Graduate Certificate in Health Psychology

Executive Committee:

  • Crystal Park (Director)   Clinical
  • Janet Barnes-Farrell,   I/O
  • Dean Cruess,   Clinical
  • Jeffrey Fisher,   Social
  • Seth Kalichman,   Social


Program Faculty:

  • Glenn Affleck  (Family Medicine, UCHC)
  • Pam Erickson (Anthropology)
  • Rob Henning   (I/O, Psychology)
  • Blair T. Johnson   (Social, Psychology)
  • Vicki J. Magley   (I/O, Psychology)
  • Etan Markus   (BNS, Psychology)
  • Kerry Marsh   (Social, Psychology)
  • Stephanie Milan  (Clinical, Psychology)
  • John Salamone   (BNS, Psychology)
  • Leslie Snyder   (Communications)
  • Nicholas Warren  (Medicine, UCHC)


Admissions Procedures


If you have any questions about the status of your application you may contact the department’s Graduate Admissions Coordinator by email at


Program Description

Health Psychology is concerned with the application of psychological theory, methods and treatment to the understanding and promotion of physical health. Health psychology is based on the biopsychosocial model, which posits that biological, psychological and social processes are centrally and interactively involved in physical health and illness. This initially provocative premise has fueled major advances in psychology, medicine, nursing and public health over the past twenty-five years.



The certificate in Health Psychology has the following objectives

  1. Introduce students to the field of health psychology
  2. Provide a range of coursework in theoretical, methodological, and applied areas of health psychology so that students can individualize their learning of particular areas of health psychology.
  3. Encourage students to engage in health psychology-related research and applications and prepare them for careers in health psychology.


Program Requirements

The program requirements are as follows:

  1. Course sequence:  Students may begin course work for the 12-credit health psychology certificate after completing any of a number of psychology courses that fulfill the prerequisite for the core course, Health Psychology.
    Additional courses identified as appropriate for the certificate follow.  In addition, other courses subsequently developed or taught on an occasional basis (e.g., special topics courses) related to health psychology may also be counted towards the certificate, at the discretion of the Executive Committee. Students who wish to petition for another course that is not listed may do so by submitting a petition with sufficient documentation of the course content (e.g., syllabus, copies of exams, course text, etc.) to the Executive Committee. As a general rule, qualifying courses in this category will not be courses completed at other institutions.  Note: Only 3 credits of PSYC 5120 can be counted towards the certificate credit requirement.
  2. Enrollment.  Students MUST be officially admitted to the Health Psychology program by completing an application through the Graduate School online application system (available here). The application process is managed by the Graduate School, not the Psychology Department, and is similar to the master’s/PhD program application process. Applicants will be notified of the decision via the online application system. (An email will be sent through the online system requesting that the applicant log in to the system to view the decision). If admitted, students MUST reply to the admission offer through the online system in order to be officially matriculated in the program.

Applicants who are currently enrolled in a graduate program in the University of Connecticut Psychology Program:

  • Online application (current students can obtain an application fee waiver by emailing to request a fee waiver number)
  • Unofficial copies of your transcripts
  • Single page CV
  • Brief personal statement regarding interest in the certificate (1 page)
  • Short letter signed by major advisor assenting to the application
  • All documents must be uploaded to the online application system

Applicants who are currently enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Connecticut in a department other than Psychology:

  • Online application (current students can obtain an application fee waiver by emailing to request a fee waiver number)
  • Unofficial copies of your transcripts
  • Single page CV
  • Brief personal statement regarding interest in the certificate (1 page)
  • Short letter signed by major advisor assenting to the application
  • Short letter signed by home department head or director of graduate program supporting the application
  • All documents must be uploaded to the online application system

Applicants who are NOT currently enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Connecticut:

  • Online application and $75 application fee
  • Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts; if admitted official transcripts must be mailed to Graduate School at time of admission
  • Single page CV
  • Brief personal statement regarding interest in certificate (1 page)
  • Two recommendations (preferred that recommendation be submitted using online application system)
  • Residence affidavit
  • TOEFL or IELTS score for international applicants who are not English speakers
  • All documents must be uploaded to the online application system


Table 1: Qualifying Courses

Course number * Course title Description
CORE COURSE (Required!)
PSYC 5120 Health Psychology



3 credits.  Lecture.   Interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors in health.  Topics include disease prevention and health promotion, psychosocial factors in treatment of illness, and stress and coping processes.
ADDITIONAL COURSES (at least three of the following required, for a total of at least 9 credits)
PSYC 5122 Clinical Health Psychology 3 credits  Seminar.   Examines the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors in health and the application of psychological interventions for physical illness, psychological problems secondary to physical illness, and health promotion.
PSYC 5123 Occupational Health Psychology 3 credits.   Seminar.   Introduction to research in occupational health and the field of occupational health psychology. Topics include work stress, worker participation in hazard management, epidemiology of occupational exposures, workplace incivility, and design of safe work environments.
PSYC 5228 Neuropsychopharmacology 3 credits.   Lecture.   This course will review the anatomy and physiology of the CNS and then discuss the effects of pharmacological agents on it. Topics include general anaesthetics, hypnotics and sedatives, anticonvulsants, alcohol, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, hallucinogens, and narcotics. Student presentations will treat topics relating the CNS and behavioral pharmacology.
PSYC 5285 Neurobiology of Aging: Changes in Cognitive Processes 3 credits.   Lecture.   Neural basis of age-related changes in learning and memory. Both the normal aging process and age-related pathologies examined. Encompasses both animal models and human data.
PSYC 6300 Clerkship in Clinical Methodology 1-6 credits.   Practicum.   Supervised clinical training in a community facility. (Note: This must be conducted within a health context in order to qualify as credit towards the certificate)
ANTH 5352 Medical Anthropology 3 credits.   Seminar.   An overview of current theory and practice in medical anthropology.
ANTH 5376 Ethnomedicine 3 credits.   Seminar.   Medical systems in cultural context. Traditional healers, herbal medicine, culture bound systems, the meaning of illness, curing and disease. Impact of biomedicine on traditional and alternative medical systems.
COMM 5120 Communication Campaigns 3 credits.   Lecture.   Campaign theory and planning. Students learn how to conduct interviews and focus groups with members of a target audience, and work with non-profit organizations to design a campaign.
EKIN 6425 Special Topics in Health and Wellness Across the Lifespan An in-depth examination of health issues across the lifespan. The health issues addressed will involve perspectives from social and behavioral health science, occupational and environmental health science, and/or public health policy.
GPAH 5309 Health and Aging 3 credits.   Lecture.   Examination of the theoretical and applied issues in optimizing health for older adults. Focus is on the bio-psycho-social aspects of health; application of current research, and leadership skill building for program development.
GPAH 6319 Behavioral Interventions and Health Education for At-Risk Populations 3 credits.   Seminar.   The study and application of current learning theories, models, and strategies used by experienced health professionals to become effective within didactic, clinical, and community settings.
GPAH 6324 Critical Issues in Health Promotion, Disease and Disability Prevention 3 credits.   Lecture.   An in-depth study of health promotion, disease and disability prevention policies, programs and strategies.
HDFS 5021 Culture, Health, and Human Development Introduction to current interdisciplinary approaches to the study of human development and health in the context of culture. An overview of theoretical approaches; presentations of current research by invited speakers, focusing on how to combine disciplinary perspectives and methods in order to build a new integrative science of health and development across and within cultures. Open to graduate students in Human Development and Family Studies, others with permission.
HDFS 5255 Living with Chronic or Life-Threatening Illness Chronic and/or life-threatening illness from diagnosis through long term management. Psychological, interpersonal, family, and ethical aspects of the chronic illness experience across the life span, in contexts for culture and health policy.
PUBH 5405 Social and Behavioral Foundations of Public Health 3 credits.   Lecture.   This survey course acquaints students with basic concepts and theories in the social and behavioral sciences and with their ability to inform our understanding of health; illness; and health care utilization, practices and policies.  Using the biopsychosocial paradigm of health and illness as a guide, topics will span the societal, interpersonal, and intrapersonal factors which must be considered in assessing and improving the health of the public.


* Note: Please also check graduate catalog, department websites, and instructors for course availability. Not all courses are available in each academic year.