Health Psychology - MSc
- Level: Postgraduate Taught
- Starting: September 2021
- Study mode: Full Time, Part Time
- Location: City Centre
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Want to study a health psychology Master’s in Birmingham? Our MSc Health Psychology is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).
With the shifting emphasis in governance and health-related policy papers, health psychology continues to grow in popularity.
Communities are dynamic and always changing, so our understanding and support of health, wellbeing and behavioural changes needs to be considerate of all diverse groups. On our BPS accredited MSc Health Psychology course, you will study a range of techniques and methods, ensuring you graduate with the skills you need to be a competent, knowledgeable health psychology practitioner.
What's covered in the course?
We will provide you with a detailed understanding of the key theoretical and applied issues in health psychology. These include the key psychological theories and applications which support behaviour change, addressing disease prevention and enhancing health and wellbeing, managing health, health promotion and health interventions, and self-reflection on your own learning and development.
Contemporary health issues will be put into context at local, national and international levels, exposing you to issues which cover the globe as well as local areas.
You’ll be taught how to submit a research ethics proposal, which will address a health issue with the use of psychology. You will also learn how to complete a mini systematic review, which will provide a rationale for your health psychology project, and how to evaluate and conduct analysis. You will also enhance your skills in communication, presentation and group work.
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
Attending one of our Open Days is a great way to find out more about the courses we offer and get answers to any questions you might have. Our next postgraduate Open Day is taking place on Wednesday 9 June.
This course is open to International students
Campus Tours - Postgraduate
Didn't make it to an Open Day? You still have the opportunity to come and see what our postgraduate courses have to offer. If you would like to enquire about campus tour availability, just drop us an email.
New £11,222 postgraduate loans
You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £11,222 available for postgraduate study.
This course is accredited by:
|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:
Additional information for EU/International students
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|
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|
Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.
- UK students
- International students
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 1 Year
- Part Time
- 2 Years
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 1 Year
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.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
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.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
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.
Free access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers over 5,000 in-depth and bite-sized courses.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
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.
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.
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.
We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £11,570 for some courses and options?
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):
This module will consider how health needs and health behaviours change over the lifespan. Evidenced based research will be used to consider how health initiatives and health promotion target health needs at various stages across the life of an individual. Health initiative will be put into local, national and international contexts.
Health psychology models move beyond the biomedical model in the explanation of health and risk health behaviours to an appreciation of social-cognitions which focus on the complex interplay between cognitive (psychological factors, emotions, control, perception) and social (environment, political, economic, socio-groups) factors. This module will examine these key health psychology models in their explanation and prediction of health and risky health behaviour change as well as preventative strategies.
The scope of this module is to equip you with the necessary research methods in quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques necessary for stage 1 training. More importantly, the module will provide to students with the theoretical, practical and applied research methods background for further training and work in health psychology and allied health professions.
The scope of this module is to equip you with a conceptual and applied understanding of the role of quantitative and qualitative research methods in health psychology. You will be presented with a range of advanced techniques for analysing quantitative and qualitative data and with support during these sessions and independent learning, you will begin to develop skills in quantitative and qualitative data analysis. This module will also cover advanced research topics including a systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-synthesis of qualitative research.
Psychological interventions are integral to the work of a health psychologist which provides a framework to deliver health behaviour change. NICE guidelines and evidenced based health research details traditional and contemporary third wave psychological interventions which are being currently delivered and their mid and post intervention outcomes on behaviour which map onto the bio-psycho-social model.
These vary in their underpinning theory, modality of delivery, as well as assessment, formulation and intervention approaches. This module will help you to further build on your understanding of health psychology theoretical models, by appraising assessment, formulation, which informs intervention as well as health and well-being outcomes
Training and work in the profession of health psychology and allied health psychology, requires continual engagement in professional development. To ensure that an individual engages in on-going personal and professional development, the process of reflection and reflexivity is necessary.
The aim of this module is to allow you to apply your theoretical understanding of applied research methods in health psychology 1 and 2 by developing an independent health psychology research project which includes conducting a mini-systematic review.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
This course can be used as a bridging course for Doctoral levels of study into Counselling Psychology or Clinical Psychology. It can also be used by those who are interested in pursuing a PhD in Clinical and/or applied Health Psychology areas of research.
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: 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.
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:
- Explore some of the good reasons why you should study here
- Find out how to improve your language skills before starting your studies
- Find all the information relevant to applicants from your country
- Learn where to find financial support for your studies
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
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
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.