MSc in Health Psychology
Although people live longer and are currently ‘healthier’ in many ways than before, this has not led to a sense of improved health or wellbeing for all members of society. Health Psychology improves wellbeing by applying psychological theories, methods and research to the promotion of health, prevention and treatment of illness and disability, analysis and improvement of the health care system and health policy formation. A small number of NHS-funded bursaries are available to cover tuition fees and other expenses.
Students on this course will understand and critically evaluate the theoretical basis of health psychology and apply this knowledge to understanding health, health behaviours and health care issues.
The course has a strong experiential focus – it includes contributions from health care practitioners and allows you to carry out a brief placement in a health care setting normally arranged by the student with help/support from the course team. You are encouraged to carry out research in health care settings where possible.
This MSc is designed to meet the British Psychological Society’s requirements for Stage One training towards Chartered Health Psychology status. Via formal teaching and practical experience, you will acquire relevant skills and core competencies as a basis for professional training in health psychology (Stage Two), or other applications of psychology to health issues.
Structure and content
The course comprises the following modules in Semester 1:
- Perspectives in Health Psychology: Introduces and provides a context for different theoretical approaches within health psychology. It promotes critical understanding of the relationship between biological, psychological and social approaches to health and illness, health behaviours and health care in relation to specific topics such as stress, cardiovascular disease and pain.
- Applications of Health Psychology: Communication, Systems and Context: Helps you develop critical understanding of the way health care is delivered in the National Health Service (NHS) and other settings. You will evaluate psychological interventions and examine the relationship between health care providers and clients. The module will develop understanding of the professional role of the health psychologist, multidisciplinary working and sensitivity towards ethical/professional issues. It includes a brief experiential placement in a health care setting normally arranged by the student with help/support from the course team.
- Quantitative Analysis: Develops understanding of quantitative analysis. It includes principles of literature review, experimental design and data collection and offers both study and practical experience of statistical analysis to enable you to carry out a piece of empirical research to a publishable standard.
The following modules are taken in the Semester 2:
- Qualitative Analysis: Develops understanding of qualitative analysis, such as thematic analysis and phenomenological analysis.
- Individual, Social and Cultural Differences: Develops awareness and critical appraisal of the influence of individual psychological, social, cultural and biological differences on health, illness, health care provision and usage. Topics include personality, lifespan, gender and cultural factors which influence health and health behaviours (such as alcohol use and sexual behaviour).
- Approaches to Illness, Disability and Coping: Applies health psychology theories and models to understanding specific illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It also includes an evaluation of factors which promote wellbeing in people with acute or chronic illness or disability and the role of interventions to improve wellbeing.
- Research Project (MSc only): In this module, you will carry out your own supervised empirical research project in an area of health or health care which interests you, allowing you to integrate theoretical approaches with practical research methods and techniques learned. The investigation is conducted and reported to publishable standard.
Delivery and assessment
The modules are taught in two- to three-hour seminars which include lectures, workshops, and practical or experiential sessions. You need to complete and pass the seven modules above to be awarded the MSc Health Psychology. Assessment is by formal exams and coursework (including oral presentations, essays, group work and critical reviews of research).
Health Psychology is one of the fastest growing areas of applied psychology and this Master’s course provides the first stage of professional training towards becoming a chartered health psychologist. Students intending to go on to become qualified health psychologists can achieve this via working in health care or in academic posts. Scotland is unique in offering a two-year NHS-funded training course for Stage Two health psychology trainees. There are opportunities in many areas, for example, health education or health promotion, or in community-based health improvement projects. Skills gained might also be used in working with patients with specific conditions, such as cancer or chronic pain. The course might also be used for professional or personal development for individuals with a psychology background working in health.
- 2016/17 Overseas £13,950
- 2016/17 Home/EU £6,100
- 2015/16 Overseas £13,500
- 2015/16 Home/EU £6,000
A minimum of a 2.1 Honours degree in Psychology or related subject (qualification must be recognised by British Psychological Society giving Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership).
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (6.0 in all bands).
If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.
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Last updated February 1, 2016