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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Health Psychology and Behavior

Majors Overview April 6, 2015

Students in these programs will learn research skills and get exposure to various health, ethical, and psychological topics that are important to a variety of entry-level careers in psychology. Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in health psychology and behavior and their coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Information on Health Psychology and Behavior

Students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in health psychology and behavior are given a foundational knowledge in health sciences and psychology. They also learn the clinical and research skills necessary for pursuing a career in the field. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma.

Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program are expected to complete general education courses such as science, algebra, and English composition. The influence that psychological factors may have on physical conditions is also looked at within the coursework of a degree program in health psychology and behavior. Health informatics, statistics in research, social issues, and bioethics may be among required courses.

Student participation in research projects and presentation of a major project before graduation may be mandatory. Field experiences may be a requirement in some programs. A graduate degree is mandatory for most careers in psychology. However, an individual with a graduate degree may seek some positions, such as mental health aide or research assistant.

Bachelor’s Programs in Health Psychology and Behavior

The program, which involves the examination of behavioral, social, and biological factors of health on physical wellness, in addition to cultural, geographic, racial, and experiential influences thereon defines the ways in which disease and health are affected by psychological processes.

The coursework of a bachelor’s program for health psychology and behavior covers foundational coursework in health sciences and psychology. Additionally, the emphasis of many programs is on fieldwork and research skills. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma.

Coursework

Program coursework imparts knowledge in data analysis, research interpretation, and psychological theory. Students are given a strong grasp of psychological principles, in addition to the ways in which behavior and health are affected by psychological determinants. A capstone project and research are typically requirements in the program. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Research methods and analysis
•Principles of epidemiology
•Health informatics
•Bioethics
•Social issues in health care delivery
•Healthcare statistical methods
•Social influences on behavior

Job and Wage Outlook

Given that individuals pursuing careers in psychology are expected to hold graduate degrees, bachelor’s degrees in the field of psychology typically serve as a stepping stone toward a graduate program (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). However, holders of a bachelor’s degree can pursue some entry-level positions in public health organizations, social services, and non-profits. They may choose from career options such as:

•Health psychology aide
•Research assistant
•Community health educator

Continuing Education Choices

A master’s or doctoral degree is a requirement for many careers in the field of health psychology. Therefore, bachelor’s program graduates may seek continuing education at the master’s and doctoral levels. Hands-on clinical research and advanced training in the field are available through graduate programs, whereby students get ready for direct clinical service and research careers.

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