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Postgraduate study
 

Course overview

Health psychologists apply their knowledge of psychology and health to understand illness and promote health and wellbeing. They aim to enhance psychological and emotional outcomes for individuals who are ill or who have a disability, and develop healthcare policy and work to improve the healthcare system.

There is an urgent need to produce graduates who have experience of an interdisciplinary approach and who can apply both their academic knowledge to understand and contribute to the development of topics in health psychology as well as their practical skills to enhance practices such as stress and pain management in clinical health contexts. Furthermore, skills acquired by postgraduate psychological researchers are needed to promote evidence-based practice in healthcare.

This is a coherent programme of study which reflects the major debates and produces graduates who can creatively and innovatively contribute to the development of their field. You are encouraged to develop your own interests within health psychology and to explore how health psychologists can work within these specialist areas. Health psychologists work in a variety of settings including the NHS, universities, private practice, health-related organisations, communities and schools.

Professional accreditation

British Psychological Society The course is accredited by the British Psychological Society and provides Stage 1 practitioner training, a pre-requisite for Stage II training in Health Psychology and Chartered Psychologist status.

 
 

Course details

The course comprises six core modules that aim to develop your knowledge of how psychology can be employed to facilitate and protect health, and develop your ability to effect change and suggest alternatives in healthcare provision.

You will explore current issues in health psychology, and gain transferable and practical skills to facilitate progression in the field of health psychology. Supported by a research methods team with expertise in both quantitative and qualitative methods, you will critically evaluate the nature and practice of research in health psychology, study research ethics and integrity and systematic reviewing, and develop skills in advanced research design and analysis.

The programme aims to develop writing and presentation skills that are transferable to practice, including conference presenting and writing for publication. Throughout the programme, you will be encouraged to think critically and reflect upon your skills development. Emphasis is given to the study of clinical and professional skills and you will be equipped with theoretical knowledge and practical skills to enable effective communication with patients and health professionals. You will explore our range of physiological measures, have an opportunity to practice assessment techniques and will gain knowledge of interventions including mindfulness, guided imagery and cognitive behavioural therapy.

Opportunities are provided for you to gain work experience in healthcare practice as well as to work alongside academic staff to conduct health psychology research and evaluation. The programme has strong links to organisations providing a range of volunteering opportunities as well as external agencies, including the NHS and within the public health sector.

Course structure

Core modules

Applied Qualitative Research Methods

You will gain the requisite skills needed to analyse, conduct and assess qualitative research within the applied psychology setting. You will also gain an understanding of key theoretical approaches in designing qualitative research projects as well as practical experience in collecting and analysing qualitative data. The module aims to facilitate the development of a knowledge of and skills in using advanced qualitative research designs, specifically it will develop your knowledge and skills in qualitative research design and methods as applicable to applied psychology at MSc level. You will understand the relationship between theory and practice of interpretative approaches in psychological research, and explore different modes of investigation and analysis employed within these interpretative approaches.

Applied Quantitative Research Methods

You develop knowledge of and skills in using advanced research designs, including the use of quantitative analysis techniques. Specifically, you will develop additional knowledge and skills in research design and methods, appropriate statistical analysis, as applicable to applied psychology at MSc level. Quantitative analysis of advanced research designs includes effect size, power analysis, confidence intervals, multiple regression, logistic regression, factor analysis and reliability analysis, mediation analysis, moderation analysis.

Clinical and Professional Skills in Health Psychology

This module considers clinical and professional skills in health psychology. Key theories, concepts and current issues are discussed in relation to these skills. Collaborative working, leadership and teaching/training others, communication skills and professional development are considered in addition to the assessment of health and well-being needs and providing consultation and advice. The in-course assessment is a report discussing a professional issue in health psychology. The end-course assessment is a reflective report on the development of clinical, generic professional, and research skills.

Current Topics in Health Psychology

You will be introduced to contemporary issues in health and illness. You will be challenged to critically evaluate these topics in terms of health psychological theories, methods and research. The in course assessment is an essay on the contribution of health psychology to a current topic and the end course assessment is a two hour seen exam.

Health Psychology in Context

You will consider the history of health psychology and its relation to other disciplines, such as medical sociology and behavioural medicine. The examination and evaluation of the biopsychosocial model will be the main focus of the module. Key theories and concepts associated with specific components of this model will be explored each week, before evaluating its application to specific health issues, such as stress and pain. The in course assessment is a critical evaluation of two research papers from competing perspectives, and the end course assessment is a poster presentation based on a case study conducted during the module.

Health Psychology Project

You consider the principles of evidence-based practice and develop research skills including systematic reviewing, research ethics and integrity, and project management. You will apply your learning from previous modules by conducting a self-initiated research project. You are allocated a supervisor who acts in a role as a consultant. The in-course assessment is a research proposal including mini systematic review of the literature. The end-course assessment is the write up of your final research project in the form of a research article.

Interventions in Health Psychology

You will consider the design and evaluation of interventions. The application of health related behaviour models to psychological interventions will be the main focus. Key theories and concepts associated with specific components of this model will be examined each week, before evaluating its application to specific clinical and health psychological interventions, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), mindfulness, stress management and motivational interviewing. The in course assessment is a critical essay comparing and contrasting two interventions, and the end course assessment is a ten minute video of a stress management intervention (plus a supplementary case study report).

 

Modules offered may vary.

 

How you learn

You learn by knowledge and skills acquisition through directive teaching, group discussions, independent exploration and examination of academic resources. You will work with project data, review professional practice scenarios, and will have an opportunity to present a poster at our annual Teesside University Psychology Conference.

The course is delivered by a team of experts with wide-ranging research, consulting and practice expertise. There are also contributions from practitioners working in the fields of research, consultancy, and NHS practice.

Staff areas of specialism include: breast cancer, complementary and alternative therapies, neurological conditions, doctor-patient communications, psychosocial interventions and sexual health. The team has close links with the Psychology Research Unit within the Social Futures Institute (SoFI) and with AskFuse, The Centre for Translational Research in Public Health.

How you are assessed

A range of assessment methods is used, from traditional essays and examinations to a critical review, poster presentation, and a video of you conducting a stress management intervention. You will develop a research proposal including a mini systematic review and will reflect on your skills and development. Your final research project is written in the style of a research article.
Previous students have conducted their final project research on topics including:
• The male pill
• Quality of life and the utility of a guided imagery intervention for individuals with motor neurone disease
• Subject and neural indicators of health-related anxiety as a consequence of using the internet
• Experiences of being a mother with epilepsy
• The effectiveness of weight loss management groups
• Stress management
• Chronic disease

 
 

Entry requirements

Applicants should have at least a second-class honours degree in psychology and the Graduate Basis for Chartership as recognised by the BPS. Applicants with other degrees are invited to call the admission enquiries number to discuss possible additional requirements for entry.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

 

Employability

Career opportunities

After Stage 1, you can become a Chartered Psychologist by successfully completing Stage 2 training in Health Psychology. This will confer eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC and use the protected title of ‘Health Psychologist’.

The course team includes experienced supervisors of the British Psychological Society Qualification in Health Psychology (QHP Stage 2). The MSc programme additionally provides you with the skills to pursue a PhD and the course team have the expertise to supervise a broad range of health psychology topics.

Following the MSc, our students frequently progress to a PhD, undertake the QHP Stage 2 and obtain posts within academia, the NHS, and public health services.

BPS - Careers

 

Information for international applicants

Qualifications

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Full-time

2021/22 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£6,695 a year

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Fee for international applicants
£13,000 a year

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Part-time

2021/22 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£745 for each 20 credits

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