MSc Health Psychology Masters  | Middlesex University London
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Health Psychology MSc

Learn about the course below
October 2020
EU/INT induction: September 2020
1 year full-time
£9,200 (UK/EU) *
£14,000 (INT) *
Course leader
Nicky Payne

The MSc Health Psychology degree focuses on the psychological influences on health, well-being and illness. Accredited by the British Psychological Society, it meets the standards for Stage 1 of the training to become a health psychologist. Students develop clinical practitioner and professional skills. The programme will be of interest to individuals interested in health or clinical psychology, or those with a background in healthcare.

Why study MSc Health Psychology at Middlesex University?

We focus on supporting your future employability by helping you develop a range of professional, research and transferable skills through teaching, workshops and a placement. We offer a placement in a health psychology setting to all students who would like this experience, and our workshops help you develop clinical skills including communication with clients, ethical and reflective practice, judgment and decision-making, and skills related to formulation and assessment, cognitive-behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing, and health behaviour change.

You will also study health-related behaviour, addiction and treatment; public health, health promotion and behaviour change interventions; stress, chronic illness and its management; working with patients in the health care system, research methods and professional issues.

Course highlights

  • Over 90% of our psychology graduates are employed within six months of completing their degree
  • Accredited by the British Psychological Society, providing Stage 1 of the training to become a health psychologist
  • One of the few MSc Health Psychology programmes in the UK to offer a health psychology placement. Examples of the placements we offer include cancer screening, addiction management and obesity management
  • You will participate in workshops focused on clinical skills such as smoking cessation and motivational interviewing
  • Taught by health and clinical psychologists and other health professionals who are experts in their field
  • Our purpose-built science building houses state-of-the-art computer and psychophysiology laboratories
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module.

Find out more

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What will you study on the MSc Health Psychology?

We focus on supporting your future employability by helping you develop a range of professional, research and transferable skills, especially professional and clinical practitioner skills (e.g. smoking cessation, cognitive-behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing, health behaviour change and communication, ethical and reflective practice, and judgment and decision-making skills), through teaching, workshops and a placement.

For full-time students teaching is normally on Tuesdays and Thursdays and for part-time students it is normally on Tuesdays in year 1 and Thursdays in year 2.

For students wishing to undertake a placement, this may be full-time or part-time and will generally take place during the summer after the taught part of the course ends.

Coursework includes analysing case studies, a reflective log book, a health behaviour journal, designing health promotion materials, and a journal style article.

  • Modules

    • Research: Practice and Reporting (60 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to provide students with an opportunity for an in-depth, advanced study in a specific area of applied psychology, pertinent to the degree for which they are registered, guided by, but largely independent of, tutor support. Students are encouraged to apply appropriate principles of empirical research to an issue of their choice within the subject area of their degree registration. Students will be guided to present their research study in the form of a written journal article, using appropriate styles and conventions.

    • Foundations and Applications of Health Psychology (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to introduce students to the discipline of health psychology, setting it apart from other related disciplines. Students will be introduced to the concept of health and the main theories/concepts relating to the psychosocial determinants of health/illness, including stress and health behaviours. They will also be introduced to the applications of health psychology to health promotion and in particular, to behaviour change, including designing and evaluating interventions.

    • Psychological Processes of Illness and Health Care Delivery (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to introduce students to the physiological processes involved in the onset and progression of a variety of acute and long-term conditions. The process of health care delivery, from symptom perception through consultation to treatment/management from the perspective of both clients and health professionals will be discussed. The health care needs and experiences of clients across the lifespan will be considered.

    • Clinical Practice and Placement in Health Psychology (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to provide an insight into and help students develop the skills required to work in health psychology settings and students may undertake a placement as part of this. The module aims to help students’ development in three areas: a) personal development, including self confidence, self awareness, self reflection, and awareness of strengths and areas for improvement, b) development of professional skills, including clinical skills, analysing and appraising the usefulness and application of health psychology theory to practice, and becoming an ethical and reflective practitioner and c) preparation for future employability.

    • Advanced Research Methods in Psychology

      This module conforms with the statistics and methodology requirements of the British Psychological Society Divisions of Forensic and Health Psychology, and National Occupational Standards for Applied Psychologists Key roles 2 and 3. Successful completion of this module provides partial fulfilment of the requirements for Stage 1 exemption for practitioner psychologists Health/Forensic. The module extends psychology students' undergraduate knowledge of research methods, design and statistics with particular reference to advanced forensic and health psychology. It prepares them for conducting their independent research project, forthcoming supervised practice and enables them to choose appropriate methodologies and analyses for research.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are not offered on every course. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

How is the MSc Health Psychology taught?

You will attend interactive lectures, including talks by speakers from the NHS, the public health sector, and academia, as well as doing practical work where you will take part in discussions, role-play and problem-solving exercises. You will work on case studies, a reflective log book, keep a health behaviour journal, design an intervention, and submit a dissertation in the form of a journal style article, which will allow you to specialise in a particular area.

You will have the option of doing a work placement as part of the course, in areas ranging from smoking cessation and drugs services to health promotion and chronic illness management. The placement will involve at least 300 hours' work, and will normally be over at least eight weeks in the summer after teaching ends, but some placements will be part-time in term time too. You will produce a report and reflective logbook based on your placement.

The course also aims to develop your data analysis, numeracy, communication and critical thinking skills, and there will teaching on research and statistics. Our extensive facilities include three computer laboratories and a psychophysiology laboratory.


You will be assessed on the basis of your dissertation and a variety of other types of coursework. These will include a health behaviour diary, a reflective logbook, designing an intervention, and analysing case studies.

  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

How can the MSc Health Psychology support your career?

There are strong employment prospects for Psychology graduates and salaries in this field are excellent. The range of professional skills that psychology graduates develop ensures that they are highly valued across the economy.

81% of employers value employability skills above other factors – including type or class of degree - and so it's important to develop your employability skills while you are at University.  On this MSc you will take the professional practice in health care settings module, which not only gives you the opportunity to undertake a work placement but will also focus specifically on employability skills. Over 90% of our psychology graduates are employed within six months of completing their degree.

After completion of this MSc, students may work in the health service, universities, communities, schools or organisations. Work may include helping people to manage and cope with illnesses such as diabetes, pain, cancer, coronary heart disease etc; health promotion in communities, schools or the workplace; designing and delivering interventions for weight loss, smoking cessation, stress management, improving uptake of screening for cancers, research and teaching.

We offer stage 2 supervision at Middlesex via the BPS independent route but we do not offer a stage 2 programme. Upon completion of stage 2 training, trainees may become Health Psychologists, registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and Chartered with the BPS.

In addition, graduates may also pursue further postgraduate training and/or study and those who have the Graduate Basis for Chartership with the British Psychological Society may, for example, pursue clinical or counselling psychology training.

  • Middlesex staff profile

    Anna Bootle

    After completing the MSc Anna Bootle went on to work as a Smoking Cessation Advisor for the Royal Free Trust. Anna supports both inpatients and outpatients in quitting smoking through 1:1 support sessions using pharmacotherapies as well as CBT, motivational interviewing and person centred therapy. This role is based within an acute health setting therefore presenting a clinical range of clients who may be seen as ‘high risk’ for example; having a smoking related illness such as COPD, vascular problems or cancer, suffering from mental health issues or trying to quit smoking due to a pregnancy. Anna aims to set up a clinic at Barnet Hospital specifically aimed at giving pregnant smokers specialised support, which will also involve training midwives in giving brief advice on smoking as well as how to refer women on to the specialised clinic.

    Anna also works as an Assistant Research Psychologist within the Plastic Surgery and Reconstruction Department of the Royal Free Hospital. This involves research into Scleroderma and Lichen Sclerosis with the aim to identify the psychological needs of these populations, which will then provide the basis of introducing appropriate psychological interventions within the Royal Free. Anna’s involvement includes extensive literature searching, developing psychological theories, assembling and distributing questionnaires, statistical analysis of data and identifying appropriate psychological therapies to improve quality of life for these populations.

  • Middlesex staff profile

    Davina Ledermann

    After completing the MSc Davina Ledermann went on to study stage 2 and is currently completing the Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology at the University of the West of England. She has worked in the NHS as a Health Trainer.

    She saw clients on a one to one basis and helped to support them to make changes to their physical health such as losing weight, increasing their exercise and stopping smoking and reducing their alcohol consumption. She used motivational interviewing in order to help her clients set achievable goals in order to ensure their health goals are met. Her duties included managing her own workload and working as part of a team to ensure the Health Improvement Service was successful.

    As well as seeing clients on a one to one basis she assisted in delivering Weigh2Lose which is a twelve week group weight loss programme. She was the lead Health Trainer for Stop Smoking cessation as well as the lead Health Trainer for walking away from diabetes. Davina now works one day a week for SCCH Health Psychology Consulting as an Assistant Health Psychologist and supports the business with various consultancy, research and training projects.

  • Middlesex staff profile

    Mandy Murdoch

    After completing the MSc Mandy Murdoch published a journal article based on her MSc dissertation and became a Public Health Strategist for NHS Islington and NHS Camden. Her role involves taking the lead on a range of dental public health work, including the development, implementation and evaluation of policies and programmes designed to improve oral health, reduce oral health inequalities and support the equitable delivery of NHS and other services to people in Islington and Camden.

    She also provides technical public health support, particularly on the development of dental public health strategies and policies. She contributes to the development and design of integrated programmes, using statistical analysis, literature reviewing, evaluation, project management and needs assessment skills. Examples of projects she has been involved with include: an oral health social marketing campaign, an oral health needs assessment, an Annual Public Health Report on Oral Health in Islington, a pilot on smoking cessation in general dental practices, a pharmacy campaign around sugar-free medicines and contributing to generic public health strategies and policies.

  • Middlesex staff profile

    Anna Lose

    After completing the MSc with distinction Anna Lose was offered a post in research in eating disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, and then secured a place on a doctoral course in Clinical Psychology at UEL. Her research role involves engaging eating disorder service users in research; recruiting and assessing participants for a Randomised Controlled Trial on treatments for Anorexia Nervosa; assisting NHS staff in providing information about the study so that service users can make an informed decision about participation; performing preliminary data analyses; and leading the day to day running of the trial.

    She also contributes to the write-up of publications, including co-authoring a paper that has recently been published in the Trials journal. This was a protocol for a Randomised Controlled Trial of two psychological treatments for Anorexia Nervosa. In addition, she submitted a qualitative paper on patient experiences of the same two psychological therapies for Anorexia Nervosa to the International Journal of Eating Disorders and will soon present it at the BABCP conference.

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