Health Psychology MSc
Alternative attendance modes for this course
Courses start in September, unless otherwise stated
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.
Health Psychology plays a key role in improving the health and wellbeing of the population. This course, based in the heart of London, 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 geared to developing transferable skills, and relating directly to the world of work. The course also provides the opportunity to gain work experience and apply your knowledge in a health psychology setting, whilst considering future career plans. The course is taught by a core team of enthusiastic and supportive research-active staff, with collaborative links to external institutions in London and beyond. Successful completion of the course (Stage 1) is a prerequisite for the further training (Stage 2) to become a health psychologist registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC).
We work with a range of specialists to provide additional professional training in areas such as resilience, coaching, and clinical practice.
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. In particular, the course emphasises the importance of an evidence-based approach to health psychology, and develops the core skills needed for Stage 2 training. Within the core modules, there is considerable flexibility for you to choose particular areas of study of interest.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.
Core modules include two introductory modules:
HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY: A LIFESPAN DEVELOPMENT PERSPECTIVE
This module takes a development approach to understanding relationships between psychology, biological and social factors that influence health and diseases through the lifespan. It emphasis the dynamics of change and a number of key topics are examined including children's health and the family context, normative transitions and life events, and vulnerability and resilience. Student-led panels explore the most current issues, controversies and methods within a lifespan framework.
THEORIES AND PERSPECTIVES IN HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY
This introductory module explores a broad range of topics in health psychology within a multidisciplinary framework. It considers 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, including intervention design and evaluation.
DATA HANDLING AND RESEARCH METHODS FOR APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY
Through lectures, seminars and practical classes, this module addresses the theoretical and practical issues involved in acquiring and analysing quantitative and qualitative data for health psychology.
HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY IN PRACTICE
This module examines a range of issues relating to health psychology practice, including client-related issues, ethical considerations, interventions, and professional development. You will have the opportunity to learn techniques such as mindfulness and motivational interviewing, with a range of practising psychologists contributing to the module. Personal and professional development is fostered through reflective practice and experiential learning, including designing and evaluating an individualised behaviour change intervention.
INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, HEALTH, STRESS AND ILLNESS
This module explores the role of individual differences (including social and cultural factors) in health and illness. It introduces 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 explore the physiological and psychological correlates of acute and chronic pain, the theories 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 or aspect of methodology. The area of work should bring together your occupational experience or preference with the substantive material covered during the taught components of the course. 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.
WORK EXPERIENCE IN A PSYCHOLOGICAL SETTING
This module provides the opportunity to apply psychology to a real world work situation. You will work in voluntary or paid positions in health-related settings to gain valuable work experience and develop skills which will help to prepare you for the workplace. Students who take this optional module will then take a 40 credit Research Based Project.
Dr Tina Cartwright, Course Leader
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.
This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).
Additional costs information
To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.