Clinical Health Psychology

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Thank you for your interest in doctoral studies in Health Psychology at East Carolina University. Our program began in 2007 and endeavors to produce state-of-the-art scientist practitioners in health psychology. The Department of Psychology at East Carolina University offers a Ph.D. program in health psychology with a concentration in clinical health. Our program combines a lifespan approach to understanding health with an emphasis on prevention and care, from primary to tertiary, within mental health and healthcare settings. Students are trained in both research and practice, with practicum experiences in our in-house psychology clinic (PASS Clinic), as well as primary care, and outpatient and inpatient medical settings across medical subspecialties. For example, some program faculty provide psychological services in medical clinics, such as cardiology, family medicine, and pediatrics, accomplishing fully integrated psychosocial care with ongoing medical care.

We believe the training program at East Carolina University is among the most innovative in the country with training as a clinical psychologist and an emphasis on health psychology in clinical medical settings. We hope you agree and will consider East Carolina for your future studies. Tomorrow Starts Here. Tomorrow Starts Here.

Please note: The GRE General Test will not be required by the Department of Psychology for the 2023-2024 admission cycle (i.e., for students applying for Fall 2024 enrollment). The department is piloting the elimination of the GRE requirement effective with the Fall 2021 application cycle.

Go Pirates!

-Robert A Carels, Ph.D., MBA, Director of Clinical Training

About the Clinical Health Concentration

The Clinical Health concentration will train psychologists in the science of psychology, as well as train them to deliver clinical services in settings such as primary health care hospital teams, rehabilitation, psychiatry, oncology, cardiology, geriatrics, pain clinics, sleep medicine, pediatrics, health maintenance organizations, community mental health agencies, and in the private practice of health psychology.

Graduates of the Clinical Health concentration will:

  • be competent in the assessment of a biopsychosocial factors affecting an individual’s overall health and well-being including psychological, cognitive, behavioral, social, environmental, and biological/physical factors;
  • be skilled in developing and delivering psychological interventions to promote prevention and wellness and treat psychological conditions that affect health and illness;
  • be skilled in a broad range of psychological interventions and techniques, ranging from psychotherapy to targeted interventions such as stress-management, relaxation training, biofeedback, health promotion, and problem solving therapy;
  • be skilled in collaboration, consultation, and teamwork, which are essential to working within a multidisciplinary team of health professionals such as medical doctors (e.g. family medicine, psychiatry, neurology, cardiology), nurses, physician assistants, occupational therapists, physical therapists, exercise physiologists, nutritionists, social workers, counselors, speech-language pathologists, and public health professionals;
  • be expert in contemporary research so as to rigorously conduct and apply scientific methods to understanding health and illness and be able to select and evaluate clinical treatment strategies based on established scientific knowledge and empirical support.

The clinical health concentration at East Carolina University is accredited by the American Psychological Association as a clinical psychology program.  The clinical health concentration is based on a mentorship model. Students are commonly admitted to perform research with a specific faculty mentor.  The mentorship model allows for a rich training experience.

Additional information about our our policies regarding student selection, program preparation, and admission policies can be found in our FAQs.

Specialty training in clinical neuropsychology is also available for interested doctoral students.

Specialty Training in Clinical Neuropsychology Information

Virtual Admissions Interview Day

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and risks associated with travel and large group gatherings, the clinical health concentration Admissions Interview Day will be virtual this year. We look forward to seeing your application.

Please note: The GRE General Test will not be required by the Department of Psychology for the 2022-2023 admission cycle (i.e., for students applying for Fall 2023 enrollment). The department is piloting the elimination of the GRE requirement effective with the Fall 2021 application cycle.

Application deadline for the fall of 2024 is December 1, 2023.

Interview day for the fall of 2024: Friday, January 26, 2024

Visiting day for candidates offered admission to the class of 2024: Friday, February 16, 2024 (alt. February 23, 2024)

Graduate Psychology Education Training Grant Awarded

In 2019, the Departments of Psychology and Family Medicine at ECU were awarded a $890,000 Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program grant from the Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA) to train doctoral-level psychologists to provide integrated, interdisciplinary, behavioral health and Opioid Use Disorder and other Substance Use Disorder prevention and treatment services.  The Departments of Psychology and Family Medicine were also recipients of this award in 2016.

Primary Integrated Care Training Grant Information (PDF)

Receive additional information about clinical health program and the grant: Clinical Psychology Program

National Distinctions and Student Success in Doctoral Training in Clinical Health Psychology

The clinical health concentration is accredited by the American Psychological Association as a clinical psychology program and is one of seven programs in the United States focused primarily on health psychology.

Clinical health psychology faculty currently hold awards from both federal funded agencies, such as NIH, as well as industry funded studies. ECU has a 93% placement rate in accredited internships. Examples of sites include: Brown University, University of Florida, Duke University, Cherokee Hospital Systems, etc.  Check out some of our students research accomplishments.

How we integrate Diversity and Inclusion into our Program

The clinical health concentration is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community. Consistent with this principle, trainers and trainees do not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or socioeconomic status in the services provided at the training clinic or practicum site. We are committed to a training process that ensures that graduate students develop and adopt a multicultural framework in their professional life. It is acknowledged that developing knowledge, skills, and attitudes to work effectively with a diverse public who embody intersecting identities (including differing attitudes, beliefs, and values) is a lifelong process. Therefore, multicultural training is evident across our coursework and through invited speakers, workshops, and research presentations.

Recent trainings included a workshop on cultural humility, entitled Cultural Humility: Engaging Diverse Identities in Therapy. Additionally, our federally-funded training (HRSA) graduate psychology training grant in conjunction with the Family Medicine Department makes significant contributions to our diversity training. These experiences prepare students to work with a wide-range of populations in both their clinical work and research.

We have faculty with expertise in multicultural research issues to help foster student growth in these areas and we believe that research is enriched when diversity is considered at all levels of conceptualization, design, and analyses.

To complement these experiences, we have an active Department Diversity Committee, made up of faculty and students. One of its most recent projects was to develop an assessment tool for assessing the cultural competence of the built environment in the Psychology Department and to assess the racial/ethnic diversity competence of the Psychology Building.

We also play an active role in increasing the diversity of the graduate psychology applicant pool by hosting an annual Graduate Psychology Diversity Pipeline event to make students from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups aware of our graduate programs and how best to become competitive for admission.

We hope you will consider joining us in these endeavors.


The clinical health concentration at East Carolina University is accredited by the American Psychological Association as a clinical psychology program. In our most recent site visit, we were accredited for the maximum duration, ten years. Our next site visit will be in 2031. The APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation is located at the following address:

APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street NE
Washington DC 20002-4242

For additional information, please contact:

Dr. Robert A Carels, PhD, MBA, ABPP, FSBM
Professor and Director of Clinical Training
Department of Psychology
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858


Consumer Information Disclosures: Does the Health Psychology PhD (Clinical Health & Pediatric School concentrations) at ECU meet educational requirements for licensure in different states within the USA?

Criminal Background Checks: Having a history of criminal charges may impact a student’s ability to participate in selected community practica and obtain licensure in some states. The Clinical Health Concentration requires all incoming students to have a background check completed during the Fall semester of your 1st year. If the background check reveals a history of criminal charges, students may be prevented from participating in selected practica and in some instances continuing in the program.

Technical Standards: Earning a degree from the Clinical Health Psychology concentration requires mastery of a coherent body of knowledge and skills. Doctoral students must acquire substantial competence in the discipline of clinical psychology as specified in the American Psychological Association (APA) Standards of Accreditation and must be able to relate appropriately to clients/patients, fellow students, faculty and staff members, and other health care professionals. Combinations of cognitive, behavioral, emotional, intellectual, and communication abilities are required to perform these functions satisfactorily. These skills and functions are not only essential to the successful completion of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program, but they are also necessary to ensure the health and safety of clients/patients, fellow students, faculty and staff members, and other health care providers. In our APA-accredited program, we are committed to a training process that ensures that graduate students develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to work effectively with members of the public who embody intersecting demographics, attitudes, beliefs, and values. When graduate students’ attitudes, beliefs, or values create tensions that negatively impact the training process or their ability to effectively treat members of the public, the program faculty and supervisors are committed to a developmental training approach that is designed to support the acquisition of professional competence. We support graduate students in finding a belief- or value-congruent path that allows them to work in a professionally competent manner with all clients/patients. For some trainees, integrating personal beliefs or values with professional competence in working with all clients/patients may require additional time and faculty support. Ultimately though, to complete our program successfully, all graduate students must be able to work with any client placed in their care in a beneficial manner. Professional competencies are determined by the profession for the benefit and protection of the public; consequently, students do not have the option to avoid working with particular client populations or refuse to develop professional competencies because of conflicts with their attitudes, beliefs, or values.Learn more about the Technical Standards that the clinical Health Psychology concentration considers essential for successful completion of its curriculum beginning on page 68 of their Doctoral Handbook