MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate Health Psychology
This course is open for applications
Page last updated 12 December 2023
Ideal for students with Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC), the MSc provides Stage 1 training towards Practitioner Health Psychology status.
Interest in health psychology is growing rapidly among psychologists and other health service and occupational health professionals mostly thanks to the shifting emphasis in provision and governance of healthcare in the UK, and changes to the NHS' organisation and mission.
Excellent teaching and research
As a health psychologist, you'll provide valuable insights to a range of activities, and your skills will be highly sought-after in roles across the NHS, in private practice and in the charitable sector.
You may be providing psychological assessment and support in acute care situations, managing the psychological care and rehabilitation of people with chronic illnesses, or getting involved in health promotion activities including smoking cessation and dietary management.
There are also opportunities, after the MSc Health Psychology, to go on to academic teaching and research positions.
Psychology at UWE Bristol has particular strengths in teaching and research in the area of health psychology, and provides Masters and PhD programmes.
The faculty is also home to the world-leading Centre for Appearance Research, the Centre for Health and Clinical Research, and the Centre for Understanding Social Practice as well as the Institute for Sustainability, Health and the Environment.
You'll be among experts whose knowledge and experience feeds directly into the course's taught modules and supporting resources.
If you hold Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS), the MSc provides Stage 1 training towards Practitioner Health Psychologist status.
As well as covering the BPS' core curriculum, this course has a particular emphasis on transferable practical, professional and employment-related skills, and the opportunity to gain course credit through practical work in health psychology settings.
The course carries 180 M-Level credits available through six M-Level modules. You will need to complete all six to achieve the MSc qualification:
- Health, Stress and Cognition (30 credits) - Learn about health and illness perceptions and how these influence stress and coping behaviours.
- Bio-psychosocial Perspectives on Health (30 credits) - A holistic approach to understanding the pathways of health, disease and disorder.
- Conducting and Evaluating Psychological Research (30 credits) - Gain the skills you need to carry out and evaluate psychological research.
- Dissertation in Psychology (45 credits) - Carry out a critical literature review and a piece of independent research in an area of health psychology, linking either to current Department expertise and/or to local health care providers.
- Applications and Professional Skills in Health Psychology (30 credits) - The opportunity to design and conduct a behaviour-change exercise and develop your skills as a professional health psychologist.
- Health Psychology In Action (15 credits) - Apply a critical analytic approach to a work placement carried out during the year.
This structure is for full-time students only. Part-time students study the same modules but the delivery pattern will be different.
The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.
Learning and Teaching
The course team is internationally recognised in health psychology, and has close links to the British Psychological Society division of health psychology, the Health and Care Professions Council, and the NHS.
We pride ourselves on presenting a balance of expertise in research and practice of health psychology.
See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.
Full-time students attend on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Part-time students attend on Mondays in Year one and Tuesdays in Year two.
The course uses a wide range of assessments, including poster and seminar presentations, essays, exams, article and model critiques, reflective journals and a dissertation.
For more details, see our full glossary of assessment terms.
This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and provides Stage 1 training to become eligible for Practical Health Psychology status.
You'll have access to a wide range of course-specific and general support resources. The department is well equipped, and you can access many of the campus resources 24 hours a day - such as computer labs and extensive libraries.
Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.
Take a Virtual Tour of the Psychology, Sociology and Criminology facilities and see what's on offer here for you.
Careers / Further study
Our graduates have gone on to a variety of careers in the NHS and private sectors, helping individuals, groups and wider society reap the benefits of an advanced understanding the links between psychology and health.
The skills and knowledge you'll have gained through this programme will be highly sought-after, and opportunities will arise in a range of roles.
For example, as a trainee Health Psychologist, as an advisor on health promotion, pain management, smoking cessation initiatives, Public Health matters and mental health issues.
You can also consider roles in Medical Training, or as an academic lecturer.
After completing the MSc, you will need to complete Stage 2 training to become a Practitioner Health Psychologist. There are a number of ways you can do this, one of which is our Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology.
For further details of Stage 2 training, visit the Division of Health Psychology.
You must have a minimum 2:1 honours degree in Psychology or a closely related discipline. In exceptional circumstances, applicants with substantive relevant work experience or further training and a strong academic background will be considered, however we are unable to accept applicants without an undergraduate degree in psychology or a closely related discipline. Please contact the programme leader if you are unsure whether your academic background is suitable preparation for this programme.
We particularly welcome graduates with appropriate experience in health psychology, and those who have been employed as health or related settings are encouraged to apply. Previous successful applicants have had a wide range of health-related experience including working as nurses, health care assistants, admin in a health setting, health promotion, psychology assistant posts, research assistants, teaching. Newer graduates with an academic background incorporating health psychology with a plan for acquiring health-related work experience alongside the programme are also welcome to apply.
Applicants should be able to demonstrate:
- Some experience with statistics, e.g. T tests, ANOVA, correlation, regression
- Experience of completing a dissertation or research project
- An understanding of experimental methods in psychology the scientific method, between subject designs, within subject designs, confounding variables, psychological measurement etc
- An understanding of basic cognitive processes memory, attention, schema
- An understanding of basic psychobiology the stress response, sleep
- An understanding of human learning operant and classical conditioning, social learning theory
- An understanding of depression, anxiety, other psychological disorders
Disclosure of Criminal Background - the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 does not apply and all convictions, including those which are spent, must be disclosed. Applicants who are offered a place must undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and will be required to complete a Disclosure Application Form. All information will be treated in confidence and only taken into account when absolutely necessary.
UWE Bristol's International College
International students who do not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.
English language support
If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.
Read more about our Pre-Sessional English Programme.
English Language Requirement
International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).
*The University accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English language requirements.
How to apply
Due to the demand for places, it is in your interest to apply as early as possible.