Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine Minor

Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine Minor

Philosophy & Mission

Biopsychosocial Model

Our Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine Minor is dedicated to the scientific study of psychological and behavioral processes in health, illness, and health care.

While Health Psychology has traditionally been a discipline-specific domain, Behavioral Medicine describes an interdisciplinary field that integrates behavioral, psychosocial, and biomedical sciences. Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine apply biopsychosocial principles and research findings to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.

Our training is designed to provide broad exposure and develop advanced skills in the following: 

  1. Foundational theories and mechanisms in health psychology
  2. Behavioral medicine interventional science.

Cross-cutting themes include research methods, health equity, and disease-specific knowledge.

The Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine Minor is open to graduate students across the university. This includes students in the psychology PhD programs, as well as students in other graduate programs. The training is cross-disciplinary and applicable to future training and professional opportunities across many subdisciplines and fields.


Completing the Minor in Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine involves completing a three-course (total of 9 units) sequence, consisting of:

  • PSYC 587 - Foundations of Health Psychology
  • PSYC 588 - Behavioral Medicine Interventions

For the third course, students can choose from a number of relevant courses. Courses may vary each year in their availability, based on offering and prerequisites. Potential courses include (but are not exclusive to):

  • PSYC 501A - Principles of Psychophysiology
  • PSYC 585 - Psychoneuroimmunology
  • ANTH 536A - Medical Anthropology
  • EPID 615 - Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention
  • HPS 577 - Sociocultural and Behavioral Aspects of Public Health
  • NURS 600D - Emerging Research in Aging and Healthcare

Additional Information for Clinical Psychology PhD Students

Most clinical psychology PhD students pursuing the Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine minor are seeking, in addition to foundational didactics, advanced research and clinical training that will prepare them for predoctoral internships and postdoctoral fellowships that emphasize health psychology and behavioral medicine. These clinical students are expected to conduct relevant research, complete two year-long externships that have a behavioral medicine focus, and complete at least one semester in PSYC 694H (Health Psychology Practicum).

The Clinical Psychology Program offers several specialized externships with licensed psychologists, many of whom have completed specialized postdoctoral training in clinical health psychology. Currently, externship placements focused on Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine include the Behavioral Health Clinic, the Cancer Center, Sports Medicine, and Sleep Medicine clinics.

Between the course sequence, externships, and research expectations, our program follows the general guidelines for a Major Area of Study in Clinical Health Psychology, according to: APA Guidelines: A Taxonomy for Education and Training in Professional Psychology Health Service Specialties and Subspecialties and the Council of Specialties in Professional Psychology. Furthermore, our program is recognized as a Member Program by the Council of Clinical Health Psychology Training Programs.

Sbarra Headshot

Health Psychology Minor

Dave Sbarra

Updated 03/15/23