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.

Aims and Objectives of the Mortuary Science Program 

  1.  The central aims of the funeral service program are to prepare industry personnel who are:
    1. Members of a human services profession;
    2. Members of the community in which they serve;
    3. Participants in the relationship between bereaved families and those engaged in the funeral service profession;
    4. Professionals knowledgeable of and compliant with federal, state, provincial/territorial, and local regulatory guidelines in the geographic area where they practice; and,
    5. Professionals who are sensitive to the responsibility for public health, safety, and welfare in caring for human remains.
  1. The objectives of the Mortuary Science Program are:
    1. To enlarge the background and knowledge of students about the funeral service profession;
    2. To educate students in every phase of funeral service and to help enable them to develop proficiency and skills necessary for the profession;
    3. To educate students concerning the responsibilities of the funeral service profession to the community at large;
    4. To emphasize high standards of ethical conduct;
    5. To provide a curriculum at the postsecondary level of instruction; and
    6. To encourage student and faculty research in the field of funeral service.

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate compassionate, fair and ethical regard for the bereaved and the members of the community they serve in the conduct of every aspect of the funeral service profession.
  2. Understand and execute all aspects of anatomy, sanitation, preservation, and restoration of the body for public view and final disposition.
  3. Recognize and adhere to all OSHA Regulations and Standards governing public health and safety in the funeral industry workplace.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge that governs professionalism and sound funeral business management practices, which includes FTC Rules and Regulations.
  5. Assemble complete information for death certificates, contracts (at-need and pre-need), and other documents using appropriate technologies.

| 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 |

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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

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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


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