Remember that Walden’s Title IV Code is 025042.
Develop the strong theoretical background needed to design and conduct research into the biological, psychological, behavioral, social, cultural, and environmental factors that contribute to health and illness. By learning how to apply advanced research methodologies, you can promote positive health behaviors and encourage change as a researcher in academic, medical, business, government, and community settings.
Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.
For your elective courses, select from courses in these Ph.D. in Psychology specializations: Educational Psychology, Forensic Psychology, General Psychology, Organizational Psychology, or Social Psychology.
Note on Licensure: The Health Psychology specialization in the Ph.D. in Psychology is not a licensure program and does not prepare an individual to become a licensed psychology professional.
Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students work toward building a foundation for academic and professional success as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. They assess the relationship of mission and vision to professional goals, and they develop a program of study, a professional development plan, and strategies for online success. Students also explore resources used throughout the program, such as the online Walden University Library. They engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of professional writing, critical-thinking skills, and the promotion of professional and academic excellence.
Health psychologists work toward positive change in healthcare and health behavior through the study of relationships between patients and providers, how individuals and groups adapt to illness, damaging health behaviors, health cognitions, and many other related issues. In this course students explore the field of health psychology with a focus on the biopsychosocial model. They discuss behavioral and biomedical theories as well as the effect of psychological (personality), behavioral (health behaviors and coping), and social factors (stress and physician-patient relationships) on physical health and wellness. Through the examination of current literature and peer discussions, students explore and address issues related to cardiovascular and immune health, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. They demonstrate their understanding of course material and consider how topics apply to their personal and professional life through the development of taskforce papers, a health brochure, and a final essay.
Students in this course will review past and current models of health behavior change, disease prevention, disease management, and relapse prevention. Coverage of health-related issues includes dietary needs, tobacco and drug use, safer sexual practices, and stress management. In addition, students will examine the analysis of behavior change within specific populations (young, elderly, cognitively impaired, etc.) and factors that predict or serve as obstacles to lifestyle change and adherence. (Prerequisites: PSYC 8745.)
Students in this research course are provided with the opportunity to develop core knowledge and skills for understanding, analyzing, and designing research at the doctoral level. Students explore the philosophy of science, the importance of theory in research, and research processes. The course also introduces students to the quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method research designs and methods. Students devote special attention to understanding the ethical and social change implications of conducting research and engaging in scholarship. They apply their knowledge and skills by developing elements of simple research plans for quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods studies. (Prerequisites: a Foundation course or first course in a program.)
An important branch of psychology, known as biopsychology, combines neuroscience with basic psychological models for the purpose of understanding how the brain and neurotransmitters influence human behavior. In this course, students examine the structure and functions of the central and peripheral nervous systems and explore the impact of neurobiology, endocrinology, and physiology on human behavior. They learn about brain functioning, including exploration of neural conduction; effects of neurotransmitters; sensory systems; and mechanisms of attention, memory, perception, and language. Students also explore literature addressing issues related to neuroplasticity, lateralization, and regeneration. Applying knowledge and skills gained throughout the course, students develop a final research paper through which they synthesize biopsychology concepts, critically analyze related research, and demonstrate APA-writing ability.
This research course provides students with the opportunity to develop core knowledge and skills for designing quantitative research at the doctoral level, including understanding data analysis and applying statistical concepts. Students explore classical quantitative research designs and common statistical tests, the importance of quality assurance, and ethical and social change implications of conducting quantitative research and producing knowledge. They approach statistics from a problem-solving perspective with emphasis on selecting appropriate statistical tests for a research design. Students use statistical software to calculate statistics data and interpret and present results. Students apply their knowledge and skills by developing a quantitative research plan. (Prerequisites: RSCH 8100Y.)
Students in this course examine contemporary theories on the perception of stress, appraisal of stressors, ways of coping, and the psychophysiological mechanisms involved in the stress response. They explore topical issues, including psychoneuroimmunology, behavioral nutrition, psychophysiology, traumatic stress, chronic pain, and stress-related psychophysiological and medical disorders as they relate to stress and coping. Students engage in discussions designed to provide practical application of course content. Demonstrating breadth and depth of knowledge and critical-thinking skills, students explore a topic of interest through a final research proposal and paper on a current issue related to course concepts. (Prerequisites: PSYC 8226.)
Elective courses give you the opportunity to further explore your interests beyond the prescribed program curriculum. You may choose to take any course designated as an approved elective by the program’s completion requirements.
An in-depth study of a range of survey methods administered via in-person interview, self-report, phone interview, and Internet administration is introduced in this course. Topics will include survey design, administration, analysis, and addressing sources of bias. The course will also review theoretical and empirical research on question and questionnaire effects. The course prepares students in the practice of writing questions and designing questionnaires, both in general and in light of existing research. (Prerequisites: RSCH 8100 and RSCH 8200.)
This course examines healthcare issues in women and girls. Topics include healthy development, trauma, coping, self-esteem, resilience, self-care, well-being, sexual health, relationships, roles, family, schooling, careers, motherhood, transitions, violence, security, bereavement, and positive aging. (Prerequisites: PSYC 8745.)
This course covers diseases and disorders in children and adolescents. Topics include diabetes, anorexia, headaches, epilepsy, burn injuries, cystic fibrosis, asthma, addiction, and adolescent obesity. Health promotion for children and adolescents is discussed, including cardiovascular health, nutrition, and exercise. Also covered are insights into special issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, daily stress, sexually transmitted diseases, sleep disorders, and ethical and legal issues in pediatric and adolescent health psychology. (Prerequisites: PSYC 8745.)
Statistical data indicate that people are living longer and the number of older persons is continually increasing. As the population ages, society must prepare to address their needs. Students in this course are provided with a multidisciplinary approach to the study of aging in contemporary societies. Students examine the biological, psychological, social, and societal contexts of aging. They also explore the historical and cross-cultural perspectives on aging, social theories of aging, managing chronic diseases, cognitive changes associated with aging, mental health issues, sexuality, and social interactions. Through a series of taskforce reports on various topics, such as sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, and elder abuse, students apply course concepts and critically examine current issues in gerontology.
In this course, students examine the current theory and interdisciplinary (psychological and medical) research associated with psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). Topics include the mind/body interaction, its effects on overall health through modulation of the immune system, and mind/body interventions. Students explore recent advances in medical science that have contributed to the knowledge of biological processes and how the mind can be used as a potent force in modifying the biological mechanisms involved in wellness and illness. (Prerequisites: PSYC 6225 or 8226 and PSYC 6748 or 8748.)
Students in this research course are provided with the opportunity to develop core knowledge and skills for designing qualitative research at the doctoral level, including understanding data analysis. Students explore the nature of qualitative inquiry; fieldwork strategies and the nature of observation; theoretical approaches to qualitative research; the importance of quality assurance; and the ethical, legal, and social change implications of conducting qualitative research and producing knowledge. They use software to code data and interpret and present results. Students apply their knowledge and skills by developing a qualitative research plan. (Prerequisites: RSCH 8100Y.)
This five-credit course is focused specifically on the process of writing the doctoral study prospectus. Students will use their preliminary research plan, developed previously, and develop a problem statement, to be used in the doctoral study. They further refine the problem statement and carry out the planning and the library research that will bring them to the formulation of a doctoral study prospectus. The prospectus is a brief paper, typically 15-20 pages in length, that lays out the background for the problem statement, the problem statement itself, a survey of the relevant literature (typically 25-75 references), and a research, implementation, and evaluation plan for the solution of the problem.
This course examines the origins of professional codes of ethics and standards of scientific psychology. Topics include ethical issues in academics (research, teaching, supervision), various work settings (assessment, consulting), and ethics involved in working with diverse populations. Additionally, students are introduced to forensic psychology and ethical issues related to the legal system. The course also explores how cultural factors are addressed in various ethical codes and the implications for scholar-practitioners.
This research course builds upon knowledge and skills acquired in RSCH 8200Y - Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis and provides experience applying them. It provides students with more specialized knowledge and skills for designing quantitative research at the doctoral level, including understanding multivariate data analysis and applying more advanced statistical concepts. Students explore comprehensive quantitative research designs and suitable statistical tests; the importance of quality assurance; and ethical considerations and social change implications of conducting quantitative research and producing knowledge. This course approaches statistics from a problem-solving perspective with emphasis on selecting the appropriate research design and statistical tests for more complex research questions or problems. Students use statistical software to perform analyses and interpret and present results. Students will apply and synthesize their knowledge and skills by developing a quantitative research plan. (Prerequisites: RSCH 8200Y).
Psychologists working in psychopharmacotherapy are responsible for having in-depth knowledge of psychiatric disorders and psychotropic medications prescribed to treat these disorders. Students in this course are provided with an overview of the spectrum of psychotropic medications and their use in the treatment of mental and behavioral disorders. Students explore the role of the psychologist in prescribing medication and the efficacy of combining medication and psychotherapy. They also engage in discussions focused on the treatment of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive behavior, schizophrenia, and childhood disorders; and other psychological disorders as described in the DSM-IV-TR. Students practice scholarly-writing skills in APA style through a final research paper on a topic of interest related to psychopharmacology. (Prerequisites: PSYC 8226.)
Doctoral students are provided with the opportunity to integrate their program of study into a research study through which they explore a specific area of interest in this course. Students complete the dissertation with the guidance of a chair and committee members through a learning platform classroom in which weekly participation is required. Students work with their dissertation chair to write the prospectus, complete an approved proposal (the first three chapters of the dissertation), complete an application for Institutional Review Board approval, collect and analyze data, and complete the dissertation. During the final quarter, students prepare the dissertation for final review by the university and conclude with an oral defense of their dissertation. Once students register for PSYC 9000, they are registered each term until successful completion of the dissertation for a minimum of 4 terms. (Prerequisites: Foundation and core courses and designation of an approved dissertation committee chairperson. Students engaging in a qualitative or mixed-methods dissertation study must also complete PSYC 8310. Students completing a mixed-methods dissertation study are strongly encouraged to also complete PSYC 8320.)
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