Two new PhD programs and a new bachelor’s degree will provide increased options for the next generation of students and professionals.
When, on October 8, 1974, the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences was officially named after Pace alumnus and trustee, Charles H. Dyson, the College offered less than 30 undergraduate majors and no graduate programs. Today’s students can choose from four doctoral programs, 13 master’s degree programs and nearly 60 undergraduate degrees. This includes three new offerings announced earlier this year. A PhD in Clinical Psychology (Health Care Emphasis) and a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Neuroscience are set to launch at the start of the 2019-20 academic year, and a PhD in School Psychology will launch in the fall of 2020.
The new programs reflect the College’s ongoing mission to provide leading-edge academic and practical learning experiences that will allow students to achieve their full potential.
“In keeping with the spirit of the Pace Path, part of our faculty’s job is to anticipate trends in their fields and create new programs that address these advancements,” said Dean Nira Herrmann. “These new degree programs will enable Dyson College to provide educational opportunities for our students that will set them up for future success in their chosen career paths.”
For graduate-level psychology students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree, the new PhDs will be offered through the Department of Psychology on the New York City campus. Each program is expected to gain full American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation as soon as possible, consistent with APA regulations.
The PhD in Clinical Psychology (Health Care Emphasis) will prepare students to be scientist-practitioners with the skills to address the mind-body interface.
“Training will emphasize competencies in research, assessment, diagnostics, interventions, prevention, and health promotion,” said Professor of Psychology and Program Director K. Mark Sossin, PhD.
The PhD in School Psychology is designed to train school psychologists for research, leadership, and academic roles, said Professor of Psychology Anastasia Yasik, PhD, program director. It complements the department’s long-standing APA-accredited PsyD Program in School-Clinical Child Psychology, which focuses on developing practitioners.
“Both of these programs are unique through their emphasis on a developmental perspective and an emphasis on diversity, both local and global,” said Professor Sonia Suchday, PhD, chair of the Psychology Department. “In the current climate, where health care remains a challenge subject to political winds, both programs will train young people to be leaders and advocates who, through their research, will help contribute to both health and well-being, and better health care and educational systems, which are responsive to the [varied] needs of a heterogeneous population.”
On the undergraduate side, students will have the opportunity to earn the newly-approved behavioral neuroscience degree on the New York City campus. It’s an outgrowth of the Neuroscience minor, established by Associate Professor of Psychology Michele Zaccario, PhD, and Associate Professor of Biology Zafir Buraei, PhD, in 2015. Students in the new major will take foundational courses in biology, chemistry, and psychology, followed by at least six behavioral neuroscience courses. They will also have extensive opportunities to develop practical laboratory skills through required one-on-one research.
“Behavioral neuroscience is one of the fastest growing disciplines today,” said Buraei, program director. “It emerged when incredible recent advances in molecular biology, genetic engineering, brain imaging, neuropharmacology, computer science, and other disciplines, were applied to understand the biological basis of animal and human behavior. Advances in behavioral neuroscience have contributed to improving lives and treating various neurological, mental, and behavioral disorders, from pain and blindness, to ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, and many others. It is also permeating the realms of public advocacy, helping shape policies on treating rather than prosecuting addiction, defining brain death, and providing insights into the mental capacities of juveniles and the mentally unfit.”
Marco Medina, ’22, a US Army veteran, will be among the first students to graduate with the new degree, and he hopes that the program will help him to successfully pursue an MD.
“It’s the perfect combination of psychology and science, two huge interests of mine,” he said. “Becoming a doctor involves much more than a knowledge of medicine. A huge portion has to do with understanding your patients while maintaining a unique level of empathy. The psychology aspect of this degree helps tap into that role.”