In September of 2014, Biola will begin classes as part of a newly structured program that is different from any other degree the university currently offers — the Applied Psychology Completion Program. The 130-unit completion program is geared toward adult learners who wish to complete their degree while balancing a busy lifestyle. It is specifically structured so that a student can complete a degree in as little as two years.
“The program is unique because it is a degree completion program for people who have been out of school,” said Gary Kiker, the program’s success coach. “It’s for adults with families and jobs who never finished their degrees.”
The degree is the only completion program of its kind to be offered at Biola, and is an area the university hopes to expand for the adult learner demographic. The seven-week classes are hybrid classes — five weeks are completed online and two are completed on location at Biola’s campus. According to Kiker, the program is a step away from the classic university structure, where students do everything on campus.
“The benefit of a hybrid course is that it appeals to more people because of its accessibility,” said Kevin Van Lant, associate professor of psychology with the program.
“A vast majority of [the program] will be online,” said Van Lant. “The hybrid course creates an environment where [the students] feel a sense of community. With fully online classes they oftentimes don’t feel connected to the institution.”
Another aspect of the program is the academic success coaches. All students will be paired with a coach who will work with them throughout the program. The coaches also work with the students to create a schedule that fits the individual’s lifestyle and needs. The flexibility of the program allows students to complete the program at their own pace. Kiker refers to himself as a “super academic advisor.”
“Because students aren’t on campus, I’ll be the one who runs to financial aid or the accounting office and helps them with the little things that can come up when you’re going to school,” said Kiker.
The new program aligns with Biola’s goal to lead in biblically integrated education. Like every undergraduate degree offered at Biola, the new program includes 30 units of Bible and theology courses taught by Christian professors. This integration of faith and education centers the entire program on a Christian worldview, and allows students to earn a minor in biblical studies with their bachelor’s of science degree in applied psychology.
Van Lant said the program’s focus on biblical integration distinguishes it from other completion programs.
“If [students] just wanted an online program, to get through it as quickly as possible, they would go somewhere else,” said Van Lant. “But for the student who really takes biblical foundation seriously and really wants to understand how psychology and theology integrate, Biola’s new program is ideal.”
For more information regarding the new applied psychology program, visit https://www.biola.edu/applied-psychology-bs