Course overview

Why don't people eat healthily? How do people adjust to getting a diagnosis for a chronic condition? Can psychological factors influence how well someone recovers from surgery? On our British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited Health Psychology MSc you'll develop an understanding of the key theoretical models and research in the field, alongside the role of the health psychologist. Our course has a unique focus on career development and planning and professional skills in health psychology.

You’ll be taught by internationally-recognised research-active staff who bring their expertise in key areas of health psychology to your learning experience. 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.

At Nottingham you'll learn with a real focus on your individual career pathway, helping you to take the next step on your career journey in psychology.

Come and join us and learn more about the MSc Health Psychology with an online course overview and Question and Answer session via Microsoft Teams with the Course Director, Dr Heather Buchanan (and current MSc Health Psychology students). We have sessions every month find out more and book your place.

Why choose this course?

Seven commendations

Received when we achieved our BPS re-accreditation in 2015

Network with graduates

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

Unique expertise

You'll 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.

The course 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, however, this will be dependent on your mode of study.

If you choose the MSc route, you'll take all of the compulsory modules for a total of 180 credits.


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
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.
Further Medical Statistics 10 credits

This module introduces students to a higher level of statistical methods, building on the content of the Medical Statistics module (EPID4030) and including statistical regression modelling techniques.

For example, students will learn to interpret and apply the techniques of multiple linear regression, logistic regression, rates and survival analysis in a statistical software package

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
Medical Statistics 10 credits

Learn the basic concepts of medical statistics and develop the knowledge and skills to analyse univariate data. Explore the basic principles and application of medical statistics in epidemiology.

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.
Qualitative Methodology and Analysis 10 credits

This module introduces the language and concepts in this field, and how these converge with and diverge from quantitative approaches. Contemporary debates and developments in qualitative research will be examined, drawing on examples of research pertinent to public health.

The module will introduce the spectrum of methods and analytical approaches, and provide opportunities to learn and read about, and to undertake practical exercises relating to commonly used and emergent qualitative methods relevant to public health.

The module will include information on, and practical exercises in appraisal of written qualitative research. Structured participatory activities will be used to enable students to apply the concepts and knowledge areas covered.

Research Methods for Applied Health 10 credits

Gain the skills to develop and deliver a research proposal from beginning to end, including:

  • refining a research topic/idea into a manageable research project
  • writing and refining a research question, aims and objectives
  • sources of data, including new technologies and searching
  • study design for feasibility and practicality
  • qualitative data collection (interviews, focus groups, other data sources)
  • quantitative data collection (eg survey design)
  • qualitative data analysis
  • ethics and research governance (GCP online task)
  • basic theory around mixed methods
  • introduction to patient and public involvement (PPI)
  • dissemination/writing/presenting research
  • introduction to project management including financing
  • CASP for critical appraisal
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
Independent Research Project 60 credits
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 Friday 03 March 2023.

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'll need to make sure you attend your timetabled sessions and get over the 50% pass mark.

To achieve the MSc, you'll need a total of 180 credits.

Contact time and study hours

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

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


If you choose to study the full-time route, you'll learn over two semesters and a summer period totalling 12 months.

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

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


If you choose to study this course part-time, you'll learn the same course content over a period of 24 months.

Teaching will usually take place on either Tuesdays or Thursdays each week during the Autumn and Spring semesters. You'll typically attend teaching one day a week or about seven 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 2023 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 in Psychology
Additional information

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

Find out more about accredited conversion programmes.


If you have any course-specific questions, you can email contact the course director, Dr Heather Buchanan.

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

How to apply


Qualification MSc
Home / UK £9,225
International £24,000

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

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.


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

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


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.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

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

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

Career progression

78.4% 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 £28,505.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time, postgraduate, home graduates within the UK.

British Psychological Society

This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). This means you'll 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 and 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

This content was last updated on Friday 03 March 2023. 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.