Triangle

Course overview

How can we better understand mental health conditions and how can we treat them?

Our Mental Health: Research and Practice MSc provides you with a unique balance between learning about the psychology behind key mental health issues and how to conduct research in the field.

Examine how mental health conditions are caused, diagnosed, assessed, and treated. As well as specific mental health research methods, models and approaches.

Conduct mental health assessments and cognitive testing, including measuring brain activity and physiological processes, to understand more about the basis of mental health difficulties in the Institute of Mental Health. One of the leading institutes for interdisciplinary mental health research in the UK.

You'll be taught by research-active experts in the field, both clinicians and non-clinicians, ensuring you are experiencing the latest thinking in mental health across the field and across all ages.

Our dual focus on research and practice will help you succeed in your career whether you wish to study mental health further in a PhD or train to become a clinical practitioner.

Why choose this course?

Balanced understanding

of both clinical practice and research 

Current research

Engage with the latest research in the field alongside our research groups

Leading institute

Learn from the Institute of Mental Health and its expertise

Course content

You'll study across a number of compulsory modules designed to introduce you to common concepts and approaches in mental health and mental health disorders and to help you build the core research skills you’ll need to succeed as an independent academic student of mental health.

You'll also have a selection of optional modules to help you tailor your studies to your specific interests and work balance. These will introduce you to conceptual and practical approaches to mental health from a number of different perspectives and research areas.

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.

If you choose to study the MSc route, you'll take all of the compulsory modules and choose 70 credits worth of optional modules for a total of 180 credits.

If you choose to study the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) route, you'll cover the same core modules and choose 70 credits worth of optional modules, but you won't take the 'Project and Dissertation' module, for a total of 120 credits.

If you choose to study the Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert), you must choose 40 credits worth of modules from Group 1 and 20 credits worth of modules from Group 2, for a total of 60 credits.

Modules

Compulsory modules

Models and Approaches in Mental Health Research 10 credits

This module familiarises you with the concept of mental health and the issues surrounding the classification, aetiology and treatment of mental illness.

How can we better understand mental illness and how can we treat it?

Thoughts, feelings and behaviours combine in patterns to formulate specific syndromes or sets of symptoms that can be looked at from different perspectives in mental health research and practice.

A range of pharmacological, psychological, behavioural and psychosocial models adopted in mental health and illness will be covered in this module with reference to common mental health problems or disorders, such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

By the end of this module, you should be able to understand key relevant concepts and critically appraise the evidence concerning models of research and therapeutic interventions; this knowledge and understanding will be gradually developed throughout the module and will be assessed at the end of the module in the form of an essay on one of the taught topics.

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.

This module is likely to be delivered online.

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.

This module is likely to be delivered online.

Masters Research Project 60 credits

Masters students are required to undertake an independent research project under the supervision of an academic/clinical expert. The project provides an opportunity for students to apply the knowledge and skills they have learnt during the course to a specific research question.

The module will develop your ability to initiate, design, pursue and present high-quality, forward-looking research study. You will also gain experience of the ethical approval process.

Early in the course students will be asked to choose from a range of project proposals identified by staff and students will be matched to one of their top choices. The bulk of the project work will be carried out during the spring and summer semesters.

Optional modules

Clinical Psychology - Core Models and Concepts 20 credits

This module aims to provide students with knowledge and understanding of models and concepts in the discipline of clinical psychology.

On the course you’ll be introduced to cognitive behavioural, systemic, psychodynamic and behavioural approaches to psychological therapy.

Sessions will describe the development and application of theory within each approach. In addition, online units will deliver material on four core concepts within clinical psychology: formulation; critical thinking; reflective practice, and the scientist practitioner.

You will be assessed through a written report and presentation.

Dementia 10 credits

This course will provide you with multi-disciplinary perspectives on dementia – an increasingly common condition that may affect, directly or indirectly, many of our lives.

There are many areas of enquiry that improve our understanding and can improve the quality of life for people with dementia, their families and professionals who work with them.

We hear from leading researchers and experienced practitioners: psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, music therapists, arts therapists and care providers. We discover from sociolinguistic experts how dementia is represented in the media and about the impact on public understanding. We find out that alcohol is a risk factor, and reflect on how public health messages about drinking can best be framed. We hear about the latest research in assistive and information communication technologies for people with dementia, about managing dementia whilst still in employment, and the challenges of providing healthcare in rural communities. We also learn about decision-making and ethical challenges.

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.

This module is likely to be delivered online.

Models and Approaches in Forensic Mental Health 10 credits

This lecture-based module will include the following topics: 

  •  Introduction to Forensic Mental Health (FMH) services 
  •  Treatment in secure hospitals, prisons, and the community
  • Current research and practical issues in FMH settings
Systematic Reviews 10 credits

This module promotes an understanding of the process of conducting a comprehensive systematic review of evidence in order to inform the conduct of health or health care practice. The module will enable you to:

  • critically discuss the role of systematic review within evidence-based healthcare and understand the use of systematic reviews to explore issues relating to the appropriateness
  • meaningfulness
  • feasibility and effectiveness of health care interventions
  • frame an appropriate review question and develop a review protocol relevant to their own area of health or healthcare practice
  • develop approaches to design and implement an appropriate search strategy to critically explore processes related to the assessment of methodological quality
  • data extraction and data synthesis for a range of health-related research
  • critically discuss the available frameworks for the systematic review of quantitative and qualitative research and the process of meta-analysis and meta-synthesis
Topics in Child and Adolescent Mental Health 20 credits

On this module you will gain insights into the difficulties of assessing, diagnosing and treating mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions in children and adolescents.

You’ll hear from experts in the field about what works, what doesn’t work and the factors that can influence outcomes in children and young people.

You will be encouraged to read widely to enhance your understanding of the effects of lifespan factors on conditions that emerge in childhood and will be exposed to the latest scientific developments in the field.

Your knowledge will be assessed by an oral presentation which you will put together and deliver to a small group of peers and staff and you will also design a research project that could advance the field.

This module is ideal for those of you considering pursuing a career focusing on child and adolescent mental health or for anyone with an interest in this area.

Topics in Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 20 credits

'The mind is what the brain does’ is a phrase that captures the idea that the mind and brain are not separate things. What we see, feel, and experience affects our brains, and how our brains respond affects what we see, feel and experience.

This module will introduce you to the neural processes that underlie mental health and illness, and the neuroinvestigative techniques used to research them.

You will hear from mental health clinicians about conditions such as mood disorder, psychosis, autism and ADHD, while through a complementary series of seminars and journal clubs, you will learn about the neural processes that may go wrong in these conditions.

Your understanding will be assessed by a written assignment in which you design a study to address a neuropsychiatric research question, and by an essay in which you explain a neuropsychiatric research topic to a lay readership.

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 Tuesday 28 June 2022.

Compulsory modules

Models and Approaches in Mental Health Research 10 credits

This module familiarises you with the concept of mental health and the issues surrounding the classification, aetiology and treatment of mental illness.

How can we better understand mental illness and how can we treat it?

Thoughts, feelings and behaviours combine in patterns to formulate specific syndromes or sets of symptoms that can be looked at from different perspectives in mental health research and practice.

A range of pharmacological, psychological, behavioural and psychosocial models adopted in mental health and illness will be covered in this module with reference to common mental health problems or disorders, such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

By the end of this module, you should be able to understand key relevant concepts and critically appraise the evidence concerning models of research and therapeutic interventions; this knowledge and understanding will be gradually developed throughout the module and will be assessed at the end of the module in the form of an essay on one of the taught topics.

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.

This module is likely to be delivered online.

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.

This module is likely to be delivered online.

Optional modules

Topics in Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 20 credits

'The mind is what the brain does’ is a phrase that captures the idea that the mind and brain are not separate things. What we see, feel, and experience affects our brains, and how our brains respond affects what we see, feel and experience.

This module will introduce you to the neural processes that underlie mental health and illness, and the neuroinvestigative techniques used to research them.

You will hear from mental health clinicians about conditions such as mood disorder, psychosis, autism and ADHD, while through a complementary series of seminars and journal clubs, you will learn about the neural processes that may go wrong in these conditions.

Your understanding will be assessed by a written assignment in which you design a study to address a neuropsychiatric research question, and by an essay in which you explain a neuropsychiatric research topic to a lay readership.

Clinical Psychology - Core Models and Concepts 20 credits

This module aims to provide students with knowledge and understanding of models and concepts in the discipline of clinical psychology.

On the course you’ll be introduced to cognitive behavioural, systemic, psychodynamic and behavioural approaches to psychological therapy.

Sessions will describe the development and application of theory within each approach. In addition, online units will deliver material on four core concepts within clinical psychology: formulation; critical thinking; reflective practice, and the scientist practitioner.

You will be assessed through a written report and presentation.

Topics in Child and Adolescent Mental Health 20 credits

On this module you will gain insights into the difficulties of assessing, diagnosing and treating mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions in children and adolescents.

You’ll hear from experts in the field about what works, what doesn’t work and the factors that can influence outcomes in children and young people.

You will be encouraged to read widely to enhance your understanding of the effects of lifespan factors on conditions that emerge in childhood and will be exposed to the latest scientific developments in the field.

Your knowledge will be assessed by an oral presentation which you will put together and deliver to a small group of peers and staff and you will also design a research project that could advance the field.

This module is ideal for those of you considering pursuing a career focusing on child and adolescent mental health or for anyone with an interest in this area.

Models and Approaches in Forensic Mental Health 10 credits

This lecture-based module will include the following topics: 

  •  Introduction to Forensic Mental Health (FMH) services 
  •  Treatment in secure hospitals, prisons, and the community
  • Current research and practical issues in FMH settings
Dementia 10 credits

This course will provide you with multi-disciplinary perspectives on dementia – an increasingly common condition that may affect, directly or indirectly, many of our lives.

There are many areas of enquiry that improve our understanding and can improve the quality of life for people with dementia, their families and professionals who work with them.

We hear from leading researchers and experienced practitioners: psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, music therapists, arts therapists and care providers. We discover from sociolinguistic experts how dementia is represented in the media and about the impact on public understanding. We find out that alcohol is a risk factor, and reflect on how public health messages about drinking can best be framed. We hear about the latest research in assistive and information communication technologies for people with dementia, about managing dementia whilst still in employment, and the challenges of providing healthcare in rural communities. We also learn about decision-making and ethical challenges.

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.

This module is likely to be delivered online.

Systematic Reviews 10 credits

This module promotes an understanding of the process of conducting a comprehensive systematic review of evidence in order to inform the conduct of health or health care practice. The module will enable you to:

  • critically discuss the role of systematic review within evidence-based healthcare and understand the use of systematic reviews to explore issues relating to the appropriateness
  • meaningfulness
  • feasibility and effectiveness of health care interventions
  • frame an appropriate review question and develop a review protocol relevant to their own area of health or healthcare practice
  • develop approaches to design and implement an appropriate search strategy to critically explore processes related to the assessment of methodological quality
  • data extraction and data synthesis for a range of health-related research
  • critically discuss the available frameworks for the systematic review of quantitative and qualitative research and the process of meta-analysis and meta-synthesis
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 Tuesday 28 June 2022.

Group 1

Clinical Psychology - Core Models and Concepts 20 credits

This module aims to provide students with knowledge and understanding of models and concepts in the discipline of clinical psychology.

On the course you’ll be introduced to cognitive behavioural, systemic, psychodynamic and behavioural approaches to psychological therapy.

Sessions will describe the development and application of theory within each approach. In addition, online units will deliver material on four core concepts within clinical psychology: formulation; critical thinking; reflective practice, and the scientist practitioner.

You will be assessed through a written report and presentation.

Dementia 10 credits

This course will provide you with multi-disciplinary perspectives on dementia – an increasingly common condition that may affect, directly or indirectly, many of our lives.

There are many areas of enquiry that improve our understanding and can improve the quality of life for people with dementia, their families and professionals who work with them.

We hear from leading researchers and experienced practitioners: psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, music therapists, arts therapists and care providers. We discover from sociolinguistic experts how dementia is represented in the media and about the impact on public understanding. We find out that alcohol is a risk factor, and reflect on how public health messages about drinking can best be framed. We hear about the latest research in assistive and information communication technologies for people with dementia, about managing dementia whilst still in employment, and the challenges of providing healthcare in rural communities. We also learn about decision-making and ethical challenges.

Models and Approaches in Forensic Mental Health 10 credits

This lecture-based module will include the following topics: 

  •  Introduction to Forensic Mental Health (FMH) services 
  •  Treatment in secure hospitals, prisons, and the community
  • Current research and practical issues in FMH settings
Models and Approaches in Mental Health Research 10 credits

This module familiarises you with the concept of mental health and the issues surrounding the classification, aetiology and treatment of mental illness.

How can we better understand mental illness and how can we treat it?

Thoughts, feelings and behaviours combine in patterns to formulate specific syndromes or sets of symptoms that can be looked at from different perspectives in mental health research and practice.

A range of pharmacological, psychological, behavioural and psychosocial models adopted in mental health and illness will be covered in this module with reference to common mental health problems or disorders, such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

By the end of this module, you should be able to understand key relevant concepts and critically appraise the evidence concerning models of research and therapeutic interventions; this knowledge and understanding will be gradually developed throughout the module and will be assessed at the end of the module in the form of an essay on one of the taught topics.

Topics in Child and Adolescent Mental Health 20 credits

On this module you will gain insights into the difficulties of assessing, diagnosing and treating mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions in children and adolescents.

You’ll hear from experts in the field about what works, what doesn’t work and the factors that can influence outcomes in children and young people.

You will be encouraged to read widely to enhance your understanding of the effects of lifespan factors on conditions that emerge in childhood and will be exposed to the latest scientific developments in the field.

Your knowledge will be assessed by an oral presentation which you will put together and deliver to a small group of peers and staff and you will also design a research project that could advance the field.

This module is ideal for those of you considering pursuing a career focusing on child and adolescent mental health or for anyone with an interest in this area.

Topics in Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 20 credits

'The mind is what the brain does’ is a phrase that captures the idea that the mind and brain are not separate things. What we see, feel, and experience affects our brains, and how our brains respond affects what we see, feel and experience.

This module will introduce you to the neural processes that underlie mental health and illness, and the neuroinvestigative techniques used to research them.

You will hear from mental health clinicians about conditions such as mood disorder, psychosis, autism and ADHD, while through a complementary series of seminars and journal clubs, you will learn about the neural processes that may go wrong in these conditions.

Your understanding will be assessed by a written assignment in which you design a study to address a neuropsychiatric research question, and by an essay in which you explain a neuropsychiatric research topic to a lay readership.

Group 2

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.

This module is likely to be delivered online.

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.

This module is likely to be delivered online.

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.

This module is likely to be delivered online.

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 Tuesday 28 June 2022.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Discussion group
  • Seminars
  • Independent study

How you will be assessed

  • Coursework
  • Dissertation
  • Exams
  • Presentations
  • Poster presentation

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 achieve over the 50% pass mark.

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

To achieve the PGDip, you'll need a total of 120 credits.

To achieve the PGCert, you'll need a total of 60 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're 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

You'll study over a period of two semesters and the summer, totalling around 12 months.

Generally, you'll need to be on campus for at least 10 to 12 hours per week for your teaching. We always try to allow one day a week of no teaching.

You'll then be expected to spend around 25 to 27 hours of self-study per week.

Part-time

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

Generally, you'll need to be on campus for around four to eight hours per week for your teaching. We try wherever possible to be flexible to help you manage your timetable.

You're expected to devote around 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 a relevant subject like psychology, cognitive neuroscience or another related discipline.
Additional information

Applicants with Medicine or those seeking to intercalate within their medical degree are encouraged to apply and will be referred to the course director for consideration.

Applying

If you have any questions about the course, can also email the course director, Dr Maddie Groom.

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

How to apply

Fees

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2023 entry to be confirmed in August 2022.

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 which may cost up to £80 each.

Funding

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

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.

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

We support our students with their careers and offer tailored advice, sometimes advertising casual work positions to give you an even better chance at getting the jobs you want. We also run a careers fair specifically for mental health work, sometimes featuring our own alumni.

Our graduates typically move into employment in mental health sectors after completing the MSc. These posts include Assistant Psychologist positions within the NHS, or within private and third sector healthcare settings, Research Assistant positions, or Healthcare Worker roles. Some decide to pursue further training as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner or pursue further doctoral study.

A number of our graduates with BPS accredited undergraduate degrees have also gone on to our Clinical Psychology DClinPsy course. 

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.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" I think this course excels in the way we combine clinical expertise, research expertise, and the way that staff are so passionate about their own subject areas. Whenever I see the students at graduation they're all just saying "This course has helped me so much" or "I really loved this course" and to me that's so reassuring that we're giving students the start they want to move on to the next bit of their career. "
Dr Maddie Groom, Course Director

Related courses

This content was last updated on Tuesday 28 June 2022. 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.