We are all prone to illness at some point in our lives. Illnesses, diseases, and other physical ailments are unavoidable. Some of these issues are caused by microorganisms, while others are caused by genetic factors. People with the best health and wellness psychology degrees, on the other hand, play an important role in assisting medical professionals in understanding the mental and emotional effects of certain illnesses. The application of psychological theory to health-related practices is known as health psychology. It’s also referred to as behavioral medicine or medical psychology.
There are two sub-fields within the field of health psychology. Behavioral health is concerned with the prevention of health problems and illnesses, whereas behavioral medicine is concerned with treatment. The psychology of health-related behaviors such as nutrition, exercise, healthcare utilization, and medical decision-making are all addressed by health psychology. However, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in a variety of health and wellness fields are available at various schools.
Continue reading to learn about the best health and wellness psychology degrees, the job description, and the job outlook. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect from this post:
What Is Health And Wellness Psychology?
Health psychology is a subfield of psychology that investigates how mental, emotional, and social factors influence a person’s physical well-being. Health psychology serves several practical purposes in everyday life. For starters, it can assist medical doctors in caring for their patient’s health. Understanding the mental, emotional, and socioeconomic factors that may contribute to certain illnesses allows doctors to better understand how to prevent these illnesses. Health psychology can also assist medical professionals in understanding the mental and emotional effects of certain illnesses. This includes not only the effects of specific symptoms on patients, but also the behavioral, social, and economic consequences that illnesses may have.
The jobs of those pursuing health psychology careers may differ greatly from one another. The duties and responsibilities of these psychology professionals, on the other hand, will be determined by their specialties. The field of health psychology investigates the links between health and behavior. Through interviews, assessments, and interventions, clinical health psychologists assist clients with issues such as dealing with illness or injury and improving health habits. Researchers investigate why people refuse to seek or heed medical advice.
What Are the Objectives of Health and Wellness Psychology?
Health psychology has eight major goals:
- Understanding behavioral and environmental factors that influence health and illness.
- Illness prevention
- Investigating the disease’s effects
- Offering critical analyses of healthcare policies
- Researching the prevention and treatment of health issues
- Improving Doctor-Patient Interaction
- Improving Compliance with Medical Advice
- Identifying pain-management treatments.
Careers in Health Psychology
Clinical health psychology, community health psychology, occupational health psychology, and public health psychology are the four main types of health psychology careers.
1. Clinical Health Psychology
This is a branch of health psychology that focuses on individual treatment. Clinical health psychology professionals frequently focus on how an individual’s lifestyle and behavior may affect his overall health. Clinical health psychologists will also typically work with individuals to assist them in changing bad habits or overcoming lifestyle issues that may be affecting their physical health.
2. Community Health Psychology
This focuses on the overall health of a community. Individuals interested in pursuing a career in community health psychology will typically investigate the prevalence of diseases in specific communities and the factors that may contribute to their occurrence.
3. Occupational Health Psychology
This focuses on the individual’s job as well as his overall health. Professionals in this field may consult with companies and businesses to help them create happier and healthier employees.
4. Public Health Psychology
This article is about public and government health policies and programs. These professionals may work with low-income people, influence government health policies, or assist in the organization of public health awareness campaigns.
What Education Do You Need to Become a Health Psychologist?
Psychologists are required to have at least a Master’s degree in the field. However, to practice clinically and call yourself a clinical psychologist, you must have a doctorate. There are two paths to a career in health/medical psychology. The first step is to obtain a PhD in Psychology or a PsyD. Many universities provide doctorates in health/medical psychology. Following the doctorate, it is common to be required to obtain a master’s degree or certificate in psychopharmacology. The other option is to attend medical school and become a doctor. Many medical schools include medical psychology as part of their degree program.
Before they can practice, all health/medical psychologists must be licensed and certified. Following the completion of a doctorate, the candidate must pass an exam and complete a supervised internship. A bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete, doctoral degrees in health psychology take five years on average, and master’s degrees take two years on average. Psychologists who provide patient care are required by the states in which they practice to be licensed. Although state licensure requirements differ, most states require psychologists to have a doctorate, several years of professional experience, and an approved internship experience.
A written licensing examination is required in the majority of states. Some states also require additional oral exams and essay responses. Continuing education may also be required to renew licensure regularly. Degrees in health and wellness psychology are frequently available at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Graduates must become licensed by the state in which they intend to work, pass an examination, and maintain continuing education to practice as psychologists.
Best Degrees In Health And Wellness Psychology (Undergraduate)
Numerous schools offer health and wellness psychology degrees as part of an undergraduate program, but we have selected the top 10 among them. The tuition at these schools varies; for more information on tuition fees, visit the school’s official website. They are as follows:
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MIT has long been known for its technical education programs, but it is also known for its outstanding curriculum, expert faculty, and research commitment. The BS degree offered by the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences is unique in that it focuses on three areas of brain research. Course 9: Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Course 6-9 Computation and Cognition, and Course 6-9 Master of Engineering in Computation and Cognition are the three areas (open only to those in Course 6-9.)
The undergraduate degree requires 180 credit hours to complete and includes general education courses as well as major-specific courses. The research will cover a wide range of topics such as neural computation, probability, statistics, psycholinguistics, and genetic engineering. You will be able to collaborate with faculty and other students through hands-on research opportunities. There are strict deadlines for admission to MIT. MIT is ranked second in U.S. News and World Report’s list of the Most Innovative Schools.
This school offers the best health and wellness psychology degrees with a specialization in human health. In addition, an online application with a $75 fee is required. Instead of essays, you will be asked to answer several short questions, submit official academic transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and check to see if ACT/SAT scores are required (during the COVID pandemic, the test score requirement was suspended). Tuition is estimated to cost $53,450 per academic year.
2. Stanford University
Stanford University in San Francisco, founded in 1891, has an international reputation for providing high-quality education. The BS in Psychology is intended to provide students with an understanding of psychological theory as well as training in problem analysis using specific methodologies. The curriculum includes both general education and psychology studies. Introductory studies in Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Cultural Psychology, Personality, and Affective Science, Cognitive Neuroscience, and others are among the courses you will take as part of the major.
This university offers the best health and wellness psychology degrees with a specialization in human health. You will also learn about aging, cognitive processes, social perception, psychopathology, and other subjects. As a first-year student, admission requirements include submitting either the Common Application or the Coalition Application (both of which require a $90 non-refundable fee), letters of recommendation from two teachers, official transcripts, a school report, and a recommendation from a guidance counselor, as well as ACT,/SAT scores (check with the school on test requirements due to Covid).
Stanford University is ranked second in Money’s 2020 Best Colleges rankings. Tuition is estimated to be $56,169 per academic year.
3. Princeton University
Princeton University, an Ivy League institution in New Jersey, offers a BS in Psychology through the Department of Psychology in the Division of Natural Sciences. Prerequisite courses include Social Psychology, Fundamentals of Neuroscience or Functional Neuroanatomy, Introduction to Psychology, and Developmental Psychology. During your junior and senior years, you will be able to participate in early research with a faculty member as well as to conduct empirical research through Independent Work.
You can look over the course offerings in greater detail to see if this is the right degree program for you based on your career goals. This school offers the best health and wellness psychology degrees with a specialization in human health. Princeton University admission is competitive, and it begins with the submission of either the Common Application, QuestBridge, or Coalition Application (you will also complete the Princeton Supplement). ACT/SAT scores will not be required for the 2021-2023 application period. You should be prepared to provide academic transcripts, a mid-school report, teacher and guidance counselor recommendations, and a school report.
A copy of a Graded Written Paper is also required by Princeton. Princeton University is ranked first in National Universities and second in Best Value Schools by U.S. News and World Report. Tuition is estimated to cost $48,502 per academic year.
4. Duke University
Duke University offers a BS or AB in Psychology, with a focus on human and animal behavior and its consequences, processes, and origins. This health psychology program will prepare you to work in the field of psychology in areas such as research, mental health, and consulting. This degree requires a diverse range of coursework, including studies in cognitive psychology, social psychology, biological foundations of behavior, research and statistical methods, child clinical psychology, stress and coping techniques, and so on. Courses focus on abnormal, biological, cognitive, social, and developmental psychology.
This university offers the best health and wellness psychology degrees with a specialization in human health. You might want to look over the department’s description of the psychology major/minor. You will start the admissions process by submitting one of the following applications (along with an $85 fee): Common Application, QuestBridge, or Coalition Application. During 2021-2023, Duke admission is test-optional, and you will need to submit academic transcripts, three recommendation letters from your guidance counselor and two teachers, and so on.
You might be asked to interview with a Duke alum. Tuition is estimated to cost $57,633 per academic year. U.S. News and World Report rank Duke 12th among National Universities.
5. University of Pennsylvania
UPenn is another Ivy League school that offers a BS in Psychology and claims to have “…the oldest, continuously operating psychology department in North America.” This undergraduate degree is founded on psychology as a science, with studies in behavioral, cognitive, and social science areas. This degree provides a solid foundation for further study and training. Your studies will begin with an Introductory Psychology course, followed by courses in Cognitive Neuroscience, Abnormal Psychology, Animal Behavior Evolution, and others. This school offers the best health and wellness psychology degrees with a specialization in human health.
You must conduct empirical research and complete at least one statistical course. To apply, fill out the Coalition Application, QuestBridge Application, or Common Application (a $75 fee is required), along with letters of recommendation, academic transcripts, a school report, and other documents. Because of Covid, ACT/SAT scores were optional during the 2020-21 academic year. Other factors are taken into account during the admissions process. UPenn was founded in 1740 and is ranked #8 in National Universities and #17 in Best Value Schools by US News and World Report. Tuition is estimated to be $60,042/year.
6. Columbia University in New York City
We continue our ranking with another Ivy League School, Columbia University in New York, which offers an undergraduate degree in psychology. The curriculum for the BS in Psychology is reviewed and updated regularly by the Department of Psychology. Introductory Psychology, Science of Psychology, Theories of Change in Human Development, Critical Periods in Brain Development & Behavior, Topics in Clinical Psychology, and other courses are available. A minimum of one course in statistics, one in a seminar, and one in research methods are required.
This university offers the best health and wellness psychology degrees with a specialization in human health. You will need to take classes in three categories to fulfill requirements: perception and cognition, psychobiology and neuroscience, and social, personality, and abnormal psychology. For admission, Columbia accepts the Coalition Application, QuestBridge or Common Application ($85 processing fee), academic transcripts, teacher and guidance counselor recommendations, as well as ACT/SAT scores. Columbia is ranked third in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities rankings. Tuition is estimated to cost $61,671 per academic year.
7. University of Washington
The University of Washington’s Department of Psychology offers both a BA and a BS in Psychology and provides an excellent comparison of the two degrees to help you decide which is best for your career goals. Introductory Psychology, Fundamentals of Psych Research, Biopsychology, and math courses are required for both the BA and BS degrees. Statistics, research methods, psych labs, and three core courses are also part of either curriculum. Cognitive Psychology, Social Psychology, Sensory Perceptual Processes, Developmental Psychology, Animal Behavior, and other topics are covered in the core courses.
This university offers the best health and wellness psychology degrees with a specialization in human health. Independent Study Experiences are required for either the BA or BS degrees. The school also provides study abroad opportunities. The Coalition Application, along with an $80 application fee, is accepted for admission to the University of Washington. SAT/ACT scores and letters of recommendation are not required. UW is ranked #91 out of 1,059 in Niche’s list of the Best Colleges for Psychology in America. Tuition is estimated to range between $11,745 and $3,114 per academic year.
8. The University of California-Los Angeles
For students interested in psychology, UCLA’s College of Life Sciences offers three undergraduate programs. A BS in Cognitive Science or Psychobiology, as well as a BA in Psychology, are available at the college. We will look at the BA in psychology for this ranking. Introductory Psychology, Introduction to Cognitive Science, Student Research Program, Psychological Statistics, Basic Processes of Motivated Behavior, Decision Making and Brain, and many other classes are included in the BA curriculum. You will also take Seminar: Stress, Adaptation, and Coping, Variable Topics in Psychology, the Student Research Program, and other courses.
This school offers the best health and wellness psychology degrees with a specialization in human health. To be officially admitted to the program, you must complete five core courses and one laboratory course. UCLA admission is obtained through a universal school application (for a fee of $70) and does not require ACT/SAT scores. You will be asked to provide academic transcripts, information about your activities, and any awards you have received, as well as answer “personal insight” questions. UCLA is ranked first in the United States News and World Report’s 2021 Public University National Ranking. Tuition is estimated to cost between $13,249 and $43,003 per academic year.
9. University of California, Berkeley
The University of California at Berkeley’s BA in Psychology, which covers important areas of research, has a lot to recommend it. Behavioural and Systems Neuroscience, Clinical Science, Cognition, Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental, and Social-Personality Psychology are among the fields studied. Methodology, critical thinking, and statistics are all part of this major. Courses in General Psychology, Emotional Intelligence, Gender Psychology, and Supervised Independent Study and Research are just a few of the curriculum options available to you.
This university offers the best health and wellness psychology degrees with a specialization in human health. Applying to UC-Berkeley through the University of California system application costs $80. A 3.0 GPA in your final two years of high school (or GED), AP or IB exams, and SAT scores are required, and you may be asked to provide additional information such as academic transcripts and letters of recommendation. UC-Berkeley is ranked #28 out of 1,069 Best Colleges for Psychology in America by Niche. Tuition Estimate is $14,312-$44,066 (per academic year).
10. University of Virginia
The University of Virginia, which is located in Charlottesville and was designed by President Thomas Jefferson, offers a BA in Psychology through the College of Arts and Sciences. Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Systems, and Behavioral Neuroscience, and Clinical and Social Psychology are the four pillars of UVA psychology studies. From each of the four pillars, you will select one psychology course. You will also be required to take Fundamentals of Psychology, Research Methods and Data Analysis, and electives.
This school offers the best health and wellness psychology degrees with a specialization in human health. Studies in Abnormal Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Child Development, and other fields are included in the curriculum. You can also complete an internship through UVA’s Internship Placement Program, and depending on your internship, you may even be paid. You must submit a Common Application as well as academic transcripts, achievements and honors to, personal activities, and other documents as part of your admissions process. ACT/SAT testing is optional at UVA during the 2022-23 and 2023-24 application years.
According to US News and World Report, UVA is ranked fourth among top public schools. Tuition is estimated to range between $18,960 and $52,843 per academic year.
Health and wellness psychology is an interdisciplinary field that examines emotional, social, and biological well-being using a psychological methodology and natural science research. A variety of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in health and wellness are available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can You Find a Health Psychologist?
Health psychologists work in healthcare settings such as hospitals and clinics. Non-profit and government organizations, as well as large corporations and universities, may hire health psychologists. These experts may also be able to find work in government and private research facilities.
What Does a Health Psychologist Make on Average?
A health psychologist’s annual salary is frequently influenced by a few factors. Those with advanced degrees, for example, can typically command higher salaries. The location of a health psychologist’s workplace may also have an impact on his salary. Psychologists who worked in hospitals earned an average of $91,810 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those working in clinical and counseling positions, on the other hand, earned an average salary of $73,090, while those working in research and development earned an average salary of $100,790.
Career Outlook Of A Health Psychologist
Health psychology is one of the possible specialization areas for psychologists, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Graduates with a master’s degree may be able to find work as psychological assistants. Psychologists are expected to see a 14% increase in total employment from 2018 to 2028. According to the BLS, psychologists with a doctorate and a specific background in health will have the best career opportunities during this period.
What Is The Role Of A Health Psychologist?
The field of health psychology investigates the links between health and behavior. Through interviews, assessments, and interventions, clinical health psychologists assist clients with issues such as dealing with illness or injury and improving health habits. Researchers investigate why people refuse to seek or heed medical advice. Health psychologists work with hospitals and healthcare organizations to develop treatment and prevention strategies.
They also provide data on topics such as controlling healthcare costs and preventing communicable diseases to healthcare policymakers. These psychologists assist people who are dealing with the psychological consequences of health issues such as disease, injury, chronic illness, and obesity.
How Long Does a Degree in Health Psychology Take?
A bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete, doctoral degrees in health psychology take five years on average, and master’s degrees take two years on average.
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