Health Psychology Graduate Programs with Career Information

In health psychology programs, students learn about the various scientific and social factors that can influence and impact human health through traditional coursework, research and internships.

Essential Information

Health psychology studies how physical health is affected by psychological, behavioral and cultural dynamics. Those interested in a graduate-level education in this field can pursue a related master's or doctoral degree, which are typically offered on-campus and online by major colleges and universities. 2-year master's curriculum covers theoretical and methodological foundations, psychopathology and assessment, with concentration options in areas like clinical and pre-doctoral health psychology. Students can choose from a thesis research or clinical practicum track. Applicants must have a relevant undergraduate degree, pass entrance tests and submit transcripts, Graduate Records Examination (GRE) scores and a resume. Ph.D. students learn about principles and theories in biology, health and the social sciences to get an understanding of environmental factors that impact health to develop treatments and interventions for patient illnesses. Specialization selections include occupational, pediatric school and community-health psychology. Direct experience is gained through pre-doctoral or summer internships. A research thesis or dissertation must be completed for graduation. Prospective enrollees must have a correlated bachelor's degree and experience in research methods or statistics. Doctoral programs usually take around 7 years to finish.

  • Program Levels: Master's and doctorate
  • Prerequisites: Acceptable entrance and standardized test scores and submission of a resume and academic transcripts for a master's, experience in statistics and research methods for a doctorate. Both programs require a relevant bachelor's degree.
  • Online Availability: Some programs are available online at both levels
  • Program Specializations: Concentration options include pre-doctoral health psychology and occupational psychology
  • Program Length: 2 years for a master's, 7 years for a doctorate
  • Other Requirements: Completion of a research thesis, practicum and dissertation for graduation

Master's in Health Psychology

Coursework in a health psychology master's program can help students learn about group processes, behavioral and cognitive techniques, client care and evaluation programs. Other topics to be explored are:

  • Behavioral epidemiology
  • Behavior change
  • Multivariate statistics
  • Health promotion
  • Behavioral medicine

Ph.D. in Health Psychology

Doctoral health psychology curricula is multi-discipline, involving social-science, applied science and research methods. In addition to discussions in interventions, organizational behavior and human measurement methods, topics like the following will be addressed:

  • Human development
  • Social behavior
  • Biological behavior
  • Individuality
  • Cognitive bases

Popular Career Options

Ph.D. holders are eligible for professional psychologist licensure and research and postsecondary teaching positions. Although master's graduates aren't qualified to work as independent psychologists, other career areas they could step into include:

  • Health counseling
  • Health education
  • Health promotion
  • Health psychology research
  • Community college instruction

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for clinical, counseling and school psychologists (which includes health psychologists) is expected to grow at a rate of 12% over the 2012-2022 decade with a mean salary of $74,030 as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov).

Licensure Information

State licensure requirements to practice psychology vary by state, but education requirements, examinations and a minimum number of supervised experience hours are typical mandates.

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