Health psychology is involved in many professions, including psychology, educational psychology, allied health professions, exercise science, sociology, social welfare, and many others. Today’s health care is an inter-professional approach to service and health psychology is part of patient contact and research being conducted in all health areas. Researchers and providers that have education and training in health psychology are in high demand with the changes in health care emerging.  Our graduate certificate supplies broad and specific education in health psychology theory, research, and clinical applications.

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

All graduate students entering the Health Psychology Certificate Program should speak with their academic advisor before entering the program. 

The Director or Assistant Director of this Certificate Program will be available to meet with each student and design a curriculum that best meets the student’s needs. Each student will have a personalized plan depending on their interests and current enrollment in a graduate program or otherwise. 

Current Graduate Students, Psychology Department

Psychology department graduate students who wish to pursue a Health Psychology Graduate Certificate should consult with Dr. Sarah Kirk or Dr. Nancy Hamilton. The Department will then request that the College/school add a certificate to a graduate degree-seeking student’s plan.

Current Graduate Students, Outside of Psychology Department

Current KU graduate students outside the Department of Psychology who wish to pursue the certificate should complete the online application for the Health Psychology Graduate Certificate Program found at and pay the associated fee.

Application requirements include: 

1. Copy of official KU transcript, along with copies of transcripts from institutions where coursework was completed after starting degree program at KU

2. A letter of support from the student's primary advisor 

3. A graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is required if currently enrolled in a graduate program

Incoming Graduate Students, Outside of Clinical Psychology or Clinical Child Psychology program at KU:

Students applying for admission to any graduate program outside of Clinical Psychology or Clinical Child Psychology at KU will also need to provide documentation stating that they have been admitted from the other department or school upon admission thereto. They may be admitted to the Health Psychology Certificate Program on the condition that they are admitted by the other program in regular status.

Students Seeking Certificate Only

Students seeking the certificate only should complete the online application for the Health Psychology Graduate Certificate Program found at and pay the associated fee.

Application requirements include: 

1. Copy of official transcripts from all previous post-secondary educational institutions
2. Letter of recommendation from persons familiar with their academic work or potential for graduate school (email to the Assistant Director at
3. A Health Psychology Certificate Program Application that includes a statement of interest in Health Psychology

Minimum requirements will be a bachelor's degree; a GPA of 3.0 or higher in undergraduate work is generally required for admission, but the GPA requirement may be waived at the discretion of the Graduate Director.

Additional Admissions Information:

An admissions committee consisting of the Certificate in Health Psychology Director and Co-Director and one rotating Health Psychology faculty will meet at least once each fall and summer semesters to make admissions decisions.  The committee will make fall semester admission decisions by July 1st and spring admission decisions by December 1st.

For more information on admission to a graduate certificate program, see the policy on Admission to Graduate Study

Health Psychology Graduate Certificate Program Requirements

Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in courses taken in the certificate program and maintain good standing in any University program of study for which they are enrolled.

At least once per year the participants will be required to meet with the Health Psychology Certificate Director or Assistant Director to discuss progress in the Certificate Program. Those meetings will need to take place in the spring advising period and will be prompted by the Assistant Director. 

A student pursuing the Health Psychology Certificate can take no longer than 4 years to pursue the certificate unless a leave of absence or other extenuating circumstances are present. In either event a petition letter would need to be submitted to the Director and Co-Director during the 4th year of enrollment.

Course Requirements:

To complete the Health Psychology Graduate Certification, 12 credit hours* must be completed within 4 academic years.

3 units: (Required) One of the two Primary Health Psychology Courses; PSYC 832 or PSYC 833
9 units: Any combination of electives or other primary course not used for the primary requirement (may include a cross listed course).

*Only one course outside of Psychology can be included in these 12 credit hours.

Primary Health Psychology Courses: (3)3
Prevention and Illness management are the primary clinical foci of health psychology. Thus, all students are required to take one of these two primary health psychology courses*.
Clinical Health Psychology: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Clinical Health Psychology: Acute and Chronic Illness
*Students who wish to take both courses may count the second course as an elective.
Elective Courses (9)9
Elective Course Options: Psychology
Students may the select any of the following elective courses to fulfill credit requirements. Students are strongly advised to consult with their primary advisor to choose classes that are consistent with their primary course of study.*
Health Psychology
Seminar: _____ (Eating Disorders)
Clinical Health Psychology: Physical Aspects of Health and Disease
Assessment and Management of Chronic Pain Across the Life Span
Palliative Care in Health Psychology
Psychology of Women's Health
Stress and Coping
Behavioral Pharmacology
Mental Health and Aging
Seminar: _____ (Treatment of Eating Disorders)
Elective Course Options: Non-Psychology *Only one of the following may be used toward completion of 12 hours.
Educational Psychology
Substance Abuse Counseling
Crisis and Disaster Counseling
Health Sport and Exercise Science
Physiology of Functional Aging
Health Behavior Theory
Stress Management
Current Issues in Health
Implementing Health Programs
Behavior Modification in Health and Exercise
Psychology of Physical Activity
Health and Social Behavior
Social Welfare
Social Work in Health Care and Mental Health Settings
Social Work and Aging
*Students may also petition the Director to take an alternative course offered and not listed here (Example: Pediatric Psychology, Courses at KUMC in MPH or other program areas).