Health Psychology is a discipline devoted to furthering an understanding of scientific relationships between behavioural principles on the one hand and physical health and illness on the other. It looks at the role of environmental, psychosocial, or sociocultural factors that may contribute to disease or its prevention; behavioural methods used in the diagnosis, treatment, or rehabilitation of individuals having physical disorders; and techniques that could reduce disease risk by modifying health beliefs, attitudes, or behaviours including decisions about using professional services.
The MSc in Psychology and Health was set up in 1999 for applicants who do not have Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR), but who have an interest in psychological issues related to health. Students taking this course may have good first degrees in psychology or other relevant subjects, but without GBR. Places on this course are strictly limited and early application is advised.
Programme Overview- MSc Health Psychology / Psychology and Health
The programme is offered as both a full-time and a part-time programme:
Full-time students attend the University for one year. Lectures, seminars and workshops take place on Thursdays and Fridays between 9am to 5pm during academic term time.
Part-time students attend the University for two years. Lectures, seminars and workshops take place on Thursdays (Year 1) between 9am to 5pm during academic term time. Part-time students take three modules in one year and four in the second year, plus a research project in the summer of their second year.
Teaching and learning
Modules are taught using a variety of methods, including lectures, seminars, role playing and small group projects. In addition, each student is allocated a member of the course team to be their personal tutor, who will help with any problems or queries that arise throughout the programme.
Following the submission of brief details of their research ideas, each student is also provided with a research supervisor who will support them in the work carried out towards their dissertation.
For students wishing to complement their studies with practical experience, we offer guidance on seeking voluntary placements. There are often opportunities to get involved in work with members of staff.
The Professional & Contextual Issues module is assessed by a group submission and supporting written coursework. The remaining seven modules are assessed by coursework alone.
Students are also required to submit a Research Project of 4,000 - 6,000 words. The research training programme will help students to plan, design and conduct their research projects. It is also aimed to give them a broad knowledge and range of skills relevant to health psychology and other health-related research.
All assessments must be passed, but students have the right to one resit or resubmission per module should they fail at the first attempt.
Modules: MSc Health Psychology / Psychology and Health
Full-time students take four modules during the 1st period and four during the 2nd period. Part-time students take two modules in each period over two years. The 3rd period is designated for working on your Research Project.
Academic Teaching Period 1
PSM406 Communication in a Health Care Context
PSM408 Invited Speakers Programme
PSM401 Theoretical Foundations of Health Psychology
PSM402 Professional and Contextual Issues in Health Psychology
Academic Teaching Period 2
PSM407 Behavioural Medicine
PSM405 Lifespan, Gender and Culture
PSM403 Research, Design and Statistics 2
PSM404 Health Promotion
Academic Teaching Period 3
PSM410 Research Project
PSM401 THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS OF HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY (15 credits)
This module is designed to introduce students to theory and research concerning the links between personal characteristics, social and contextual factors and the health status of individuals. It is also aimed to introduce students to the requirements of postgraduate level work.
PSM402 PROFESSIONAL & CONTEXTUAL ISSUES IN HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY (15 credits)
This module is designed to provide a broad introduction to a range of professional and contextual issues relevant to the practice of health psychology. It is also aimed to provide students with the opportunity to practice skills relevant for applied health psychology by conducting small-scale project work. Presentation and group work skills will be developed.
PSM403 RESEARCH DESIGN & STATISTICS 2 (15 credits)
Research Design & Statistics 2 runs in two parts. For the first five weeks, there is a set of lectures on statistical methods. Weeks 6-10 will focus on the design and analysis of questionnaire-based research.
The aim is to familiarise students with more advanced research designs and data analytical methods including questionnaire design and single case studies.
PSM404 HEALTH PROMOTION (15 credits)
Health promotion's goal is to enhance health and prevent disease. Its main focus has been on the prevention of physical disorders such as coronary heart disease, cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. An aim associated with health promotion has been to change individual behaviour, attitudes and beliefs in order to promote better health and enhance population health.
This module will provide students with a basic knowledge of psychological theories related to health promotion and compare them to dominant theories used in current health promotion practice. It will discuss the differences between interventions aimed at individuals and interventions aimed at communities or groups. The student will be provided with skills to critically assess current health promotion practice and to design health promotion programmes which incorporate health psychology theory and research.
PSM405 LIFESPAN, GENDER AND CULTURE (15 credits)
This module provides an introduction to the way in which human health is affected by gender, culture, class, and psychosocial processes. Theories about the psychosocial determinants of health relevant to these topics are discussed together with the implications for contextually appropriate interventions and heath promotion. The aims of this module are for students to develop:
* knowledge, understanding, and insights regarding the social, cultural, and environmental factors influence health and health behaviour;
* awareness of issues related to age, gender and culture relevant to health psychology practice;
* critical perspectives on health psychology theory and practice.
PSM406 COMMUNICATION IN A HEALTH CARE CONTEXT (15 credits)
This module is designed to introduce students to theories and methods which inform research into communication within a health care context and to explore their implications for communication practice.
PSM407 BEHAVIOURAL MEDICINE (15 credits)
This module has been designed to examine the clinical application of psychobiological approaches in:
* the evaluation and management of health related disorders
* health risk factor modification
* disease prevention
Students will be introduced to basic principles of cognitive behavioural assessment, case formulation, interventions and outcome evaluation as related to specific case work examples.
PSM408 INVITED SPEAKERS PROGRAMME: RESEARCH AND METHODS IN HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY (15 credits)
This module is designed to provide students with the opportunity to hear health psychology researchers speak about their work and discuss the reasons they use particular methodological approaches in order to address specific research questions.
PSM410 RESEARCH PROJECT (60 credits)
The research training programme will help students to plan, design and conduct their research projects, but it is also aimed to give them a broad knowledge and range of skills relevant to health psychology and other health-related research.
This module is designed to students with opportunities to acquire the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills to enable them to design, conduct and evaluate health psychology and other health-related research.