Our Program

Program Overview

The Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine RIG seeks to understand how biological, social, cognitive, and emotional factors influence mental and physical health. In contributing to an interdisciplinary science, faculty in the Health Psychology & Behavioral Medicine RIG use theories and methods from psychology, public health, and medicine to 1) identify the biopsychosocial processes that impact health and well-being, 2) design and evaluate interventions that prevent, treat, and manage illness, 3) decrease health disparities and inequities by addressing social determinants of health. Specific strengths of the RIG include expertise in psychoneuroimmunology, health neuroscience, emotion regulation, mHealth, affective neuroscience, health disparities, attachment theory, loss and trauma, and implementation science. The populations we study are diverse and include people from different demographic, developmental, cultural, and contextual backgrounds and health statuses. Faculty in the RIG collaborate with faculty in the Texas Medical Center and collaborators and community organizations at the regional, state, national, and international levels. Most of the RIG's funding has come from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the form of research and training grants. The translational and interdisciplinary nature of our research places us in a unique position to make significant contributions to the health and well-being of our global community and to lead the training of future scientists in this innovative field of inquiry. Though neuropsychological assessments and other structured clinical interviews are used in our labs for research purposes, this program does not provide clinical training or lead to licensure. Students seeking careers in research and teaching in university departments, colleges of public health, and academic medical centers are encouraged to apply.

During the first three years in the program, students split their time between coursework, lab commitments, teaching assistantships, independent research projects, and defending their Master’s thesis. During their fourth and fifth year, students focus primarily on dissertation research and building their career portfolio (e.g., publications, conference presentations, guest talks, teaching). Throughout the entirety of the program, all health psychology students are required to attend weekly research seminars, during which researchers from the field present their work and students are encouraged to build professional relationships with scholars in the field. Students are also highly encouraged to attend academic conferences annually and apply to highly competitive grants and fellowships, including those funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.

Course Requirements

Note: Students who are interested in courses not currently offered at Rice also may take classes offered by University of Houston, Baylor College of Medicine, and University of Texas Health Science Center (UT Health)

Please visit the Forms page to access the required paperwork to establish candidacy.

Job Placement of Graduate Students and Post-doctoral Fellows

Assistant Professor (Tenure-Track), Pennsylvania State University, Dept of Biobehavioral Health
Assistant Professor (Tenure-Track), Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Dept of Preventive Medicine (Epidemiology)
Resident Psychologist, University Hospital of Zurich
Assistant Professor (Tenure-Track), Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Dept of Neuroscience
Assistant Professor, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Dept of Psychiatry
Assistant Professor (Tenure-Track), Baylor University, Dept of Psychology and Neuroscience
UX Researcher, PROS