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Course overview

Take the next step on your journey in psychology with this British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited course for Health Psychology. 

Why do people not eat healthily? Can we understand, predict and change health behaviours by looking at psychological factors? How do people adjust to getting a diagnosis for a chronic condition? Why do some people do better after surgery than others? These are the types of questions you'll investigate while studying Health Psychology.

At Nottingham you'll learn with a real focus on professional skills, helping you to get to where you want to be by the end of the course.  The passion and enthusiasm of the course team was just one of the seven commendations we received as part of our accreditation along with student support and the professional skills and career development opportunities we give our students.

Join our Health Psychology family and make the most of our friendly and supportive but academically challenging course.

Why choose this course?

Seven commendations

Received when we achieved our BPS re-accreditation in 2015

Careers event

Every year we hold a careers event with previous graduates to help students network.

Unique expertise

You will be taught by a course team with unique research expertise such as how the internet and social media can be used to manage chronic conditions.

Course content

You'll study across a number of compulsory modules designed to give you a broad knowledge of health psychology as a professional discipline, the key theoretical models and research in the field, alongside the role of the health psychologist.

Study takes place over three semesters, autumn, spring, and summer. Typically taught modules are delivered in the autumn and spring semesters with the summer used for the research project, though this is dependent on your mode of study.

MSc students will take all of the compulsory modules for a total of 180 credits.

Modules

Context and Perspectives in Health Psychology 10 credits

This module seeks to develop an appreciation of:

  • historical and current perspectives in health psychology
  • the role of the health psychologist and associated professional issues
  • current perspectives in European and international health psychology and an awareness of related disciplines, eg behavioural medicine
  • the impact of gender, social and cultural factors on health and illness.
Professional Skills in Health Psychology 20 credits

The module covers:

  • key professional skills within health psychology such as communicating with different health professionals and populations and presenting key research findings.
  • career development and planning, including CV development and interview skills.
Chronic Illness 20 credits

This module begins by introducing students to the diverse ways in which psychological factors alter biological processes central to health and well-being.

Topics include:

  • an overview of key biological systems
  • the role of psychological factors in influencing vulnerability to new diseases
  • the role of psychological factors in disease progression
  • the application of health psychology to chronic illness, associated disabilities and both treatment selection and treatment outcomes
Understanding, Predicting and Changing Health Behaviour 20 credits

Explore the cognitions and cognitive determinants of health-related behaviours in detail, through the study of a range of key models. You will also develop an understanding of changes in these behaviours and the intention-behaviour gap.

Other topics include:

  • the role of information in health-related motivation and action
  • how social influence techniques can maximize the impact of health promotion
  • how the manner in which messages are processed determines their impact on attitude change
  • the role of self-efficacy in motivation, health behaviour and health
  • elicitation research, intervention design and evaluation
  • behaviour change techniques and their relationship to psychological theories
Health Care Contexts 10 credits

This module develops an appreciation of key issues in the interaction between patients and health care contexts. These include:

  • communication in health care settings
  • the impact of hospitalisation on adults / children
  • preparation for stressful medical/ dental procedures
  • giving bad news
  • adherence to medical treatment
Introduction to Research Methods 10 credits

Gain the knowledge and skills to effectively plan and design research as well as to critically appraise published research. You will be introduced to how to write a literature review in a systematic way, how to write a research proposal, study designs (including developing research questions), ethics and practical issues when planning and conducting research.

The module also covers designing questionnaires, psychometric issues such as reliability and validity, using interviews and focus groups, and use if the internet and an introduction to online research methods.

Qualitative Research Methods 10 credits

You will be introduced to a range of qualitative approaches and the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings and practical application of qualitative methods.

Teaching will combine lectures, workshops, and self-directed study. Sessions will include a focus on interviews and focus groups, Realist Evaluation, thematic analysis, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, narrative approaches and Grounded Theory.

Students will be guided to consider developing qualitative research questions, ethical issues in qualitative research and the critical appraisal of qualitative research evidence.

Quantitative Methods 20 credits

Through a series of lectures, practical workshops and assignments, this module will take you through the design, operationalization, data-collection, data analysis, and report-writing processes of a quantitative research study in mental health and applied psychology.

Advanced techniques and software including Multi-Level Modelling; Meta analysis; Factor Analysis; Path Analysis.

Independent Research Project 60 credits

The project is designed to provide students with the opportunity to engage in, and learn from, supervised project work in health or rehabilitation psychology.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Monday 09 November 2020.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Interactive lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Seminars
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

  • Poster presentation
  • Reflective reports
  • Mini systematic review
  • Research reports
  • Grant proposal
  • Research project
  • Exams

Your work will be assessed during or at the end of each module through a variety of means.

To complete a module and gain its credits you will need to make sure you attend your timetabled sessions and get over the 50% pass mark.

In order to achieve the MSc, you will need a total of 180 credits.

Contact time and study hours

We encourage our students to think of the course like they would a full-time job and spend around 37 hours on it per week including teaching time. Part time students should consider it similar to a part-time job.

You are expected to work roughly 10 hours for each credit on the course including teaching and independent study, so a 20 credit module should take around 200 hours to complete or around a total of 25 eight-hour days.

Full Time

Full time students learn over a period of two semesters and a summer period totalling 12 months.

Teaching is usually delivered on Wednesdays and Thursday. You'll have an average of 14 hours of contact time each week, however time and days of teaching will depend on your modules

Non-teaching days are intended for private study and research.

Part Time

Part time students learn the same course content over a period of 24 months.

Teaching will usually take place on either Wednesdays or Thursdays each week during the Autumn and Spring semesters, so students typically attend teaching one day a week or about 7 hours per week.

We try wherever possible to be flexible to help you manage your timetable.

You're expected to devote around two to three days per week to the course including attending teaching, private study, and research.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 in Psychology
Additional information

You will also need proof of holding Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) either from your University or the British Psychological Society (BPS). If you have not studied an accredited course you will need to take an accredited conversion programme or look at our other offerings.

Find out more about accredited conversion programmes

Applying

If you have any questions about applying to the course or studying at the University of Nottingham, please use our enquiry form

You can also contact the course director, Dr Heather Buchanan, if you have any questions about the course content.

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

Qualification MSc
Home / UK £8,500
International £23,000

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses such as travel and accommodation.

You should be able to access the books and resources you need for the course through our libraries, however you may wish to purchase your own copies or get specific books.

Funding

Funding is available from Learning Beyond Registration (LBR) for post-registration healthcare professionals employed by the NHS in the East Midlands (excluding doctors and dentists) to undertake extra studies. You may be able to get funding for either the full programme or to cover specific modules.

Find out more about the LBR funding

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

The University also offers masters scholarships for international and EU students. Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about funding postgraduate study.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

Graduate destinations

Our graduates have gone on to varied and interesting careers and further study, including:

  • Research assistant/associate (like exploring binge drinking; aspects of chronic illness)
  • Working for Health Psychology consultancy companies
  • PhDs and Doctorates (such as Health Psychology and Clinical Psychology)
  • Working in industry (like pharmaceutical companies)
  • Working for the NHS (such as smoking cessations advisers and in pain management clinics)

Career progression

90.3% of postgraduates from the School of Medicine secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £38,889.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

British Psychological Society

This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). This means you will have completed Stage 1 of your training and can move on to a Stage 2 programme to meet the requirements to become a Chartered Psychologist (BPS) or Registered Health Psychologist (Health Care & Professions Council).

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" I find Health Psychology infinitely exciting. It's absolutely fascinating that psychological factors can have an impact on health, illness and care. At Nottingham we've got expertise that you won't get elsewhere and we'll teach you in an environment that's friendly and supportive but still academically challenging. We want to help you develop the skills you need as you begin your career. "
Dr Heather Buchanan, Course Director

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning (2017/18). Our teaching is of the highest quality found in the UK.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a national grading system, introduced by the government in England. It assesses the quality of teaching at universities and how well they ensure excellent outcomes for their students in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.

This content was last updated on Monday 09 November 2020. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.