Health Psychology Postdoctoral Training Program


How to Apply






Health Psychology is the scientific field that applies psychological theory and methods to the study of the promotion and maintenance of health and the prevention and treatment of illness. UCSF initiated one of the first graduate programs in Health Psychology in 1977. Since that time, UCSF has had either a predoctoral or postdoctoral training program in Health Psychology. UCSF has a large number of faculty actively involved in Health Psychology research. UCSF has had a postdoctoral training program entitled, "Psychology and Medicine: An Integrative Research Approach" since 1983.  Applications are accepted yearly in the winter.

Program Focus

This NIMH-funded postdoctoral program trains researchers to link basic psychological theories and research to preventing and ameliorating disease. There are two areas, and cross-cutting both areas is a consideration of disparities in mental and physical illness and the mechanisms by which they occur. The two areas are: (1) Health-risking behavior: Fellows in this area focus on developing and applying theories of risk perception, social learning, cognitive development, and risk-taking to understand and modify health-risk behaviors, especially those that contribute to exposure to the HIV virus, as well as those contributing to addictive behaviors. There is an emphasis on developmental processes and on adolescence as a critical period.  (2) Stress, depression, psychobiology and disease: Fellows in this area focus on theories of the meaning and appraisal of stress, cognitive and affective responses that result from these appraisals, and biological concomitants of these responses that result in disease. We emphasize common pathways to multiple disease outcomes, especially those spanning mental and physical illness.

Program Structure

Fellows will be appointed for two years. In some instances, an optional third year may be possible. It is expected that about one-third of the fellow's time will be spent in formal seminars. All fellows take a core Health Psychology Seminar and a Research Process Seminar in both years of the fellowship and may take other courses and seminars. The remaining two-thirds of the fellow's time will be spent in research. Fellows will participate in their faculty mentor's research laboratory and will develop their own research study.


Stipend levels are set by NIMH and depend on years of related experience. They range from $35,568  to $51,036.


Leadership in research, education, psychiatric care and public service