Course details

Study options

Part-time: 3 years

UK/EU fee

£875 per 20 credits* (2020/21)

Course level




Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

The first Master’s course of its kind, our MSc Behaviour Change with its distinct pathways, opens doors to a wide range of fulfilling careers which focus on changing people’s behaviour and helping them to make positive choices.

This is an original and topical course which challenges assumptions about behaviour change. It is aimed at professionals who want to gain new knowledge to support their work, and at graduates from a broad range of disciplines who would like to specialise in behaviour change and add social science to their skill set.

100%of our students are satisfied with the overall quality of the course**Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2019
100%of our students agreed that the course is intellectually stimulating**Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2019
100%of our students agreed that staff are enthusiastic about what they teach**Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2019
MSc Behaviour Change graduate, Duncan Aspin, discusses why he chose to study the course and how it has benefited his career

View Duncan Aspin talking about our MSc Behaviour Change video transcript

Pioneering a new area of study

Behaviour change has found a place at the heart of UK policy making, with an emphasis on finding innovative ways of encouraging, enabling and supporting people to make better choices for themselves.  It plays a key role in health, safety and environmental initiatives.

Our MSc fills a gap in high quality postgraduate education covering this topical subject. It covers psychological theories and models so that you can develop a greater understanding of human behaviour and behaviour change.

You’ll also gain the transferable skills you need to design, deliver and evaluate interventions that provide opportunities for people to change in a variety of practical contexts.

Specialist pathways

We offer four pathways to a named masters award in Behaviour Change, allowing you to focus on the area in which you are most interested, which reflects your current job role or which meets your employers’ needs. They are:

While the chance to specialise is a key element of the course, you’ll also benefit from exchanging views and experiences with students on other pathways. This underlines the way behaviour change initiatives often take a multidisciplinary approach.

A flexible learning experience

Our course has a structure as innovative as its content, enabling you to integrate your studies with your work and other commitments. It features three-day study blocks at our Kedleston Road campus, totalling nine days per year. You’ll also engage in guided learning and research activities at times to suit you.

You can either complete the full MSc in your chosen pathway over three years, or take a ‘step-off’ award after one year with the generic Postgraduate Certificate or after two years with the Postgraduate Diploma in your named pathway.

Although the pathways share several modules, they are distinctive and tailored to your particular interests. For all module coursework, you’ll focus on the specialist contexts that matter to you and are aligned with your practical experience.

At the start of your second year, you’ll take a pathway-specific module. In your masters research project in the final year, you will then conduct an independent study into an aspect of behaviour change which relates to your chosen pathway.

A teaching team to inspire you

You’ll be taught by a dedicated team of psychology and ergonomics experts whose research underpins and enriches this course. They are conducting studies into a broad spectrum of topics including body esteem, the management of painful conditions, smoking cessation, coping with stress, ageing and social inclusion, health and safety, people’s connection to nature, and language and communication.

Our staff have close links with professional bodies such as the British Psychological Society as well as major employers and stakeholders within the health, ergonomics and environmental sectors. Thanks to these wider professional networks, the course features opportunities for you to hear from influential guest speakers who can share their experiences of behaviour change interventions.

As part of our thriving academic community, we also have a  which advances our studies in everything from wellbeing, health and weight loss to anxiety and compassion. It offers a range of consultancy services and runs regular research seminars. 

What you will study

This course is made up of three stages: Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, and MSc.

In year one, you’ll study three modules such as:

  • Psychology for Behaviour Change - You will learn about psychology as a science and explore psychological approaches to learning, cognition, individual differences and social factors in order to critically reflect on how research in these areas is relevant to an understanding of behaviour
  • Theories and Models of Behaviour - You will learn about psychology as a science and explore psychological approaches to learning, cognition, individual differences and social factors in order to critically reflect on how research in these areas is relevant to an understanding of behaviour
  • Applied Behaviour Change Interventions - You’ll gain the knowledge and skills required to propose, design and evaluate an evidence-based workplace or community behaviour change intervention

In your second year, you’ll study a further three modules such as:

  • Research and Evaluation - You’ll design, conduct, report and evaluate empirical research and behavioural change interventions in applied contexts
  • Systems Context - Using the framework of applied systems thinking, you will explore the impact of specific interventions and ongoing programmes within the realities of organisational settings

The third module in year two is specific to your chosen pathway:

  • Positive Psychology, Health and Wellbeing - You’ll explore the philosophy and theories of positive psychology and its application to health and wellbeing initiatives on a personal and group level
  • Occupational Health and Safety and Behaviour Change - This module introduces theoretical and practical principles underlying human performance and behavioural approaches to health and safety in the workplace
  • Environment and Behaviour - You’ll explore theories and evidence relating to human-nature interactions, promoting nature conservation and the benefits of nature, for example creativity, restoration, health and wellbeing
  • Ergonomics and Human Factors - This module critically analyses system performance and the evidence-base for how it impacts on typical workplace performance, comfort and health problems

At this final stage, you only study one module which runs over three terms:

  • Research Project in Behaviour Change - You’ll identify a research issue related to behaviour change in your chosen pathway, review existing literature, formulate novel research questions and test these questions

Under the supervision of a member of the programme team, you’ll identify a research issue related to behaviour change in your chosen pathway, review existing literature, formulate novel research questions and - applying all relevant ethical guidelines and principles - test these questions through the application of contemporary psychological methodologies and appropriate data analysis and scientific report writing.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

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Postgraduate Live Online Events

While we’re not able to welcome you in person to our campuses at the moment, we’re not going to let that stop us showing you all the great things about studying at Derby.

We’re currently planning our autumn Open Events to bring you the best possible online and on-campus experience.

Book your Live Online EventBook your Live Online Event

How you will learn

You’ll be taught by a dedicated team of research-active health and cognitive psychologists and ergonomists who all have expert knowledge of psychological theory, practice, and research. You’ll benefit from exchanges with students across our Behaviour Change pathways, thus increasing your multidisciplinary outlook. As part of the course you’ll undertake your own research project, specialising in an area of behaviour change that particularly interests you and that is relevant to your current work or career aspirations.

Our MSc Behaviour Change programme combines research-led teaching with an innovative portfolio of assessments to ensure you develop both the knowledge and transferable skills necessary for employment in a number of sectors promoting behavior change.

The course is offered as a part-time degree and it is unique in that it combines periods of flexible learning throughout the duration of each term with on-campus study blocks amounting to a total of nine days attendance per year. Each module has an on-campus study block of three days of lectures, seminars and guided activities. In addition, you have access to our bespoke study materials and learning activities which you’ll engage with in your own time, giving you the flexibility to study at the most convenient time and place for you. The nine-day on-campus attendance per year fits well with a typical ten-day industry allocation for staff development, so if you’re self-funding it allows you to continue to work full-time. In addition, new students attend our two-day induction event at the start of the academic year.


You'll be assessed via coursework. There will be many activities to thoroughly prepare you for your coursework. Assessments are matched to the individual module learning outcomes, which are derived from the course aims and learning outcomes.

An expert teaching team

Who will teach you

Andrew Baird standing by a window

Andrew Baird
Programme leader

As a Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Andrew has been involved in the development of pioneering MSc programmes in Behaviour Change and Ergonomics/Human Factors.  He is Programme Lead for the MSc Behaviour Change programme and teaches primarily at masters-level.  His applied research activities have most recently been centred on driver behaviour.  

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

You will need an undergraduate degree (lower second or above) or equivalent in a relevant subject or substantial professional experience.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees (August 2020 - July 2021)



£875 per 20 credits*




*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply


Our MSc Behaviour Change course could be your stepping stone to employment and promotion opportunities in the health sector, local government and occupational health and safety roles.

It also provides a suitable qualification if you’re working in allied areas and want to progress your career by branching out into a specialist area. You could, for instance, be a physiotherapist or an occupational health and safety professional keen to broaden your skill set by focusing on behaviour change.

In addition, the MSc Behaviour Change provides a strong basis for further study in the form of a PhD. 

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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† Additional information about your studies

The programme is currently only offered as a part-time degree

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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