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Undergraduate Health Psychology Education: An Effective Model for Interdisciplinary Education

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Interdisciplinary programs of study, especially within psychology, offer many benefits including addressing diverse student interests while encouraging the growth of skills, perspectives, and experiences in collaboration that would otherwise be impossible. A health psychology emphasis was created within the psychology major as an interdisciplinary program combining psychology, nutrition, biology, and health science courses. The effectiveness of this emphasis was evaluated in terms of student numbers and characteristics along with job and graduate school placements. Data were collected from three sources: descriptive information for all enrolled students, self-report data from students currently enrolled, and from student graduates. Emphasis growth was dramatic over 9 trimesters (180 to 438, +143.33%) with great diversity in student demographics and desired career paths. Graduates had high satisfaction (M=8.28, max 10), a majority (68%) were employed in diverse jobs, and 68% of those who applied were accepted into a variety of graduate school programs. The consistent diversity of student interests, vocations and graduate programs supports the interdisciplinary health psychology emphasis as an effective means of providing an interdisciplinary education. The health psychology emphasis provides a framework for other interdisciplinary programs of study in psychology and other fields.

Keywords: reading instructors

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 15, 2023

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