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Health Psychology Emphasis

Cross Area Health Psychology Emphasis Description

The BYU doctoral programs in psychology are pleased to offer a cross-area emphasis program to provide training in health psychology. Health psychology is a growing sub-specialty focused on understanding connections between psychological processes and physical health. Health psychologists conduct research and provide clinical care to promote optimal physical and mental health. The emphasis area represents a course of study common to both the Psychology PhD program and the Clinical Psychology PhD program (with exception of clinical training requirements). Students who choose to pursue this emphasis retain primary affiliation in their selected department area (e.g., clinical, social, developmental, behavioral neuro) but pursue additional coursework, practicum experiences, and research topics that will enhance their preparation for careers in health psychology.

Health Psychology Emphasis Requirements

  • Required Area Emphasis Courses - Health Emphasis
    In addition to standard PhD requirements, students will be required to complete the following courses (6 credits):
    Req. TypeDepartmentCourse #HoursCourse Name
    MAJPsych5833Health Psychology
    MAJPsych686R3Seminar in Health Psychology
  • Elective:
    Additionally, students will be required to complete two of the following elective courses (minimum of 6 credits). Elective courses are selected through consultation with faculty mentors:
    Req. TypeDepartmentCourse #HoursCourse Name
    ELCPsych5523Applied Social Psychology
    ELCPsych6803Clinical Neuropsychology
    ELCPsych687R3Seminar in Psychopharmacology
    ELCPsych712R3Topics in Neuropsychology
    ELCHLTH6143Program Planning
    ELCHLTH6233Hlth Systems, Policy & Advoc.

    *Note: Students can elect to do the two-part HLTH 614 and HLTH 623 and count them as two electives.

Students pursuing the Clinical Psychology PhD are also required to complete the following practicum courses (already required as part of the Clinical PhD curriculum) in relevant training settings (e.g., health-related practica):

  • Psych 688R Externship/Clerkship (one or more in emphasis area)

All students completing the emphasis will be expected to engage in health psychology research commensurate with expectations for research or scientist/practitioner careers. Students completing the Health Psychology Emphasis must select a dissertation topic related to health psychology. Emphasis area faculty will be responsible for assessing acceptability of the dissertation topic.

Research Areas & Faculty

For additional information about our Health program, please contact Rachelle Gunderson at 801-422-4560 or at