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The Psychophysiology specialization within our psychology doctoral program combines online learning for lecture courses, in-person laboratory experiences, seminars, and training experiences for a total of 105 credits. Ninety credits are in psychophysiology-oriented courses and fifteen are core psychology courses. Three of the psychophysiology courses are electives chosen from at least six available. You will have some latitude selecting core psychology courses based on your interests.

If you have already taken graduate courses at an accredited school, you may be eligible to transfer up to 18 credits for previously completed courses deemed equivalent to those required by the Psychophysiology specialization. The most commonly accepted psychophysiology courses are ethics, anatomy and physiology, and psychopharmacology while the most commonly accepted psychology courses are developmental psychology, social/multicultural psychology, and systems of psychotherapy. Equivalency of any of these courses will be determined during an individual review of each student's transcripts.

Students register for courses at the start of each of Saybrook’s semesters and must complete their courses by the end of the semester. The number of courses taken simultaneously is at the student’s discretion up to a limit of four. It must be remembered that each course requires the time commitment of a three to five credit graduate course. Each credit requires between 30 and 40 hours of work to earn including attending recorded lectures, doing required reading, writing papers, interacting with the instructor via phone and / or e-mail, etc.

Many of the courses include "laboratory" training which generally consist of (a) eight hours of in-person training during the annual meetings of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB) and possibly at Saybrook University’s Residential Conference in San Francisco followed by (b) about seven hours of real-time mentoring via the web.

Each student completes a doctoral dissertation of publication quality, based on original study under the guidance of a committee consisting of a faculty chair from within the specialization and at least two doctoral level members who are subject matter experts. The program is designed so students work on their dissertations simultaneously with taking didactic courses. This is crucial as far too many students in other programs finish taking their course work and never get their degrees because they never actually get around to finishing their dissertations. Thus, one of the first courses students take is the research course. Students start taking the dissertation planning seminar via conference calls as soon as they enter the program.

Students must take at least one course per semester to remain in the program. Full time is considered to be 9 credits per semester. For this 105 credit program, a full time student is likely to take six years to complete, including the dissertation.


Everyone entering the program must fulfill the following prerequisites:

  • (a) Certification in Basic Life Support (CPR)
  • (b) The equivalent of an undergraduate course in general biology
  • (c) The equivalent of an undergraduate course in general psychology
  • (d) The equivalent of an undergraduate course in cognitive psychology

Students accepted into the program who lack any of these prerequisites must complete the CPR Certification and successfully complete those portions of PH 500 Psychophysiology Pro-seminar corresponding to the required prerequisite(s) during the first semester of their participation in the program. Each portion of the pro-seminar is charged at a rate of one credit but credits completed during the pro-seminar do not count toward the degree.

Minimal Requirements for Participation in the Psychophysiology Specialization:

Web-Based Seminars

Students must regularly attend and actively participate in all web based seminars. Most take place once per month. Students must schedule themselves to be able to attend regularly regardless of time zone or other commitments. Attendance is not optional. Missing more than one seminar per semester results in suspension from the program. Exceptions to missing more than one seminar may be made by the program’s director based upon the student’s reason for missing the seminar such as sickness. However, every missed seminar must be made-up. A missed seminar can be made-up by watching the recording of the missed seminar and discussing the material covered with the program’s director in a real-time discussion.

In-Person (residential) sessions

Students must attend two in-person, approximately week long, sessions per year. Attendance is not optional. One of the sessions is at AAPB’s (Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback – the field’s professional organization) annual meeting held at various locations within the United States each year. The other session is held at Saybrook University's San Francisco campus.


Students must successfully complete a minimum of two lecture courses per year in addition to the required seminars, practicum, dissertation preparation, etc.


Students must allocate adequate time for and funding to conduct their dissertation research starting not later than the second year of participation in the program.

Psychophysiology Specialization Course List

A. Required Psychophysiology Specialization Courses (81 credits):

Courses having more than three credits usually include a lab session. New students must take courses PH 505, 507, 510, and 512 before taking any others unless they are given credit for having taken equivalent courses elsewhere. All students will begin seminars PH 572 & 575 as soon as they enter the program. The order in which advanced courses are taken is largely at the student’s discretion but should be discussed with the advisor. Some courses may not be available at all times. Students transferring from UNM do not have to retake courses successfully completed through UNM and the Behavioral Medicine R&T Foundation.

Courses Credits:
PH 505 Introduction to Psychophysiology – The Biological Basis of Behavior 3
PH 507 Anatomy and Physiology for Psychophysiologists 3
PH 510 Psychophysiological Recording and Intervention / General Biofeedback 4
RES 512 Research and Statistics in Psychophysiology 5
PH 515 Pain Assessment and Intervention From a Psychophysiological Perspective 3
PH 517 Introduction to Behavioral and Alternative Medicine 3
PH 520 Principles and Theories of Stress Management and Relaxation / Imagery Training 4
PH 527 Recording & Altering the Brain’s Activities Through Neurofeedback & Other Techniques 4
PH 530 Behaviorally Oriented Techniques including Cognitive Restructuring & Meditation 6
PH 535 Introduction to Clinical Pharmacology 3
PH 540 Psychophysiological Assessment of Sleep 3
PH 545 Psychophysiological Applications in the Community, School, Sports, & Workplace 4
PH 550 Clinical Hypnosis, Self Hypnosis, and Imagery Training 4
PH 560 Ethical, Legal, and Professional Standards Issues 3
PH 570 Clinical Practicum and Field Experience 4
RES 572 Dissertation Planning Seminar 4
PH 573 Dissertation Preparation 4
PH 575 Professional Development Planning Seminar 3
PH 577 Clinical Case Seminar 4
RES 580 Dissertation 10

B. Required Core Psychology Courses (15 credits):

Students entering the program with a BA/BS degree or with a non-behavioral graduate degree must take a core of graduate level psychology courses. Students entering the program who have had one of more of the core courses may be exempted from repeating them depending on the faculty’s review of the student’s records during the admissions process.

Courses Credits
PSY 6020 Developmental Psychology 3
PSY 7510 Social Psychology or PSY 6010 Multicultural Psychology 3
PSY 2025 Systems of Psychotherapy 3
PSY 3045A Clinical Intervention I 3
PSY 3045B Clinical Intervention II 3

C. Electives (9 credits minimum):

Students must take at least three electives but can take as many additional electives as desired.

Courses Credits
PH 522 Psychophysiological Entrainment and Stimulation
(includes 1 credit lab)
PH 525 Neuropsychophysiology 3
PH 555 Biofeedback for Neuromuscular Reeducation 3
PH 565 Pelvic Floor Disorders 3
PH 556 Quantitative Electroencephalogram as an assessment tool for Brain-based Disorders
(includes 1 credit lab)
PH 557 Cardio-respiratory Psychophysiology emphasizing Heart Rate Variability 3

D. Additional psychology electives can be taken.

This will result in exceeding the minimum number of credits required for the degree. Recommended courses for students intending to perform psychological interventions are:

PSY XXX Clinical Intervention III (choice of intervention course)
PSY XXX Clinical Intervention IV (choice of intervention course)