To see the Health Psychology section in the JCHS Catalog, click here.
Welcome to the Health Psychology Program webpage. We offer a baccalaureate degree in Health Psychology, and we are one of only a few programs in the United States who offer this degree. This is a great major for students who are interested in the connection between health and behavior who want to work in positions in which they can help influence healthy behaviors and healthy lifestyles in people of all ages and backgrounds. This is also a great degree for students who are planning to pursue graduate education in health psychology or a variety of other health-related fields.
What is Health Psychology?
The field of health psychology emphasizes a combination of biological, behavioral, and social factors in health, wellness, and disease. Health psychology looks at ways of optimizing health, preventing and treating illness, and reducing the risk of disease through the interplay of medical, behavioral, and emotional factors.
Health psychology also focuses on the application of psychological research in promoting wellness, fostering healthy lifestyles, and encouraging treatment compliance.
Theory, Research and Fieldwork
At Jefferson College of Health Sciences, the Health Psychology undergraduate program offers a well-rounded education in the basic principles of psychology, with emphasis on the interaction between psychology and health, and the behavioral principles that can influence health outcomes. The program is grounded in both psychological theory and research. Students learn the theories, basic research principles, and statistical methods that guide psychological inquiry. This provides the basis for a generalist psychology degree as well as a specialty in health psychology. The relationship of health psychology to other healthcare fields in the role of facilitating healthy behaviors and promoting the development of resilience is covered, and the principles of public health, epidemiology, and health education complete the curriculum.
The JCHS Health Psychology Program also provides students with the opportunity to get hands on experience working in the field and conducting research. Sophomores and Seniors participate in three semesters of fieldwork experiences, to help students apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom. Students also have the opportunity to join a faculty member’s research team and participate in research design, data collection, data analysis, and dissemination of research findings. Both of these experiences are of vital importance for the integration of knowledge and practice, and greatly enhance students’ applications for graduate school, should they choose to pursue additional education upon graduation.
The Health Psychology Program also teaches critical thinking skills, communication skills, science and math skills, and knowledge of contemporary healthcare issues. As with all programs at JCHS, the Health Psychology Program prepares graduates who are knowledgeable, ethical, competent, and caring healthcare professionals.
Health Psychology prepares, within a scholarly environment, ethical, knowledgeable, competent, and caring graduates who are well positioned for graduate study in Psychology and other health professions.
Health Psychology Vision
Health Psychology will excel as an undergraduate source of Psychology PhDs.
Upon completion of the program, students will demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and values consistent with the science and application of psychology, as adapted from the American Psychological Association Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major (APA, 2007). These include:
- Knowledge Base of Psychology: Students will evaluate the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology.
- Research Methods in Psychology: Students will engage in and evaluate research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.
- Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology: Students will evidence critical thinking, skeptical inquiry, and the scientific approach to problem solving and reasoning related to behavior and mental processes through evaluative processes.
- Application of Psychology: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the application of psychological principles to personal, social, organizational, and community issues.
- Health Psychology Focus: Students will evaluate the psychological and social determinants of health and wellness.
- Personal Development: Students will demonstrate insight into their own behavior and mental processes and apply effective strategies for behavior change techniques for the purpose of achieving healthy lifestyles.
- Values in Psychology: Students will be able to weigh evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, and behave consistent with these and other values included in the APA Code of Ethics.
- Career Planning and Development: Students will emerge from the program able to evaluate ideas about how to implement their psychological knowledge, skills, and values in occupational pursuits in a variety of settings.
- Preparation for Graduate School: Students will be well positioned for graduate study in Psychology.
- Sociocultural and International Awareness: Students will recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of sociocultural and international diversity.
- Communication Skills: Students will be able to communicate effectively in a variety of formats.
- Information and Technological Literacy: Students will demonstrate information competence and the ability to use computers and other technology for many purposes.
Individuals with undergraduate degrees in health psychology can apply for entry level positions in social services, volunteer organizations, and public health service organizations. Graduates may also work in community health education positions, research assistant positions, and other employment opportunities involving the promotion of healthy behaviors and lifestyles. Additionally, students with a bachelor of science degree in health psychology are well-positioned for graduate education in health psychology, other areas of psychology and related fields, including Occupational Therapy and Physician Assistant studies.
Please see the Health Psychology section of the College Catalog (click on the link at the top of this page) for additional information including required courses, program outcomes, and the requirements for the Psychology Minor.