Health Psychology student in a workshop talking to other student
Mode of Study
Part-time, Full-time
Duration
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Start Date
September 2022

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

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.

What you'll study on this MSc Health Psychology degree course

Full-time

Modules studied

All modules on this MSc Health Psychology are core.

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Apply professional health psychology skills in a placement setting.
  • Critically reflect upon current and acquired skills and experiences during placement.
  • Evaluate current professional approaches in health psychology.
  • Critically discuss how existing psychological literature has informed current practice.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Demonstrate the formulation of research questions and investigative strategy based upon the critical and creative assessment and synthesis of published and unpublished sources of research.
  • Demonstrate professional practical competence on key issues and processes in planning and obtaining necessary consents for the research (e.g., ethics, resources, access to participants).
  • Systematically implement a research plan to a professional standard of procedure, ethics, and personal conduct.
  • Analyse and interpret data in a structured, informed and critical manner, reviewing results against the original research questions, identifying alternative interpretations and limits on the generalisability of conclusions and formulating and justifying recommendations for further research and development.
  • Produce a comprehensive and accurate written research report in a clear style, acceptable format and to a professional standard.
  • Engage confidently in academic and professional communication with others about the research report.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically assess issues surrounding design and methodology for research in health and/or forensic psychology
    Analyse psychological data using appropriate advanced quantitative and/or qualitative data analysis techniques
  • Evaluate the strengths and limitations of different research methods and analysis techniques commonly used in health and/or forensic psychology to interpret behavioural data
  • Critically assess published academic literature and synthesise the quality of the evidence base in a chosen area of health and/or forensic research using Systematic Review techniques
  • Identify and find solutions for ethical requirements and problems in health and/or forensic and other research

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Explain key biological mechanisms underlying human physiology and behaviour.
  • Critically evaluate evidence associated with biological explanations of health and illness.
  • Explain theories of, and critically evaluate evidence regarding, health-related cognitions and behaviour.
  • Present psycho-biological explanations of health and illness, using appropriate forms of communication.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Compare and discriminate between different theories in health psychology.
  • Evaluate and verify the value of evidence underpinning different health interventions.
  • Communicate theories and research findings relating to different client groups (e.g. relating to the effects of developmental or age-related, gender-related and cross-cultural differences on health as well as long-term illness and disability).
  • Use appropriate research and theory-based knowledge to select and devise health interventions based on sound academic judgement.
  • Creatively synthesize research findings on individual differences, lifespan in health and illness in appropriate formats for a variety of client groups and stakeholders.

Explore this module

Part-time

Year 1
Year 2

All modules on this MSc Health Psychology are core.

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Explain key biological mechanisms underlying human physiology and behaviour.
  • Critically evaluate evidence associated with biological explanations of health and illness.
  • Explain theories of, and critically evaluate evidence regarding, health-related cognitions and behaviour.
  • Present psycho-biological explanations of health and illness, using appropriate forms of communication.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Compare and discriminate between different theories in health psychology.
  • Evaluate and verify the value of evidence underpinning different health interventions.
  • Communicate theories and research findings relating to different client groups (e.g. relating to the effects of developmental or age-related, gender-related and cross-cultural differences on health as well as long-term illness and disability).
  • Use appropriate research and theory-based knowledge to select and devise health interventions based on sound academic judgement.
  • Creatively synthesize research findings on individual differences, lifespan in health and illness in appropriate formats for a variety of client groups and stakeholders.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically assess issues surrounding design and methodology for research in health and/or forensic psychology
    Analyse psychological data using appropriate advanced quantitative and/or qualitative data analysis techniques
  • Evaluate the strengths and limitations of different research methods and analysis techniques commonly used in health and/or forensic psychology to interpret behavioural data
  • Critically assess published academic literature and synthesise the quality of the evidence base in a chosen area of health and/or forensic research using Systematic Review techniques
  • Identify and find solutions for ethical requirements and problems in health and/or forensic and other research

Explore this module

All modules on this MSc Health Psychology are core.

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Apply professional health psychology skills in a placement setting.
  • Critically reflect upon current and acquired skills and experiences during placement.
  • Evaluate current professional approaches in health psychology.
  • Critically discuss how existing psychological literature has informed current practice.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Demonstrate the formulation of research questions and investigative strategy based upon the critical and creative assessment and synthesis of published and unpublished sources of research.
  • Demonstrate professional practical competence on key issues and processes in planning and obtaining necessary consents for the research (e.g., ethics, resources, access to participants).
  • Systematically implement a research plan to a professional standard of procedure, ethics, and personal conduct.
  • Analyse and interpret data in a structured, informed and critical manner, reviewing results against the original research questions, identifying alternative interpretations and limits on the generalisability of conclusions and formulating and justifying recommendations for further research and development.
  • Produce a comprehensive and accurate written research report in a clear style, acceptable format and to a professional standard.
  • Engage confidently in academic and professional communication with others about the research report.

Explore this module

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.

Careers and opportunities

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

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 address the BPS's core curriculum requirements for the study of health psychology (stage 1). We expect students to complete 64-104 hours of work placement activity (7 hours per week for 13 weeks) and we will 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

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.

It is our expectation that all international students will join us here on campus in Portsmouth.

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).

Teaching

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:

Black and white photo of Daphne Kaklamanou smiling against a brick wall

Daphne Kaklamanou

My main research interests focus on three themes: (1) behaviour change and self-regulation in health behaviour; (2) user experience of patient reported outcome measures (PROMS) and new technologies; and (3) health attitudes and health behaviours among adolescents.

I'm the course leader for the MSc Health Psychology and the module co-ordinator for Health Psychology Research Project (M30916) for the MSc Health Psychology. I supervise dissertation projects for both the Undergraduate courses and MSc Health Psychology.

Read my full profile

Miznah Al-Abbadey smiling in front of a bookshelf

Miznah Al-Abbadey

I'm a Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society (CPsychol) and a registered health psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). I obtained a BSc Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2010. I then went on to complete an MSc and PhD in Health Psychology at the University of Southampton in 2011 and 2017 respectively.

I teach on the MSc Health Psychology programme, which includes a number of different topics such as behaviour change theories, quality of life, and the delivery of psychological interventions in the context of health and illness. I'm the module coordinator for the ‘Applied Health Psychology and Placement’ module and supervise students (at both undergraduate and postgraduate level) with their dissertations.

Read my full profile

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

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

Facilities

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

  • Sensory lab
  • Pain lab

Supporting your learning

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 postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

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) for 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 the faculty librarian for science.

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

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.

The Maths Café offers free 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.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2022)

  • Full time: £9,400
  • Part time: £3,130 in year 1 and £6,270 in year 2

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £9,400
  • Part-time: £3,130 in year 1 and £6,270 in year 2

  • Full time: £18,300
  • Part time: £6,100 in year 1 and £12,200 in year 2

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.

If you're a UK student who achieved a first in your undergraduate degree you may be eligible for a £3,000 University of Portsmouth scholarship.

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 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.

Entry requirements​

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

September 2022

  • 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.

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?

Standard applications

Start this course in September 2022

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 2021, 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.