Mental Health Research MSc


Fact file

Qualification name:Mental Health Research
Duration:1 year full-time
Entry requirements:Students should have an undergraduate degree classification of 2.1 or above in Psychology, Medicine, Nursing, Neuroscience or a related cognate discipline
IELTS:6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any element
Part time details:2 years part-time
Start date:September
Campus:Jubilee Campus

Course Overview

The MSc Mental Health Research is suitable for graduates, trainees and professionals looking to acquire specialist knowledge in mental health and develop research skills, with a view to enhancing career progression.

On our MSc Mental Health Research you will:

  • develop knowledge and understanding of all the main areas of mental health
  • learn how to design, conduct and write up a research project for publication in a peer-reviewed journal
  • be taught by international experts from across all the main disciplines of mental health
  • learn to critically appraise current research in the field of mental health
  • learn how to work with others from different disciplines, including science, healthcare and education.

Course Details

This is the first MSc Mental Health Research in the UK to cover a broad range of topics within the mental health field combined with a focus on developing research skills in this field.

The course can be completed on a full-time basis over one year or a part-time basis over two years.

The course consists of 120 credits of taught modules and a further 60 credits are devoted to a research project.

Students can opt to complete the diploma (120 credits of taught modules) or certificate (60 credits of taught modules) instead of the MSc.


Modules consist of a mix of taught sessions, practical workshops and seminars.

Models and Approaches in Mental Health Research

This seminar-based module will evaluate current psychiatric classification systems, ICD and DSM, in the context of the sociology of classification and will also outline the dimensional model of mental health. The role of trauma and stress in the aetiology and trajectory of mental health difficulties and the narrative approach to understanding mental health will be discussed. The value of the recovery model of mental health and service user-led research will also be considered.


Topics in Child and Adolescent Mental Health

This module considers the conceptual and practical (including ethical) issues in identifying, diagnosing and managing mental health and behavioural problems in children and young people. The module will consist of a mix of lectures and student-led seminars each focussing on a key topic in the field and drawing on expertise within the Division of Psychiatry.

Specific topics will include: diagnostic and dimensional models and approaches to understanding mental health in children, including ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, early-onset psychosis and autism; lifespan factors in mental health; treatment approaches; alcohol and substance misuse in adolescence and behavioural factors in childhood mental health.


Topics in Cognitive Neuropsychiatry

This module introduces research methods for investigating the neural processes that underlie cognitive function in mental health and illness. Sessions will consist of a mixture of lectures, group work (student-led presentations), workshops, and self-directed learning.

Topics will include: an introduction to neuroimaging methods (including MRI, PET, EEG, MEG, TMS) and task design; neuroanatomy and functional connectivity between brain regions underlying psychological function; the neuropsychiatry of key trans-diagnostic psychological dimensions, including mood, inhibitory control and impulsivity, anxiety, moral evaluation and social cognition. The module will also cover the relevance of these dimensions to the diagnosis and treatment (pharmacological, cognitive and behavioural) of psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia, mood disorders, personality disorders, ADHD, autism).


Forensic Mental Health

This module critically examines the relationship between the spectrum of psychological disorders - from neurotic disorders to personality disorders and the psychoses - and criminal offending. It will also examine the psychological processes that underlie such a relationship, and developmental precursors of adult criminality. Topics will include: brain and behaviour in mentally disordered offenders; personality disorders; mental disorders and dangerousness; the criminal justice system and mental disorder. The module will consist of a range of seminars delivered by clinical and academic experts.


Systematic Review of Treatment Effects

The course will enable students to learn how to undertake reviews of randomised studies covering:

  • Developing a protocol for a review.
  • Searching and managing references.
  • Extracting and using data.
  • Using RevMan, more sums and Cochrane.

Sessions will include small group teaching, workshops, interactive tutorials with hands on practical work at computer stations and group work.


Qualitative Methods in Mental Health Research

This module considers a range of qualitative approaches suitable for use in mental health research. Students will be introduced to the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings and practical application of a number of qualitative research methods. The teaching will combine lectures with student-led seminars. Specific topics included will be: developing research questions appropriate for qualitative methods; choosing a qualitative method; ethical issues; service user involvement; interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA); thematic analysis and content analysis.


Quantitative Methods in Mental Health Research

This module covers all aspects of research design and statistical methodology, leading students through the basic concepts underlying statistical methods through to more advanced techniques for handling the complex data obtained within a mental health research setting. Students will complete set assignments regularly to ensure thorough learning of each concept. The module will consist of a mix of seminars and practical sessions and will be utilise the University’s computing facilities.


Ageing & Dementia

In this module students consider contrasting research approaches to dementia and ageing, including population based studies of dementia and ageing; clinical studies of dementia and other mental disorders in later life; and social and psychological approaches to dementia and ageing. Topics will include: Diagnosis and classification of dementia; Biological studies of dementia (imaging, genetics); Clinical trials of treatment; Population based studies of aging and cognitive impairment; Psychological treatments; Social care and dementia research; Care homes and end of life in dementia; Mental capacity and ethics in research.


Research Internship

In this module the student will work alongside a member of academic staff in the pursuance of a piece of research which is independent of their thesis research project. The student must attend a minimum of 10 sessions with the supervisor in which the research project is discussed. This module considers: research ethics and governance; design and methodology; literature searching and critical analysis; communication of research findings.


Research project

In this module the student will plan, design and carry out a novel qualitative, quantitative or neuroimaging experiment with supervision from members of staff in the Division of Psychiatry. The student will be responsible for gathering and analysing data to test a specific research question and will write up the findings with the style of a journal article. If the work reaches an appropriate standard, the findings may be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journal. 

You will design and conduct a piece of research under the supervision of a member of academic staff within the Division of Psychiatry who will be an expert in your chosen topic. Take a look on the division's website to find out more about the research topics offered.

Through the project you will gain experience of ethics and governance procedures, design and methodology, data collection and analysis methods, and the preparation of research findings for publication in a scientific peer-reviewed journal.

The division has strong links with local NHS sites, providing students with the opportunity to conduct a piece of research within a clinic setting, subject to the appropriate ethical approvals.

You will also learn how to create a poster presentation and communicate your findings to academic peers.



The University of Nottingham offers advice on funding opportunities that are available to UK/EU and international students, to support fee payment and living costs while you study. Visit the Graduate School to find out more.


The MSc Mental Health Research will provide excellent training and an internationally recognised qualification for those wishing to further their career in mental health.

Former postgraduate students in the division have gone on to complete research degrees (PhD), secure Clinical Academic Fellowships and clinical lectureship positions. One former student was recently awarded one of the prestigious and highly competitive Wellcome Trust clinical fellowships to conduct further research following on from his MSc project.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2012, 84.8% of postgraduates in the Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £24,169 with the highest being £80,000.*

*Known destinations of full-time home and EU postgraduates, 2011/12.

Career Prospects and Employability

The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential. Our Careers  and  Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.


Emma Green
(Course administrator)
Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology
School of Medicine
The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham NG8 1BB
t:   +44 (0)115 82 32214

MHS videos

Medicine and Health Sciences videos


The Enquiry Centre

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5559
f: +44 (0) 115 951 5812
e: postgraduate-enquiries@nottingham.ac.uk
w: Frequently asked questions