Postgraduate study
This is a highly-commended course accredited by the British Psychological Society for those interested in becoming a health psychologist. 
MSc Health Psychology
1 year full-time; 2 years part-time
Entry requirements
Other requirements
Proof of holding GBC must be stated as a condition of any offer (e.g. a formal letter from a University stating that their Bachelor programme in Psychology is accredited by the BPS and provides the basis for GBC).
Start date
UK/EU fees
£7,290 - Terms apply
International fees
£21,375 - Terms apply
British Psychological Society (BPS)
Jubilee Campus



The MSc Health Psychology was developed in 2003. This course is approved by the British Psychological Society (BPS) for accreditation towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist and can be undertaken on either a full-time or part-time basis.

The course will be of interest to those wishing to pursue a career as a professional health psychologist or to those with an interest in the psychological concomitants of physical health. Future career opportunities for health psychologists are increasing and are available in the NHS, in industry and in academic settings.

Chartered Psychologist status

The accredited MSc Health Psychology will provide the first step towards Chartered Psychologist status for students who are eligible to hold the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership with the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Students will then need to complete a Stage 2 postgraduate training programme in health psychology to meet the requirements for the status of Chartered Psychologist (BPS) and Registered Health Psychologist (Health Professional Council).

Students applying for this course must be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership with the British Psychological Society (BPS).


Key facts

  • The MSc Health Psychology emphasises the teaching team's established strengths in areas such as chronic illness, health-related support groups on the internet and practitioner/patient communication.
  • Teaching is informed by current research. We believe that research and teaching should be developed and delivered to help students and staff make a difference in the real world.
What our students say

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time on this course and found it to be a
really interesting, well-organised and rewarding course in which I learned a great deal. I particularly enjoyed conducting an applied research project at the end of the MSc on a topic area of my choice, as well as learning about theories of behaviour change and adherence. I'm proud to now work for the NHS as Local Lead for System Optimisation, Behaviour Change and Quality Improvement for a National Innovation Programme."

--Sophie D. (2017 graduate)

More student profiles






Full course details

Course director

Dr Heather Buchanan, Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing, School of Medicine


The MSc in Health Psychology is delivered on a full-time basis over one year or part-time over two years. It commences in late September.

The course comprises 180 credits, split across 120 credits’ worth of core modules and a 60-credit research project.

Part-time students on this course are taught alongside full-time students and the choice of modules (and therefore the timetable) is flexible and a matter for agreement between student and course director. In all cases, part-time students can access a wide range of teaching and learning facilities remotely via the student portal.

Research project

Over the summer period towards the end of the course, you will undertake an applied research project. This is your opportunity to complete a major piece of independent research in a topic related to health psychology under the supervision of a suitably experienced member of academic staff.



You will be required to study the following core modules in semester one:

C84CPH - Context and Perspectives in Health Psychology

This module seeks to develop an appreciation of (a) historical & current perspectives in health psychology, (b) the role of the health psychologist and associated professional issues, (c) current perspectives in European and international health psychology and an awareness of related disciplines, e.g. behavioural medicine and (d) the impact of gender, social and cultural factors on health and illness.

C84IRM - Introduction in Research Methods

This module aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills to effectively plan and design research as well as to critically appraise published research. Student 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 will also cover 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.

C84HTM - Understanding, Predicting and Changing Health Behaviour

The key cognitions associated with performing health-related behaviours; the cognitive determinants of health-related behaviours according to a range of models (health belief model, theory of planned behaviour, social cognitive theory); role of stage models to the understanding of change in health behaviours; the intention-behaviour gap in relation to health behaviours.

The role of information in health-related motivation and action and how it should be presented to maximize its impact; how social influence techniques can be applied to maximize the impact of health promotion advice on motivation, in mass media, one-to-one and group communication; how the manner in which messages are processed determines which message features have most impact on attitude change; the role of self-efficacy in motivation, health behaviour and health and how self-efficacy can be enhanced.

The role of elicitation research prior to intervention design; role of the ‘social ecological’ model of change and the ‘information, motivations and behavioural skills’ model; how intervention materials can target key behavioural determinants found to be deficient in the target population; role of fear appeals and the importance of theory-based materials; behaviour change techniques and their relationship to psychological theories; appraising reports of intervention evaluations in terms of the quality of outcome and process evaluations, as well as the utility and sustainability of the proposed interventions

Semester two covers the core modules listed below:

C84CID - Chronic Illness

This module begins by introducing students to the diverse ways in which psychological factors alter biological processes central to health and well-being. Topics covers include; (a) an overview of key biological systems, (b) the role of psychological factors in influencing vulnerability to new diseases, (c) the role of psychological factors in disease progression. This module continues with an explanation of the contribution of health psychology to our understanding of chronic illness. Topics covered include (a) an introduction to chronic illness and associated disability and the main theories relating to patients' beliefs regarding illness and treatment (b) exploration of how psychological factors influence patients' treatment selections and treatment outcomes; (c) the role of psychological interventions in chronic disease management.

C84HCC - Health Care Contexts

This module develops an appreciation of key issues in the interaction between patients and health care contexts. These include (a) communication in health care settings; (b) the impact of hospitalisation on adults / children; (c) preparation for stressful medical/ dental procedures; (d) giving bad news; (e) adherence to medical treatment.

C84PSH - Professional Skills in Health Psychology

The module covers:

(a) key professional skills within health psychology such as communicating with different health professionals and populations and presenting key research findings.

(b) career development and planning, including CV development and interview skills.

C84QRM - Qualitative Research Methods

This module considers a range of qualitative approaches suitable for psychologists. 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, workshops, student-led seminars and self-directed study. Specific topics included will be: - developing qualitative research questions -consideration of philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of qualitative methods - choosing an appropriate qualitative method - the methods available - ethical issues in qualitative research - evaluation and critical appraisal of qualitative research evidence

C84QNT - Quantitative Methods

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

  • Formulating the study question; correlational vs experimental methods; within-subjects vs between-subjects designs; testing longitudinal effects; confounds; control conditions.
  • Operationalisation: Measurement instruments; standardised tests and normed values (Standard Scores, Scaled scores, T scores); summary statistics, distributions (normal and non-normal), expressing the null hypothesis; the concept of falsification.
  • Refining the study design; statistical power, sampling, randomisation, blinding, pre-and post-tests, test-retest reliability, inter-rater reliability, correction for multiple hypotheses.
  • Data Analysis: General Linear Model including multiple regression analysis, and factorial ANOVA; concept of residuals; concept of model fitting and the meaning of a “p-value”; Parametric and Non-Parametric statistics: t, F, r and chi square; Control of Type I and Type II error; reporting effect sizes and interpreting null findings.
  • Advanced techniques and software including Multi-Level Modelling;Meta analysis;Factor Analysis; Path Analysis

Please note that all module details are subject to change. 

The above is a sample of the typical modules that 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

Postgraduate Taught Funding

Financial support and highly competitive scholarships are available, and we encourage potential applicants to explore all funding possibilities. Please check the Graduate School for opportunities you may be eligible for in addition to those outlined here.

The University's Careers and Employability Service also provides a useful information service about further studies and sources of funding for graduates.

NB: Please note that scholarship applications cannot be considered until an offer has been made.

Government loans for masters courses

Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.

Additional Funding Opportunities

Learning Beyond Registration (LBR) funding

Applicants who will be employed by the NHS in the East Midlands while they are undertaking their studies may be eligible to apply for Learning Beyond Registration (LBR) funding through the Health Education England East Midlands. Funding will be available for both full programmes and individual modules.



Careers and professional development

Within the programme we focus on career development and through our Professional Development Centre you will have the opportunity to develop practical skills important for your future career development. The University of Nottingham remains one of the UK's 10 universities most targeted by recruiters. Some 2,000 employers approach the University each year. Together with the University's Careers and Employability Service, we will help you plan your future.

Student destinations

Our MSc Health Psychology students have gone on to varied and interesting careers and further study, including:

  • Working for the National Health Service (eg within health promotion such as drug awareness officers and smoking cessations advisors; chronic illness management eg in pain management clinics)
  • Clinical psychology doctorate
  • PhD programmes 
  • Research assistant/associate (eg exploring binge drinking; obesity; aspects of chronic illness) 
  • Stage 2 doctorate
  • UK Government departments (eg Department of Health)

What our students say

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2017, 95.7% of postgraduates from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The median starting salary was £28,625 with the highest being £76,001.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career prospects and employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

The Graduate Market 2013–2019, High Fliers Research



This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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Health Psychology MSc
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Dr Heather Buchanan
Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing
School of Medicine
Floor B, Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham, NG7 2UH
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