MS in Psychology: Health Psychology Program

The terminal master’s program 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 program is appropriate for students planning applied research careers in health settings and for students who plan to later seek doctoral training in psychology or related fields. Current research topics include health disparities, gender and health, aging, health education, 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 program 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):


Core Health Psychology courses (12 Credits).
  • Psych 955 - Seminar in Social Psychology and Health
  • Any 3 of the following courses: Psych 711 (only when the topic is Child Health Psychology or topic is 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)
Research (15 Credits)
  • Psych 510 - Advanced Psychological Statistics
  • Psych 610 - Experimental Design
  • Psych 932 - Proseminar in Evaluation Research
  • Psych 790 for thesis option or Psych 791 for project option.

9 credits in psychology breadth courses (virtually any psychology graduate-level course not listed above).

Field Placement

Students are encouraged to complete at least 3 credits of Psych 812 (Field Placement in Psychology) in their area of interest.

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

Thesis or Project

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.

The Faculty

The health psychology faculty include core faculty (Professors Raymond Fleming, Marcellus Merritt, and Diane Reddy) and affiliated faculty (Professors Shawn Cahill, W. Hobart Davies, Bonnie Klein-Tasman, and Krista Lisdahl.) See the individual faculty bios for more details on their respective research programs. Additionally, other faculty in psychology may serve as advisors.

Future Studies in Health Psychology

Students who have completed undergraduate majors in psychology 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.

For Further Information

For information about the MS in Psychology: Health Psychology Program, please contact Professor Raymond Fleming (