Health Psychology, MS - Curriculum & Duration

Our two degree options, MS Thesis Option and MS Non-Thesis Option,  are designed to provide opportunities for students with varied interests in health and wellness. All students take the same courses during their first year in the MS. At the end of the first year in the curriculum, students in consultation with faculty may continue on either the thesis-track or non-thesis track.

Both the thesis and non-thesis degree options are designed to be completed within two years.

Through a combination of coursework and research experiences, you will acquire a thorough background in the psychological theory of mental and physical health, behavioral medicine, research methods, legal and ethical issues, assessment, and cognitive-behavior therapy.

Courses emphasize current issues and state-of-the-art research. You will have the opportunity to apply your knowledge in research labs on campus.  Students work closely with our faculty.

MS Thesis Option (Full-time)

The MS thesis degree program is designed for students who will pursue a PhD. The thesis track requires 40 credits of coursework and research for graduation. The MS thesis curriculum requires 10 research credits, which include writing and defending an empirical thesis.

The curriculum is designed so that full-time students can complete the program in two years. Courses are ordered so that students acquire skills and knowledge in a sequence that maximizes learning. All students begin their course work in the Fall semester.

Thesis Degree Program

The thesis degree program is tailored to meet the needs of students interested in pursuing doctoral study in psychology. The sequence of experiences and courses, alongside careful mentorship, is designed to provide the essential elements necessary for further doctoral study. Students pursuing thesis study will work on an independent research project with the support of a primary thesis mentor. All core faculty have research labs on campus, and thesis students will also develop their research experience working as a member of their thesis advisor’s research group. The thesis curriculum includes:

Course Number Course Name Credits
PS703 Neuropsychology 3 credits
PS723 Graduate Statistics and Experimental Design I 3 credits
PS726 Graduate Statistics and Experimental Design II 3 credits
PS799 Master's Research 10 credits
PS802 Fundamentals of Clinical Research 3 credits
PS804 Health Psychology  3 credits
PS805 Behavioral Medicine 3 credits 
PS806 Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy 3 credits
PS812 Psychopathology 3 credits
PS885 Independent Study 3 credits
  Elective 3 credits

MS Non-Thesis Option (Full-time and Part-time)

The MS non-thesis degree program is designed for students intending to pursue a higher degree in a health related field (e.g., medicine, clinical research coordination) or for those who wish training in health psychology to supplement their current training. The non-thesis track requires 36 credits of coursework and one semester of research for graduation.

The non-thesis curriculum includes extra electives (9 credits) enabling students to tailor their coursework closely to their interests. A required semester of research ensures that all students gain experience and exposure to applied experimental or clinical health research.

The curriculum is designed so that full-time students can complete the program in two years. Courses and research experiences are ordered so that students acquire skills and knowledge in a sequence that maximizes learning. All students begin their coursework in the Fall semester.

The part-time option is designed for working professionals who are willing to complete the program in more than two years. Whether you enroll in the part-time program or the full-time program, the curriculum is identical.

Non-Thesis Degree Program

The non-thesis degree program is designed with flexibility for the student who has interests in working in clinical research coordination, pursuing additional graduate study with a clinical focus (e.g., PsyD or LPC), or has interests in health communication. Experiential learning opportunities are tailored to the student’s individual interests and may include opportunities working on faculty-led research, community-based projects, and/or health communication programs.  

Students enrolled in this program may use their electives to pursue a track in health communication. This track provides students with key competencies in health education, patient-provider communication, health literacy, social media, and behavior change communication.

Course in the non-thesis track include:

Course Number Course Name Credits
PS703 Neuropsychology  3 credits
PS723 Graduate Statistics and Experimental Design I 3 credits
PS726 Graduate Statistics and Experimental Design II 3 credits
PS802 Fundamentals of Clinical Research 3 credits
PS804 Health Psychology 3 credits
PS805 Behavioral Medicine 3 credits
PS806 Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy 3 credits
PS812 Psychopathology 3 credits
PS885 Independent Study in Health Psychology 3 to 6 credits
  Electives 9 credits

Required core courses in the Health Communication Track include:

Course Number Course Name Credits
CO700
HE760
Health Communication and Education: Communicating to Inform 3 Credits
CO711
HE761
Health Literacy 3 Credits
CO720
HE762
Behavior Change Communication 3 Credits