Department of Psychology

UNCW Department of Psychology - Values, Mission, & Vision

The Department

The University of North Carolina Wilmington's Department of Psychology exists within the College Arts and Sciences. The department has 36 full-time faculty members and four staff. Our undergraduate program incorporates best practices put forth in the American Psychological Association's Principles for Quality Undergraduate Education in Psychology.

The department offers a Bachelor of Arts degree and a minor as well as two interdisciplinary minors: Neuroscience and Applied Behavior Analysis and Developmental Disabilities.

Our graduate program offers a Master of Arts degree in one of three concentrations: Psychological Science with the goal of preparing students for doctoral study, Substance Abuse Treatment with goal of preparing students to practice as Licensed Psychological Associates and Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialists, and Applied Behavioral Analysis with the goal of preparing students to practice as Licensed Psychological Associates and Board Certified Behavior Analysts.

The Department of Psychology also offers a doctoral program in clinical psychology which provides education and training in psychological science and practice that will prepare individuals for licensure as doctoral-level psychologists in health-service fields.  The program focuses on the biological, psychological, behavioral, social and cultural influences on the development, assessment, and treatment of mental health, substance use, and behavioral disorders.


The Psychology Department faculty represents and embraces a diverse range of interests and specializations within the discipline. We are a natural science, social science and a health-services profession - advancing the field in areas ranging from basic brain, behavioral and developmental processes, to understanding the cultural effects on behavior, to developing and evaluating treatments for chronic psychological and behavioral disorders. We conduct and disseminate human and non-human research in both laboratory and applied settings. We not only provide training for specific pursuits within our own field (researchers, health-service providers, teachers), we provide critical instruction to those pursuing careers in numerous other disciplines (education, nursing, medicine, social work, business, law). Within this broad range of pursuits, we aspire to certain core values that connect us as a faculty and a traditional liberal arts major. As a department we value:

  • The primacy of the scientific approach as a means of understanding human behavior, cognition and emotion.
  • Psychological literacy among our students, achieved through active, engaged applied learning experiences in the classroom and the laboratory that go beyond content and lead to the development of data analytic skills, critical thinking skills, information literacy, as well as oral and written communication skills.
  • Faculty members as engaged teachers, sound scientists, and role models of the intellectually involved person that support and advance intellectual inquiry.
  • Pursuit of scientific research as both a teaching tool and a practice that advances the field of psychology and improves quality of life.
  • The scientist-practitioner model as a means to translate basic science into clinical application and train individuals to address the challenges within the scope of psychological science.
  • Transparent and high standards for faculty and students, ensuring we provide the environment, resources and training required to meet these standards.
  • An open, supportive and collegial environment that celebrates diversity in all its forms and promotes global citizenship, integrity and ethical behavior.


The Department of Psychology supports the UNCW and CAS missions by advancing the scientific discipline of psychology through the synergistic relationship between teaching, research, and service. We are dedicated to excellence in our primary purpose - preparing students to become psychologically literate citizens with the skills necessary to flourish and engage in life activities that serve to advance scientific knowledge, solve problems and actively engage in efforts to improve our communities and beyond. We accomplish this purpose by utilizing best practices in science education, close instructional contact and research training with experts in a variety of fields of psychology, conducting and disseminating cutting-edge scientific research, and fostering engagement in applied learning/service opportunities that connect students with the larger community beyond the classroom.


As a leader within the CAS and UNCW, the community and profession, the Department of Psychology seeks to advance the science and professional practice of psychology and its benefits by disseminating the knowledge we create, promoting our discipline and training our students as partners in advancing scientific knowledge and developing innovative solutions to important life problems both locally and globally We aim to cultivate ethical individuals who have a well-developed capacity for synthesizing information, are strong critical thinkers and communicators, and respect and enhance diverse people, cultures and perspectives. We believe these skills are necessary for students to pursue a life of intellectual curiosity, to create flourishing in oneself and others, to contribute to the betterment of society, and compete in a rapidly shifting and complex workplace.

Mission, Vision and Values approved 3/21/13.