Health Psychology Goals and Curriculum


This is a doctoral training program, culminating in a Ph.D. The goal of this program is to produce outstanding research scientists within the field of psychological sciences.

Note that the emphasis of this program is on research rather than applied work. This program provides training in the basic theoretical foundations of the field, as well as advanced training within each student's chosen area of specialization.

Students receive a thorough grounding in the research methods used in psychological sciences. Students are also expected to complete statistical training (described below). Details on the general requirements for the graduate program can be found in the graduate student handbook (see the graduate resources section of this website).

Research Training

Research training at UC Merced is accomplished through a mentorship model, in which graduate students work closely with their faculty advisors. Typically, each graduate student is admitted to the program to work with a specific faculty member. Each student is expected to become involved in his or her advisor's research program during the first semester. 

Students work with their advisors to develop research projects, and are expected to present their research at the end of their first year, during the department's weekly colloquium seminar.

As students develop their research programs, they are expected to engage in appropriate scholarly activities, such as attending conferences and publishing their findings in scientific journals. Students are also encouraged to broaden their research training by developing research projects with additional faculty members.

Course Work

Students interested in focusing on health psychology are required to be enrolled full-time throughout their graduate study. During the first several years, enrollment will largely consist of core required courses and recommended courses that are of interest to health psychologists.

Required Psychology Core Courses: The following core courses are required for all graduate students in Psychological Sciences:

  • PSY 200A Professional Seminar for First Year Ph.D. Graduate Students I (4)
  • PSY 200B Professional Seminar for First Year Ph.D. Graduate Students II (4)
  • PSY 202A Advanced Psychological Statistics I (4)
  • PSY 202B Advanced Psychological Statistics II (4)
  • PSY 204 Research Design and Methodology (4)

Recommended Courses in Health Psychology: Below is a list of specialized courses in health psychology offered to graduate students in Psychological Sciences, as well as additional courses in quantitative methods and developmental psychology that may be recommended depending on each student's developing research interests:

  • PSY 220: Health Psychology
  • PSY 221: Issues in Health Psychology
  • PSY 206: Quantitative Methods for Reviewing Research
  • PSY 207: Linear Structural Modeling
  • PSY 209: Longitudinal Data Analysis and Bayesian Extensions
  • PSY 224: Health Disparities
  • PSY 225: Health Risk Decision Making
  • PSY 236: Cognitive Development
  • PSY 239: Cognitive Development and Education
  • PSY 280: Human Behavioral Genetics
  • PSY 290: Special Topics - Stress and Health
  • PSY 290: Special Topics - Chronic Illnesses
  • PSY 290: Special Topics - Methods for Public Health Analysis

Teaching Experience
Graduate students are likely to work as teaching assistants for several semesters while in the program. Teaching assistantships are a major source of funding and developing teaching skills is another important focus of graduate training.

In addition to assisting the instructor in various tasks such as course preparation, designing lectures and meeting with students in discussion sections and/or during office hours, graduate students might also present occasional lectures in courses. Once a graduate student becomes a doctoral candidate, usually in the third year, he or she can become the instructor on record for courses offered in the summer semester. This would involve taking responsibility for a whole course.


Psychology Chair
Linda Cameron, Professor
Psychology Graduate Group Chair
Jan Wallander, Professor
Psychology Mailing Address
University of California, Merced
5200 North Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343

Make a Difference, Today

UC Merced Logo
The first new American research
university in the 21st century, with a
mission of research, teaching and service.
University of California, Merced
5200 North Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343
T: (209) 228-4400
University of California, Merced


Go to top