Psychology – Bachelor of Science Degree

The Psychology program introduces students to the science of behavior, a science concerned with understanding the factors that affect the behavior of human and non-human species. Students are introduced to a wide range of subfields within the discipline and provided a rigorous foundation in the major theoretical perspectives of psychology and the scientific methodological approaches psychologists utilize. Included among the major sub-disciplines of psychology that students are exposed to are developmental, experimental, neuroscience, social, community, clinical, and abnormal. UDC is an ideal laboratory for students studying the discipline of psychology to apply their knowledge and demonstrate their developing skill-sets through applied research and experiential opportunities. Students have direct proximity and access to the American Psychological Association and its 54 interest groups or subdivisions of Psychology, the DC Chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists, the National Institute of Mental Health, and numerous public and private sector organizations. Upon completion of the Psychology program, students are prepared for graduate and professional study in the discipline or other professional areas.  They also possess the skills required for entry level employment in research or psychology-related 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. Students in the Psychology program are equipped to discover and develop their specific interests and shape successful career pathways in the field.

Psychology: Vision, Mission,  Goals & Student Learning Objectives

Vision

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.

Mission

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.

Goals

  • 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.

Related:

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.

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 award 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 in social development in previous articles and literary works such as the Journal of Child and Family Studies. It is Dr. Hill’s intent to bring more awareness to the social implications of development and academic well-being.

Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology, research interests focus on the use of traditional African cultural rituals for contemporary holistic mental health practices. She also conducts research in narrative therapy, racial identity, and “psychohairapy,” using hair as entry point for mental health services in beauty salons and barbershops.

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.

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.

Contact info:

Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka, Psychology Program Coordinator
E: afiya.mbilishaka@udc.edu | T: 202.274.5623

Program Resources

  • Course Descriptions
  • Curriculum Guide

Meet the Faculty

  • Kelli Hill
  • Afiya Fredericks
  • Afiya Mbilishaka
  • Niyana Rasayon
  • Dhymsy Vixamar-Owens

Psi Chi members and advisor

Psi Chi members and advisor (Dhymsy Vixamar-Owens), joined by faculty (Benson Cooke, Afiya Fredericks, Kelli Hill, and Afiya Mbilishaka), CAS Dean, April Massey, and DSBS Chair, Guy Shroyer, honored 11 scholars of the Spring 2020 and Spring 2021 induction cohorts. Inductees included Nethmi Amarasinghe, Diana Atenco-Gonzalez, Geraldine Bolden (not pictured), Breanna Champion, Vishae’ Crews (not pictured), Dominic Elliott, Lilian Flores, Ashley Himbrick, Robynn Sharpe (not pictured), Briana Smith, and Kendra Williams.

About

Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, has as its mission is to recognize and promote excellence in the science and application of psychology. Membership into 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-Gonzalez (President), William Calhoun (Vice-President), and Ashley Himbrick (Secretary)),  Psi Chi continues to further the cause of psychology here at UDC and within the greater DMV communities. You can follow them on Instagram for up-to-date information about upcoming events (@UDCPSICHI).