Health Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

The Health Psychology specialization is designed to familiarize you with the latest theory, research and practice in the field of health psychology, and will help prepare you to become a leader who has the ability to bring about positive changes to health in today’s diverse communities. As a health psychology student, you will explore the important interaction between the body and the mind, and the factors that influence physical and psychological health, such as stress and nutrition. You will examine complementary and alternative medical approaches, and address important issues such as eating disorders and medical compliance. You will also be challenged to develop your own solutions to today’s psycho-social health problems as you conduct research related to health psychology. After graduation, you may serve as a health consultant to hospitals or agencies, help individuals develop healthy lifestyles, or provide the psychological perspective to a team of health care providers.

General Degree Requirements

The PhD in Psychology degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours at the graduate level beyond the master’s degree.

The University may accept a maximum of 12 semester credit hours in transfer toward the doctoral degree for graduate coursework completed at an accredited college or university while enrolled in a doctoral program with a grade of "B" or better.

Completion Period for Doctoral Degrees

Northcentral University allows 7 years to complete all doctoral programs of 60 credits or less. Normal time to complete varies depending upon course take rate and credits transferred in.

Competencies for PhD Programs in Psychology

  • Graduate-Level Research Methods Competency - PhD students are required to complete PSY7103, PSY7106, PSY7108, and PSY7109 at Northcentral.
  • Graduate-Level Statistics Competency - PhD students are required to complete PSY7107 at Northcentral.
  • Computer Competency - Doctoral students are required to have computer skills necessary for completing a dissertation. Students must be able to prepare documents using advanced word processing skills (e.g., creation of tables and figures, headers and footers, page breaks, tables of contents, hanging indents). Students must use computer programs for the statistical analysis of data (e.g., SAS). Students must produce a computer-based presentation (e.g., PowerPoint) for their dissertation oral defense.

Course Length

All courses are 12 weeks in length. 

Credit Hours - The PhD program may be completed in 60 credits. Up to an additional 15 credit hours will be allowed as needed to complete dissertation research.

Foundation Courses - 6 credit hours, Required Courses - 21 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

PSY7101

Foundations for Doctoral Study in Psychology

This course is an orientation to Northcentral University and to the essential skills needed to pursue a PhD degree in Psychology. Doctoral level skills, such as academic integrity, time management, effective use of the Northcentral Library, comprehending complex scholarly texts and research articles, and APA form and style in professional communication are also introduced. Students will complete the course with a better understanding of personal goals, strengths, and challenges, and a roadmap to navigate their way to completion of their educational aspirations.

PSY7102

Scholarly Writing and Professional Communication in Psychology

In this course, students will learn to formulate ideas, search for and appraise text and online resources, and critically analyze and thoughtfully synthesize research findings. The student will become familiar with various writing and communication formats, such as evaluation reports, proposals, papers, poster presentations, annotated bibliographies, PowerPoint Presentations, scholarly Web sites, and blogs, and practice those appropriate to their degree and career goals. The student will also develop techniques for following APA form and style and avoiding plagiarism.

Required Courses

PSY7103

Research Methods

This doctoral-level course focuses on the fundamentals of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches to psychological research. Students gain an understanding of the strengths and limitations of each approach, and how these methods apply to a research topic. The concepts of research ethics, scholarly research writing, and developing a research proposal will also be explored and practiced.

PSY7104

Statistics I

This course provides an introductory exploration of statistics for the graduate student. It includes instruction on the calculation, use, and interpretation of descriptive statistics, and introduces inferential statistical analysis. The emphasis of this course is on providing a working knowledge of basic statistical concepts to help the student understand statistical methodology used in psychology, and also more generally, developing a working knowledge of statistical usage in everyday life.

PSY7105

Tests and Measurements

Students in this doctoral-level course are introduced to practice and theory of psychological test construction. They learn how to evaluate tests for use in research and examine current issues in test construction.

PSY7106

Quantitative Research Design

This course provides students with the skills essential for designing experimental, quasi-experiment, and survey studies; analyzing the data collected in these studies, and interpreting the results of data analyses. Students will explore designs and statistical techniques to use with their envisioned dissertation research.

PSY7107

Statistics ll

This course is an intermediate examination of statistical analyses commonly used for research in behavioral and health sciences. It prepares the doctoral student with the skills required to plan, conduct (using SPSS), report, and interpret quantitative statistical analyses. Topics include: basic statistical knowledge, probability theory, exploratory date analysis, assumptions for statistical tests, parametric and nonparametric tests. Specific analyses include: correlation, regression (simple, multiple, and logistic), basic ANOVA and advanced ANOVA techniques.

PSY7108

Qualitative Research Design

This course is an examination of qualitative methods for studying human behavior including grounded theory, narrative analysis, ethnography, mixed methods, and case studies.

PSY7109

Planning Dissertation Research in Psychology

Students in this course will begin the process of writing a dissertation for a research or professional doctorate. The course will address the University dissertation process and aids to successfully complete a dissertation, including self-care and time management.

Standard Curriculum - Up to 12 credit hours determined based on formal evaluation. Only required if you do not have a Master's degree in Psychology or a related field.

Course Code

Name

Course Despcription

PSY7011

History and Systems of Psychology

This doctoral-level course surveys the development of modern psychology. It provides a thorough introduction to the philosophical underpinnings and the theoretical progressing of the study of the mind and behavior. Key theorists and schools of psychology will be reviewed and their influences on contemporary psychology will be examined.

PSY7012

Professional Ethics, Law, and Psychology

This doctoral-level course examines legal and ethical issues as they relate to the profession of psychology. Students will review basic principles of ethics, how ethics are applied in professional settings, and specifically, how various ethical dilemmas present themselves in the practice of psychology. Dilemmas common to practice settings, teaching, and consulting are explored. Students will engage their learning through extensive review and analyses of case studies. Further, students will plot their own ethical development throughout the course.

PSY7013

Human Development and Functioning

In this doctoral level course, the student will study development from conception through late adulthood. Students will engage in a variety of activities and applications through which they will explore, understand, and reflect upon key theories and concepts related to motor, language, social, and intellectual development across the lifespan. Students will develop an appreciation of the impact of the cross-disciplinary importance of the study of human development.

PSY7014

Social Psychology

In this course, you will examine the social aspect of human behavior. In particular, you will analyze core social motives that have evolved to ensure human survival, and how these are applied in the social situation. You will closely examine theory and research in key areas of social psychology such as attitudes, bias, social influence, aggression, pro social behavior, and the social nature of the self.

PSY7015

Biopsychology

This course takes a biopsychological perspective on key issues in behavior and mental health such as sex and gender, obesity, substance addiction, knowledge, cognition, and learning. The latest research and ethical issues in neuropsychology, such as neurogenesis, degeneration, regeneration, and the relation of adverse childhood events on brain structure and functioning will also be explored.

Specialization Courses – 18 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

PSY8300

Health Psychology

This doctoral-level course examines how biological, psychological, and social factors interact with and affect:1. The efforts people make in promoting good health and preventing illness.2. The treatment of people by medical professionals and responses to treatment.3. Coping with stress and pain.4. The recovery, rehabilitation, and psychosocial adjustment of patients with serious health problems.5. Personality factors in health.6. Role of stress on immunity.

PSY8301

Psychosocial Factors in Health

The body-mind connection is a well-researched topic in the field of medicine and psychology. This course will help the student become aware of the body of research surrounding the impact of behavior, psychology, and social factors on physical health. Further, it will explore how diversity issues, such as gender, age, and ethnocultural background influence health-related behaviors.

PSY8302

Behavioral Nutrition

The interaction of behavior and nutrition is an increasingly important one as nutrition and eating patterns impact the brain and behavior. In this course students will analyze reliable sources of information and statistics in the field of behavioral nutrition, apply ethics and a sensitivity to diversity in developing public health nutrition programs, and utilize text and graphics in communicating information in this field.

PSY8303

Eating Disorders and Obesity

This course surveys topics related to eating disorders and obesity, including etiology, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Specific focus is given to the dispositional, social, and cultural factors associated with the development and maintenance of disordered eating patterns. Implications for psychological and physical health are examined.

PSY8304

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

This course takes an evaluative look at complementary and alternative methods (CAM) aimed at promoting health and wellness. Evidence based practice in the application of complementary and alternative methods to health will be explored, as will the increasing use of CAMs in traditional medicine, and their comparative importance among diverse groups.

PSY8305

Consultation and Interventions in Health Care Settings

Consulting in health settings requires an array of personal skills, knowledge and information, and techniques. In this course, the student learns practical skills for consulting. The student also becomes familiar with typical programs offered by consultants in healthcare settings.

Doctoral Comprehensive Exam - 3 credit hours. Dissertation Courses - 12 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

CMP9500P

Comprehensive Exam

In their pursuit of any doctoral degree (PhD, DBA, or EdD) at Northcentral University, students gain expertise in their academic discipline and in one or more specializations that complement their academic discipline. The Doctoral Comprehensive Examination is intended to assure that students have mastered knowledge of their discipline before candidacy status is achieved and research in support of their dissertation is initiated. The Doctoral Comprehensive Examination is taken following the completion of all content and Research courses. This course is graded using Satisfactory (S), In Progress (IP), and Unsatisfactory (U) grading criteria. The Doctoral Comprehensive Examination must be successfully completed with an ”"S” grade prior to beginning any Dissertation Research course. The exam is twelve weeks.

DIS9501P

Dissertation Research*

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the PhD degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral defense. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

DIS9502P

Dissertation Research*

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the PhD degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral defense. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

DIS9503P

Dissertation Research*

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the PhD degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral defense. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

DIS9504P

Dissertation Research*

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the PhD degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral defense. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

At Northcentral University, we pride ourselves in being completely transparent when it comes to tuition and fees. If a cost is not included in our Cost Per Course Tuition Rate, we let you know up front. Currently, the only additional cost above your program rate* is books. Learn more about the NCU’s PhD Psy costs below:

  • Per credit cost: $930
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $2,790
  • Program cost: $55,800-63,375
  • Average Book cost per course: $110
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Technology Fee: $0
  • Registration Fee: $0

Click here to learn more about payment and financing options.

*Program rates are subject to change and generally increase at the start of each calendar year.

Total program costs reflected are calculated based on standard degree program credits exclusive of the program’s potential evaluation track. The actual cost of a program is determined based upon the program and track the student enters, transfer credits if any, and other unique student factors.  For more information: please contact Admissions or refer to the catalog.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about our students, it’s that they are motivated and ambitious—but they are also busy! At Northcentral University, we’ve designed our education experience to work with you, not against you, so you can achieve your academic goals without sacrificing the quality, flexibility and support you need to be successful.

To learn more, request information or call 1-866-776-0331 to speak with an enrollment advisor today. We offer new courses every Monday of the year so you can get started when it’s best for you.