Psychology – Bachelor of Science Degree

The Psychology program introduces students to the science of behavior, concerned with understanding the factors that affect human and non-human behavior. Students are provided a rigorous foundation in the major theoretical perspectives of psychology and the scientific methodological approaches through experiential learning. Some of the sub-disciplines of psychology students are exposed to are developmental, experimental, neuroscience, social, community, clinical, and abnormal areas. Students have direct proximity and access to the American Psychological Association and its 54 divisions or subdivisions of Psychology, the DC Chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists, the National Institute of Mental Health. Upon completion of the Psychology program, students are prepared for graduate and professional study in the discipline and other professional areas. The program faculty are highly qualified professionals who are actively involved in discipline-related national professional associations and are committed to serving as mentors in an engaging learning environment.

Psychology: Vision, Mission,  Goals & Student Learning Objectives


To provide students with an education that challenges their intellect and prepares them to assume productive socially responsible leadership roles in an ever-changing global society.


To integrate instruction, research, and public service, with the intent of developing competent, ethical, and empathic professionals that can think as scientists about behavior and experience which helps them develop skills and values that reflect Psychology as both science and applied field.


  • Prepare students who will have a solid foundation in the discipline of Psychology and its scientific approach.
  • Provide learning experiences through which students develop proficiency in analytical, research, and communication skills
  • Provide experiential opportunities designed to model professional and career pathways as well as prepare students for emerging job market demands.
  • Prepare students for graduate and professional study in psychology and other professional areas, as well as entry level employment in research or psychology-related area.
  • Produce socially conscious, ethical graduates who are dedicated to improving urban communities and the well-being of residents of the District of Columbia.

Student Learning Objectives

The Student Learning Objectives of the Psychology program are adapted from the American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major (2013) published by the APA Board of Educational Affairs.

Upon completion of requirements in the Psychology program, students will be able to:

  • Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes in psychology.
  • Interpret, design, and conduct basic psychological research.
  • Apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in writing, oral communication, and interpersonal relationship skills.
  • Apply psychological content and skills to career goals.


Curriculum and Requirements

Program of Study

Students must complete 120 credit hours, including 43 credits in the major, degree requirements in other academic units, and elective courses, to earn the Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Seniors have the opportunity to participate in experiential activities and a capstone seminar course that requires an independent research project.

Career Pathways and Prospects

The Bachelor of Science in Psychology prepares students to pursue a career in one of the many subfields of psychology or pursue entry-level opportunities in government agencies or in research or mental health settings. Many graduates continue their education and training in graduate and certificate programs in psychology, pursuing subfields such as:

  • Child Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Social Psychology

Program alumni have completed doctoral programs at Howard University, Johns-Hopkins University, George Washington University, and other notable institutions.

Student Organizations and Activities

The Psychology Club offers students study groups, discussion around issues in psychology and engagement with scholars in the field.

The UDC chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, offers membership to qualified students. Members have the opportunity to pursue independent research (under faculty direction), attend conferences, and submit work for awards or publishing consideration. The society’s quarterly magazine, Eye on Psi Chi, keeps the community informed and connected, while the quarterly Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research introduces students to the publishing and review process.

DC Chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists ( ABPsi) Student Circle, located primarily on college campuses provides members access to scholarship opportunities, leadership development, professional networks, student support, scholarly writing opportunities, The Psych Discourse News Journal, and The Journal of Black Psychology. Student Circle members also have access to specialized programming at the ABPsi Annual Convention and other events.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Afiya Fredericks, Assistant Professor of Psychology, research interests focus on teaching and implementing Growth Mindset —the belief in the malleability of our intelligence and abilities —and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and their effect on student and professional achievement and motivation.  She is also interested in the impact of growth mindset, self-compassion and other SEL practices on mitigating the effects of Impostor Syndrome.   

Dr. Kelli Hill, Assistant Professor in Psychology and Human Development, has focused on cultural differences and social development in previous events such as the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) and the Teacher’s College Winter Roundtable and the Families and Fathers International Conference 2022. It is Dr. Hill’s intent to share research on the continuum of self-efficacy (perception of one’s capability to complete a task) and the need to highlight people’s strengths in bioecological contexts pre- and post-Pandemic.

Dr. Niyana Rasayon, Associate Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, specializes in mental health conditions, nutrition & neuroplasticity, and chronic brain trauma with a specific focus on African Americans. He is a board-certified Fellow and Diplomate in Afrikan Centered-Black Psychology.  In addition, he serves as an expert, both nationally and internationally on select cable broadcasts, internet podcasts on Health, Racism & Perception, Black-Talk radio programs, and he often participates in cross-disciplines related conferences.

Dr. Dhymsy Vixamar-Owens, Assistant Professor of Health Psychology, has research foci on the elimination of health disparities, and the importance of assimilation, acculturation, and resilience to health. Her health dimensions of interest include sexual and reproductive health, diabetes and hypertension, and substance use.

Dr. Tomas Yufik, Associate Professor of Psychology, clinical and research interests involve working with empirically-based assessments of posttraumatic stress disorder and personality disorders. He studies public policy legislation involving post-traumatic stress disorder treatment and diagnosis.


Dr. Kelli A. Hill
Assistant Professor of Psychology, and Program Coordinator

Psi Chi advisor Dr. Dhymsy Vixamar-Owens was joined by Dr. Benson Cooke, Dr. Afiya Fredericks, Dr. Kelli Hill, and Dean April Massey (not pictured) for the induction of 10 scholars into the Psi Chi Honors Society. Inductees included Audriana Henderson, Rahinatou Issifi, Paula McCown-Epps, Nguyen Yen-Hannah, Ayjahne Putney, Taylor-Ann Robinson, Judith Sigaran-Sorto, De'Ajane Terrell, Juan Turcios Lovato, and Margaret Westley (not pictured). Spring 2022 graduates pictured include Diana Atenco-Gonzalez, Breanna Champion, Audriana Henderson, Ashley Himbrick, Rahinatou Issifi, and Juan Turcios Lovato.

Psi Chi co-advisors Dr. Kelli A. Hill and Dr. Dhymsy Vixamar-Owens were joined by Dr. Benson Cooke, Dr. Afiya Fredericks, Dr. Kelli Hill, and Dean April Massey (not pictured) for the induction of 10 scholars inducted into the Psi Chi Honors Society.


Psi Chi is an international organization of professionals, scientists, faculty, students, and alumni whose mission is to recognize and promote excellence in the science and application of psychology. Membership in Psi Chi is a lifetime honor, with access to many benefits intended to enhance members’ psychology career and education. UDC’s Chapter was chartered in 1997. Since then, over 190 scholars have enjoyed membership in Psi Chi through UDC. Along with recognition of academic excellence, UDC Psi Chi members are afforded opportunities for leadership and community enrichment through social, academic, and service events and programming. Under the administration of the current Executive Board (Diana Atenco-GonzalezZachary Roberts (President), William CalhounYen Hannah Nguyen (Vice-President), and Ashley HimbrickTamisha Charles (Secretary)), Psi Chi continues to further the cause of psychology here at UDC and within the greater DMV communities.