Schools with Health Psychology Programs: How to Choose

Health psychologists analyze patient and community health from a combined biological, behavioral and social perspective. In addition to core psychology courses, students in bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs may study stress management, spirituality, mind-body medicine and other natural topics reflecting this holistic philosophy.

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Health psychology is a career field that's currently emerging; there are few bachelor's degree options for those interested in this field. Most students will need to complete an undergraduate degree in a relevant field, such as psychology, before specializing when taking graduate studies.

Schools With Health Psychology Programs

The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in health psychology.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition* (2015-2016)
Bastyr University Kenmore, WA 4-year, Private Master's Graduate tuition: $24,200
MCPHS University Boston, MS 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Doctoral Undergraduate tuition: $30,530; Graduate tuition: $19,620
University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, NC 4-year, Public Doctoral In-state tuition: $4,128; Out-of-state tuition: $16,799
Antioch University at New England Keene, NH 4-year, Private Doctoral Graduate tuition: $22,100
Ohio University Athens, OH 4-year, Public Doctoral In-state graduate tuition: $9,510; Out-of-state graduate tuition: $17,502
Indiana University-Purdue University - Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN 4-year, Public Bachelor's (minor) In-state undergraduate tuition: $9,056; Out-of-state undergraduate tuition: $29,774
University of Colorado at Denver Denver, CO 4-year, Public Doctoral In-state graduate tuition: $6,516; Out-of-state graduate tuition: $20,358

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

Health psychology is an emerging field of study in the United States; when choosing a health psychology school, it's important to choose a program with outcomes that closely match a student's career goals.

  • Those who intend to work as licensed counselors should look for accredited programs that prepare for the licensure examination of the state in which they intend to practice.
  • Because health psychology is typically a patient-centered field, students should look for programs offering clinical practicum or internship opportunities with diverse client populations.
  • Students interested in pursuing a career in research may choose to look for programs that offer opportunities for research projects with human participants.

Bachelor's Degree in Health Psychology

Relatively few bachelor's degree programs in health psychology exist in the United States. Some schools offer a dual-degree option, conferring both a bachelor's and master's degree upon completion. Students who terminate their formal education with a bachelor's degree in health psychology often qualify to work in volunteer health care organizations, fitness industries or as research assistants.

Master's Degree in Health Psychology

Through course work, research and clinical experience, master's students in health psychology generally qualify to take state licensing examinations and enter the work force as a health counselor. Some master's programs segue into a doctoral program or combine with doctoral studies, offering a dual-degree option. Graduates may work with clients with diabetes, eating disorders and other mind-body illnesses through studies in nutrition, counseling methods and food science.

Doctoral Degree in Health Psychology

Doctoral programs in health psychology require a bachelor's or master's degrees in a field of psychology. Doctoral fellows pursuing careers in research or academia may choose a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program, while those who intend to practice clinical psychology may opt for a professional Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree.

Both offer therapeutic study, instruction on different approaches to counseling and theoretical application, though Ph.D. programs typically include a more significant degree of research in the field, as well as more opportunities to participate in teaching assistantships, than Psy.D. programs.

As a relatively new field, health psychology degrees are not common. An undergraduate degree in psychology can be a stepping stone to graduate studies in health psychology.

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