Health Psychology Specialization

The purpose of the Health Psychology Specialization at GSAPP is to promote the advancement of, and formalize the competencies for, graduate training in clinical health psychology and integrated behavioral medicine. Health Psychology applies psychological theory, methods and treatment to understand and promote 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 concentration 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.

Faculty Sponsor

Kristen Riley, Ph.D.


The Health Psychology concentration aims to ensure that all Health Psychology students have been exposed to, and have developed competencies appropriate for entry-level professionals in the following domains:

  1. Clinical Health Psychology
  2. Behavioral medicine
  3. Health psychology and behavioral medicine related intervention approaches (e.g., smoking cessation, Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia [CBT-I])
  4. Health disparities
  5. Individual, familial, and community diversity
  6. Dissemination & implementation science
  7. Research relevant to health psychology and behavioral medicine populations

Summary of Requirements

Requirements for the Health Psychology concentration differ for school and clinical psychology students and are:

  1. Successful completion (defined as obtaining grade of B or better) of at least three (3) courses that focus on clinical health psychology as described in the Concentration Handbook.
  2. Satisfactory completion of required practicum experiences (defined as meeting all expectations for the professional competencies defined by the clinical or school program). Distinct requirements for clinical and school students are described in the Concentration Handbook.
  3. Attendance to two interprofessional education events through the Office of Interprofessional Education.
  4. Successful completion of a doctoral dissertation (defined as successfully defending dissertation) that focuses on issues relevant to, or includes as samples of, health psychology as described in the Concentration Handbook.

Requirements Checklist Form

Health Psychology Concentration Requirements Checklist Form

Specialization Handbook

Health Psychology Specialization at GSAPP Student Handbook Entry