Diversity Science

A comprehensive understanding of human behavior requires examination of the meaningful differences between and among people across the diversity of human experience. These differences are often rooted in current and historical experiences of oppression and prejudice that have disproportionately devalued people of different identities including, but not exclusive to, races, cultures, ethnicities, sexual orientations, genders, gender-identifications, abilities, and socioeconomic statuses. The goal of the Diversity Science Specialization is to inform our understanding of human behavior and develop competency in the following areas:

  1. The unique and intersecting psychologies and perspectives of underrepresented groups.
  2. Psychological processes that contribute to the development of identity and bias.
  3. Exploring, identifying, and questioning biases within our own research and the field at large.
  4. The development of psychological services and empirical investigations that are applicable to and implementable in marginalized communities.

Students who complete the requirements for this specialization are expected to understand the above four competencies and apply them to their field of study.



  1. Successful completion of at least three courses which focus on the relationship between marginalized populations and some aspect(s) of psychology.
    1. At least two of these courses must be offered through the psychology department. Courses must be at the 400 or 500 level or above. A representative list of department courses which meet the Diversity Science Specialization requirements are posted on this website, and faculty will consider whether any additional courses meet the requirements on a case-by-case basis.
    2. One of the required courses may be taken outside the Psychology Department. This course can be selected from a pre-approved list (see ‘Courses’ link below) or the student may seek the approval of the Diversity Science Specialization committee to use an unlisted course to fulfill this requirement.
    3. All students working towards the Diversity Science Specialization must enroll in at least one quarter of the Diversity Science Seminar (Psych 557), usually offered during winter term.
  2. After the completion of required coursework, the student will prepare a capstone paper or presentation demonstrating their expertise and understanding of at least one of the four core competencies of the Diversity Science Specialization. This paper may take one of three forms:
    1. A critical review of research relevant to one or more of the four core competencies in their area of scholarly interest OR
    2. A research proposal or empirical paper reporting an original study on a topic relevant to one of the four core competencies of the specialization OR
    3. A prospectus for a course focusing on a topic related to one or more of the core competencies that the student might teach during their career.

The paper will be reviewed and approved by 2 members of the Diversity Science Specialization faculty and 2 student members of the Diversity Steering Committee.


Extra Courses required for the specialization certificate



Once you have completed the requirements and wish to apply for the Diversity Science Specialization, please take the following steps:

  1. Complete the form “ Documentation of Completion of the Diversity Science Specialization”.
  2. Finalize your capstone paper if it is not already complete.
  3. Write a brief cover letter in email form to the DSC co-chairs (currently Kimberly Bourne and Loranzie Rogers) that explains your rationale for why your capstone paper fulfills the goals of the diversity science specialization (above). Attach the “Documentation….” form (Step 1) and your capstone paper (Step 2).
  4. The DSC co-chairs will assign and forward your application to 2 DSC faculty members and 2 DSC student members. (If there is any reason that you would not want your application reviewed by a specific faculty or student member, please let the co-chairs know in a separate email.) The appointed review committee will email among themselves approve or make recommendations as to how to improve your capstone paper.
  5. You will receive the review committee’s decision in an email. If the committee approved your capstone paper and coursework, the Grad Program Advisor will also be CC’ed on the email. Because the Grad Program Advisor will have your entire application as well as the email endorsement of the DSC review committee, she will be able to grant you the Diversity Science Specialization at the end of the quarter in which you receive your decision. It is your responsibility to follow up with the Grad Program Advisor if you do not hear from her after you receive your decision.

If interested in completing the Diversity Specialization, or have any questions, contact: psychdsc@uw.edu