Graduate study in Health Psychology has a strong research focus on behavioral risk factors that impact health, such as stress, at-risk sexual practices, drug use, sedentary lifestyles, smoking, noncompliance with treatment regimens, etc. This program focuses on health service provision disparities in minority communities for diseases such as mental health, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, and hypertension, as well as effective health promotion education and planning for those communities.
The doctoral program in Health Psychology has two specialized areas of study: Clinical Health; and Behavioral and Community Health Sciences (BCHS). The Clinical Health specialization prepares students to work in applied settings, such as hospitals, physical rehabilitation settings, outpatient clinics, and other health services settings as members of multidisciplinary teams. The BCHS specialization will train students to conduct research and to develop and implement community interventions. Both areas of study emphasize research and grant-writing, as well as offer opportunities for students to develop teaching skills.
Continuing status is dependent upon maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, with no more than two grades of C (including grades of U), as well as a favorable review by the departmental graduate faculty committee. For anyone with a grade below C, continuing status is subject to further departmental review. Each student will be evaluated annually. This evaluation will include academic performance, departmental contribution and professionalism. The student should complete coursework with a grade of “B” or higher. Students are required to show good standing in the program. Thus, in the event of any concern, written documentation will be given to allow adequate time for the student to adjust the behavior in question.
Those admitted with a master’s degree will undergo a credit audit to determine which of their credits will be accepted. All required courses at the 600 level or above will have to be completed at VSU. If an applicant with a master’s degree completed a program with a non-thesis option, they will be required to complete a thesis-level project during their first year.