Health Psychology MSc
MSc Health Psychology
If you want to build on your health psychology knowledge to more fully understand health and health behaviours; to better help patients better manage their long-term illness or recovery; or to help healthcare professionals improve their provision – then our MSc Health Psychology course is for you.
On this course, you'll get a thorough grounding in the main areas (practice, theory and research) of health psychology. You'll learn how mental, emotional and social factors can affect physical wellbeing, and how to prevent them doing so. You’ll also learn how a patient's mental and emotional state is affected by an illness and their recovery from it – and develop the skills and knowledge to support them.
We recognise the value of work experience and so a work experience placement is a central part of the course. We expect students to complete 100 hours of work placement activity and will support students in identifying suitable opportunities.
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.
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 onto Stage 2, whereby 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 British Psychological Society (BPS), for your eventual progression to a career in health psychology or to study for a PhD.
MSc Health Psychology Master's degree entry requirements
Qualifications or experience
- 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.
English language requirements
English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
- All offers are subject to Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance.
What you'll experience
On this course, you'll:
- Learn in small groups from experts in the field of health psychology
- Have the opportunity to undertake a competitive placement or be supported to find your own placement and achieve unique and valuable workplace experience, whilst supported by a placement tutor.
- Learn about the role of health psychology in the NHS/world, health psychology theories, intervention development, develop your professional competence/ development
- Be taught in accordance with the academic requirements of the Division of Health Psychology and the British Psychological Society (BPS)
- Have access to our wide range of Research Suites and Laboratories and attend regular research seminars.
- 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.
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
What can you do with a Health Psychology degree?
After the course you could:
- 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.
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 completing 100 hours of work experience 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.
Previous placement providers include:
- Macmillan Cancer Support
- Portsmouth Hospitals Trust
- Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
- Southern Health NHS Trust
- Sussex NHS Trust
- St Wilfred’s Hospice
- Talking Change
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 on this MSc Health Psychology degree course
You'll study units worth 180 credits, including:
- Applied Health Psychology and Placement (30 credits)
- Applied Psychological Research Methods (30 credits)
- Health Psychology Research Project (60 credits)
- Psychobiological Aspects of Health (30 credits)
- Theories and Intervention Approaches in Health Psychology (30 credits)
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 and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
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:
academicwriting notetaking timemanagement criticalthinking presentationskills referencing workingin groups revision, memory and exam techniques
Support with English
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.
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.
The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.
How you're assessed
Assessment on this course is coursework based. You'll be assessed through:
- research report
- systematic review
- skills feedback (e.g. interviewing skills)
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.
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (2022 start)
UK / Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
- Full time – £9,400
- Part time – £3,130 (year 1) and £6,270 (year 2) (may be subject to annual increase)
(including Transition Scholarship)
- Full time – £9,400
- Part time – £3,130 (year 1) and £6,270 (year 2) (may be subject to annual increase)
- Full time – £18,300
- Part time – £6,100 (year 1) and £12,200 (year 2) (subject to annual increase)
Funding your studies
Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.
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.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 5 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.
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 and work experience are a central part of the course 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 - £1000 to cover travel, accommodation and subsistence.
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us (above) 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.
If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
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.