Why study health psychology?

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. For more information regarding our program, please visit our graduate certificate program website.

Who would benefit from a health psychology certificate?

From the very beginning, health psychology has always been a “hybrid” discipline. Following from those interdisciplinary roots, the health psychology certificate would welcome students from a broad range of programs who have a variety of educational goals.

Students in Health Service Delivery Programs. Course offerings provide students the option of selecting classes that could be used to inform practice with patients with chronic or acute health problems. Practicum training is NOT offered, but didactic work can be used to inform training offered in other programs that prepare students to deliver mental or physical health related services (e.g., counseling psychology, social welfare, physical therapy, and nursing).

Students interested in Health Promotion. Course offerings provide students the option of selecting classes that could be used by students interested in careers related to health promotion or primary prevention, or careers that involve communication about health care (e.g., health, sport, and exercise science, public policy, health care administration).

Students interested in Transdisciplinary Research. Course offerings provide students the option of selecting classes with an applied focus in other domains of social science (e.g., social psychology, cognitive psychology, quantitative psychology, philosophy/ethics). 

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.

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 will complete an application through Graduate Studies. Students must be in good standing with their graduate degree program in order to participate in the certificate program. A graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is required for admission. 

Application requirements include: 

  • Statement of one’s interest in Health Psychology
  • Current Degree Progress Report (DPR) or Advising Report; a current graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is required
  • Letter of support from home academic department

Non-KU Graduate Students

Non-KU graduate students must complete an application through Graduate Studies for admissions to the certificate program. Students must have earned a bachelor's degree. 

Application requirements include: 

  • One letter of recommendation from persons familiar with your academic work or potential for graduate school
  • Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores –University of Kansas institutional code is 6871. 
  • Transcripts from all institutions from which a degree was obtained, or any institutions attended post-bachelors. A GPA of 3.0 or higher in undergraduate work is required for admission. Copies of official transcripts that you have opened may be uploaded to the application online and used for admissions consideration. If you are admitted, sealed, or official electronic transcripts showing degree conferral, if applicable, must be provided by the end of your first semester at KU. Send official, sealed transcripts to:
Graduation Admissions
313 Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045
  • Applicants who indicate English is not their native language: Proof of English proficiency, as required by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Additional Admissions Information:

Application materials for the fall are due August 1stfor the spring by December 1st and for summer by May 1st.

For more information on admission to a graduate certificate program, see the policy on Admission to Graduate StudyQuestions? Please contact our graduate academic advisor, Kirsten Hermreck, at kahermreck@ku.edu for more information.

Health Psychology Graduate Certificate Program Requirements

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

For more information regarding program requirements and a complete list of approved electives, please visit our health psychology graduate certificate handbook.  

Course Requirements:

To complete the health psychology graduate certificate, 12 credit hours of graduate work must be completed, including:

Primary Health Psychology Courses: 3
Prevention and illness management are the primary clinical foci of health psychology. Thus, all students are required to take one of these three primary health psychology courses*.
Clinical Health Psychology: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Clinical Health Psychology: Acute and Chronic Illness
Clinical Health Psychology: Physical Aspects of Health and Disease
*Students who wish to take more than one of these courses may count the other course(s) as an elective.
Elective Courses9
Certificate students must also complete three electives chosen from the program's list of approved courses or petition the director and co-director to take an alternative course offered and not approved (example: pediatric psychology, courses at KUMC in MPH, or other areas).
Total Hours*12
*Only one course outside of the department of psychology can be included in these 12 credit hours.