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Bachelor of Science in Health Psychology

Location: Boston
Start Term: Fall

As a healthcare professional with a focus in health psychology, you have the power to help shape the future of healthcare according to the role of behavioral factors in health promotion, disease prevention, treatment of illness, and health policy. 

In this program, one of only a few in the country, you’ll gain a range of knowledge in psychology, a strong preparation in the basic sciences and liberal arts, an informed sense of healthcare issues from other fields such as sociology, law, ethics, literature, history, and healthcare administration, and training in research methods and statistics. When you graduate, you’ll be well prepared to begin your career or continue your education at the graduate level.

The mission of the Health Psychology program is to produce graduates who can apply the knowledge and skills of psychological science to the ethical solution of real-world problems that include, but are not limited to, those related to health; to support the development of critical thinking, evidence-based problem solving, communication, collaboration, and informatics skills; to prepare students to provide quality, patient-centered care that promotes physical, mental, and emotional health in the rapidly changing healthcare environment; and to provide a system of mentoring that encourages the pursuit of individual interests and preparation for direct employment and graduate training. The Health Psychology program aims to provide an engaging learning environment that includes opportunities for students to learn outside of the classroom and to work in interdisciplinary teams through service, field placement, and research.

The Health Psychology program supports the development of the knowledge and skills associated with psychological science among students in other programs through the introductory psychology course core curriculum requirement, the behavioral science general education requirement, and the Health Psychology minor. Through these mechanisms, the Health Psychology program teaches future healthcare professionals to recognize the biological, psychological, and social factors that are integral elements of each individual’s life and to integrate these factors to create a holistic understanding of human functioning. Behavioral science courses support interprofessional education by providing opportunities for students representing various healthcare professions to work together to solve health-related problems (e.g., adopting health-enhancing behaviors and eliminating health-compromising behaviors, addressing caregiver stress when treating patients with Alzheimer’s disease, creating a protocol to minimize a child’s anxiety in response to a medical procedure).

The following program goals were established in 2010:

  • To provide an opportunity for students to earn a BS in Health Psychology, with a strong knowledge base in the general principles of psychology as well as concepts and applications within health psychology.
  • To provide a comprehensive education that includes an understanding of healthcare delivery, healthcare ethics, and interprofessional healthcare teams.
  • To provide opportunities for the development and demonstration of communication, critical thinking, information literacy, and research design skills.
  • To provide curricular and experiential opportunities for students to explore the wide range of career options appropriate for individuals with a terminal bachelor’s degree in psychology.
  • To provide curricular and experiential opportunities for students to explore graduate training options within and related to psychology.
  • To provide individualized academic advising and career mentoring for all majors from the point of entry into the program through graduation.

Freshman applicants can view their admission requirements on the Undergraduate Applicants page.

Students with 12 or more college credits may transfer in to the first or second year of the program. Courses must have been completed at a regionally accredited college or university with a grade of C or better for transfer. Math and science courses taken more than ten years prior to the anticipated date of matriculation to MCPHS will not be accepted.

While there are no specific required courses for entry into the first year of our program, the admission committee will look for success in any math and science courses you have already taken. If you complete any of the courses listed below, you may receive transfer credit and your first year course load may be lighter. However, due to the block registration nature of MCPHS programs, entering the first year of the program with transfer credits will not change the total length of your program. Courses, other than elective courses, may not be moved forward in your schedule.

Required Courses For Entry to Year II:

  • General Biology I & II with lab (8 credits)
  • Basic Chemistry I with lab (4 credits)
  • Algebra and Trigonometry (3 credits) (Acceptable substitution: Precalculus or Calculus)
  • Computer Applications (3 credits)
  • Expository Writing I & II (6 credits)
  • Introduction to Psychology (3 credits)
  • American Culture, Identity, and Public Life (3 credits) (Acceptable substitutions include Introduction to Sociology or upper-level sociology course)

Additional Courses Accepted for Transfer Credit:

  • Statistics (3 credits) (Acceptable substitutions include Basic Statistics, Biostatistics, Psychological Statistics, Economic Statistics)
  • Interpersonal Communications for Health Professionals (3 credits)
  • Abnormal Psychology (3 credits)
  • Humanities elective (3 credits) (Acceptable courses include Literature, Creative Writing, Philosophy, Ethics, Religious Studies, Select Fine Arts, Advanced Level Languages)
  • Social Science elective (3 credits) (Acceptable courses include History, Political Science/Government, Anthropology, Upper-level Sociology, American Studies, Women Studies, Ethnic Studies, Geography, Economics)
  • General Elective (3 credits) (Acceptable courses include History, English, Fine Arts, Philosophy, Government, Ethics, Foreign Language, Psychology, Religious Studies, Anthropology, Communications, and Economics)

Year I-Fall

BIO 151* Biology I: Cell and Molecular Biology 3
CHE 110** Basic Chemistry I (w/ lab) 4
FYS 101 First Year Seminar 1
LIB 111 Expository Writing I 3
LIB 120 Introduction to Psychology 3

Year I-Spring

BIO 152 Biology II: Biology of Organisms (w/ lab) 4
LIB 112 Expository Writing II 3
LIB 133 American Culture, Identity, and Public Life 3
MAT Determined by Placement 3
MAT 197 Computer Applications 3

Year II-Fall

BEH 250 Health Psychology 3
BEH 352 Human Development 3
MAT 261 Statistics 3
HUM Humanities Elective 3
SSC Social Sciences Elective 3

Year II-Spring

BEH 102 Health Psychology Seminar II 1
BEH 350 Abnormal Psychology 3
BEH 451 Research Methods in Health and Behavior 3
LIB 220 Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
for Health Professionals
SSC Social Sciences Elective 3
General Elective 3

Year III-Fall

BEH 260 Behavioral Health 3
BEH 456 Applications of Research Methods 3
BEH Category A 3
HUM Humanities Elective 3
LIB 512 Healthcare Ethics 3

Year III-Spring

BEH 102 Health Psychology Seminar II 1
BEH Category B 3
BEH Category C 3
PSB 412 Medical Patients' Rights and Professionals' Liabilities 3
MAT 451 Biostatistics 3
General elective 3

Year IV-Fall

BEH 103 Health Psychology Seminar III 1
BEH Behavioral Sciences Elective*** 3
LIB 590 Health Psychology Field Placement I 3
Two General Electives 6

Year IV-Spring

BEH Behavioral Sciences Elective*** 3
LIB 592 Health Psychology Capstone 3
Three General Electives 9

Total credits to complete degree requirements: 120 semester hours.

*After consultation with the program director, students may substitute BIO 110 and 210 (Anatomy and Physiology I and II) for BIO 151 and 152.

**Students in the HPSY major who choose to pursue a PRMD minor may substitute CHE 131 (Chemical Principles I) for CHE 110 and replace LIB 120 with MAT 151 (Calculus I) in the first semester. Additional curriculum changes should be reviewed with the program director & an ARC advisor.

***May be fulfilled with any BEH course

Category Options


Category A

  • BEH 341 Biological Psychology
  • BEH 405 Mind-Body Medicine
  • BEH 454 Stress and Illness
  • BEH 457 Drugs and Behavior

Category B

  • BEH 254 Death and Dying
  • BEH 357 Positive Psychology
  • BEH 345 Myths & Misconceptions in Psychology

Category C

  • BEH 351 Social Psychology
  • BEH 355 Organizational Psychology
  • BEH 356 Gender Roles
  • BEH 340 Psychology of Aggression


Our students learn from faculty who are leaders in their fields and are committed to the success of each student. Discover our full list of Health Psychology faculty


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