Course Philosophy

Health psychology is the educational, scientific, and professional contributions of psychology to: understanding the promotion and maintenance of health and the aetiology of illness; the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of physical illness; the study of psychological, social, emotional, and behavioural factors in physical illness; the improvement of the health care system; and formulation of health policy.

This course aims to train people who will become scientist-practitioners working in a range of health settings.

The course will provide students with the skills and knowledge to complete Stage One of the training leading to becoming a Chartered Psychologist.

The main objectives of the MSc in Health Psychology are to:

  • Provide students with basic knowledge of the content of health psychology by covering all the major areas of the role of psychological factors in sickness and health.
  • Provide students with the knowledge base to enable them to bridge the disciplines of psychology, medicine and biology.
  • Equip students with methodological knowledge about the ways in which health psychology research may be designed, conducted, analysed and interpreted.
  • Facilitate students’ ability to solve health problems at individual, interpersonal and organisational levels and in primary, secondary and tertiary care settings.
  • Provide skills training in relevant areas e.g. knowledge of appropriate interventions.
  • Inform students about the models currently in use in practice and research.

As a result, it is intended that students who complete the course will be competent to:

  • Apply psychological approaches and skills to effective health care delivery.
  • Provide expertise and engage in health-related research i.e. its design, evaluation and implementation.
  • Advise on health promotion and primary and secondary prevention.
  • Use their knowledge as a basis for the teaching of health psychology to students and to health professionals involved in health research and delivering health care.

Our programme reflects the specialist expertise of the staff engaged in its delivery. The health psychology programme is taught by health psychologists and colleagues from related disciplines.  We routinely apply and develop health psychology models and theory in our work, and use both qualitative and quantitative methods in our own research.  This is reflected in our teaching and enables us to exemplify the scientist-practitioner model.

In terms of health promotion and illness prevention, the team have specialist interests in topics including self-management and psychosocial interventions for chronic illness, placebo effects and complementary therapies in healthcare, patient experience of illness, treatment decision-making, sexual health, pain, and digital health interventions.  For example, we have developed self-management education interventions, and work on the integration of programmes into the health care system, including for professional training and quality assurance.  This expertise informs the content of our teaching and means you learn about cutting-edge research and interventions across a diverse range of health psychology topics.

We offer a range of specialist optional modules including an apprenticeship in health psychology, where students work as an apprentice in order to develop generic professional skills and skills specific to one or more core health psychology domains of research, teaching, consultancy, and interventions. Other optional modules include one in cognitive behaviour therapy, where students can begin to develop an understanding of and skills in CBT.

All of our modules will help you to develop your transferable skills, your research skills, and your psychological skills.  Our skills training workshops provide additional dedicated space for you to develop these practical skills in a supportive environment with specialist instructors.  Ultimately we aim for all our students to reach a high level of critical thinking and evidence-based knowledge, as the core inputs for their future careers.

The programme is a recognised accredited Stage I training, accredited by the British Psychological Society. The Society is the professional body responsible for developing and supporting the discipline of psychology and disseminating psychological knowledge to the public and policy makers. It is the key professional body for psychology and psychologists, with numerous benefits of membership. Please see for further information.