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Health Psychology - MSc

Currently viewing course to start in 2022/23 Entry.

Our MSc Health Psychology course at Birmingham City University is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as Stage 1 of the professional training in Health Psychology and provides you with the essential step towards becoming a Chartered Health Psychologist....

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time/Part Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Social Sciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences

Overview

Our MSc Health Psychology course at Birmingham City University is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as Stage 1 of the professional training in Health Psychology and provides you with the essential step towards becoming a Chartered Health Psychologist.

The course is designed to supply you with an in-depth investigation into the key theoretical and practical issues in health psychology and apply them to contemporary health issues. We will examine the role of psychology in determining how to manage health conditions, how to develop and evaluate health interventions such as CBT and motivational interviewing, and how psychological processes and interactions with healthcare professionals can influence health outcomes.

You will also learn the importance of considering the impact of health inequalities, economic and social influences on health and wellbeing. You will have a specialist module dedicated to enhancing your professional identity, personal development and skills, which is invaluable in preparing you for work/training as a practitioner and/or scientist in the global health sector.

You will be taught by our team of psychologists who are active researchers and practitioners within Health Psychology. The MSc Health Psychology team have a wide range of research specialisms including addictive behaviours, psychology of eating behaviours, gender and health, the role of mindfulness, compassion and self-compassion on health and wellbeing, healthcare interactions and health inequalities.

You will also benefit from guest lectures throughout the course, which are delivered by professionals across Health Psychology and cognate disciplines, providing you with a multidisciplinary view of health and wellbeing. As part of the course, you will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with our team of experts to design and conduct your own research project in the field of Health Psychology. Our positive learning environment along with the supportive and approachable course team have been commended by the BPS.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

During the course you will:

  • Develop a detailed understanding and advanced knowledge of the key theoretical and applied issues in health psychology
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of skills involved when working with a range of clients over the lifespan (cross-cultural perspectives, gender differences, children and the role of the family in health and illness, and death, dying, and bereavement), management of acute and long-term conditions and the impact of health services
  • Critically examine how psychological theory is used to inform health initiatives and heath interventions
  • Explore the core components of developing and evaluating psychological interventions in health psychology with a focus on cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational interviewing
  • Receive formal training in a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods and gain hands-on, practical experience in applying a range of advanced qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques
  • Have the opportunity to design, conduct and report a high-quality research project on an area of your choice in Health Psychology with expert guidance
  • Develop critical self-reflection, reflexivity, and capabilities relevant to progression to health psychology practice, work or scholarship in the health sector

Receive the necessary training to meet the competencies for Stage 1 training in health psychology, which enables you to proceed to Stage 2 doctoral-level training and register with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) to become a registered health psychologist. On our BPS accredited Stage 1 MSc Health Psychology course we employ a mixture of traditional and contemporary teaching methods to enhance your learning experience and engagement with the course. We use innovative teaching methods through adopting a skills based, problem-solving approach to learning.

Our practical approach allows you to gain hands on experience and training in order to achieve the required skills to be a competent and knowledgeable psychology practitioner. This is reflected in the applied nature of our assessments, giving you greater marketable and valuable professional skills towards your career development.

Our Psychology department has a wide range of dedicated psychology testing labs, equipment, and specialist software to support your studies, as well as a dedicated BPS computer lab with networked computers with Psychology-specific software. Throughout the MSc, you will have the opportunity to develop your skills and use a range of advanced specialist psychology software.

Accredited By

  • The British Psychological Society

Why Choose Us?

  • We have academics who are active in contemporary cutting-edge applied health psychology research, which will be showcased on this course and will inspire your research interests.
  • Our academics are experts in their chosen field, and have first-hand experience of working in and researching in health settings. This underpin the syllabus where the application of health psychology to practice will also be showcased.
  • The option to study either full-time or part-time means you can fit your studies in alongside your personal and work commitments.
  • Face to face teaching will take place on campus. Independent study needs to be organised to ensure that you meet deadlines.
  • This course will provide you with assessment choices from selected options on most modules, as well as a flexible blended learning approach which has been put into place to suit various preferences and learning patterns. 
  • Our Psychology department has a wide range of psychology testing labs to suit all needs, including our BPS computer lab, which consists of more than thirty networked computers with Psychology-specific software such as SPSS, NVivo and others such as Opensesame.

Find out more

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area from our academics.

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements
Typical Offers (UK Students)

This programme will require standard entrants to have a minimum of a Second Class Honours degree in Psychology.

Applications will also be considered for interview from graduates that have a minimum of a 2:2 with honours and have covered psychology in a related subject area (Nursing, Public Health, Health and Social Care, Sociology, Education etc.). You are not required to have passed a Psychology conversion course prior to entry.

Applicants will be expected to have covered the following which will be assessed if invited to interview:

  • Research methods;
  • Empirical project at a high standard;
  • Covered psychology while studying a cognate discipline. 
Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

Applications from international applicants with equivalent qualifications are welcome. Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In additional to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

English language requirements 2020/21
IELTS

6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

Other accepted qualifications Visit our English language page

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 Year
  • £9,000 in 2022/23
  • £1000 per 20 credits
  • Year 1 - 80 credits
  • Year 2 - 100 credits

Fees for Part-time students

This course can be studied on a Part-time study basis. The cost per year of study is based on credit requirements for that year.

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 Year
  • £16,300 in 2022/23

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites and available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

Some modules may suggest that you purchase a key textbook. All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. Many students choose to purchase a copy.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Memberships (optional)

You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course, such as the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

Modules

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):

Download course specification

Download now

For more information on attendance requirements, course contact time and suggested self-study hours, download the course specification.

If you have any questions about the course, please contact Kathrina Connabeer for more details.

Student Testimonies

Below, you'll find testimonies from graduates of the MSc Health Psychology course, giving you first hand accounts of their experiences at Birmingham City University.

Lucy Fidelia

Having taken an optional health psychology module as part of my undergraduate course, I knew this was something that I wanted to study further. I have always had an interest in physical health and so by combining this with my interest in psychology, the MSc Health Psychology course seemed like the perfect course for me.

Throughout the course, I mostly enjoyed learning about how health psychology can be applied to different health conditions, across the lifespan, and at different population levels. There was flexibility in the assessment topics which allowed me to tailor them to my interests. They also gave good opportunity to apply psychological theory in a practical way, which I have found to be an essential skill to have when working in the field.

The course has allowed me to think about my professional development and develop important skills around reflective practice. I also learnt desirable research skills such as writing proposals and a systematic review, as well as a wide range of data analysis methods. I believe that these are invaluable skills to have in order to move forward in a career in psychology.

BCU offered me so many opportunities to try new activities and be a part of different societies. The city centre campus is within walking distance of Birmingham City Centre and also has great facilities with a huge library space. Studying at BCU gave me the chance to work with Psychologists who are experts in their field. This meant that I was able to complete my dissertation project in an area that I passionate about alongside someone with a wealth of experience in that area. All the staff are really supportive, and the faculty always aim to recognise and reward hard work, which makes it all the more worthwhile.

I strongly believe that the skills that I gained on this course positively impacted my employability. Since graduating I have started working as an Assistant Psychologist, applying my psychological knowledge of health and behaviour change every day in my work. The academic writing skills I gained during my time at BCU has helped me hugely in my role when writing psychology reports. I hope to continue my career in this field by completing a Health Psychology doctorate.

I really loved being able to study a field of psychology which is ever-growing in popularity and importance. Ultimately, this course gave me the freedom to study the areas of Psychology that I am really passionate about whilst gaining invaluable skills to help me on my path to becoming a qualified Psychologist.

Katie McAtamney

At the time of finishing my undergraduate degree in Psychology, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do next. I had enjoyed conducting my dissertation research project, had a passion for health, and was intrigued by health behaviours, motivations, and interventions – a MSc in Health Psychology was the obvious answer.

I investigated MSc Health Psychology courses at various institutions and decided that BCU was the place for me for several reasons. As a BPS-accredited course, this MSc provides Stage 1 training which leaves the door open to go on to complete Stage 2 and become a chartered health psychologist. The modules are varied and cover a good combination of research methods, psychological theories, and practical applications of health psychology, provided a well-rounded understanding of health psychology and transferable research skills. Each module leaves the assessment title to be completed with a health behaviour, issue, or intervention of your own choice, allowing you to focus on one area you find particularly fascinating, or meaning you can cover a broad range of topics you want to read and learn about further.

The structure of the course provided flexibility, reducing the barriers to continuing on to postgraduate study. The timetable is split over two days, making it easy to incorporate this MSc into other commitments, and facilitates commuting from a distance. This allowed me to pursue part-time work alongside my full-time MSc, to support me financially but also to offer other types of experience to complement my growing academic experience. The city-centre location makes it convenient to access the campus, which offers many spaces for studying and learning – including a BPS Psychology-only computer lab, a great library, and plenty of more social places to chat with course mates between taught sessions.

The course is taught by a range of qualified and supportive staff members, with each topic delivered by those who are experts in the area. Choosing from a range of experienced individuals to oversee your dissertation project allows you to align your own interests with those of the appropriate staff member, providing opportunity to independently explore your own passions with the support of helpful supervisors. Across the MSc, there are also sessions by guest lecturers from a range of backgrounds including academia, public health, and the NHS to provide an insight into real-world applications of health psychology.

Progressing from undergraduate to a taught postgraduate course was a step-up in terms of the independence and expectations to want to learn – with extra reading of the latest articles and health initiatives particularly key. The MSc is taught in a way which makes it digestible for individuals coming from all backgrounds, whether that be a degree in Psychology, a role in public health, or clinical experience. A particularly enjoyable and important skill I developed during the MSc was reflection; this has provided me with the ability to learn and grow in both academic contexts, and my personal life, allowing me to do and be the best I can.

The MSc has solidified the foundations of my research methods skills and theoretical understanding within Psychology, which has provided a great platform for me to advance onto my PhD. I am now more confident in independently conducting research, reviewing literature, and reflecting on my experiences both academically and personally – all of which have benefited me immensely. The MSc in Health Psychology at BCU has been an invaluable part of my journey and progression.

Ibrahim Subdurally

Having taken a two-year break after my undergraduate degree, I was worried that going back to university to study for a Master’s degree would be challenging and daunting. And yes, it was as I thought, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it engaging. It is expected of a BPS-accredited course to have certain core materials but for a course to be engaging it requires more - the actual content of the course, the delivery framework and the facilities, which were what made the difference for me.

The content of the course was cutting edge; it focused on current issues and areas of Health Psychology as well as its application within various settings - both clinical and non-clinical. One aspect of the course that helped me the most to really make sense of what I was continually learning and to reflect on how the skills developed would help me going forward was the Professional Development module - it allowed me to develop my reflective skills to further improve myself both professionally and personally. Like any course, one of the main outcomes is employability and universities across the UK invest a great deal in employability services to make the graduates more employable as it paints a picture of the quality of the university in general. For me, making the graduates of this course employable was a core priority for BCU. Helping students reflect, I feel, is paramount in making them employable as it helps them understand their strengths and limitations - this is exactly what this course did for me and today I am happily employed and planning my next qualification.

Every single tutor that taught on the programme, I felt, cared. It came across through the teaching sessions, the follow-up coursework, the help available throughout and the actual time they committed to making sure students got the most out of the programme. This, for me, was very important as knowing someone else cared about my progress motivated me this extra bit and I am sure this has been the case for many of my student colleagues.  I knew help was an email away and I could always turn, not just to my personal tutor but also to other staff if I needed support; from academic staff to administrative staff, nothing was ever too much.

I had the opportunity to do a short placement with the local council’s Public Health team thanks to one of my tutors who liaised with them. This allowed me to understand the application of the programme within a non-clinical setting and understand my own aspirations. Today I am working for that particular team in a graduate position and I know, that this would not have been the case had it not been for two factors. Firstly, the placement as it allowed me to decide on the avenue I wish to take after completing the programme; and secondly, the employability services, which helped me prepare for my application and interview.

I was based at the City Centre campus and it was great for me as I live in the City Centre. I worked full-time throughout my course and very often, I needed to go to university to use the facilities at odd hours so having such an accessible campus was fantastic. It is an actual pleasure walking towards the campus, which is only a short walk away from the main train stations.

This course is accredited by:

The British Psychological Society
The British Psychological Society

This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society, which not only demonstrates the high quality of our teaching provision, but also ensures our course remains cutting-edge, fresh and relevant.

The Society and its members develop, promote and apply psychology for the public good. They enhance the efficiency and usefulness of psychologists by setting high standards of professional education and knowledge, and cover all areas of psychological research and practice.

Find out more about British Psychological Society accreditation.

Employability

You will be taught the skills and theory you need to be successful in the health psychology industry.

Gaining practical experience in these sectors will complement your learning and on-going career development.

We encourage you to gain voluntary work experience within the charity and health-related sectors. 

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

International

Welcome to the School of Social Sciences, home to students from all around the world!

All of our undergraduate and postgraduate social sciences courses are open to international students, and our courses have been tailored to take a global approach to learning. We frequently welcome international students through the Erasmus scheme, from countries including Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Facilities & Staff

Curzon facilities eatery
Curzon facilities staircase
Curzon facilities student hub

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities.

The Curzon Building

This course is based at our City Centre Campus – and specifically The Curzon Building, alongside other social sciences, law, business and English students.

The £63m building offers students a unique social learning space, including a dedicated student hub incorporating student support services, in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development.

Realistic, simulated environments include two mock court rooms, a Magistrates' and Crown Court, and an interviewing suite. We’re also exploring the use of virtual environments as a way to develop case study analysis.

For those studying on the BA (Hons) Policing or BA (Hons) Criminology, Policing and Investigation degrees, you’ll experience simulations of police interviewing environments for both suspects and witnesses, with access to tape recording and video playback analysis.

Crime investigation files are prepared using computer-based technology, and the crime data analysis requirements of the degree are supported by appropriate statistical and analytical software.

Psychology students can look forward to using state-of-the-art equipment as well, including the latest in eye-tracking software, and our new EEG machine, all geared towards giving you true hands-on experience with tools you’ll be using in your later career. You will also benefit from facilities across the wider campus including the Parkside and Millennium Point buildings.

The Curzon Building also features:

  • An impressive new library with access to over 65 million full text items and stunning views of Eastside City Park
  • Your Students’ Union which is located in a beautifully restored 19th century pub, The Eagle and Ball
  • A modern 300-seat food court with space to study and socialise
  • Brand new, accessible IT facilities with full Office365 for all students for free

Our staff

Dr Kathrina Connabeer

Lecturer in Psychology, MSc Health Psychology Course Director

Dr Kathrina Connabeer teaches on a number of modules on the BSc Psychology and MSc Health psychology course at BCU. She thoroughly enjoys interacting with students through using real life case studies, practical examples and more generally chooses a hands-on approach to her teaching. Full Profile

More about Kathrina

Dr Angela Hewett

Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology

Dr Angela Hewett specialises in health psychology and has a keen interest in gender and health and in health inequalities. Angela has also worked in public health at both Birmingham City University and the University of Liverpool. Full Profile

More about Angela

Dr Rebecca Keyte

Lecturer in Health Psychology; Deputy Course Lead (BSc Psychology with Criminology and with Sociology).

Being an academic allows Rebecca to follow her passion for research alongside enthusing the next generation of undergraduates with a love for Psychology!

More about Rebecca

Dr Atiya Kamal

Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology

Atiya has taught health psychology for several years across a number of different modules at undergraduate and post-graduate level and had a leading role in developing the BPS accredited MSc Health Psychology programme at Birmingham City University. Full Profile

More about Atiya

Dr Michael Mantzios

Reader in Health Psychology

Dr Michael Mantzios is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, leading initiatives to improve wellbeing of students, and aims to enhance student academic and employment prospects. Full Profile

More about Michael

Dr Helen Egan

Reader in Health Psychology

Helen gained her PhD in Health Psychology, became a Research Fellow in Mental Health and then worked in the NHS before coming to BCU in 2011. Full Profile

More about Helen

Dr Deborah Wallis

Reader in Psychology / Research Director, Centre for Health and Well-being

Dr Deborah Wallis joined BCU in September 2018 as a Senior Lecturer in Psychology after 14 years at other academic institutions. Full Profile

More about Deborah