Program requirements

The Health Psychology graduate program employs an apprenticeship model of research training. Each student is selected for his/her compatibility of research interests with a particular faculty member. The program is designed to expose students to health psychology research early in their graduate training and to equip them with the skills necessary for conducting their own high-quality research.

Graduate courses in the areas of health psychology are offered on a continuing basis (see below) and more specialized seminars are offered as well. Students are expected to take advantage of departmental courses and seminars in related interest areas such as social/personality, biological, clinical, cognitive, and developmental. In addition, students can take advantage of a number of courses in other departments, such as Health Care and Epidemiology, as relevant to their area of specialization within health psychology. All students are required to complete one course in statistics within psychology prior to the MA degree, plus one additional advanced statistics course.

Survey of health psychology, PSYC 501 (Instructor: DeLongis). To be taken by all MA students in the program, preferably before completing the MA degree.

Research methods in health psychology, PSYC 502(Instructor: Hoppmann). To be taken by all MA students in the program, preferably before completing the MA degree.

Biological bases of health psychology, PSYC 503 (Instructor: Chen). To be taken by all students in the health psychology program.

Special topics courses in health psychology, PSYC 504 (Instructors: DeLongis, Hoppmann, Chen). Special topics course offerings have included: Social Relationships and Health, and Personality & Health.

External courses in allied health fields (e.g., Health Care and Epidemiology, Immunology, Anatomy, Biology, etc.) to be selected in conjunction with their advisory committee.

Most students in Health Psychology take two to three courses in their first year of graduate studies, 1-2 statistics courses and 1-2 health psychology courses selected in consultation with their Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee comprises the student’s research supervisor and two additional faculty members chosen to assist in the student’s academic development. In their second year, students take one or more courses per term and present their MA thesis research at a departmental conference (“Psychfest”) held each May. As part of the PhD requirements, students must successfully complete a minimum of two further courses in health psychology, one breadth course offered by other areas of the department, and a comprehensive examination. The Health Psychology comprehensive requirement consists of either: (1) a Psychological Bulletin-type paper that comprehensively reviews an area of research (this typically serves as the basis for the student’s PhD thesis research) or (2) a CIHR-style grant proposal related to the student’s program of research. All students attend a Health Psychology “brown bag” Seminar, and give at least one research talk per year, for as long as they are in the program. Graduate students are encouraged to attend and present papers at international scientific meetings such as the Society for Behavioral Medicine, American Psychosomatic Society, Canadian Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, Western Psychological Association, and European Health Psychology Society.

Faculty and students in the Health Psychology Area have access to modern and well-equipped research facilities housed in the D.T. Kenny (Psychology) Building. These laboratory spaces have been designed specifically to accommodate studies on a wide variety of topics in health psychology.