MSc Health Psychology (incorporating PG Cert/PG Dip)

Why choose this course?

100% of students said that they were satisfied with the overall quality of the course, according to the 2015 Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES)

  • Study a course accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • Develop the understanding necessary for the academic component of the route towards becoming a Registered Health Psychologist
  • Improve your skills in reviewing literature, formulating pertinent research questions and exploring these through the application of contemporary psychological methodologies
  • Gain the knowledge to work within multi-professional health care contexts.

MSc Health Psychology

Show All

Fact file

Start date: September (full-time or part-time) or January (part-time only)

Course length: Full-time: one year (two days per week). Part-time: two years (one day per week). If you study this course on-campus full-time, you’ll come into the University on Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you choose to study part-time you’ll come in on Wednesdays during your first year and Thursdays during your second year. 

Campus: Kedleston Road site, Derby Campus  

College: College of Life & Natural Sciences

About this course

Successful completion of this course fulfils stage one of the requirements towards Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and full membership of the Division of Health Psychology, if you hold Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership when you begin the course.

Accredited course

In our most recent accreditation visit (November 2014) we received six commendations from the BPS for our course.

In particular, we were commended for:

  • Innovative health psychology focused assessments that are applied in nature and will benefit Stage Two training and future employment prospects
  • Support mechanisms (e.g. PDP and tutorials) that promote employability and transferable skills
  • Recognition of the importance of developing networking skills and attendance of the Midlands Health Psychology Network conference as part of the course
  • Commitment and enthusiasm of the teaching team to providing a supportive student experience within a student centred approach.

Develop a deeper understanding of health psychology

This course will help you to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to critically evaluate the fundamental theoretical, empirical, and practical applications of health psychology.

Our MSc Health Psychology fulfils the standards of the British Psychological Society masters courses (Stage One training) in health psychology (October 2014), which with Stage Two postgraduate training, equips you for practice as a registered health psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

What you will cover

You’ll study these modules:

Psychology of Health and Wellbeing

Underpinning much of the activity within health psychology is the understanding of the psychological processes that relate to the maintenance of health, prevention of disease and the promotion of psychological wellbeing. This module aims to provide you with a broad knowledge base in these areas in relation to the historical, social and political context of health psychology and health services policy.

Health Promotion and Behaviour Change

Understanding the complex interplay between psychological, biological, environmental, social and political factors that influence health is a necessary skill for health psychologists. The aim of this module is to provide you with an understanding of a range of factors that influence health behaviour and behaviour change, to appreciate the potential for health psychology to inform health promotion practice, and provide the necessary knowledge and skills to successfully design and evaluate psychologically-based interventions.

Psychology of Illness

Within health psychology it is essential to understand the links between psychological factors, behaviour, physiological mechanisms and illness. This module aims to provide you with a broad knowledge base in these areas and introduce you to a range of physiological and psychological assessment methods.

Living with Long Term Conditions

The aim of this module is to provide you with a critical awareness of the role of psychology in the onset, diagnosis, progression and management of various long term conditions. This module will also provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the role of the family, health service and wider social environment in long term illness.

Advanced Psychological Methods in Context

To conduct and evaluate research within the field of health psychology, you must be able to draw upon a variety of quantitative and qualitative research methods, assess the appropriateness of different research designs, and employ a range of advanced quantitative and qualitative analytical methods. These are necessary in order to draw appropriate interpretations and conclusions in relation to specific hypotheses or research questions. The aim of this module is to provide you with a critical understanding of these issues within the context of health psychology.

Professional Skills in Health Psychology

Health psychologists work in a range of professional and applied areas. The aim of this module is to explore and evaluate some of the key issues for professional practice.

The module is also designed to support professional development, and enable you to reflect on, and plan for, your own professional development as health psychologists. As part of this module you will attend the Midlands Health Psychology Network conference, to support the development of your professional network and identity as a trainee health psychologist.

Research Project in Health Psychology

It is intrinsic to the award of MSc that you present evidence of your capacity to conduct a substantial piece of independent empirical research that builds clearly upon your prior learning and which draws upon appropriate methodologies. The aim of this module is to allow you to identify a research issue, systematically review existing literature on the topic, formulate pertinent research questions and explore these questions through the application of contemporary psychological methodologies and appropriate data analysis and scientific write-up.

You will also learn about the importance of communicating the outcomes of research and different modes of dissemination, including writing up your empirical research in the style of a journal article for an appropriate health psychology journal.

Entry requirements

UK/EU students

Applicants should normally have or expect to obtain at least a 2:1 honours degree in psychology or a closely related subject containing a significant element of psychology.

We’ll consider your reference and personal statement carefully, and we’ll normally invite you to come for an interview.

International students

As above (or the equivalent international qualifications).

If English is not your first language, you will need to hold IELTS 6.5.

How to apply

UK/EU students

International students

Information for international applicants

Applying for a postgraduate degree

Fees and finance

2015/2016 fees

UK/EU students

  • £550 per module (you usually take the equivalent of nine single modules)

International students

  • Full time: £11,440

These fees apply if you're starting this course between September 2015 and August 2016. We recommend you check fee details with us though, as they can change. Costs can increase each year.

How you will learn

You’ll be taught by a dedicated team of chartered, registered, and research-active psychologists who have expert knowledge of health psychology theory, practice, and research. As part of the course you’ll undertake your own research project, specialising in an area of health psychology that particularly interests you and that is relevant to your career aspirations.

Our MSc Health Psychology combines research-led teaching with an innovative portfolio of assessments to ensure you develop both the knowledge and transferable skills necessary for progression towards Stage Two training or directly into employment. Our focus on professional skills is a key feature of the course.

Health psychology graduates work in a range of settings across the NHS, industry, local authority, voluntary, and academic settings in the application of psychology to aspects of health, illness, and health care.

If you study this course on-campus full-time, you’ll attend the University on Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you choose to study part-time, you’ll attend on Wednesdays during your first year and Thursdays during your second year.

How you're assessed

The programme is assessed via 100% coursework. Assessments are matched to the individual module learning outcomes, which are derived from the course aims and learning outcomes. All module assessments require critical reasoning and evaluation in order for students to meet learning outcomes.

Careers and employability

Previous graduates have gone on to qualify and work in a wide range of areas. Some have gone on to stage two training whilst others have secured funded PhDs in health psychology related areas. Others have used their MSc in Health Psychology to gain places on clinical psychology training programmes or access other related training e.g. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Treatment).

A number of our graduates currently work in the NHS, delivering services in areas of smoking cessation, health promotion, mental health, and chronic illness management. Others have used their MSc to access to other graduate professions, such as education and management.

What our students say

"I found the course at Derby very interesting and stimulating, as it was a different style of studying to undergraduate. I particularly enjoyed having the opportunity to conduct three pieces of research throughout the course. I loved the fact that some of the coursework involved applying health psychology theory and knowledge to real life situations, such as writing case studies and planning interventions. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable, and are supportive of research ideas that are less conventional and more integrative of health psychology and other disciplines. I would highly recommend this course to anyone considering doing a masters in health psychology."

Emma-Louise Randall, graduate