Health Psychology MSc

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UKPASS code: 004351 | Institution code: W50 | Attendance mode: Full-time

Start: 14 September 2015
Duration: 1 year

Location: Central London
Campus: Cavendish

All prices quoted are for the academic year 2015/16 only. Alumni discount.

Home/EU: £9,000.00
Overseas: £13,000.00

View course-specific entry requirements

Normally you should have a good Honours degree that confers eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the BPS. However, we will consider candidates without GBC with some evidence of interest in the discipline. This can be demonstrated by your choice of undergraduate modules, undergraduate project area, or your work experience within health psychology or a related field. You may be invited for an informal interview. If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent. The University offers presessional Summer programmes if you need to improve your English before starting your course.

View standard entry requirements

This course, established in 1995, was one of the first Masters in Health Psychology, and has been accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) since 1999. It includes an innovative portfolio of assessments – which have been consistently praised by external examiners – geared to developing your transferable skills, and relating directly to the world of work. Our assessments include critical reviews, grant application preparation tasks, presenting your work in an end of module conference, designing and implementing a behaviour change intervention, and writing your research project as a short paper suitable for submission to a peer review journal.

Successful completion of the course (Stage 1) is a prerequisite for the further training (Stage 2) you will need to be able to register with the Health Professions Council (HPC) as a Health Psychologist. The course is taught by a core team of research-active staff, with collaborative links to external institutions in London and beyond.

Course content

The course will give you an in-depth understanding of the theoretical and applied bases of health, illness and disease. The main aim is to help you to develop the theoretical and methodological skills essential for conducting independent research and applying health psychology in practice. We provide a coherent programme of study covering the content, methods and application of health psychology as defined by the core Stage 1 curriculum of the BPS, Division of Health Psychology. In particular, the course emphasises the importance of an evidence-based approach to health psychology, and develops the core skills you will need for Stage 2 training. Although all modules are core, there is considerable flexibility within the module structure for you to choose particular areas of study of interest.

Core Modules

Data Handling and Research Methods for Applied Psychology

Through lectures, seminars and practical classes you will address the theoretical and practical issues involved in acquiring and analysing quantitative and qualitative data for health psychology research. From a qualitative perspective, we explore interview techniques and interviewer effects, and qualitative analysis (including content analysis, interpretive phenomenological analysis and grounded theory). The main quantitive topics covered are: an introduction to discriminant, factor and cluster analysis; Anova/Manova; epidemiological statistics; experimental designs – hypotheses, models and theories; multiple regression; power analysis; questionnaire design; survey design and sampling.

Health Psychology: A Lifespan Development Perspective

This module takes a developmental approach to understanding relationships between biological and social factors that influence health and disease through the lifespan. It emphasises the dynamics of change rather than a 'stage' approach. Using this approach you will examine a number of key topics including children's health and the family context, normative transitions and life events, and vulnerability and resilience. Age-related and gender issues are also explored.

Health Psychology in Practice

You will examine a range of issues relating to health psychology practice, including client-related issues, ethical considerations, intervention issues, and professional development in health psychology. Practising Health Psychologists will be invited to contribute to the module, and teaching and learning will take place in interactive group sessions where issues relating to current health psychology practice will be discussed. These sessions will involve a range of teaching methods which will give you the experience of participation, while also demonstrating good practice for running sessions as trainers/leaders. You will also be able to put theory into practice in regular practical sessions.

Individual Differences, Health, Stress and Illness

This module aims to give you an appreciation of the role of individual differences (including social and cultural factors) in health and illness. It will introduce you to the biological mechanisms by which stress can impact on physical and psychological health (psychoneuroimmunology), and how stress and well-being can be measured to enable evaluation of stress-management interventions. You will also consider the physiological and psychological correlates of acute and chronic pain, the theories, perception and management of chronic illness, and the meaning and mechanism of action of the placebo effect.

Research Based Project: Health Psychology

This module is designed to enable you to realise your training in the context of a particular research problem, aspect of methodology, or policy. The area of work should bring together your occupational experience or preference with the substantive material covered during the taught components of the course. There is no set syllabus, and projects are intended to give you maximum flexibility in selecting an appropriate area of application, and investigating and assessing potential research sources and their relevance to the existing field of knowledge.

Specialist Topics for Applied Psychology

This module will cover the areas of review writing skills, systematic review protocol, design critique, and grant application writing skills. Relevant professional issues will also be explored, including: inter professional working; research ethics; presentation skills; careers; portfolio development for project research; national and international perspectives on applied psychology; and practice specific issues.

Theories and Perspectives in Health Psychology

This introductory module explores a broad range of topics in health psychology within a multidisciplinary framework. You will consider the social and cultural context of health and illness, the importance of social cognition models in health care, and issues around communication and health care decisions. The module emphasises theoretical and methodological issues in health psychology research and application, and describes the historical context within which it has been developed. It encourages the critical evaluation of research and methodology in health psychology.

Associated careers

The course is a prerequisite for those wishing to pursue Stage 2 training leading to Registration with the HPC as a Health Psychologist. However, it also serves as a precursor to those wishing to pursue a PhD in Psychology, and other areas of applied psychology such as clinical or counselling. The majority of our graduates work in the health-related professions.

The course is designed as a mandatory qualification for those wishing to pursue further training and registration with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a Practitioner Psychologist:  Health Psychologist, it is also an attractive course to any student with a first degree in Psychology or related discipline. The course is founded on a strong evidence-based approach and training in research methods and skills is emphasised in all modules of study. Transferable skills are embedded into the programme through a novel approach to assessment that mirrors activities in the employment market.

Success stories

Graduates from the Health Psychology MSc course at the University of Westminster work at all levels and, in all areas of health and related professions. Most students go on to undertake further postgraduate training be it in research, teaching or work related training. Many alumni of the course work as HCPC registered applied psychologists including, health, counselling and clinical psychology. Others have worked to enhance their career opportunities in their chosen disciplines including Occupational Therapy, Nursing, Advertising and Recruitment. Others work as, consultants, freelancers and academics.

Work experience

From September 2014 all our students will undertake a work experience placement within a health related setting. Students will negotiate with tutors on finding a placement and arrange suitable supervision. Some recent examples of work experience opportunities include:

Hospitals: The Cassel Hospital (Personality Disorder service); The Royal Marsden Hospital (Neuro-oncology, paediatrics); Kings College (Dental Institute); Sussex Partnership Trust Children and Young Person's Mental Health Services; Great Chapel Street Medical Centre; Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore; Great Ormond Street Hospital; Mildmay Hospital; The Royal Brompton Hospital, London.

Charities: EnhanceAble (a registered charity that provides services for people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, acquired brain injuries and autism); Westminster Drug Project; Southwark Your Way (a programme that offers flexible mental health support and guidance to suit service user’s needs); Headway Hertfordshire; Mind, Hammersmith and Fulham; British Red Cross; The 240 Project (a community and activity centre in West London which works with vulnerable and excluded people); Terrence Higgins Trust; Jewish Women's Aid; Westminster Parent Mentoring project; Turning Point Drug and Alcohol Service; Women and Girls Network; NSPCC; Kith and Kids; Alzheimer's Society; Freedom from torture; The Muslim Youth Helpline.

Study in the city

If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.

Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.


After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.

Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships

In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.

Personal tutoring

All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.

Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.

Language support

Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.

Personal advice and counselling

While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.

International Westminster

With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.

Study Abroad and Summer School programmes

Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.

If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.

Sport and recreation

The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.

Students' Union

University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.


Md. Azharul Islam, Health Psychology MSc graduate

On completion of my BSc in Psychology and MSc in Counselling Psychology from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, I was looking for a PhD in Psychology in any renowned university of the modern world. While researching potential areas and contacting professors, I came to realize that to be able to pursue a PhD in applied psychology fields, I needed a deeper understanding of contemporary research (i.e., the ability to critically evaluate research questions, methodology, results, writing reports, etc.). The Health Psychology MSc course of the University of Westminster has precisely met those demands maintaining high standards throughout.

The structure and contents of the course are very up-to-date (and of course accredited by British Psychological Society) with a good balance of theory, research and practice skills. I found classes and seminars are very stimulating probably because of highly qualified and experienced teaching staff. Lecturers are particularly interested in eliciting students’ ideas, views and try to relate those with contents of the course. This mode of teaching actually fosters students’ self-confidence and deepens interest in psychology.

This growing interest however needs to be supported by adequate logistics. 24/7 library facility, access to the leading psychology journals and books, skilled librarians and psychology technicians are the key features I have found in the Department of Psychology at the University of Westminster. Virtually, there is no barrier to meet one’s dream. Additionally, due to the location of the campus (i.e., at the heart of London), one can easily access all other facilities. Studying here is not stressing, it is fun!  

I would highly recommend the Health Psychology MSc course to any fellow psychology graduates interested in a career either in research or practice. One last thing I would like to say, don’t forget to apply for a scholarship. University of Westminster has a number of prestigious scholarship schemes. I have enjoyed a full scholarship. Best of luck. 


Sigrun Thorsteinsdóttir, Health Psychology MSc graduate

I have a very eclectic background, holding a BA in fine art, BA in psychology, MA in design for interaction and then 10 years experience as an expert on web accessibility. Working with human computer interaction is fun but I found myself being drawn babk to psychology, the theories, the research and even the statistics. Being very interested in all things healthy, I applied for the MSc in Health Psychology. A fellow BA (psychology) student is an MSc alumni of psychology at the University of Westminster and highly recommended it. I have not been disappointed in the least.

The lectures are highly informative, give tremendous insight and although challenging, have offered a great deal of reward. There is an emphasis on students following a line of interest in their research, something which is critically important at a Masters level. The course has deepened my understanding of theory and research, providing a good balance of newly published research and the nitty, gritty basics of health psychology. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed the course, and the faculty is outstanding (the librarians are legendary). The teaching staff are friendly, very knowledgeable and in many instances leading in their field. It is very exciting being lectured by staff which have their names published in the books and papers you are reading. The course was very well organised, and at every step of the way, the teaching staff on hand had plenty advice and encouragement.

I have subsequently started Clinical Psychology training and the MSc has been a valuable preparation. Every day I can use something that I learned at Westminster.

Finally, the location is fabulous and you have the heart of London at the University‘s doorstep.

Information evenings

Upcoming postgraduate information evenings

Date Title Location
10 June 2015 Postgraduate information evening Cavendish, Harrow, Little Titchfield Street, Marylebone, Regent

View subject specific information evenings

About the faculty

Faculty of Science and Technology

Our active research and postgraduate programmes also ensure that undergraduate students are in close contact with the cutting edge of applied scientific knowledge.

Find out more about our faculty

School of Electronics and Computer Science

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