Our Program

Prof. Bertram Raven established and directed the Health Psychology Program at UCLA in the early 1980s.  Our program evolved from social psychology program roots and NIMH training grant funds.  From 1983 to 1995, Profs. Christine Dunkel Schetter and Shelley E. Taylor directed the program in conjunction with a core faculty group. During this time, they established the core course, an undergraduate course, and a weekly lecture series, and they integrated the program more with clinical psychology training. Since that time, the HP program has focused on behavioral issues in physical and mental health. Core and affiliated faculty in Psychology and other UCLA departments and schools including Public Health and Psychiatry provide training to pre- and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom are supported by our long-standing NIMH training grant.

In 2007 we established a health psychology major within our Psychology department. The program has 7 core faculty members (see faculty page) and a larger group of affiliated faculty. This program accepted its first students in 2007-2008. Although most of the program components have been in existence for many years as part of the psychology core program that all majors take, or as part of the popular health psychology minor that many have completed since 1983.

The goal of our program is to produce outstanding research scientists whose major focus is on the intersection of psychological processes and physical health and disease. More specifically, our program provides training in the development and use of basic theories and research findings in psychology to elucidate issues in physical and mental health and their interrelationship through studies in lab, community and health settings. Research training in our program spans diverse populations with regard to age, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, and health status. Beyond a firm foundation in psychology, we offer strong biological, methodological, and statistical training, along with interdisciplinary research opportunities.

Opportunities for training in biopsychosocial bases of health and illness are broad, well developed and still growing. Our faculty has established programs of research on the reciprocal links between psychological and physical health and disease which provide superb venues for research experience. The faculty is composed of scholars with expertise in psychoneuroimmunology; stress, coping, and social support processes; health behavior and behavior change; social neuroscience; and ethnic, racial and sociocultural aspects of health with a range of theoretical and methodological approaches brought to bear on these central themes (e.g., family, individual, community perspectives; experimental, intervention, daily diary, and survey research). In addition, our program offers research opportunities in cancer, pregnancy, and heart disease, as well as healthy populations. Research programs on depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disease, and schizophrenia by affiliated faculty offer further venues for our students to study comorbidities and integrate mind and body approaches in their research. Finally, our faculty have extensive ongoing interdisciplinary research collaborations in psychiatry, public health, social science, life science, medical science, and nursing for student involvement.

To learn more about our program, please click here.

For the department applications, please click here (pdf).