Master’s in Health Psychology

Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in Health Psychology

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Specialize Your Knowledge With a Health Psychology Master’s Program

Health psychology is a multidisciplinary specialization that explores the intersection of biological, social and psychological factors, and their effects on health, wellness and illness. The Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in Health Psychology degree program at Grand Canyon University (GCU) prepares future health psychologists to support individuals in their quest for a physically, mentally and cognitively healthy lifestyle. Examine the interrelationships of body, mind and spirit as you learn to enrich the lives of those around you.

Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, this health psychology master’s program enables you to become competent in current theories, statistics and data analysis. Learn to apply research-based interventions to inspire healthy behavior changes in diverse communities. Examine the whole-person approach to healthcare as you study what motivates people to make health-related decisions, how people recover from illnesses and how they cope with chronic conditions.

Discover a Hands-On Approach to Helping Others Through a Health Psychology Graduate Program

GCU seeks to graduate students who are skilled communicators and inspired servant leaders. As a student, you are encouraged to apply the Christian perspective to your coursework. There is an emphasis on moral considerations in theory and application, and you are guided in acquiring an ethical framework for professional practice.

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This MS in health psychology graduate program equips students to understand the many factors that influence individual and societal health, and to understand how to change those health profiles. You will understand how to design and implement policies and programs intended to inspire positive lifestyle modifications. In courses such as Future of Health Psychology, Promotion of Health Behaviors and Community Health, you will acquire the following core competencies:

  • The promotion of health behaviors at the individual and community level, with a focus on prevention programs and the utilization of media
  • The implementation of community-wide change through intervention, prevention and program evaluation
  • Current public policy, and the issues and controversies that affect the health psychology field
  • The lifestyle factors that promote health and wellness across the lifespan

Students completing the master’s in health psychology online or on campus at GCU are required to complete the Professional Capstone. You will explore and present your original research ideas and examine health psychology occupations in order to prepare for a career in the field.

Explore Health and Nutrition Wellness Careers for Graduates With a Master’s in Health Psychology

Graduates with a master’s in health psychology are sought after for their expertise in the interrelated nature of the body, mind and spirit. As a GCU graduate, you will be prepared to pursue rewarding positions across a range of settings, including hospitals, universities, government agencies, nonprofit entities and private corporations. You may also choose to pursue a research-based position. Examples of what qualified health psychologists may do include:

  • Community health psychology: Study the health profile of whole communities and explore risk factors in disease prevalence.
  • Occupational health psychology: Work with corporations to influence workplace policies that encourage the physical, mental and spiritual health of employees.
  • Public health psychology: Work within public and governmental health programs to influence public health policies or implement public health awareness campaigns.
  • Clinical health psychology: Help clients understand how behavior and lifestyle choices affect overall health and how to overcome lifestyle issues.

As a graduate with a health psychology master’s degree, you may choose to pursue a doctoral degree to further enhance your career qualifications.

Health Psychology Graduate Program FAQs

It may be worth it to earn your master’s in health psychology based on a few key factors. You enjoy studying the connection between psychological and physical health, and you want to help people improve their wellness in both areas. You like the idea of being able to perform your job in a variety of settings, including hospitals, healthcare clinics, universities or government organizations. You are interested in pursuing career advancement and/or are considering earning a doctoral degree.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report job growth data for health psychologists specifically. However, the BLS does state that for psychologists in general, there are about 13,400 job openings projected to open each year from 2020 to 2030.1

Earning a master’s in health psychology online from an accredited program helps to ensure you receive a curriculum that meets high educational standards. At GCU, your online master’s degree courses are taught by knowledgeable faculty who are experts in the field.

Health psychology and general or clinical psychology are similar, yet distinct. Both health psychologists and clinical psychologists study psychological or mental health. A clinical psychologist holds a doctoral degree and is licensed to diagnose and treat mental disorders. Whereas a health psychologist studies psychological responses to physical health conditions and intervention methods to help improve mental and/or physical wellness. Health psychologists hold either a master’s in health psychology or a doctoral degree in a related field.

Health psychologists use psychological science to promote health, prevent illness and improve healthcare systems.2 When working with clients, they take a look at the entire person, focusing on all the factors that contribute to their mental and physical well-being. Health psychologists can work in a variety of settings and for many different employers. They often perform various tasks, including conducting research, influencing healthcare policy, leading clinical interviews and behavioral assessments, participating in group or individual intervention programs, and helping patients understand and cope with a diagnosis, or stick with their treatment plan.

Total Credits: 36
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $575 per credit [More Info]

1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is based on September 2021, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Psychologists.

2 Retrieved from American Psychological Association, in August 2022

Course List

36 credits
Degree Requirements:
36 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the liberal arts. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course serves as the foundation for advanced graduate study in the field of psychology. Professional skill development, such as critical thinking, scholarly writing, and literature reviewing are covered, as well as contemporary ethical issues in the field of psychology, including issues in research, writing, psychotherapy, forensic psychology, and animal research.

Course Description

This course is a study of social, group, and multicultural factors affecting individual behavior. Attention is given to the development of attitudes, leadership roles, group thinking, sources of conflict, altruism, attraction, effects of competition and cooperation, analysis and evaluation of propaganda techniques, and the influence of mass communication on social awareness and control.

Course Description

This course explores the promotion of health behaviors at the individual and community level. A special focus is on prevention programs and utilization of media to impact health behaviors. Factors contributing to successful prevention programs will be analyzed and program evaluation techniques will be demonstrated. Successful survey design techniques will be introduced and the current trends in health psychology will be explored.

Course Description

This course examines a variety of factors related to wellness and includes a focus on substance use and abuse, nutrition, weight control, diet, exercise and safety. An exploration of lifestyles factors related to promoting health and wellness across the lifespan is assessed as well as effective coaching for health and wellness.

Course Description

This course provides a study of theories of probability, descriptive and inferential analyses of data, and testing of statistical hypotheses. Practical experience is provided in the application of statistical methods.

Course Description

This course emphasizes both the theoretical and applied aspects of experimental design and research methodology at the graduate level, including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed designs. Prerequisite: PSY-520.

Course Description

This course examines the implementation of community-wide change through intervention, prevention, advocacy, outreach, and program evaluation, which moves beyond the individual focus. Students explore foundational competencies for addressing community problems and implementing community psychology practice. A focus is placed on current research related to topics relevant to community psychology.

Course Description

This course examines the future of Health Psychology with an emphasis on understanding current public policy and implementing changes in this sector. Careers related to Health Psychology and issues and controversies that impact the field are investigated.

Course Description

This course prepares students to enter their prospective career and/or continue their education in psychology. Students will explore occupations and leaders in the various psychological fields, formulate and compile their experiences and achievements, and construct a roadmap for success. Original research ideas will be solidified and presented. Prerequisite: PSY-550.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student

Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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