Department of Psychology offers learning on Humans and their Development

By Nazariah Shar’ie Janon

By and large, Psychology has been defined by scholars as a scientific study of human behaviour and mental processes. Psychologists used different scientific theories to explain how human think, feel, act and interact at both intra- and interpersonal levels.

Through scientific investigations psychologists address various personal and psychosocial issues, as well as come up with certain informed solutions. Psychologists also use scientific methods to assess situations for which findings could inform policy development at all levels of community and organisations.

The Department of Psychology at the International Islamic University Malaysia was established in 1990, along with other Human Science departments in the Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences. The Department offers a four-year full-time programme of studies leading to the Bachelor of Human Sciences with Honours in Psychology. It also offers full-time and part-time postgraduate degrees at the Master’s degree and Ph.D. levels.

In January 2021, there are 527 and 49 students studying in UG and PG programme respectively. The 23 academic members and the 576 students have been working together at the Department to accomplish the missions, achieve the objectives and attain the vision of the Department. 

With regard to the mission, the Department was established to provide high quality and integrated research, teaching, and learning and consultancy with the aim of improving the quality of life of the Ummah and humanity. It has the objectives to provide training on critical and analytical thinking, effective communication, and research competencies so that the scholars and students in the Department could effectively attend to the emerging social milieus; and provide the needed psychological services to the community. In the long run, the Department envisions to be a leading centre of integrated research, teaching and learning, and consultancy of psychology. 

The Psychology degree programme is registered and accredited by the Malaysian quality assurance body (MQA). The Department has designed its curriculum according to MQA standard, covering  eight knowledge areas in psychology namely 1) Scientific Inquiry; 2) Biological Basis of Behaviour; 3) Human Development; 4) Cognitive-Affective Basis of Behaviour; 5) Individual Differences; 6) Social-Cultural Context of Behaviour; 7) Value in Psychology; 8) Application of Psychological Science. With all these scopes of psychological knowledge covered in the curriculum, students are equipped with capabilities to build a strong theoretical and methodological background in Psychology.    

Since its establishment, thousands of students have graduated from IIUM Psychology programme. Armed with the competencies acquired throughout their studies at the Department, many of them are successfully applying and advocating the scientific psychological knowledge in their own ways and capacity.

The Psychology curriculum at IIUM includes the Islamic perspective in its teaching and learning.  Students are taught on the Islamic perspectives in every concept of Psychology covered in the different courses of psychology. Such approach has enabled Psychology students to analyse psychosocial issues in society from scientific theories and Islamic perspective; attend to the community and industries to provide effective solutions, and promote and advocate sustainable mental health practices and spirituality in themselves as well as community members. 

The elective courses offered by the Department has been designed to foster community engagement approaches. They contain the elements which expose students to relate knowledge with life experience. Under the supervision of course instructors, students work with the targeted community in formulating strategies to address issues in the community.

Academic members in the Department are experts in different sub-fields of Psychology, which are Developmental Psychology, Clinical and Counselling Psychology, Industrial and Organisational Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, and Psychometric. They are committed academics who perform their tasks in teaching and learning, consultancy, research, publications and innovations.

Among the achievements obtained by members include University Best Teacher Awards, Best Researcher Awards, serving as principal investigators for a number of sponsored and fundamental grants, project leaders for consultancy projects, authors of books and high impact journal articles and copyrighted psychological modules. 

Why should one study Psychology at IIUM? The Psychology curriculum at IIUM addresses knowledge of Psychology from both western scientific theoretical background and Islamic perspectives. Knowing psychology from both sources of knowledge will equip students with competencies that would enable them to be competent psychologists in the future who at the same time are able to apply Islamic ethical principles in all aspects of sciences and practices of psychology. 

The programme provides opportunities for students to engage with the community and industries. Based on the core knowledge in Psychology, coupled with the University required courses, and guided by the academics in the Department, students will be trained to apply psychological principles in developing solutions for problems in their engagement with community and industries. Through the holistic approaches practised in the University, students are not only trained to become knowledge seekers in Psychology but to be good servants of Allah who acquire knowledge, use the knowledge for themselves and transfer the knowledge to others.

Scholars in the Department have been contributing constructively to their scholarship and community through various community projects, including the Knowledge Transfer Project. The project witnesses the transfer of Psychological knowledge when designing the module for teachers and assistant teachers to interacting with typical and non-typical children. The academics are also involved in consultancy work for industries and government agencies such as the  consultancy project awarded by Malaysian Productivity Corporation (MPC). The departmental members also have the experience of leading many fundamental research grants that includes TRGS, FRGS, RIGS, KTP, university research grants and several sponsored research grants. 

After 30 years of its establishment, the Department has been expanding in many ways. It is currently strengthening its capacity to stay true to its missions, hence is taking some developmental measures which include: 

  1. refurbishing the Experimental Laboratory, Counselling and Clinical laboratories, Computer laboratories, and Psychological Testing library. These facilities provide academic members with the opportunities to create scientific learning environment to both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
  2. enhancing the roles of Psychology Service Unit (PSU) with the aims to provide Psychology services to students as well as the public. PSU also acts as a service unit for postgraduate in Clinical and Counselling Psychology students to conduct their Practicum I and undergraduate placement for their industrial training.   
  3. offering more postgraduate programmes,  in addition to the existing MHSc in Psychology.  The Department has recently offered new programmes i.e., Master of Industrial and Organisational Psychology (MIOP) and Master in Developmental Psychology (MDP). Soon in the future, the Department is going to offer Master in Clinical Psychology (MCP) and Doctorate in Applied Psychology Programme.
  4. nurturing Young Academic Scholars in order to sustain the capacity in producing psychologists for the future. The Department is currently focusing on it succession planning for new academics, such as by securing the approval from the University to employ eight young academics who have the potential to be nurtured as experts in different sub-field of psychology. 
  5. addressing the demands of potential candidates from industries who wanted to pursue  PhD degree in Psychology by developing Doctor of Applied Psychology in Industrial and Organisational Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Clinical Psychology. 
  6. getting the approval from the university committee for the implementation of new curriculum that is based on the University’s Sejahtera Academic Framework.
  7. encouraging academic members and students to continuously being active in interdisciplinary collaborations and community/industry engagements at both local and international levels. 

It is expected that the Department will continue to produce Psychology scholars and psychologists for the future. They should be knowledgeable with all theories and respect the scientific field of psychology. They are also expected to have the ability to analyse and treat the psychosocial issues in the community, by relevantising the Islamic principles in Psychology research and practices.***

(Dr. Nazariah Shar’ie Janon is an Assistant Professor and Head in Department of Psychology, Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, IIUM)

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