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Health Psychology Master Science

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  • Entry requirements
    Entry requirements Entry requirements would normally be: * a degree which provides the Graduate Basis of Registration (GBR) with the British Psychological Society (BPS), and * an upper second or first class award Students who do not meet the second condition may be considered under the following criteria: * evidence of practical experience in a relevant area * an additional qualification which is relevant to health psychology * evidence of particular achievements at undergraduate level which indicate strengths in health psychology For any accredited psychology masters degree, an honours degree giving the BPS Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) is an essential entry qualification. You should include with your application evidence that you have GBR or are currently studying on a course accredited to provide GBR. Evidence of your GBR status may be either 1) a copy of a the letter from the British Psychological Society granting graduate membership and or GBR; or 2) a statement by your Course Leader confirming that your current programme of study, if completed, will lead to GBR. If you have already completed a degree which does not provide GBR it is suggested that you contact the BPS (see links section below) to discuss this matter. Unfortunately we cannot process your application until we have evidence that you have or are likely to obtain GBR by the start date of the course. If your current degree does not provide you with GBR you should consider taking our Graduate Diploma in Psychology which will provide you with GBR. Should you achieve a 2:2 or above in the Diploma you will automatically gain entry to the MSc Health Psychology should you wish to.
  • Academic Title
    Health Psychology Master Science
  • Course description
    The course provides a thorough grounding in the theories, practice and application of health psychology. Four theoretical modules complement a study of advanced research methods in psychology and the professional skills module. This study will prepare you to carry out a research dissertation in an area of your choice. The programme has accreditation from the British Psychological Society as fulfilling the requirements for stage one training towards Chartered Health Psychologist status.

    All students must be graduates with a qualification conferring Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) with the British Psychological Society. Please be aware that we also offer a Graduate Diploma in Psychology which is a conversion course aimed at graduate students whose first degree had a psychology component but did not provide eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) with the British Psychological Society.

    Reasons to choose Health Psychology MSc degree

    A distinctive feature of the course at Coventry University is the focus on the practical application of health psychology. We like to teach Health Psychology as a discipline with real world application and not just a dry academic subject. This is exemplified by the ‘Professional Skills’ module which is mainly taught by practitioners who are currently work in applied health psychology settings. Our guest speakers help to illustrate the variety of career paths open to health psychologists and as some are graduates of our course, it also highlights the success of our graduates who have gone on to work in careers relating to health psychology.

    A broad range of assessment methods are used on the MSc, including essays, practical reports, literature reviews, practice-based reports, oral presentations, posters, ethics proposals, examinations and journal articles. Many of the assessments have elements linked to real world tasks and provide direct training for a future career in health psychology– you won’t just be writing essays and exams at Coventry University!

    We benefit from strong links with the Applied Research Centre in Health and Lifestyle Interventions, an academic research centre also based in the faculty of Health and Life Sciences, whose approach is underpinned by health psychology.  Many of our students collaborate with researchers in the centre on their dissertations and some have even gone on to work there as researchers after graduation.

    We provide Stage Two Training via independent production of a portfolio and BPS examination.

    Health Psychology at Coventry University has a high profile nationally. We hosted the 8th Division of Health Psychology Conference, September 7th - 9th, 2005.

    As a student at Coventry University you will have access to high quality learning resources. These include:

        * CUOnline. Each module on the MSc has a dedicated virtual learning environment which gives on and off-campus access to course materials, news and discussion boards
        * Over 350 personal computers for student use
        * A modern, well-equipped library, which includes many key Health Psychology texts and journals as well as a large collection of video and audiotapes on relevant topics. Students can order inter-library loans at subsidised rates
        * Within the psychology department, students have access to a variety of questionnaire based measures in health psychology
        * Psychology students also have access to specialist equipment and software (e.g. Biopac, SuperLab) and a range of laboratories (including sound-proofed cubicles and a closed-circuit TV observation suite), all supported by dedicated psychology technicians. See more details on the psychology resources page
        * All students are provided with a course handbook and a module guide for each module taken, specifying module aims, learning outcomes, indicative content, assessment criteria and recommended reading

    We have a strong commitment to student support. The Psychology Department at Coventry takes many steps to encourage student feedback, and strives to be responsive. Coventry takes its responsibilities towards students with special needs very seriously, and makes great efforts in facilitating their access to study.

    An induction programme for orientation to the course and the University is provided for all new students. This covers health and safety issues, an introduction to study skills at Masters level, meetings with staff, a library tour, introduction to CUOnline, introduction to Student Services and the Student Union and social events. Induction events are also provided for returning students.

    Students are allocated a personal tutor for pastoral and academic support. Teaching staff are available during an office hours system and through email and CUOnline. Students with disabilities are supported by the University’s Disabilities Office and by nominated learning support staff within the School and the psychology subject group.

    Future prospects

    In previous years we have found that approximately a third of our graduates go on to further related study (e.g. Stage Two Health Psychology training, PhD or D.Clin.), about a third have gone on to jobs directly related to health psychology such as within health promotion, research in health psychology or work within a health care setting; and the final third have gone on to jobs which are not directly related to health psychology, or taken career/maternity breaks.

    Course content

    The course is divided into four theory modules covering the key areas of the British Psychological Society Knowledge Base for Health Psychology, a module on 'Advanced Research Methods in Psychology' a module on 'Professional Practice' and a Dissertation. A brief outline of the modules is provided below, but for more details on modules including indicative content, assessment patterns, and brief reading list you can view the Module Information Directory. The MSc Health Psychology modules are located within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.

        * M96PY – Health Promotion and behaviour change (15 credits) - an introduction to health psychology as a discipline, biopsychosocial models of health and illness and health promotion.
        * M97PY – Interactions and Outcomes in Healthcare practice (15 credits) - psychological aspects of health care contexts, including health professional-patient communication, adherence to treatment programmes, decision making, patient satisfaction, impact of hospitalisation and representations and perceptions of illness and symptoms.
        * M98PY – Biopsychosocial aspects of Stress, Health and Illness (15 credits) - relationship between stress, illness and health, individual differences in health and illness and the ways in which the impact of stress on health and illness is mediated, biological bases of health and illness, emotion and psychoneuroimmunology.
        * M99PY – Management of long term conditions and disability (15 credits) – quality of life, adjustment to diagnosis, self-management of chronic conditions, the Expert Patient Programme and care for those with terminal conditions.
        * M80PY - Advanced Research Methods in Psychology (30 credits) - knowledge and skills in planning, carrying out, analysing and writing about research in applied psychology at a post graduate level, and a sophisticated awareness of problems, issues and ethics in applied research in psychology.
        * M101PY – Professional Practice (30 credits) - theoretical, research, professional and practice issues in health psychology including: ethical codes of conduct and career opportunities in health psychology.
        * M102PY - Dissertation (60 credits) - supervised but independently undertaken research at an advanced level which allows students to investigate any area of health psychology of specific interest to them.  This module includes the option of placement-based study.

    Course structure

    The course offers a part-time and full-time route. Full-time students attend university two days per week for one academic year. Part-time students attend one day per week for two academic years. Students who do not choose to continue the full MSc may obtain a postgraduate Certificate in Health Psychology if they successfully complete the equivalent of 6 single modules (60 credits), or a Diploma in Health Psychology if they successfully complete all the taught modules (120 credits) of the course (i.e. they do not complete the dissertation module).

    Full-time study - over one year
    On Tuesday* afternoons you would take M96PY Health Promotion and Behaviour Change (Autumn term), M96PY Interactions and Outcomes in Healthcare Practice (Spring term), and M80PY Advanced Research Methods in Psychology (both terms).
    On Thursday* afternoons you would take M98PY Biopsychosocial aspects of Stress, Health and Illness (Autumn term), M99PY Management of Long-term Conditions and Disability (Spring term) and M101PY Professional Practice (both terms). You would spend your summer completing the M102PY Dissertation.

    Part-time study - over two years 

    In the first year you would take M96PY Health Promotion and Behaviour Change (Autumn term), M96PY Interactions and Outcomes in Healthcare Practice (Spring term), and M80PY Advanced Research Methods in Psychology (both terms) one afternoon per week (currently Tuesday*).

    In the second year (currently occurring on Thursdays*)you would take M98PY Biopsychosocial aspects of Stress, Health and Illness (Autumn term), M99PY Management of Long-term Conditions and Disability (Spring term) and M101PY Professional Practice (both terms). You would spend your summer completing the M102PY Dissertation.

    * Provision details may change from year to year – although have been the same for the past five years. Information for 2007-2008 shown.
    Professional recognition

    The programme has accreditation from the British Psychological Society as fulfilling the requirements for stage one training towards Chartered Health Psychologist status for student intakes from 2000 to 2009.


    The MSc Health Psychology is delivered by a strong course team with active research interests in many areas of health psychology. You can see link to psychology staff pages detailing research here. Researchers within the Applied Research Centre in Health and Lifestyle Interventions also teach on the course. The course is run by:

        * Dr Katherine Brown – Course Director, C.Psychol.
        * Dr Katherine Simons, Deputy Course Director, C.Psychol.
        * Dr Orla Dunn C.Psychol
        * Dr Carol Percy

    With other staff within the psychology department also contributing including:

        * Dr Tony Lawrence
        * Dr John Williams

    We also make good use of our strong links with our graduates and other local health psychologists to augment the programme. This aspect of the course was commended by the BPS in their recent accreditation visit. Guest speakers for the 2005/6 session include Chartered Health Psychologists, Clinical Psychologists, Health Promotion Specialists, Public Health Specialists, Psychotherapists, Counsellors, and Researchers.

    Research opportunities

    Within the Psychology Department and through our links with local research centres, we can particularly facilitate research projects based in the following areas:

           Modelling of health behaviours
          Design and Evaluation of Health Interventions and Health Promotion Campaigns
          Breaking Bad News and other aspects of communication in health care settings
          Appropriate Utilisation of Health Care Resources
          Public Health
          NHS Governance
          Chronic Disease Self-Management and the Expert Patient Programmes

    Student Profile

    All students must be graduates with a qualification conferring graduate basis of registration (GBR) with the British Psychological Society. Students taking this course are usually a mixture of people continuing on directly from undergraduate study and those who may have a few years work experience since graduating. The majority of students on the course are female but with a wide range of ages, reflecting the balance of students on undergraduate psychology courses.

Other programs related to Health Psychology

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