Graduate Program Interviews: Health Psychology

This post is part of an ongoing series about applicant interview weekends in Psychology departments. Check back for posts about interviews in other areas of Psychology, and visit our Careers in Psychology section. So you want to be a Health Psychologist? Here are some tips from current Health graduate students on questions they asked [or wish they had asked] during interviews as well as questions they were asked by faculty that really got them thinking.

Questions to ask:

If you are hoping to work with particular faculty members, it is helpful to ask about the theoretical perspectives they do and do not use in their work. You may both be interested in the same phenomenon but come at it from different perspectives. Some faculty may be open to exploring alternative theoretical perspectives while others may not. The same goes for methodologies!

If you hope to do projects that involve collecting physiological data, be sure to ask about facilities and storage capabilities as well as funding for assays and other equipment.

Because Health Psychology is a relatively new ‘official’ focus in many departments, it is interesting to ask faculty about how they found their way to Health Psychology. Chances are good that they didn’t start in a Health Psychology area! This is a helpful way to get a sense of what theoretical perspectives or methodologies a researcher or lab may use most often.

Sometimes, you may prepare wonderful, specific questions, but they don’t fit naturally into your conversation. Just be sure to get a few good questions in that illustrate your interest in the program!

Questions to think about:

Could you walk an interviewer through every stage of a study on your CV, from theory to analysis to conclusions?

If you had unlimited data and analysis capabilities, what study or experiment would you design to answer your major question of interest?

Because there are fewer programs with specific Health Psychology focuses, many applicants to Health Psych programs also apply to programs in Clinical or Social Psychology, Public Health, and Sociology. Is Health Psychology the best fit for you? Could you explain why to an interviewer?

Good luck!