HSP Community Psychology

Community psychology goes beyond an individual focus and integrates social, cultural, economic, political, environmental, and international influences to promote positive change, health, and empowerment at individual and systemic levels. Depending on one’s training, experiences, and preferences, community psychologists can work as educators, professors, program directors, consultants, policy developers, evaluators, and researchers. Community psychologists may be employed within community organizations, universities, or government agencies which promote mental health and community well-being.

  • We seek to expand “helping” beyond traditional psychotherapy to promote wellness.
  • We engage in action-oriented research to develop, implement, and evaluate programs.
  • We base our work on a scientific foundation to better understand the multiple influences of the social environment on health and wellness
  • We build collaborative relationships with community members, groups, and organizations to solve social problems.
  • We consult with and provide tools to organizations to build capacity to address social problems such as exploitation and victimization.
  • We analyze government, civic life, and workplace settings in order to understand and improve fair and diverse participation.
  • We fight oppression, work to reduce social inequalities, and work with marginalized people toward their empowerment.

Via the Society for Community Research and Action, division 27 of the American Psychological Association: http://www.scra27.org/


Program Details

The Community Psychology Program focuses on the community settings, social resources, and human services policies that influence the effective functioning of both individuals and communities. The Community Psychology Program is a track of the HSP program and can be pursued as a solo program or in conjunction with another HSP track (clinical or behavioral medicine). Faculty in the program work to assist graduate students in developing knowledge and skills related to psychological science and community psychology research and practice. Students in the Community Psychology program complete core courses in community psychology and are expected to complete applied psychological internships. Students who are simultaneously enrolled in the Clinical and Community Psychology programs are required to complete internships, most of which are accredited by the American Psychological Association.

For additional information please contact Dr. Nkiru Nnawulezi (nnawulez@umbc.edu), Director of the Community Psychology program.

Application Deadline

The deadline for applications is December 1.

Admission Requirements

Applicants will be evaluated on a number of dimensions, including past research experience and accomplishments, academic record, letters of recommendation, essay describing research interests, and fit with mentor. Details about admission requirements are available on the HSP Application Information page.

Faculty Accepting Applications

The list of faculty accepting applications this year can be found on the HSP Faculty page.

Interview Date

Our interview date will be in February. The specific date will be announced soon.



1. Do I need a degree in psychology to apply to the Community program?

No, people with many types of backgrounds can be admitted to the Community Psychology program. If your degree is in a field other than psychology, it would be helpful if you have taken the following psychology-related courses, including introductory psychology, community psychology, research methods, and statistics.

2. Does the Community Psychology program offer clinical training?

No. This is research-focused program in community psychology. Our students are trained to become researchers rather than clinicians.If you are interested in receiving clinical training you might consider applying to the Community Psychology program in conjunction with the Clinical Psychology program.

3. Is the Community Psychology program APA accredited?

The American Psychological Association (APA) only accredits practice-oriented programs (e.g., clinical, counseling, and school psychology). Research-focused programs such as ours are not accredited. UMBC’s Clinical Psychology program is APA accredited and all student enrolled in the Clinical Program, including those taking combined training in Clinical Psychology and either Behavioral Medicine or Community Psychology, fall within the accredited portion of the HSP program.

4.  When I apply, should I identify a faculty member that I’m interested in working with?

Identifying a potential mentor is strongly recommended but not required.

5.   Does the Community Psychology program offer financial assistance?

We offer five years of Graduate Assistant funding (e.g. TA, RA, or other) to new HSP students who remain in good standing and who make (or whose advisor makes on their behalf) a documented credible effort to obtain external funding (e.g. grants, fellowships, outside GA position) for at least two of those years.

Learn more about Funding Information / Opportunities here.


Community Psychology Faculty

Our program faculty members are skilled researchers and practitioners committed to training the next generation of community psychologists. In addition to their commitment to the Community Psychology program, most faculty have affiliations in other program areas within the Department of Psychology (behavioral medicine, clinical, and developmental). Our faculty conduct both basic and applied research with diverse communities. Faculty research topics include, but are not limited to: the etiology, prevention, and treatment of health disparities (e.g., HIV), particularly among women of African descent; psychosocial and environmental impacts on cardiovascular health, such as poverty and racism; resiliency and risk within diverse communities; intersectional approaches to research; ex-offender re-entry and community reintegration; minority student achievement; Baltimore City youth relation with school police; and gender-based violence and survivor empowerment. We prioritize understanding and serving marginalized individuals and communities. View our faculty bios below.