Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
    Saybrook University
  Apr 25, 2024
2023-2024 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum 
Catalog Navigation
2023-2024 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum

Ph.D. Mind-Body Medicine, Applied Psychophysiology Specialization

Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs

Overview of Program

Students enrolled in the Ph.D. Mind-Body Medicine (MBM) program integrate mind-body medicine's philosophy, science, and techniques in their personal and professional work. The curriculum presents a foundation of scholarship across the CIMHS departments, representing domains of integrative healthcare, mind-body science, practice, advanced research, and ethics. To expand their knowledge and focus of study in a specific discipline, students may choose to add a specialization in applied psychophysiology, contemplative end-of-life care, integrative and functional nutrition, integrative mental health, integrative wellness coaching, and mindful leadership in healthcare. The generalist degree or no specialization option offers the most flexible sequence for individuals pursuing multiple certificates such as integrative wellness coaching, integrative and functional nutrition, contemplative end-of-life care, mindfulness applications, biofeedback, neurofeedback, and hypnosis. 
The Ph.D. MBM program attracts students from a broad range of education and career backgrounds in health, wellness, education, and non-healthcare fields. Nurses, therapists, coaches, yoga instructors, dietitians, nutritionists, educators, business consultants, and recent graduates from other degree programs represent the student body. This degree does not qualify graduates for medical licensure. 

Applied Psychophysiology is the sub-specialty of psychophysiology that uses knowledge of the biological bases of various behaviors in conjunction with numerous psychological techniques to help people moderate medical symptoms, manage anxiety and depression, or enhance academic, artistic, and sports performance. 

Students in the applied psychophysiology specialization will take basic science courses on psychophysiology, the science of mind and body, and the technology of psychophysiological recording. They will master basic interventions in biofeedback and hypnosis and select from a menu of evidence-based skills courses including stress management, optimal functioning, heart rate variability biofeedback, and EEG biofeedback.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain the influence of biopsychosocial factors on general health and wellbeing and the implications for individuals, organizations, and/or communities. 
  2. Describe and apply the foundational values, ethical principles, and best practices of the field to oneself and others. 
  3. Apply cultural humility, diversity awareness, and inclusion to support health equity and social justice in healthcare systems. 
  4. Articulate the application of self-reflection and self-care skills.  
  5. Assess and synthesize evidence, theories, and established practices in integrative healthcare. 
  6. Critically evaluate research methods, apply published research, and conduct independent research in the field. 
  7. Compose original, grammatically correct, coherent, concise, and well-articulated written work in APA style. 


  • Applied Psychophysiology Specialization 
  • Contemplative End of Life Care Specialization 
  • Integrative and Functional Nutrition Specialization 
  • Integrative Mental Health Specialization 
  • Integrative Wellness Coaching Specialization 
  • Mindful Leadership Specialization 
  • Generalist (no specialization)  

Career Opportunities

Students who are already credentialed as healthcare practitioners enhance their practice with integrative medicine knowledge.  
Graduates are prepared to serve as educators, coaches, consultants, directors or managers, and researchers in a variety of professional settings: 

  • Private practice and independent consulting 
  • Integrative medicine and wellness centers 
  • Medical centers, hospitals, community health, primary care 
  • Medical spas 
  • Yoga retreat centers 
  • Sports medicine 
  • Corporate wellness programs 
  • Colleges and universities 

Program Requirements

Admissions Requirements

Applicants for the Ph.D. Mind-Body Medicine degree must submit the following documents: 

  • An official transcript from an accredited university demonstrating successful completion of a Master’s degree, with a 3.0 GPA or better; 
  • Professional resume or CV; 
  • Personal statement; and 
  • The Department chair may require a writing sample if applicants submit a personal statement that contains any grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, or poorly organized text. 

New Ph.D. MBM students must provide official transcripts showing completion of an undergraduate or graduate-level science course in the past 10 years, with a minimum of a B in anatomy and/or physiology. Students lacking this introductory science prerequisite course will add IFN 5704 Anatomy and Physiology as an elective within their first year. Alternatively, students may complete the basic anatomy and physiology course from Saybrook’s academic partner, Straighter Line. 
Up to nine graduate transfer credits may be accepted to fulfill three electives or course requirement for the degree program. These credits must be suitable for transfer as determined by the department chair and registrar. For further details regarding transfer credit policies, consult the Institutional Transfer Credit Guidelines section of the University Catalog for Course Descriptions.  
Graduates from one of the CIMHS degree programs are eligible to transfer in all equivalent course requirements.  The exact number depends on which master’s degree the student has completed, and which Ph.D. specialization the student selects. These students must fulfill the doctoral degree requirements for a minimum total of 75 credits. 
Contract the department chair to inquire about the details of transfer credits. 

University Learning Experience

Virtual Learning Experience (VLE) - Required, Community Learning Experience (CLE) - Optional

All new students begin their studies with a Welcome Week. Welcome Week activities, including a degree program orientation, are held online during the week ahead of the start of the fall and spring semesters. Participation is strongly encouraged.

New students participate in the MBM 0505 Mind-Body-Spirit Integration (MBSI) Seminar. The MBSI consists of two full days of experiential learning (virtual or residential), and four 4-hour virtual sessions on consecutive Saturdays. Refer to the course description for requirements. 

Students enrolled in the Mind-Body-Medicine degree program must attend any residential, university, or virtual learning experience as required for the courses in which they choose to enroll. Refer to the course descriptions for requirements. 

Program Specific Requirements

All new students participate in Saybrook University’s “Getting Started” and the Mind-Body-Medicine Department’s virtual orientation sessions at the beginning of the fall, spring, and summer semesters. During the orientation, students are introduced to administrative staff, faculty, university-wide policies, technology, student services, library databases, best practices, advising, and more.  
The requirements for the Ph.D. MBM degree include 75 credits within specific categories of coursework: core (12 credits), research (24 credits), mind-body science (6 credits), practice (9 credits), electives (9 or 12 credits), and specialization (15 credits). Students who prefer not to add a specialization will complete 15 credits of additional electives from any category or degree program. Pre-requisites such as anatomy and physiology must be met to register for certain courses. 
Note: All CIMHS students enroll in the MBM 5507 Graduate Level Academic Writing course within the first two semesters of starting the program unless students receive an approved waiver from the department chair. 
In some instances, students may request to waive the MBM 5507 writing course and substitute an open elective at the discretion of the department chair. The department chair will make the determination based on any one of three criteria: (a) students may document solo-authored professional publications in a peer-reviewed journal, (b) per our institutional transfer credit policy, students may document completion of an equivalent 3-credit graduate level writing course within the past 10 years and earned a grade of B or better, or (c) students may submit an optional writing sample, and achieve a score of 90% or better on the writing sample grading rubric. 


Students should expect to spend approximately 40 hours per every 1 credit hour, or 120 hours of schoolwork for each 3-credit course, engaged in schoolwork (e.g., reading, watching videos, completing assignments, and more). Therefore, students should anticipate spending approximately 8 hours per week on schoolwork for each 15-week course. The actual time needed will vary by course, by week, and by student. 

Mode of Delivery

Most of the coursework is conducted online and at a distance, so students can live and work anywhere in the world as they engage with faculty and peers. The classes incorporate a variety of instructional and assessment methods including asynchronous discussion forums, live videoconferences, interactive web-based activities, and written assignments. In addition, the MBM department utilizes virtual and residential learning experiences for real-time training, to support online classes. These virtual and residential learning conferences are usually held at the start of the spring and fall semesters. 
MBM students are required to enroll in three semesters each year: fall, spring, and summer. Fall and spring semesters are 15 weeks; summer courses are 8 or 12 weeks long.

Length of Program

The average time to complete the 75 to 78-credit degree requirements with or without a specialization is 4 to 5 years (plus another 1 to 3 years to complete the dissertation research).

Required Courses

Core - 12 credits

Electives - 9 or 12 credits

Elective requirements may be satisfied by any Saybrook program (except for counseling courses) or by an approved academic partner agreement. Refer to any prerequisite or virtual/residential learning experience requirements before registering. A listing of acceptable CIMHS courses is available in the university catalog and online Master Index.

Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs