Generating and disseminating knowledge from scientific research is one of the primary missions of the VCU Department of Psychology. Faculty members published 3 books, 36 book chapters, and 201 journal articles in 2015-16. Over half (62.5%) of the full-time, tenure-track faculty (20) had federal, state, or foundation funding as principal investigators in 2014-2015. In 2015-16, departmental faculty and graduate students received more than $13.6 million in new funding from grants and contracts. The departmental funding portfolio is diverse with funding from the National Institutes of Health ($7.5 million in total costs), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ($532K in total costs), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) ($902K in total costs), the Department of Education’s Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) ($1.3 million in total costs), and the Templeton Foundation ($423K in total costs).

There are several very noteworthy features about the department's research activity. First, faculty members are heavily engaged in applied research, particularly in the areas of health psychology, community interventions and health disparities, children and families, and social psychology. The entire department takes a scientist-practitioner approach to research — conducting research with a practical benefit for the local community and society as a whole, and using research to inform practice. Many faculty members have research projects that involve developing, evaluating and disseminating community interventions for treating or preventing behaviors (such as violence, smoking and drug use) with serious health risks.

Second, research in the department is a collaborative activity. Faculty members in the Department of Psychology collaborate on research with each other, with faculty around the university and with students. The department faculty is very collaborative; many of the department's publications include multiple faculty members as authors.