Select your course options:
Why choose the School of Psychology
Our graduates have chosen a variety of career paths with some working in human resources; running their own coaching consultancies; or employed within the private and public sectors including the NHS, police and probation service
Our courses are reviewed and developed in conjunction with a panel of industry professionals from the NHS, mental health support and commercial organisations to ensure they align with the needs of employers
We organise field trips to a local branch of the charity Headway UK, where students spend time with staff and clients; Forensic Psychology students also spend up to two days observing real-life court cases from the public gallery
About the course
How can we understand intervene and promote health and wellbeing across the course of life? Health psychology works to answer this question looking towards the interaction of psychological social and biological factors to understand health and illness.
Health psychology moves away from the medicalisation of health and illness. Instead on this course you take a more whole-person approach to understanding health and illness studying social issues and aspects such as obesity lifestyle and stress. Taught by an academic team actively involved in research in the field you benefit from their up-to-the-minute knowledge and research skills.
This course forms stage one of the training you need to become a chartered psychologist member of the Division of Health Psychology within the British Psychological Society.
Why choose this course?
- Gain new insights into the theory and practice of health psychology
- Learn from an academic team who are members of the Research Centre for Applied Psychology
- Be able to show how the links between scientific theory and practice can guide the collection and interpretation of empirical data
- Develop a systematic understanding and critical awareness of current problems in the field
- Confidently use qualitative and quantitative research methods to perform complex data analysis interpretation evaluation and synthesis
- Build your competence in a range of techniques including multivariate analyses
- Benefit from a strong sense of personal responsibility and professionalism that will enable you to practise or conduct research within ethical guidelines
What do our alumni say?
"Enjoyable, inspiring and professional learning experience with knowledgeable academics."
"I received so much support from all teachers, which boosted my self-esteem and confidence. I was able to progress with the help of my teachers."
- 92% of students "Agree" or "Strongly Agree" that they enjoyed doing their MSc Health Psychology
- 88% of students rated their overall experience as "Good" or "Very Good"
- 73% of students who completed this degree said that they either required it as part of their job or that it helped
- British Psychological Society
Course Leader - Dr Erica Cook
I am a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society (BPS) a Registered Health Psychologist with the UK Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) with interests in health psychology and public health.
What will you study?
Advanced Research Methods For Psychologists
This unit aims to provide students with:
- an explanation of how the scientific research process may elucidate behaviours and help to lead to new questions, predictions and hypotheses;
- in-depth coverage of advanced qualitative and quantitative research methods and statistical analyses;
- supervised experience in the use of quantitative and qualitative software to analyse varieties of data;
- opportunities to debate personal responsibility, ethics and professional codes of conduct when conducting research.
The elements of this unit cover core requirements of the Accreditation through partnership handbooks: Guidance for health or forensic psychology programmes (BPS 2017). The content reflects staff expertise and published output from staff is used to support teaching.
Perceptions And Actions
Behavioural factors are important determinants of the progression of chronic and infectious illnesses. In this unit students will be introduced to socio-cognitive models of health behaviours, which illustrate how these behaviours can be predicted by health beliefs and other psychological factors. The usefulness of these theories and models in different areas in Health Psychology including exercise, alcohol consumption, vaccination uptake, breast self-examination, and smoking cessation will be demonstrated.
These theoretical models are central to the practice of Health Psychology as they typically form the basis of a range of health interventions and promotion initiatives delivered by health care practitioners. Developing an awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of each will be essential in guiding students’ future work in practice.
The aims of this module are to provide students with:
- a broad understanding of the general principles associated with the social-cognition paradigm of behavioural change with an overview of all key socio-cognitive models.
- a critical appreciation of the use of the models in primary and secondary prevention and in different areas of Health such as adherence and recovery from illness.
- a critical appreciation of the theories in different areas within Health Psychology such as; exercise, alcohol, AIDS, breast self-examination, smoking cessation and weight loss and the associated strengths and weaknesses of each theory and its practical application.
Health Psychology In Context
This unit provides student with a broad understanding of the growth of health psychology both as a discipline and a profession alongside other disciplines delineating career opportunities for health psychology both nationally and internationally. . It provides students the opportunity to apply the field of health psychology and associated skillset to a wide range of work roles thus enhancing employability. This unit will develop skills required by reflexive practitioners in ongoing personal and professional development.
The aim therefore is for students to demonstrate a critical awareness of historical and contemporary approaches to models and methods in health psychology. This unit will consider the contexts in which health psychologists work, emphasizing clinical settings and the role of professional and statutory bodies including the BPS and the HCPC as well as the application of Health Psychology in different clinical and medical contexts.
Mechanisms Of Health And Disease
This unit aims to:
- Provide a basic grounding in general biological mechanisms associated with a range of body systems and disorders
- Develop a broad understanding of current thinking surrounding the role of psychological factors in the development and management of illness
- Develop a critical appreciation of the complex interaction between biological and psychological factors in maintaining health and managing illness
The elements of this unit cover core requirements of the Accreditation through partnership handbook: Guidance for health psychology programmes (BPS, 2017). The content reflects staff expertise and published output from staff is used to support teaching.
Lifestyle And Individual Differences
The aims of this unit are to:
- critically examine the impact of individual differences on health and illness;
- introduce some of the dispositional variables that have been found to predict health and illness;
- examine the individual difference factors that have been found to mediate or moderate the relationship between psychosocial stressors and illness;
- assess the role played by demographic variables and health behaviours in predicting disease;
- critically examine theories and models that attempt to elucidate relationships between individual difference variables and health and disease processes;
- assess in depth the role played by culture in the cause and experience of health and disease;
- encourage a holistic approach to the various bio-psycho-social influences on health and disease and a critical awareness of how these factors interact to predict health status.
The elements of this unit cover core requirements of the Accreditation through partnership handbook: Guidance for health psychology programmes (BPS, 2017). The content reflects staff expertise and published output from staff is used to support teaching
What role does health psychology have in public health? This unit introduces you to the discipline of public health and demonstrates the role that health psychology can play in relation to the promotion of health and prevention of disease and illness among the UK population
Drawing on the research of staff, this unit will provide you a critical insight into developing and evaluating the role of psychology driven and interventions in the remit of facilitating positive health behaviour change. Moreover you will acquire a critical appreciation of public health policies, methodologies and epidemiological concepts.
Stress, Coping And Chronic Disease
How might stress and coping styles impact on people’s experiences of health and disease?
This unit aims to develop a critical appreciation of the ways in which psychosocial stressors can impact on psychological and physical wellbeing. It focuses specifically on the following issues: (1) historical and contemporary models of stress; (2) the key mechanisms that link psychosocial stressors and health outcomes; (3) coping styles and their implications in sickness and health; (4) the ways in which stress can be alleviated and (5) the research methods utilised in the field and their strengths and weaknesses.
Professional Skills For Health Psychologists
What professional roles and competencies do health psychologists need in the UK? How can health psychology be applied in practice?
This unit aims to bring alive the academic knowledge base of health psychology and offers clear linkages between theory, research and practice. Based on the foundations of staff expertise in applied practice this unit aims to provide students a portfolio of professional skills focusing on four core aspects; (1) teaching and training, (2) communication strategies in healthcare (3) consultancy and (4) research and presentation skills. This unit provides students an excellent grounding of the professional skills required in health psychology, preparing students for the core competencies that underpin the Stage 2 Health Psychology Qualification.
Dissertation (Health Psychology)
The overall aim of this module is to give students the opportunity to experience the research process in a systematic, supervised way, from start to finish.
to foster autonomous research skills;
to offer students the chance to research an area of health psychology systematically and in depth
to provide students with an opportunity to carry out a substantial, independent research project in health psychology
to promote scholarly activity necessary to produce a substantial research report approaching publishable standard and expanding / redefining current knowledge;
to develop skills in planning, managing and critically reviewing the research process
to provide a platform for the further development and application of advanced qualitative and /or quantitative research skills to real health psychology research questions
This unit covers a core requirement of the Accreditation through partnership handbook: Guidance for health psychology programmes (BPS, 2013)and in line with the recommendations for further enhancement outlined in BPS post accreditation visit report (2014).The research expertise of the programme team is used to support teaching and supervision.
How will you be assessed?
The primary focus is to ensure build upon the core skills developed through successful achievement of the completed Graduate Basis for Chartered Status (via an approved undergraduate degree or conversion postgraduate course) and to move towards the competences required of a Health Psychologist as outlined in the Subject Benchmark statement for Psychology (QAA 2016) and aims and objectives of a Stage 1 Qualification in Health Psychology as set out by the British Psychological Society (2017).
The assessment strategy therefore reflects the academic rigour required for a BPS accredited MSc degree. The assessments are designed to test your academic knowledge oral and written skills use of literature using primary and secondary sources critical analysis of ideas connections made between theory practice real life situations and the understanding and application of professional values to include ethical issues as detailed by the BPS.
The ability to engage in research at a high level and to analyse data using advanced statistical techniques are assessed as these are important skills for health psychologists as well as important in many employment settings. Communication skills are assessed through videotaped role play as these are very important in any career. The ability to analyse and understand issues and apply theory to practice are assessed through a consultancy brief. Finally the important career skill of project management is assessed mainly through the research dissertation involving selfdirected problem-based enquiry managing time reviewing evidence generating and analysing data and communicating results in an extended piece of writing.
This BPS-accredited MSc opens the way to stage two training to become a chartered psychologist and registered health psychologist. Career options include working for the government (for example advising on policy making effective interventions or advertising strategies); research preventing illnesses especially coronary heart disease and cancer; and patient/practitioner communications and teaching. Graduates also work in the NHS on preparing for surgery and psychological methods to manage stress pain or terminal illness.
If you wish to move into employment following graduation there are a variety of areas where you will find opportunities such as research; teaching; social care; health care including roles in the NHS; business including human resource management; and the sports sector.
You will also have acquired specific knowledge in research methods and other core areas in psychology to continue your research studies at PhD level.