higher Education Commission. Furthermore, all collegiate programs of preparation for the education professions are approved by the New Hampshire Department of Education, Council for Teacher Education.

Rivier’s Doctor of Psychology in Counseling and School Psychology (Psy.D.) has been accredited, on contingency by the American Psychological Association (APA), which grants national accreditation for programs in health service psychology. The University will apply for full accreditation within three years. The program’s current APA accreditation status of accreditation, on contingency expires on April 7, 2024. The curriculum meets the State of New Hampshire licensing requirements for Psychologists.

Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 336-5979

Rivier’s undergraduate business programs in business administration, business management, finance, and marketing, as well as the University’s Master of Business Administration programs, are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
11520 West 119th Street
Overland Park, KS 66213
(913) 339-9356 Email:

Rivier University’s ASN, BSN, MSN, Post-Master’s Certificates and DNP programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). 

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
3390 Peachtree Road, NE, Suite 1400
Atlanta, GA 30326
(404) 975-5000

Rivier is also a member of the following state and national organizations:

American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
Campus Compact of New Hampshire
University Entrance Examination Board
Council of Independent Colleges
Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers
National Association of College and University Business Officers
National Collegiate Athletic Association
National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA)
New England Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
New Hampshire College and University Council

For the purpose of institutional cooperation, Rivier University is a member of the New Hampshire Council and University Council (NHCUC), a consortium of New Hampshire institutions of higher learning:

Antioch University New England
Colby-Sawyer College
Community College System of NH
Franklin Pierce University
Granite State College
Hellenic American University
Keene State College
New England College
New Hampshire Institute of Art
Plymouth State University
Rivier University
Saint Anselm College
Southern New Hampshire University
University of New Hampshire

The NHCUC Undergraduate Student Exchange program is an opportunity for students in good academic, financial, and social standing to enroll in courses not offered at their home institution. The visiting student pays tuition to the home institution and may pay fees to the host institution. See Additional Learning Opportunities, NHCUC Student Exchange Courses for details.


 Philosophy of Undergraduate Studies

Rivier provides growth opportunities both in and beyond the classroom. The University offers a strong core curriculum in the liberal arts and sciences, which assists the student in developing the ability to analyze, communicate (orally and in writing), and reason (quantitatively and logically). Education at Rivier is viewed in a broader sense as preparation for an enlightened and productive life; students are expected to develop not only competence but also a spirit of cooperation and a willingness to expend talents and energies in improving the human condition. The University creates an environment which facilitates personal and professional growth of the individual who will contribute to the larger civic and global communities. Service to others is viewed as an integral part of a full life.

Undergraduate Academic Goals

Through its Mission-focused curriculum, Rivier University seeks to:

Develop Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World through study focused on engagement with big questions, both contemporary and enduring, in:

  • The sciences and mathematics
  • Social sciences
  • Humanities
  • History
  • Languages
  • The arts

Develop Intellectual and Practical Skills that will be practiced extensively across the curriculum, in the context of progressively more challenging problems, projects and standards for performance, in the areas of:  

  • Inquiry and analysis
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Written and oral communication
  • Quantitative literacy
  • Information literacy
  • Teamwork and problem solving

Develop Personal and Social Responsibility reinforced through active involvement with diverse communities and real-world challenges, including:

  • Civic knowledge and engagement - local and global
  • Intercultural knowledge and competence
  • Ethical reasoning and action
  • Foundations and skills for lifelong learning

Engage in Integrative and Applied Learning demonstrated through the application of knowledge skills and dispositions to new settings and complex problems including:

  • The synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies.

Foster a Sense of the Sacred and of the Dignity of the Human Person, particularly as expressed through the Catholic Tradition, by active engagement with intellectual traditions and living communities, developed by:

  • Recognition of Catholicism’s contribution to the development of the whole person
  • Appreciation of the sacred meaning and purpose of life
  • Inquiry into the essence of authentic human community
  • Respect for the belief systems of others.

Academic Assessment

Academic assessment at Rivier University measures a student’s achievement of both specific course objectives and the University’s overall goals of fostering articulate and reflective individuals who have achieved the intellectual independence, critical judgment, grounding in values, and professional knowledge to contribute significantly to society.

Individual course grades reflect the instructor’s assessment of how well the student has achieved the objectives of the course, mastered its specific content, and demonstrated University-wide competencies at a level appropriate for that course and subject. These University-wide competencies include the following:

  • An understanding of course content-the information, concepts, theories, or skills required of the specific subject and discipline;
  • The ability to apply information, concepts, or skills from one part of the course to other areas and solve problems using this knowledge or these skills;
  • The ability to communicate one’s understanding and knowledge with clarity and persuasiveness- orally, visually, quantitatively and/or in writing;
  • The ability to think critically about course material in the light of other information, theories, or points of view, demonstrating an awareness of the implications and/or limitations of any one perspective or approach;
  • The ability to synthesize course material, discovering larger patterns or relationships, discriminating among multiple views, and/or viewing the subject within a cross-disciplinary or global perspective;
  • The ability to make and support value judgments about the social or ethical implications of course material or judge between competing solutions.

Participation in Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

As a part of its stated mission regarding the pursuit of academic excellence, Rivier University is committed to assessing student attitudes, student achievement, student satisfaction, and career development.

Assessment activities may include standardized testing, departmental evaluations, course evaluations, placement tests, surveys, portfolios of student work, group or individual interviews, or classroom research.

The information obtained through these college-wide assessment activities is used primarily to improve students’ academic experiences, programs, courses, and quality of University services.


Philosophy of Graduate Studies

Graduate education at Rivier University provides advanced and specialized professional training beyond the baccalaureate degree. Most of the University’s graduate students are practitioners in particular fields and bring a wealth of practical knowledge and experience to the classroom. These individuals are seeking to strengthen their academic and professional competence, to develop professional knowledge in their disciplines, and to relate their research to the investigations of other authorities.

Graduate programs at Rivier University are innovative and respond to the social, technological, and economic changes affecting intellectual and professional life. These programs are effective resources for business, healthcare, social, educational, and cultural development in the region.

Founded on the principles of human dignity and value inherent in the University’s Roman Catholic tradition, Rivier’s commitment to quality programs is realized through a network of full-time and part-time faculty who are dedicated to the education of socially responsible people.

Graduate faculty, students, and administrative staff at Rivier University are characterized by their love of learning and their ability to develop and apply their knowledge. Through ethical responsibility, they seek to be transformative leaders in an era of increasing global interdependence and collaboration.

Goals of Graduate Studies

Through its graduate and doctoral curriculum, Rivier University enables students to:

  • Further develop creative approaches to problem solving, promote intellectual curiosity, and engender a lifelong commitment to learning;
  • Engage in ethical personal and professional conduct, as well as pursue a strong commitment to social justice, in order to serve the disciplines and communities in which students will participate;
  • Develop a sense of the sacred and of the dignity of the human person, particularly as expressed through the Catholic tradition;
  • Develop the ability to place one’s discipline in an historical, cultural, and global perspective;
  • Apply advanced critical and creative reasoning, both qualitatively and quantitatively, and demonstrate advanced communication ability in a variety of modalities;
  • Function as skilled professionals in their chosen careers, or consolidate an advanced understanding of their disciplines.

University Facilities

The Campus

The University is located on a 68-acre campus one mile from downtown Nashua in a quiet residential area. Easy access to Boston provides students with opportunities for intellectual, cultural, and social enrichment. Proximity to the seacoast and to the White Mountains of New Hampshire offers additional recreational advantages. The services of Logan and Manchester Airports, Boston railway stations, and local bus lines allow convenient travel to and from campus.

Academic Computer Center

The Academic Computer Center provides students with state-of-the-art hardware and software to facilitate coursework and research. The center houses a multimedia classroom, a general computer lab, and a specialized computer lab for advanced study. Three additional computer labs are located in other buildings. The Regina Library also has a classroom equipped with 23 PCs as well as many other high-speed computers that can be used for bibliographic research. All computers are connected to the Rivier University network and provide direct access to the Internet. Standard software includes Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer. Courses are taught using the latest industry and academic standard software applications such as Microsoft SQL Server, SPSS, Java, and C++.

 The Academic Support Center

Rivier’s Academic Support Center offers a number of services to all Rivier students. Staffed by professional writing consultants, and peer tutors, the Center serves students of all abilities. Writing consultants assist students with their writing projects in any of their courses. Peer tutors provide help in all major disciplines; some lead supplemental instruction sessions for select courses. Any Rivier student may take advantage of reserved appointments and drop-in services provided by writing consultants and content-specific peer tutors. 

The Benoit Education Center

The Division of Education and Counseling is located in the University’s Benoit Education Center. The 43,000 square-foot building contains state-of-the-art classrooms with advanced technological resources, an eight-room early childhood center/laboratory school for children from 6 weeks to six years of age, a parenting resource center, and faculty offices. Other special features for students include the Cho Educational Resource library, an extensive curriculum library/education resource center with recently published textbooks, software, and other media; counseling rooms with one-way observation windows; classroom laboratories; observation and seminar rooms for early childhood classrooms; several multi-media classrooms enhanced with electronic whiteboards, LCD projectors and projection screens, and a computer laboratory.

Cho Educational Resource Center

The Cho Educational Resource Center (ERC) is a branch of the Regina Library and is located on the second floor of the Benoit Education Center. The ERC houses a unique collection of materials that support curriculum development and lesson planning for students in the majors of education and counseling. All students are welcome to use the ERC. The items available are those that could be found in a typical classroom, such as textbooks, instructional kits, games, and educational software. The ERC also has juvenile books, including picture books, easy readers, and non-fiction books. The Project Room offers a space for students to create cut-outs for bulletin board projects, games, etc. Students may utilize the lamination and binding services at the ERC for education course specific assignments. The open main room, tables, and group study room foster an environment of collaboration and discussion among students working on group or individual projects. There are also computers, printers, a copier, and a scanner for students to use at the ERC.

Laboratories: Behavioral Science and Clinical Psychology Labs

Psychology students have access to a clinical laboratory which offers a room for mock therapy sessions, testing and assessment activities, and supervised clinical experiments. The facility is equipped with a one-way observation mirror and audio visual recording equipment. In addition, the laboratory has a computer room and a separate instruction area and gathering space for student interaction. The department also has a behavioral science laboratory that offers space and instrumentation to design experiments, collect data, analyze, and interpret results obtained from original research studies conducted under the mentorship of Rivier faculty. The lab houses five computer stations equipped with Empirisoft MediaLab and DirectRT software packages, which allow for millisecond precision in measuring cognition and perception from human subjects and with SPSS for data analysis.

Laboratories: Nursing and Science Labs

Some of the best equipped nursing, biology and chemistry laboratories in the region are located in Sylvia Trottier Hall and the Science Innovation Center.

A three-story addition to Sylvia Trottier Hall houses state-of-the-art laboratories for nursing. Please refer to the department section for detailed descriptions of these facilities.

Regina Library

The Regina Library and the Cho Educational Resource Center are the resource libraries for students, faculty and staff. The library staff, in collaboration with the University faculty, serves the research needs of the community. To meet a diversified curriculum and the academic requirements of the Rivier University community, the libraries currently have more than 100,000 print volumes, subscribe to roughly 135 journal titles (of which about 70 are electronic), and patrons have online access through the library website to more than 240,000 electronic books and approximately 80 online journal research databases (which provide access to over 50,000 additional electronic journals). A reference librarian is available at the library for more than 90 hours each week. Students needing reference assistance may also contact a reference librarian from off-campus by telephone, text, e-mail or chat online. There are also a number of computers and printers for students to use in the library.

Interlibrary loan services are provided for students and faculty. Students can track, review, and retrieve their ILL requests through the RivILL portal, which is accessible through the Regina Library website. Books are delivered to the library for students to pick up.

Thanks to a major capital gift, Rivier expanded the Regina Library by approximately 12,000 square feet and renovated the existing library significantly. The highlights of the expansion and renovation include a new Reference Room, Electronic Classroom, Café with seating for 30 guests, a Quiet Study, six study rooms (three of which may be reserved) and large open spaces for group collaborative work. Wireless access to the University network is available throughout the building.

Science and Innovation Center

The new 35,000-square-foot center is located at the corner of South Main and Clement streets. The facility offers learning spaces that foster innovation and discovery, state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment to solve real-world problems, technology to foster active learning, and collaborative spaces for expanded student and faculty research.