In the fall of 2015, Health Psychology will be added as a new emphasis in the Brigham Young University-Idaho Department of Psychology. It will join the General Psychology and Industrial Organizational Psychology emphases already offered.
The emphasis was proposed last fall by Rob Wright, temporary faculty member in the Department of Psychology. Following the initial proposal, it went through the Curriculum and Dean's Councils before being officially approved in May.
Health Psychology will serve many students looking to go into such fields as sport psychology, clinical psychology, counseling, health care administration, and public health and even many medical professions. Several different departments also had a hand in helping with the development of this emphasis.
"Health Science, in particular, helped us come up with this a great deal. They've got some great classes there. They've been very helpful with the design of this. All of the departments have been," said Wright.
This is in line with the interdisciplinary approach the university advocating, helping students take a wider array of classes from different departments.
"This major emphasis includes classes from Biology, Animal and Food Science, as well as from the Department of Health, Recreation and Human Performance" said Wright.
This not only gives them a broader knowledge for the careers they are going into, but it helps students who are trying to figure out what they want to major in.
Wright has also begun teaching Health Psychology (PSYCH 435), which hasn't been taught for several semesters. He says many of the students have been excited about how applicable the content of the class is for daily life.
He has already seen some of this excitement carry for the major, since in the eight weeks following its official approval, more than 40 students have expressed strong interest in declaring Health Psychology as their major.
Since it's a new emphasis, Wright is hoping the word will get out to all students who might be interested.
"If people in other departments other faculty meet with students who express an interest along the lines of health or psychology, I would ask that they make them aware of this new major option. We want students to do what they want to do, but if they don't know what the options are, than we are really not helping them the best we can," said Wright.
Health Psychology will provide a great option for students and will be a model of how beneficial interdisciplinary emphases can be for the student, the departments, and the university.