Health Psychology

Learn from experts in health psychology and undertake an industry placement

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

Health and well-being is key thematic area for research and teaching in the University and its Department of Psychology. You will be taught by professionals with expert knowledge of the theory, practice and research in health psychology who include chartered, HCPC registered and research active psychologists.

This course is one of only a few in the UK that offer a credit-bearing placement working with either a healthcare professional or academic psychologist.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Learn from experts in the field of health psychology, in small groups.
  • Undertake a placement and achieve unique and valuable workplace experience, whilst supported by a placement tutor.
  • Have access to our wide range of Research Suites and Laboratories and attend regular research seminars.

What opportunities might it lead to?

Many students undertaking an MSc Health Psychology choose to go on to their Stage 2 training to become a Chartered Health Psychologist. However, on completion of the course, you may also choose to:

  • Work in the NHS or other health care related services – e.g. smoking cessation, health promotion, mental health, and chronic illness management
  • Undertake research and/or teaching positions in Higher Education
  • Do a PhD in a related area
  • Join a clinical research organisation and become involved in setting up and carrying out research projects
  • Gain a place on a clinical training course or other related training such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Treatment)

Key Facts

Subject to approval - Course starts September 2018

1 year full time, 2 years part time
2018 entry requirements
A good honours degree in Psychology that is recognised by The British Psychological Society as conferring Graduate Basis for Chartered membership (GBC). All applicants subject to interview. All offers are subject to Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.0.


View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 5566
Department of Psychology

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

The course provides you with a thorough grounding in the practice, theory and research of health psychology. Two 30 credit modules will be taught in each teaching block and topics will include society and health, therapies and interventions, applications of health psychology, working professionally and research methods. You will be able to undertake a placement as part of one of their modules. You will also complete research on a health-related topic of your choice through your dissertation. The dissertation will take the form of a journal article for publication.

Core units are designed to cover all nine components of BPS requirements for an accredited MSc in Health Psychology. These include:

Teaching Block 1

  • Introduction to Health & Society including Health-related Cognitions & Behaviour (30 credits)
  • Professional Evaluations in Health Psychology (30 credits)

Teaching Block 2

  • Research Methods and Critiquing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (30 credits)
  • Informing Applications in Health Psychology, including a Placement (30 credits)


  • Dissertation (60 credits)

Teaching and Assessment

Staff teaching this course have a wide range of practical experience and knowledge. The course adopts a skills-based, problem-solving approach to learning which seeks to use innovative teaching methods to actively engage. This includes using the expertise of the academics and students in flipped classrooms, use of technology-enhanced learning and experiential learning through placements.
Your practical skills will be developed through case studies and role playing while traditional lectures, small-group teaching and one-to-one tutorials will play a key role in your learning.

How are you assessed?

You will be assessed in a variety of ways to enhance your learning experience. Assessments are all coursework-based and provide feedback which aid your development and reflective learning. Assessments types include:

  • essays
  • portfolios
  • reports (e.g. mock consultancy reports)
  • presentations
  • case studies
  • skills feedback (e.g. interviewing skills)
  • intervention development plans

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Monitor Facilities & Features

Psychology facilities

You will have access to our wide range of research laboratories, interview rooms, and social interaction and observation suites. You will also have the opportunity to use digital analysis, video editing and eye tracking equipment. Our newly built bio-markers and olfaction laboratory is also available. Read our department's full list of facilities.


Taking a placement will give you the advantage of working with either a healthcare professional or academic psychologist. As well as providing you with a great professional experience, you will get excellent networking opportunities which could lead to future employment. Previous placement providers include: Headway, Macmillan Cancer Support, Portsmouth Hospitals Trust, Southern Health NHS Trust; St Wilfred’s Hospice; Talking Change.


Through our existing networks, you will forge many useful links with the local community whilst they are studying. For example, the University of Portsmouth is in Partnership with local NHS Trusts which allows us to work collaboratively with local healthcare providers. We also have active networks linking the University with the local community and wider, such as the University of Portsmouth Ageing Network (UPAN).

Psychometric tests

You will have access to our wide range of over 300 psychometric tests which includes tests for adults, children, education, and post-traumatic stress, as well as over 50 psychometric tests specific to Health Psychology. Additionally, you will benefit from the expertise of members of staff specifically trained to deliver these tests as well as having access to specialist survey development and data collection programmes.

Budgeting for your studies

There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

To practise as a Health Psychologist in the UK, it is necessary to complete Stage 1 and Stage 2 training. Only then are you eligible to apply for Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS), full membership of the Division of Health Psychology and registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a Chartered Health Psychologist. Only by registering with the HCPC are you able to use the protected title ‘Health Psychologist’.

The course meets the requirements for Stage 1 training* and is a prerequisite of Stage 2 training. The Department provides a strong emphasis on employability and you will be supported through your degree in terms of employment after graduation. We expect our graduates to:

  • secure Stage 2 training places
  • secure places on Doctoral Clinical Psychology training
  • gain employment with healthcare providers, including the NHS, as Health Promotion Specialists, Smoking Cessation Advisers, Mental Health Practitioners, etc.
  • become Health Psychologists (after completing Stage 2)
  • gain employment in Higher Education as Research Associates/Lecturers
  • undertake PhDs in a health-related area

*Subject to accreditation by the British Psychological Society

Career planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.

We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.

In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.

Benefits of Postgraduate Study

Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.

  • Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
  • Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
  • Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
  • Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
  • If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.

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Apply now or visit us

Online application form

Apply direct using our online form

Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.

Postgraduate Information Days

We will confirm the dates of events related to 2018 entry soon. Visit the link below to get a reminder when booking opens.

Get a reminder

Other opportunities to visit

Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4pm.

We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.

Find out more about our self-guided walking tours

Can't get to Portsmouth?

If you can’t make it to Portsmouth, come and speak with us about the courses we offer and life and study in Portsmouth at one of the events we attend around the UK.

Staff from our International Office also regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.

If you would like to speak with a member of staff about any courses you are interested in, please email and we will arrange this for you.

Fees and Funding

Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.

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