Health Psychology M.S.

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The specialization in health psychology offers training in research and theories relevant to health promotion, stress and its management, the patient in the treatment setting, management of chronic illness, and causes and consequences of health disorders such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, AIDS, cancer, and arthritis. The master’s specialization in health psychology is appropriate for students planning applied research careers in health settings and those seeking the doctorate in psychology and related fields. Current research topics include health disparities, gender and health, aging, health education, reproductive health and STD prevention, patient advocacy and self-care behaviors, the effects of stress and mechanisms of coping with it, risk perception, complementary interventions, and pediatric conditions and pain. Research is conducted in the laboratory as well as in clinical settings and many of the faculty have strong ties to the Milwaukee community.


The health psychology specialty requires 36 credits. Students who have completed, prior to entry into the program, any of the required courses, may substitute other psychology courses numbered 700 and above, preferably selected from the area of health psychology. The 36 credits of coursework are distributed as follows. (Course substitutions are permissible with the director's approval):
  1. Twelve credits in core Health Psychology courses. All students must take Psych 955 (Seminar in Social Psychology and Health), and any three of the following courses: Psych 711 (Current Topics, only when the topic is Child Health Psychology or another topic directly relevant to health), Psych 754 (Proseminar in Biological Psychology), Psych 756 (Psychophysiology), Psych 833 (Neuropsychology), Psych 854 (Behavioral Neuroscience), Psych 930 (Seminar in Social Psychology), or Psych 954 (Seminar in Physiological Psychology). These core courses introduce students to research, theories, and applications of health psychology.
  2. Fifteen credits in research courses: Psych 510 (Advanced Psychological Statistics), Psychology 610 (Experimental Design), Psych 932 (Proseminar in Evaluation Research), and six credits of Psych 790 (Independent Research) for those selecting the thesis option or six credits of Psych 791 (Master's Project for Master's Students) for those selecting the project option. These courses prepare students for conducting basic and applied research.
  3. Nine credits in psychology breadth courses (virtually any psychology graduate-level course not listed above).
  4. Although students are exposed to theories and applications in coursework, field placements offer further opportunity to apply theory. Students are encouraged to complete at least 3 credits of 812 (Field Placement in Psychology) in their area of interest.

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Model Course Plan

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Year 1 Advanced Psychological Statistics (510) Experimental Design (610)
Seminar in Social Psychology and Health (955) Seminar in Evaluation Research (932)
Core Selection 1 Core Selection 2
Breadth Selection 1 Breadth Selection 2
Year 2 Core Selection 3 Breadth Selection 3
Master's Research (790) Master's Research (790)
Field Placement in Psychology (812) Defend Thesis

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Thesis or Project, Time Limit

The student, under the direction of an advisor, has the option of developing either a thesis based on empirical research or a project (a review or theoretical paper). If the student chooses the thesis option, he or she must pass an oral defense of the thesis. Part-time study is possible so long as all degree requirements are completed within seven years of initial enrollment.

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The Faculty

The core health psychology faculty includes: Professors W. Hobart Davies, Raymond Fleming, Marcellus Merritt, Katie Mosack, and Diane Reddy. Additionally, other faculty in psychology may serve as advisors.

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Future Studies in Health Psychology

Students who have completed undergraduate majors in psychology, at UWM, are encouraged to apply. On satisfactory completion of the master's degree here, the faculty helps these graduates either pursue doctoral study in other programs or secure employment. Students who have completed undergraduate majors in psychology in other programs are also encouraged to apply. On satisfactory completion of the master's degree here, the faculty helps these graduates either pursue doctoral study here or in other programs, or secure employment. 

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For Further Information

For information about the health psychology specialization, please contact Professor Diane Reddy ( or call (414) 229-6432.

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