If you want to build on your health psychology knowledge to more fully understand health and health behaviours; to better help patients better manage their long-term illness or recovery; or to help healthcare professionals improve their provision – then our MSc Health Psychology course is for you.

On this course, you'll get a thorough grounding in the main areas (practice, theory and research) of health psychology. You'll learn how mental, emotional and social factors can affect physical wellbeing, and how to prevent them doing so. You’ll also learn how a patient's mental and emotional state is affected by an illness and their recovery from it – and develop the skills and knowledge to support them.

We recognise the value of work experience and so a work experience placement is a central part of the course. We expect students to complete 100 hours of work placement activity and will support students in identifying suitable opportunities.

And if you'd rather dive straight into your career once you graduate, you'll also be ready for work in areas such as commercial research, smoking cessation, health promotion and chronic illness management.


Accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), our Master’s degree is recognised as a Stage 1 course, which is a prerequisite step towards gaining chartered status as a health psychologist. On successful completion of this course you’ll be able to apply onto Stage 2, whereby trainees work towards achieving status as a Chartered member of the BPS (CPsychol) and a Registered Health Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You'll develop a systematic knowledge and understanding of health psychology, in accordance with the academic requirements of the Division of Health Psychology (DHP) and the British Psychological Society (BPS), for your eventual progression to a career in health psychology or to study for a PhD.

What you'll experience

On this course, you'll:

  • Learn in small groups from experts in the field of health psychology
  • Have the opportunity to undertake a competitive placement or be supported to find your own placement and achieve unique and valuable workplace experience, whilst supported by a placement tutor.
  • Learn about the role of health psychology in the NHS/world, health psychology theories, intervention development, develop your professional competence/ development
  • Be taught in accordance with the academic requirements of the Division of Health Psychology and the British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • Have access to our wide range of Research Suites and Laboratories and attend regular research seminars.
  • Receive expert guidance on the application of over 300 psychometric tests including those designed for adults, children, education and post-traumatic stress as well as over 50 specific to the Health Psychology field.

Through our existing networks, students will forge many useful links with the local community whilst they are studying. For example, the University of Portsmouth is in Partnership with local NHS Trusts which allows us to work collaboratively with local healthcare providers. We also have active networks linking the University with the local community and wider, for example, the University of Portsmouth Ageing Network (UPAN).

Work experience and career planning

We can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary opportunities that will complement your studies.

This course is one of few courses nationally to offer credit-bearing placements, giving you the advantage of completing 100 hours of work experience working with either a healthcare professional or academic psychologist. As well as providing you with a great professional experience, you'll also enjoy networking opportunities which could lead to future employment.

Previous placement providers include:

  • Headway
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Portsmouth Hospitals Trust
  • Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
  • Southern Health NHS Trust
  • Sussex NHS Trust
  • St Wilfred’s Hospice
  • Talking Change

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

What you'll study on this MSc Health Psychology degree course

You'll study units worth 180 credits, including:

  • Applied Health Psychology and Placement (30 credits)
  • Health Psychology Research Project (60 credits)
  • Health Research Methods, Measurement and Analysis (30 credits)
  • Psychobiological Aspects of Health (30 credits)
  • Theories and Intervention Approaches in Health Psychology (30 credits)

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry.


Staff teaching this course have a wide range of practical experience and knowledge. The course adopts a skills-based, problem-solving approach to learning which seeks to use innovative teaching methods to actively engage our postgraduate students.

This includes using the expertise of the academics and students in flipped classrooms; use of technology-enhanced learning, and experiential learning through placements and practical skills development via case studies and role playing, in addition to traditional lectures/small group teaching and one-to-one tutorials.

How you're assessed

Assessment on this course is coursework based. You'll be assessed through:

  • essays
  • portfolios
  • research report
  • presentations
  • systematic review
  • skills feedback (e.g. interviewing skills)

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Careers and opportunities

What can you do with a Health Psychology degree?

After the course you could:

  • work in the NHS or other healthcare-related services – for example, smoking cessation, health promotion, mental health and chronic illness management
  • undertake research or take a teaching position in Higher Education
  • do a PhD in a related area
  • join a clinical research organisation and get involved in setting up and carrying out research projects
  • get a place on a clinical training course or other related training such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Treatment)

Our Careers and Employability service can also help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry, when you finish the course.

Other graduates have set up successful businesses with help and support from the University.

MSc Award
September Start
Full-time, Part-time Study Mode
1 years Duration

Entry Requirements For This Course

Qualifications or experience

Applicants should normally have or expect to obtain at least a 2:1 honours degree in Psychology or closely related subject that is recognised by The British Psychological Society as conferring Graduate Basis for Chartered membership (GBC). Applicants from other degree subjects containing a significant element of psychology, may also be considered on a case-by-case basis. All offers are subject to Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance.

English language requirements

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

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