MSc Health Psychology
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Improve your approach to work and study in health psychology on a course that allows you to progress to stage two of the British Psychological Society (BPS) qualification, the next step towards conferment as a registered health psychologist.
• Analyse and develop advanced approaches to psychological health-related issues.
• Develop advanced skills in research methods.
• Complete this course and you can advance to a BPS accredited doctoral programme.
• Attend a voluntary supervised work placement at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals’ Medical Psychology Service.
Online and class-based study
Full-time – 12 months
Part-time – 24 months
On campus study
Full-time students attend a block week on campus at the course start in September, plus 9 days across 9 months (October-June), usually the last Friday in the month.
Part-time students attend the first three days of the block week at the course start in September, plus 15 days across 24 months.
This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society.
Fees – home and EU students
Course fees may be subject to annual inflationary increase. For further information see our fees and funding pages.
2014/15 academic year
Full-time – typically £6,000 for the course
Part-time – typically £3,000 per year
Successfully completing this course allows you to progress onto stage two of the British Psychological Society (BPS) qualification in health psychology or a BPS-accredited doctoral programme in health psychology. Successfully completing stage two confers eligibility to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council for registration as a health psychologist.
We designed the course to give you the knowledge, skills, values and academic approach to improve your work and study in health psychology.
You learn to
• critically evaluate and apply different approaches, theories and models to health-related issues
• develop in-depth knowledge and advanced skills related to the design, implementation and evaluation of health-related research
• apply problem solving strategies to complex professional scenarios
• critically reflect on your practice, planning and personal development
You can use your work or voluntary experience from within a health-related setting to aid your learning and training. For example, work-based reflection is a core element of the healthcare contexts module and is designed to contribute to your continuing personal development.
You may be able to gain supervised voluntary work experience within Sheffield Teaching Hospitals’ Medical Psychology Service. Potential placements include • diabetes • HIV/GU medicine • renal services • chronic pain • amputation rehabilitation • trauma services • burns unit • spinal injury rehabilitation.
• essays • short answers • research reports • group projects • ongoing reflection by personal development portfolio • research project
Normally you need one of the following
• BSc or BA Psychology giving Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS) with a 2.1 or above
• GBC by an alternative route, for example by examination, or by BPS acceptance of an overseas psychology degree.
If you do not have GBC for the BPS you can take a conversion course to gain GBC for the BPS before starting the course. We offer a PgDip Psychology conversion course. You should be enthusiastic about psychology and have a good of the British Psychological Society’s core areas.
If English is not your first language you typically need an IELTS 6.5 score with a minimum of 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in all other skills or equivalent. If your English language skill is currently below IELTS 6.5 we recommend you consider a Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve an equivalent English score.
Applications and practice of health psychology
You apply health psychology theory to practice to develop and assess a range of interventions to • illness prevention • health promotion • specific health-related conditions.
You consider the practical issues of ethics and the legal obligations and restrictions on health psychologists. You are assessed by a group project in which you design and evaluate a health intervention based on a given scenario.
Healthcare contexts: work-based reflection
The context of healthcare practice affects the health professional and the service user and can contribute to shaping the relationship between them. You reflect on theory in practice to produce a professional development portfolio.
You need to be able to critically reflect on your experiences at work within a health setting because it is essential for your professional development, and for your future employability or further study (stage two training).
Critical reflection on your experiences at work within a health setting is essential for your professional development, and for your future employability or further study (stage two training).
Health cognitions and behaviour
You focus on the health psychology models and theories that aim to explain health behaviours and reactions to symptoms and illness. As much of health psychology research is based on these models, you consider their contribution to practical applications, such as quitting smoking and coping with chronic disease. Assessment includes an essay and short answer test.
Individual differences in health and illness
Personality can influence how people deal with their health and illness. It is important for health psychologists to be aware of this when dealing with clients, designing healthcare interventions or health education campaigns.
You research this topic and write an essay on how individual differences impact on a health condition of your choice. You also produce a leaflet to educate the public about the key issues you identify.
Lifespan, gender and cross-cultural perspectives on health and illness
You discuss and analyse different health and illness theories and apply your understanding to health psychology practice. You study four areas including • lifespan development • the Biopsychosocial Model • health and illness across the lifespan • managing long-term illness and disability.
All these are related to gender and culture. The assessment is an essay and a problem-based learning task.
Perspectives, contexts and issues in health research and practice
You learn about health issues from sociological and epidemiological perspectives. This helps you to explore the complexities of health and health-related behaviours. The assessment is an essay in which you demonstrate the contribution of disciplines other than psychology is critical for a better understanding of the complexities of health and health-related behaviours.
Psychobiological determinants of health
You focus on the biological mechanisms of health, stress and illness. Understanding the relationship between behaviour and these mechanisms can aid the development of new therapies and interventions.
You study the psychobiological explanations of health and illness, and learn how these explanations can inform the development of therapies. You identify an area within the topic of the psychobiological determinants of health that you wish to write an essay about, and produce a short article of the sort that might appear on a popular health or science blog, or that would be suitable for publication in a health-related magazine read by the general public.
Research methods and measurement issues in health psychology
You examine advanced qualitative and quantitative health research data analysis. You learn how to identify, select, explain and evaluate research methods within an ethical framework examining health-related research questions related to topics such as quality of life and health-related behaviours.
You study experimental design • cross sectional and longitudinal designs • health services research • individual case studies.
Assessment includes multiple choice with short answer test and exam.
Health psychology research project
You conduct a self-directed piece of research supervised by a psychologist experienced in undertaking health-related research. You present your findings verbally at a research conference, and in written form as a journal article. These are assessed.
Health psychologists work in a variety of areas where they identify issues that can affect our health and wellbeing. They provide tailored interventions to address individual, group and community needs.
After successfully completing the course, you can progress onto stage two of the British Psychological Society's (BPS) qualification in health psychology or a BPS-accredited doctoral programme in health psychology. Successfully completing stage two confers eligibility to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council for registration as a health psychologist.
The skills and knowledge you develop can also be used within health or in the wider area of psychology including • research • education • industry • health promotion. This qualification can open or progress career opportunities for you inside and outside the traditional health services.