Mortuary Science – AAS

Associate of Applied Science in Mortuary Science


The Mortuary Science degree program at the University of the District of Columbia Community College is accred­ited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE), 992 Mantua Pike, Suite 108 Woodbury Heights, NJ 08097 (816) 233-3747; web:

Thank you for your interest in the Mortuary Science Program.  The program application cycle for Fall 2020 enrollment begins November 1, 2019 and closes March 1, 2020. Please contact the Program Director for an application. Pre-requisites for admission to the Mortuary Science Program are offered at the Community College (801 North Capitol Street NE).   Core courses are offered at the Van Ness Campus (4200 Connecticut Avenue NW, Building 44).

The program’s mission is to provide students with a comprehensive education in mortuary science and to prepare graduates to enter the funeral service profession to serve the diverse citizenry of the District of Columbia and for society at large.  It is designed to encompass the managerial and technical aspects of funeral service and its allied areas. It also provides the basis for further study in thanatology, pathology, grief counseling, post-mortem examination, forensic psychology, and mortuary science.  Careers in mortuary science include funeral director, embalmer, autopsy technician, and funeral merchandise marketing.


Upon completion of the UDC-CC Mortuary Science Program, students will be able to:

1. Explain the importance of funeral service professionals in developing relationships with the families and communities they serve.

2. Identify standards of ethical conduct in funeral service practice.

3. Interpret how federal, state, and local laws apply to funeral service in order to ensure compliance.

4. Apply principles of public health and safety in the handling and preparation of human remains.

5. Demonstrate technical skills in embalming and restorative art that are necessary for the preparation and handling of human remains.

6. Demonstrate skills required for conducting arrangement conferences, visitations, services, and ceremonies

7. Describe the requirements and procedures for burial, cremation, and other accepted forms of final disposition of human remains.

8. Describe methods to address the grief-related needs of the bereaved.

9. Explain management skills associated with operating a funeral establishment

10.  Demonstrate verbal and written communication skills and research skills needed for funeral service practice.

| Program of Study | Mortuary Science Student Handbook | Faculty | UDC Library HoldingsMortuary Science Advisory Board |  | Resources | University Student Handbook | Student Complaints | Sexual Harassment Policy | Grade Appeal Policy | Anti-Bullying Policy | Tuition and Fees

Mortuary Science Advisory Board

The Mortuary Science Program Advisory Board functions to support the program in remaining abreast of practices and further developments in the industry. Comprised of a wide variety of funeral service professionals,as well as other community members, the board provides support in the form of information regarding the latest trends in the funeral service industry, recommendations regarding the hiring of faculty, and additional resources and services. Many of the practicum (clinical) experiences for students are provided in the funeral homes that are owned and operated by our advisory board members. The practicum sites are inspected to ensure compliance with local regulations and program requirements. (Exhibit 2._Clinical Site Inspection Form).

The Mortuary Science Advisory Board Members are:

  1. Joanna Ellsberry, Program Director
  2. Duane Calloway,  Assistant Professor
  3. John Kirksey, Assistant Professor
  4. Tony Summers, Chief Community College Officer, UDC-CC (ex-officio)
  5. Marilyn Hamilton, Dean, Office of Academic Affairs (ex-officio)
  6. Bushra Ahmad Saeed,  Division Director, Division of Nursing, Allied Health, Life and Physical Sciences (ex-officio)
  7. Naciem Yousif,  Program  Coordinator, Division of Nursing, Allied Health, Life and Physical Sciences (ex-officio)
  8. Roger Mitchell, District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical  Examiner
  9. Donnell Harvin, Fatality Response  Coordinator, District of Columbia OCME
  10. Lynn Armstrong Patterson, Former President, D.C. Board of Funeral Directors; Owner, Bianchi Funeral Service
  11. Zebulon Brooks, Funeral Director
  12. Shelton Hackett, Owner and Funeral Director, Hackett’s Funeral Home
  13. Duane Hills, Funeral  Director and President, Joseph Gawler’s Sons, LLC
  14. Belva Jenkins, Owner and Funeral Director, Johnson & Jenkins Funeral  Home & J.B. Jenkins Funeral Home
  15. Lawrence Johnson, Jr.,  Funeral Director
  16. Geary Powell, Business Owner, Arlington Chemical Company
  17. Phillip Powell, Owner, Arlington Chemical Company
  18. Michelle Wiseman, Owner and Principal  Mortician,Wiseman Funeral Home and Chapel
  19. Lenard Kent, Alumni
  20. Archer Harmon, General Manager, Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home
  21. Donna Horton, R.N. Horton’s Funeral  Service
  22. Verneka Roberts, Alumna

Advisory Board By-Laws |

back to top


UDC Library Holdings

To explore career opportunities and employment trends

Epsilon Nu Delta (Mortuary Fraternity)

National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association, Inc.

National Funeral Directors Association

District of Columbia Board of Funeral Directors

Maryland Board of Morticians and Funeral Directors

Virginia Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers

Virginia Funeral Directors Association

Maryland State Funeral Directors Association

back to top


Name Title Email Phone Location
Joanna Ellsberry, JD,  FD Program Director 202.274.5651 Bldg 44, Suite 200-28
Duane Calloway, MA, FD Assistant Professor 202.274.5858 Bldg 44, Suite 200-25
John Kirksey, MPA, FD Assistant Professor 202.274.5929 Bldg 44, Suite 200-25


back to top