Health Psychology PhD Programs: Info on Doctoral Programs

Oct 08, 2019

If you are interested in the intersection of physical and mental health, a Ph.D. in health psychology is a relevant educational option. Find out what to expect from these programs and what you can do with this degree.

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Essential Information

In Ph.D. programs in Health Psychology, students examine how biology, environment, psychosocial factors, and behavioral choices affect health and wellness. These programs have a dual focus in research and clinical practice. An original research project is a degree program requirement, and students are expected to choose a research focus within the first year of the program. Prior to graduation, they must submit a research dissertation. In total, most programs last at least four or five years.

In order to apply, students must hold an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related field. They must also submit transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and an admissions essay.

Doctoral Degree in Health Psychology

These interdisciplinary programs integrate advanced studies in psychology, biology, public policy and the social sciences. Some sample core course titles are included below.

  • Social factors of disease
  • Applied healthcare research
  • Healthcare system evaluation
  • Intervention and behavior analysis
  • Cognitive processing and health

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Graduates are eligible for senior teaching, research or administrative positions in academia, as well as in the corporate and non-profit sectors. They may also become practicing clinical psychologists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for clinical psychologists was $76,990 per year as of May 2018 ( The BLS also predicts employment for all psychologists to grow by 14% between 2018 and 2028.

Continuing Education Information

A health psychology Ph.D. is the terminal degree for this field. There are no other degree options, although students may pursue post-doctoral fellowships. In order to stay abreast of the latest in research and protocols, practicing clinical psychologists may pursue continuing education conferences or workshops. Professional organizations, such as the American Psychological Association, provide more information about continuing educational opportunities.

Whether you want to pursue a research career or practice clinical psychology, a Ph.D. program in health psychology provides the interdisciplinary biological and psychological training you need for success.

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