Health Psychology student in a workshop talking to other student
Mode of Study
Part-time, Full-time
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Start Date
September 2019


If you're ready to develop your existing skills in the field of psychology – and you'd like to help patients to better manage their long-term illness or recovery – then our MSc Health Psychology course is for you.

On this course, you'll get a thorough grounding in the practice, theory and research of health psychology. You'll learn how mental, emotional and social factors can affect a person's physical well-being, and how a patient's mental and emotional state is affected by an illness, or the recovery from it.

And if you'd rather dive straight into your career once you graduate, you'll also be ready for work in areas such as commercial research, smoking cessation, health promotion and chronic illness management.

What you'll experience

On this course, you'll:

  • Learn in small groups, allowing you to get the most out of your time on the course
  • Be taught by research active psychologists and professionals, with expert knowledge of the theory, practice and research of health psychology
  • Make use of our research laboratories, interview rooms, and social interaction and observation suites
  • Have access to advanced facilities, including our newly built bio-markers and olfaction laboratory and our mobile simulation vehicle
  • Use specialist equipment, such as digital analysis, video editing equipment and eye tracking equipment
  • Receive expert guidance on the application of over 300 psychometrics tests, including those designed for adults, children, education and post-traumatic stress, as well as over 50 specific to the Health Psychology field
  • Get hands-on with specialist survey development and data collection programmes
  • Attend regular research seminars, expanding your knowledge of the subject

Through our existing networks, students 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, for example, the University of Portsmouth Ageing Network (UPAN).

Careers and opportunities

After the course, you could go on to Stage 2 training to become a Chartered Health Psychologist. You could also:

  • work in the NHS or other healthcare-related services – for example, smoking cessation, health promotion, mental health and chronic illness management
  • undertake research or take a teaching position in Higher Education
  • do a PhD in a related area
  • join a clinical research organisation and get involved in setting up and carrying out research projects
  • get a place on a clinical training course or other related training such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Treatment)

Our Careers and Employability service can also help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry, when you finish the course.

Other graduates have set up successful businesses with help and support from the University.

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

​What you'll study

You'll study units worth 180 credits, including:

  • Dissertation (60 credits)

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Work experience and career planning

We can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary opportunities that will complement your studies.

This course is one of few courses nationally to offer credit-bearing placements, giving you the advantage of working with either a healthcare professional or academic psychologist. As well as providing you with a great professional experience, you'll also enjoy networking opportunities which could lead to future employment. Our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.

Previous placement providers include:

  • Headway
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Portsmouth Hospitals Trust
  • Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
  • Southern Health NHS Trust
  • Sussex NHS Trust
  • St Wilfred’s Hospice
  • Talking Change

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques


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 our postgraduate students.

This includes using the expertise of the academics and students in flipped classrooms; use of technology-enhanced learning, and experiential learning through placements and practical skills development via case studies and role playing, in addition to traditional lectures/small group teaching and one-to-one tutorials.

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • September to December – teaching block 1
  • January – assessment period 1
  • January to mid-May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • Mid-May to early June – assessment period 2

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

How you're assessed

Assessment on this course is coursework based. You'll be assessed through:

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

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Entry requirements​

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.

All our courses go through a rigorous approval process to make sure they’re of the highest quality. This includes a review by a panel of experts, made up of academic staff and an external academic or professional with specialist knowledge.

This course is in the final stages of this process and is open for applications. If any details of the course or its approval status change after you apply, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and will be here to discuss your options with you.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2019 start)

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students

  • Full time – £8,700
  • Part time – to be confirmed

International students

  • Full time – £15,900
  • Part time – to be confirmed

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. 

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Placements are an optional course component and you will be required to pay for additional costs for these. These will vary depending on the location and length of stay. These costs range from £50 - £2000 to cover travel, accommodation and subsistence.


Apply for this course using our online application form

International students

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study with us, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.