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College of Humanities & Sciences

Psychology Department


General information about graduate study at VCU can be obtained from the VCU Graduate School web site. Application for graduate study in health psychology should be initiated online from the VCU Graduate School admissions page. Please note that there is not a separate application for the program or department.

Application Deadline

The deadline for applications is January 10, 2022.

Admission Requirements

Details about admission requirements are available in the VCU Bulletin.

Applicants will be evaluated on a number of dimensions, including past research experience and accomplishments, academic record, letters of recommendation, essay describing research interests, and fit with mentor. 


Do I need a degree in psychology to apply to the Health program?

No, people with many types of backgrounds can be admitted to the health psychology program. A background in a health-care or public health field would be especially appropriate. If your degree is in a field other than psychology, it would be helpful if you have had at least 18 semester hours of psychology-related courses, including introductory psychology, health psychology, research methods, and statistics.

I already have a master's degree, can my courses transfer to VCU?

Students entering the program with a master's degree are required to complete a minimum of 80 hours for the Ph.D. However, their master's thesis and some courses may be used to waive specific requirements for the health psychology master's degree or doctorate. Courses completed elsewhere may be used to substitute for a program requirement, provided the course was comparable to the course offered at VCU, or used as electives. All transfer work must be at the "A" or "B" grade level from an accredited institution or university.

What  percentage of students receive financial assistance?

100 percent of our students receive tuition waivers and assistantships or fellowships for at least the first four years of training.

What kinds of classes do students in the health psychology program take?

The required curriculum provides core knowledge in psychology, research methods, statistics, ethics, and health (broadly defined). Although there are several specific requirements in these areas there is also considerable flexibility for students to tailor the program to best meet their needs. The curriculum is described in greater detail in the Health Psychology Handbook.

Does the health program offer clinical training?

No. This is an experimental research-focused program in health psychology. Our students are trained to become researchers rather than clinicians. If you are interested in receiving clinical training you might consider VCU’s excellent programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology.  Many of the faculty members in those programs focus on health issues.

Is the health program APA accredited?

The American Psychological Association (APA) only accredits practice-oriented programs (clinical, counseling, school psychology). Research-focused experimental programs such as ours are not accredited.

Can I take courses on VCU’s Medical Campus?

Yes, many of the electives are taught on the Medical Campus.

What percentage of the health students are women? What percentage are members of a racial or ethnic minority group?

Since its inception, 69% of students in the health program have been women, and 49% have been members of a racial or ethnic minority group.

When I apply, should I identify a faculty member that I’m interested in working with?

Identifying a potential mentor is recommended but not required. 

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