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Graduate Programs

Ph.D. in Experimental Health Psychology

The mission of the Experimental Health Psychology Program at UMKC is to enhance health outcomes, broadly defined, for individuals and communities. In service of this mission, we offer advanced training in the fundamental areas of experimental psychology, health psychology, and quantitative and methodological approaches for applied psychology. The program emphasizes the development of research skills and empirical investigation of real-world problems in the life and health sciences. Graduates are prepared for careers in both academia and industry.

Experimental Health Psychology at UMKC is a full-time program of graduate study. Didactic instruction is integrated with research from the beginning of students' training. Students are paired with a faculty mentor and become part of a lab where they learn how basic research is applied to practical problems and develop the knowledge and skills to carry out original research. These experiences are graded in complexity and designed to foster the development of cumulative knowledge and skill as the student progresses through the program. Click here to view a short, informational video about the Experimental Health Psychology program here at UMKC.

The Experimental Health Psychology program curriculum is designed to provide students with a common core of knowledge in the following areas:

  • Scientific psychology
  • Research methods, techniques of data analysis, and psychological measurement
  • Empirical, methodological and theoretical foundations of individual and community health psychology

In addition, students complete a Master’s Thesis, pass Comprehensive Examinations prior to candidacy for the doctoral degree and complete a dissertation leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology degree.

Areas of study representing core faculty research include

  • Social cognition and health
  • Health in diverse communities
  • Adolescent development
  • Neuropsychology and applied neuroscience
  • Cognitive aging
  •  Psychophysiology in cognition and mental health

See Department Faculty Listing for more information about faculty research interests.



Program Information

Cathy Rawlings

Phone: 816.235.1318



Director of  Experimental Health Psychology

Joan McDowd, Ph.D.