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Health Psychology MSc

Our full or part-time MSc Health Psychology course equips you to support patients and health professionals, and includes a work placement.

Key information

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This course is Accredited

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Overview

With this MSc Health Psychology degree you’ll build on your health psychology knowledge to understand health and health behaviours more fully, help patients better manage their long-term illness or recovery and help healthcare professionals improve their provision.

You'll gain a thorough grounding in the main areas of health psychology: practice, theory and research. You'll learn how biological, emotional and social factors and the environment can affect physical wellbeing, and how to prevent this. You’ll also learn how a person living with a chronic conditions is affected by it, how they manage of it and you'll develop the skills and knowledge to support them.

Recognising the value of work experience, a placement is a central part of the course. We expect students to complete 100 hours of work placement activity and will support students to identify suitable opportunities.

Our MSc Health Psychology is recognised as a Stage 1 course, which is a prerequisite step towards gaining chartered status as a health psychologist. On successful completion of this course, you’ll be able to apply to progress to Stage 2, where trainees work towards achieving status as a Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and a registered health psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). If you’re interested in other career paths you can go straight from your MSc Health Psychology to work in areas such as commercial research, smoking cessation, health promotion and chronic illness management.

Our MSc Health Psychology course is accredited by the BPS and has been commended by the Society for providing a learning environment which provides opportunities for students to enhance those skills valuable to employers through placement opportunities, external guest speakers exploring a variety of psychology career pathways, the Moodle careers site and the University of Portsmouth dedicated careers and employability service.

On MSc Health Psychology you'll develop a systematic knowledge and understanding of health psychology, in accordance with the academic requirements of the Division of Health Psychology (DHP) and the BPS to support, your eventual progression to a career in health psychology or to study for a PhD.

Psychology at the University of Portsmouth is ranked 5th of all post-1992 universities for research quality

Research Excellence Framework (REF), 2021

Read more about our amazing psychology research

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and International students.

Course highlights

  • Achieve unique and valuable workplace experience in applied health psychology settings as a research assistant or in a clinical setting as an assistant psychologist (e.g. research projects, health promotion roles, etc.)
  • Learn in our wide range of research suites and laboratories (including pain lab and sensory lab) and attend regular health psychology research seminars
  • Be taught in accordance with the academic requirements of the Division of Health Psychology (DHP) and the British Psychological Society (BPS) 
  • Receive expert guidance on the application of over 300 psychometric tests including those designed for adults, children, education and post-traumatic stress as well as over 50 specific to the health psychology field
     

Accreditation

Accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), our Master’s degree is recognised as a Stage 1 course, which is a prerequisite step towards gaining chartered status as a health psychologist. On successful completion of this course you’ll be able to apply to Stage 2, where trainees work towards achieving status as a Chartered Member of the BPS (CPsychol) and a Registered Health Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You'll develop a systematic knowledge and understanding of health psychology in accordance with the academic requirements of the Division of Health Psychology (DHP) and the BPS, for your eventual progression to a career in health psychology or to study for a PhD.

Explore MSc Health Psychology at Portsmouth

Discover how our MSc Health Psychology degree course will equip you with the skills and experience you need to become a health psychologist.


 

Daphne Kaklamanou: The course is MSc Health Psychology and the students get to kind of learn about the psychological, physiological and behavioural processes that are involved in health illnesses, and it tends to have a focus on physical health. So we get to understand how people with long term conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, how to put them better with changing behaviour. 

A health psychologist, is a protected title by the British Psychological Society and the Health Care Professional Council. And completion from this course means that the students who would have completed their stage one training in order to become a health psychologist. If someone wanted to go into a health psychology career, they would have to complete a stage one training opportunity, which is the MSc in Health Psychology. By completing the Masters, one opportunity would be to get some experience before going to do the stage two training. So they could either go to an NHS setting to work as assistant psychologist, they could go to behaviour inside roles within the city council. They could even then go to do a clinical psychology role as well. 

The University of Portsmouth and the Department of Psychology has a long tradition with offering placements to students and we are one of the few courses in the country that offer placement opportunities. We teach our students about the theoretical elements, but also then get them to apply what they've learnt in the classroom, in the applied setting, and the students get to enjoy the lovely seafront. We are only 10 minutes from the sea. 

Contact information

Admissions

+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and International students.

September 2024 start

  • Applicants should normally have or expect to obtain at least an upper second class honours degree in Psychology or closely related subject that is recognised by The British Psychological Society as conferring Graduate Basis for Chartered membership (GBC).
  • Applicants from other degree subjects containing a significant element of psychology, may also be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, view the equivalent entry requirements we accept for your country

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component score below 6.0.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

  • All offers are subject to Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance.

Graduate Basis for Chartered membership (GBC) FAQs

If your qualifications are not from a UK or Irish university you must have them assessed by the BPS to see if they give you GBC. You can do this by applying for Graduate Membership of the BPS. They will automatically assess your qualifications for GBC as part of your Graduate Membership application.

BPS Graduate Membership/GBC applications can take 8 weeks or more to process so it's important to apply as soon as possible, preferably before making your application.

Please contact the BPS for information on how to apply for Graduate Membership and GBC.

If your qualifications meet the requirements, the BPS will write to you telling you that you have GBC. You need to attach a copy of this email/letter to your application.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2024 start)

  • Full time: £10,400
  • Part time: £5,200 in year 1 and £5,200 in year 2

  • Full time: £10,400
  • Part time: £5,200 in year 1 and £5,200 in year 2

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full time: £19,200
  • Part time: £9,600 per year

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.

Female Master's student
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Funding for international students

Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.

international business students
Discover your options

Fees and funding for Master's courses

Explore Master's funding options, including loans, scholarships, bursaries and more.

Explore funding

Additional 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 could include:

  • Accommodation: Accommodation options and costs can be found on our accommodation pages.
  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: Such as photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Modules

Full-time

All modules on this MSc Health Psychology are core.

You’ll develop core skills in health psychology, including teaching, research, and other professional abilities. Throughout the module, you'll be supported by university staff and placement supervisors, and gain understanding of current approaches in health psychology. This includes having an awareness of health policies, health economics and medical ethics.

Cultivate a scientist-practitioner perspective, including a problem-solving attitude towards research and analysis, by developing advanced knowledge of psychological research methods, data analysis and presentation techniques which can applied in practical settings. Gain insight into real-life scenarios where health and forensic psychologists encounter new research problems, and have the chance work with your peers to develop your own approach in answering specific research questions, enhancing your team working skills. As part of this module, you'll also obtain key skills to prepare you for the design and conduct of an empirical project relevant to health or forensic psychology.

Through self-directed learning and taught sessions, you'll undertake a complete piece of empirical research in an area of health psychology you find interesting and focuses on a specific psychological issue or question. You'll draw on academic literature, and use appropriate research methods and analytical techniques to research your chosen topic. Before work begins on your project, a formal ethical review process will be required. You'll also be allocated a project supervisor who will support you throughout the project via regular meetings.

You'll study factors that influence health, such as health behaviour, cognitive models and the biological aspects of conditions relevant to health psychology. Explore theories and evidence behind health-related cognitions and behaviour while evaluating the psychological theories that influence health related decisions. Assess evidence associated with biological explanations for health and illness, present psycho-biological explanations, and communicate effectively.

You'll identify and develop skills and capabilities relevant to progression towards health psychology practice and apply relevant ethical, legal and professional practice frameworks while maintaining appropriate professional boundaries. You'll learn to communicate effectively with colleagues, research supervisors and a wider audience, and present work appropriately in a range of written and oral formats.

Part-time

All modules on this MSc Health Psychology are core.

Cultivate a scientist-practitioner perspective, including a problem-solving attitude towards research and analysis, by developing advanced knowledge of psychological research methods, data analysis and presentation techniques which can applied in practical settings. Gain insight into real-life scenarios where health and forensic psychologists encounter new research problems, and have the chance work with your peers to develop your own approach in answering specific research questions, enhancing your team working skills. As part of this module, you'll also obtain key skills to prepare you for the design and conduct of an empirical project relevant to health or forensic psychology.

You'll study factors that influence health, such as health behaviour, cognitive models and the biological aspects of conditions relevant to health psychology. Explore theories and evidence behind health-related cognitions and behaviour while evaluating the psychological theories that influence health related decisions. Assess evidence associated with biological explanations for health and illness, present psycho-biological explanations, and communicate effectively.

You'll identify and develop skills and capabilities relevant to progression towards health psychology practice and apply relevant ethical, legal and professional practice frameworks while maintaining appropriate professional boundaries. You'll learn to communicate effectively with colleagues, research supervisors and a wider audience, and present work appropriately in a range of written and oral formats.

All modules on this MSc Health Psychology are core.

You’ll develop core skills in health psychology, including teaching, research, and other professional abilities. Throughout the module, you'll be supported by university staff and placement supervisors, and gain understanding of current approaches in health psychology. This includes having an awareness of health policies, health economics and medical ethics.

Through self-directed learning and taught sessions, you'll undertake a complete piece of empirical research in an area of health psychology you find interesting and focuses on a specific psychological issue or question. You'll draw on academic literature, and use appropriate research methods and analytical techniques to research your chosen topic. Before work begins on your project, a formal ethical review process will be required. You'll also be allocated a project supervisor who will support you throughout the project via regular meetings.

Changes to course content

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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Facilities

Students on this course will have access to state of the art research suites and laboratories including:

  • Sensory lab
  • Pain lab

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

Course structure

This Master's degree will take:

  • 1 year (full-time study)
  • 2 years (part-time study)

You can expect:

  • For full time study to be on campus 2 days per week. Tuesdays and Thursdays 10.00am - 3.00pm (and Tuesday 3.00pm - 5.00pm for 9 weeks)
  • For part time study to be on campus on Tuesday 10.00am - 12.00pm and Thursday 10.00am - 3.00pm

Hours of independent study:

  • Full time study - 200+ hours over the duration of the course (approximately 38 hours independent study per week).
  • Part time study - 100+ hours over the duration of the course (approximately 19 hours independent study per week).

Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree, but the majority of your teaching time will be in-person and face-to-face.

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.

  • Lectures
  • Small group teaching
  • One-to-one tutorials
  • Experiential learning through placements

Assessment

You'll be assessed through:

  • Coursework
  • Portfolios
  • Oral presentations
  • Research project

Each module has at least two assessments and these will be directed at different audiences; academic and non-academic. Assignments will include:

  • Systematic reviews
  • Research proposals
  • Results sections of journal articles
  • Developing your own intervention and materials

Your dissertation will be written in the style of a journal article.

Full details of assessment can be found in the modules in the 'What you'll study' section.

Teaching staff

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course:

Daphne Kaklamanou Portrait

Dr Daphne Kaklamanou

Senior Lecturer

daphne.kaklamanou@port.ac.uk

Department of Psychology

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Miznah Al-Abbadey Portrait

Dr Miznah Al-Abbadey

Senior Lecturer

Miznah.Al-Abbadey@port.ac.uk

Department of Psychology

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Natascha Maryke Van Zyl Portrait

Media ready expert

Dr Tasch Van Zyl

Senior Teaching Fellow

Natascha.Van-Zyl@port.ac.uk

Read more

Term dates

September start

The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project/dissertation.

See key dates

Graduation Class of 2021

Joining us as an international student

You'll feel at home in our international community and our diverse city. You'll be joining over 5,000 international students from more than 150 countries who are studying with us.

Learn more about international student life and how we can help you with visas, applications, arrival and settling in. 

Information for international students

Career development

Careers this Master’s prepares you for

This MSc in Health Psychology provides the Stage 1 training for you to practise as a health psychologist. Upon successful completion of the course, you'll be able to apply for Stage 2.

This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). 

Graduates of this course have gone onto roles such as:

  • Health Psychologist trainee
  • Research Assistant

Others have continued into doctoral study.

Graduates of this course have gone on to work for companies such as:

  • Office for National Statistics
  • King's College London
  • University of Portsmouth

Career outcomes shown are sourced from the latest available graduate outcome surveys. The data shows career outcomes at 15 months after graduation.

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert career support from your tutors and our Careers and Employability Centre – which you can access for up to 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

Career support

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • Applied projects with employers
  • 1-to-1 appointments
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • Support starting your own business

Learn more about your career support

Placements and industry connections

A work experience placement is a central part of this course and is designed to help stage 1 trainees in getting a better understanding of the theoretical teaching and it's application. This also helps students get a better understanding of the different career options available to them. We expect students to complete 64-104 hours of work placement activity (7 hours per week for 13 weeks) and we'll support you in finding a suitable placement. Academic placements are also available to students on this course.

We have connections with providers including Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust and Boots working on matters such as smoking cessation and asthma. These placements are competitive and you'll need to interview for them.

All placements are currently unpaid.

Placements are assessed by:

  • Practical skills assessment
  • Coursework portfolio
     

Supporting you

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty 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

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

The Maths Café offers advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your maths skills at a workshop or use our online resources.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

How to apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us.

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start date in September, as long as there are places available. If you wait until September to apply, you may find that the course is full.

If you're applying as an international student, remember that you'll need to leave plenty of time to get your visa organised.

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. International students and current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

Ready to apply?

Start this course in September 2024

On-campus

Apply now (Full-time) – 1 year

Apply now (Part-time) – 2 years

I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2023, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

  • a shorter application form to complete
  • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
  • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

Learn more about fast track

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.