Career Prospects

Career destinations of graduates

Many of our recent MSc Health Psychology graduates have taken research and/or teaching positions in higher education. Some go on to do PhDs, often with funding and often building on the work they did for their MSc dissertations. Others have obtained lectureships or fellowships or joined clinical research organisations where they are involved in setting up and carrying out a variety of research projects. Others have gone on to do some form of clinical training after their MSc.  Common job roles include researcher, psychologist, social/care worker, educator/teacher, other health care roles, and business roles.

An analysis of independent survey data for our 2013/14 to 2016/17 graduates revealed the following:

  • 71% of our graduates went directly into employment.
  • 21% went onto further study, of whom 50% received some funding for their studies (e.g. from studentship and/or employer).
  • 79% reported professional/graduate level destinations and 90% were classified as being in professional/managerial level roles.
  • For 30% the MSc was a formal requirement, and for a further 55% it conferred an advantage to obtaining their current role.

Some of our graduates go on to further training to become a Health Psychologist.  After additional training they become a Chartered member of the British Psychological Society and/or register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a Health Psychologist. The information below answers some questions about what this involves.

Becoming a Health Psychologist

What qualifications does a Health Psychologist have?

Fully-trained UK health psychologists will be graduate members of the British Psychological Society (BPS) who have completed at least three further years of recognised training. Graduate membership of the BPS requires you to have “GBC” (Graduate Basis for Chartership) and is usually attained by successfully completing a BPS-validated undergraduate degree in psychology.  If you need GBC you may need to take a further (‘top-up’) postgraduate diploma or accredited conversion course, which can be taken either before or after the MSc.  The British Psychological Society can advise you on how to proceed if you are not sure whether you will need GBC in the future.

Recognised training will involve passing a BPS-accredited Masters degree in health psychology (stage 1) and completing stage 2 training.

Stage 2 training in Health Psychology involves a further minimum two years of supervised practice to satisfy the criteria for successful completion, which should encompass the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) standards of proficiency for Health Psychologists, and the BPS Division of Health Psychology (DHP) Stage 2 training competences.

On completion of Stage 2 training, an individual can apply for Chartered member status with the BPS, full membership of the BPS Division of Health Psychology, and/or registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a Practitioner (Health) Psychologist.

HCPC registration is required to use the legally protected title “Health Psychologist”. Psychologists who have completed a Master’s degree in health psychology and who are undertaking Stage 2 training may be regarded as ‘trainee’ health psychologists.

The requirements for post-Masters work towards Chartered Psychologist and Health Psychologist status are on the DHP website:  and the HCPC website:

Candidates may register either with the BPS (‘independent’ route) or a university-based HCPC approved education/training programme for stage 2 training. At Southampton, many of our health psychology staff are HCPC registered and some are able to offer supervision for stage 2 via the ‘independent’ route.


What is a Health Psychologist trained to do?

A Health Psychologist will have satisfied the BPS competencies in knowledge of health psychology theory and research. The basis of this is taught through an accredited Masters degree. Thereafter individuals must demonstrate their competence in the following five compulsory areas.

Generic Professional Competence

These refer to the implementation of codes of legal and ethical conduct, the management of interaction with clients and colleagues, and continuing development as an autonomous professional psychologist.


These refer to the conduct of health psychology interventions to change behaviour in a wide variety of settings and client groups, with reference to assessment, formulation, intervention, and outcome/evaluation.


These refer to undertaking systematic reviews and being able to employ appropriate research designs, methods and analysis in psychological research.


These refer to assessments of requests for consultancy, the planning, management, conduct, monitoring and evaluation of consultancy work in health psychology.

Teaching & Training

These refer to the ability to design, plan, deliver, assess and evaluate useful training programmes in health psychology.


What areas of health care do health psychologists work in?

All areas, focusing particularly on behaviour relevant to health, illness and health care delivery. These areas include public health policy making; health promotion; coronary heart disease and cardiac rehabilitation; stroke prevention and management; cancer management; the management of chronic illness such as asthma and diabetes; disability and rehabilitation; pregnancy; stress management; screening; HIV/AIDS; pain management; palliative care; preparation for medical procedures; patient adherence and communication between health care professionals and patients, including the conduct of patient consultations. In all cases, health psychologists seek to contribute to the development of evidence-based health care.


How can I find out more?


 How can I find out about joining the Division?

Visit the DHP’s website: or phone the BPS. Tel: 0116 252 9555.


The Basis for Membership of the British Psychological Society and Chartered Psychologist Status

A first step in establishing the basis for registration as a Chartered Psychologist is to establish Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). The MSc in Health Psychology will not be sufficient by itself to gain either Graduate Membership or GBC, but it will add to qualifications already held.  For those not in possession of an undergraduate degree in psychology from a recognised institution (i.e. recognised by the BPS), an individual assessment of eligibility for GBC will be needed. Guidance from the BPS should be sought. If you need GBC you may need to take a further (‘top-up’) postgraduate diploma or accredited conversion course.  This can now be taken either before or after the MSc.  The British Psychological Society can advise you on how to proceed if you are not sure whether you will need GBC in the future.


Why should I join the BPS?

The British Psychological Society is the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the United Kingdom. It promotes excellence and ethical practice in the science, education and practical applications of psychology. As a postgraduate student on an accredited programme, Graduate membership of The British Psychological Society will broaden your appreciation and understanding of psychology, and open up a network of like-minded students, academics and professionals, not to mention future opportunities. Membership of the Society also reflects your aspiration to represent the highest possible professional standards.

If you join the Society some of the benefits you will get from your membership include:

  • MBPsS, your designation as a Graduate Member in recognition of your academic achievement and professional status
  • the monthly flagship publication, The Psychologist, keeping you up-to-date with the very latest research, news and views
  • Member Networks: Providing a rich web of personal and professional contacts that enable you to stay informed with your areas of interest
  •  invaluable rates on professional development opportunities, conferences and events,designed to inspire and guide you throughout your studies and career
  • PsychSource, a single access point to 11 journals and 32 other titles published by Wiley-Blackwell. This facility also includes full-text journal articles, journal abstracts, BPS Blackwell books and multimedia content. PsychSource is fully searchable and personalisable according to Member interests
  • A wide range of guidelines, guidance documents and support in professional practice and ethical decision-making
  • Opportunities to join specialist registers and promote your competence and expertise.

To find out more and hear what benefits of belonging to the Society our members enjoy most, watch the video on The BPS membership team is available at or +44 (0)116 252 9911.

Please note: Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) was previously Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) before July 2009.