Our innovative MSc Contemporary Alcohol & Drug Studies course adopts a critical social science perspective to explore the interplay between psychoactive substances and society across a range of areas. Our course will introduce you to a range of:
You will critically examine patterns of substance use across social groups and the contexts and consequences of substance-related harms for individuals, families and neighbourhoods.
You will also examine the social, economic and political influences on substances and their effects. In addition, you will compare and contrast the operations of the alcohol industry with the drugs economy and explore current debates on alcohol and drug law reforms nationally and internationally.
A Postgraduate Certificate, comprising Understanding Substance Use, Contemporary Responses to Substance Use, and The Politics of Drug & Alcohol Policy is available to study on a part-time basis over 9 months.
Our MSc provides you with the opportunity to engage in Work Based Learning (WBL) with a partner organisation in the drug and alcohol field, or in an academic research setting. A variety of external organisations are involved in our WBL, including:
Experiential learning is an important feature of our course, allowing you to apply elements of class based learning to the work place. If you are keen to pursue a career in research or doctoral study, the option to participate in a research WBL experience based within the university is offered. This focuses on the further development of academic research and writing skills.
"Being a clinician, I found that the course helped broaden my knowledge base and my views. The reading material for the first year modules was particularly interesting. The experience of conducting a research study with an experienced supervisor was invaluable."
Saket Priyadarshi, Clinician
Our MSc qualification comprises of six 20-credit modules at SCQF Level 11 and the completion of the MSc Dissertation, in which you undertake an independent research project and present your findings in a thesis.
Teaching and Assessment
A range of teaching, learning and assessment methodologies are used, including:
Our postgraduate course emphasises inquiry-based learning where you are encouraged and supported to develop your critical thinking and communication skills by engaging with your peers in class based and online group work. You are also supported to develop your independent and autonomous learning activities. The modules employ a range of assessment methods and formative exercises with timely feedback to assist you in developing and deepening your knowledge and skills.
The assessments cater for a range of learning styles and skills, and include:
A wide variety of employment options in the drug/alcohol services (in the statutory/voluntary sectors) and in broader youth and social care professions will be available when you graduate.
If you are already employed in services our MSc confers a specialist knowledge of theory and contemporary evidence-based developments in the field and is useful for career advancement and continuing professional development.
Following graduating with an MSc, you may wish to apply to study for a PhD in Alcohol & Drug Studies.
"In 2004 I was enrolled as a PhD student in Alcohol and Drug Studies at the University looking at normative beliefs and 'binge' drinking among University students. I was also a Tutor on one module. Prior to this I spent 9 months working for Greater Glasgow Health Board as an Assistant Psychologist in the adolescent deliberate self-harm service. I successfully completed my PhD in June 2008"
Dr John McAlaney
This degree is available as a top up degree (level 6 only)
Students applying for this programme should be those working in health, social care or related fields, from a variety of organisational or community settings. This includes hospital, community-nursing staff, paramedics, those in professions allied to medicine, health trainers, smoking cessation advisors, public health or health promotion practitioners, drug and alcohol workers.
For students with substantial experience who already have an existing Nursing diploma and professional qualifications this is a way to enhance their professional development and career opportunities by attaining an honours degree.
This programme focuses on the professional development needs of the student .It provides the opportunity for students to source learning that meets both immediate and future practice needs. Designed to facilitate flexible,intra and inter-professional learning opportunities, this degree programme can be studied at a pace suitable to the student (minimum normally two years, maximum normally three years).
-A flexible, challenging programme of learning, which will develop skills and knowledge pertinent to the students’ health and social care practice and professional development needs.
-A contribution to students’ practitioner-development, facilitating engagement with evidence-based change within service provision and delivery of care.
-Engagement with life-long learning and development of transferable professional and intellectual skills necessary to ensure enhancement of contemporary health and social care practice.
-There may be opportunities for students to bring existing level 6 units into the programme (Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning - APCL) - subject to regulations under the university APL policy.
The BSc (Hons) Contemporary Health Practice (CHP) provides a programme of Level 6 study that focuses on the professional development needs of a broad range of practitioners from the health services, social care services, professions allied to medicine, ‘non-professional’ managers, health promotion and drug & alcohol workers. It is an accessible ‘top-up’ for those with an existing diploma, or equivalent (see under entry requirements), who wish to enhance their professional development and career opportunities by attaining an honours degree.
The programme provides the opportunity for students to source learning that meets both immediate, but also future, practice and career development needs. This degree programme contributes to the growth of the ‘knowledge economy’ with learning linked to real-world needs, thereby enhancing professional as well as personal development. With the professional/practitioner in mind, the programme is designed to facilitate flexible, inter-professional, learning opportunities (as appropriate) and can be studied at a pace, and sometimes a place, suitable to the student.
Health Psychology plays a key role in improving the health and wellbeing of the population. This course, based in the heart of London, was one of the first Masters in Health Psychology and has been accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) since 1999. It includes an innovative portfolio of assessments geared to developing transferable skills, and relating directly to the world of work. The course also provides the opportunity to gain work experience and apply your knowledge in a health psychology setting, whilst considering future career plans. The course is taught by a core team of enthusiastic and supportive research-active staff, with collaborative links to external institutions in London and beyond. Successful completion of the course (Stage 1) is a prerequisite for the further training (Stage 2) to become a health psychologist registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC).
In addition to the core taught programme, we work with a range of practitioners to provide additional professional training in areas such as resilience, coaching and clinical practice.
The course will give you an in-depth understanding of the theoretical and applied bases of health, illness and disease. The main aim is to help you to develop the theoretical and methodological skills essential for conducting independent research and applying health psychology in practice.
We provide a coherent programme of study covering the content, methods and application of health psychology. In particular, the course emphasises the importance of an evidence-based approach to health psychology, and develops the core skills needed for Stage 2 training. Within the core modules, there is considerable flexibility for you to choose particular areas of study of interest.
The following modules are indicative of what you study on this course.
Students can choose to undertake a work experience placement within a health related setting by taking the optional ‘work experience in a psychological setting’ module. Students will negotiate with tutors on finding a placement and arrange suitable supervision. Some recent examples of work experience opportunities include:
Hospitals: The Cassel Hospital (Personality Disorder service); The Royal Marsden Hospital (Neuro-oncology, paediatrics); Kings College (Dental Institute); Sussex Partnership Trust Children and Young Person's Mental Health Services; Great Chapel Street Medical Centre; Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore; Great Ormond Street Hospital; Mildmay Hospital; The Royal Brompton Hospital, London.
Charities: EnhanceAble (a registered charity that provides services for people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, acquired brain injuries and autism); Westminster Drug Project; Southwark Your Way (a programme that offers flexible mental health support and guidance to suit service user’s needs); Headway Hertfordshire; Mind, Hammersmith and Fulham; British Red Cross; The 240 Project (a community and activity centre in West London which works with vulnerable and excluded people); Terrence Higgins Trust; Jewish Women's Aid; Westminster Parent Mentoring project; Turning Point Drug and Alcohol Service; Women and Girls Network; NSPCC; Kith and Kids; Alzheimer's Society; Freedom from torture; The Muslim Youth Helpline.
The course is a prerequisite for those wishing to pursue Stage 2 training leading to Registration with the HCPC as a Health Psychologist. This route is only available to those who have Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) with the BPS. However, it also serves as a precursor to those wishing to pursue a PhD in Psychology, and other areas of applied psychology such as clinical or counselling psychology. The majority of our graduates work in academic or health-related professions, for example: psychology researcher or lecturer, smoking cessation advisor, chronic pain therapist, health consultant.
Graduates from the Health Psychology MSc course at the University of Westminster work at all levels and, in all areas of health and related professions. Most students go on to undertake further postgraduate training be it in research, teaching or work related training. Many alumni of the course work as HCPC registered applied psychologists including, health, counselling and clinical psychology. Others have worked to enhance their career opportunities in their chosen disciplines including Occupational Therapy, Nursing, Advertising and Recruitment. Others work as, consultants, freelancers and academics.