Promoting the scientific study of health, illness and healthcare to improve health outcomes for patients and the public.
Who is it for?
The course is for highly motivated students who have intellectual curiosity to learn about complex problems of health and healthcare and the ambition to conduct research that may lead to a solution to these problems. The programme is especially suited to students who want to go on to do doctoral studies – either a DPsych Health Psychology (for practitioner training) or a PhD (for research training).
The Health Psychology course is also for those who have an undergraduate degree that is accredited by the British Psychological Society. If you are an international student and would like to undertake a Masters degree in this subject but do not have the BPS accreditation, we offer the MSc Psychology and Health as an alternative programme (with identical modules) for students who have not achieved the Graduate Basis for Registration with the British Psychological Society.
Health psychology explores the psychological and behavioural processes that influence the development of illness, the promotion of health, and the delivery of healthcare through rigorous research that feeds into evidence-based practice.
Teaching at City promotes the scientist-practitioner model in which research influences how we practice, while allowing our experiences in practice to shape the research questions we ask.
We recognise that great research will not make a difference to people’s lives unless the insights feed into evidence-based practice. You will therefore learn how to make research evidence accessible to help maximise its impact. Taught by a team of leading research-active academics, who are members of the Centre for Health Services Research (CHSR), the MSc Health Psychology programme is designed to give you the foundations that will propel you to an exciting career in the discipline.
Here are some examples of the kinds of questions the course poses:
-How can we help people cope with a diagnosis?
-What are the main challenges facing individuals living with long-term conditions?
-What is psychological theory and how can this be used to understand health and illness behaviours?
-How can we make complex interventions more effective by using theory and empirical evidence?
City University has recently opened the TECS Lab, a dedicated ‘smart home’, to showcase some of the exciting technologies that are being implemented around the UK to support patients with long-term conditions and complex health and social care needs.
This is a one-of-a-kind resource that is already being used for teaching and research purposes. You will visit the TECS Lab in the spring term and the resource will be available to conduct your own dissertation research on a related topic. As part of the University of London you can also become a member of Senate House Library for free with your student ID card.
Teaching and learning
The course uses a range of teaching methods including classroom teaching, seminars and workshops. You will be assessed through a varied combination of formats throughout the programme including coursework, examination, a diary component, online discussion forums and a significant piece of empirical research.
The assessment for the Doctorate includes:
-A reflective report (3,000 words) detailing how supervised practice has enabled you to fulfil the generic professional competence.
-A report (1,000 words) summarising the involvement of service users and/or carers in your training.
-Log of experiences that enabled you to gain competence in each component of all core units over the equivalent of two years’ full-time supervised practice (this should include a record of your attendance at core CPD workshops)
-A case study (3,000 words excluding appendices) with supporting evidence in appendices.
-A contract and working agreement conditions document (3,000 words, excluding appendices) with supporting evidence in appendices.
-Two teaching and training case studies (1 x 1,000 & 1 x 2,000 words, excluding appendices) with supporting evidence in appendices. One of the populations must be health care professionals and an observer’s report (500 words)
-A case study describing the process of conducting a psychological intervention that has been implemented through face-to-face work with an individual client (3000 words, excluding appendices) with supporting evidence in appendices.
-A case study (2,000 words, excluding appendices) describing the process of conducting a psychological intervention that has been delivered through a medium other than face-to-face with an individual client with a reflective report on delivering this intervention included in the appendices.
-A research thesis (approximately 15,000 words, excluding appendices) to be written to a standard acceptable for publication in peer-reviewed academic journals.
-A systematic review (6,000 words excluding appendices) to be written to a standard acceptable for publication in peer-reviewed academic journals.
You will also be able to learn from our on-site TECS lab. This is a dedicated smart home equipped with tele-health and tele-care applications and an adjacent monitoring system.
The purpose of the TECS lab is to enable researchers to monitor long-term conditions, and use technology to track an individual’s health in real time. For example seat and bed occupancy sensors enable health psychologists to monitor physical movement and intervene when routine behaviours are disrupted.
The programme consists of eight compulsory modules and all the teaching takes place in the first two terms. In term one you will be introduced to behavioural medicine, lifestyle, gender and culture, theoretical foundations of health psychology and research design and statistics. In the second term you study understanding and managing long term conditions, developing complex interventions, professional practice and contextual issues in health psychology and advanced research design and statistics. The third term is dedicated to the dissertation.
You may have the opportunity to interact directly with patients or healthcare professionals at the dissertation stage of this Masters degree. You will be conducting your own independent research and this may, for example, involve interviewing patients or professionals about a particular subject, or delivering behaviour change interventions.
To become a qualified researcher and practitioner, you will need to be able to understand and critique published research and to understand practitioner issues, so you can conduct your own research from scratch. At City we will encourage you to conduct research on the front line working on projects that require ethical approval, where you are engaging with real people so you can have a direct impact on their lives.
-Theoretical foundations of health psychology (15 credits)
-Behavioural medicine (15 credits)
-Understanding and managing long-term conditions (15 credits)
-Lifespan, gender & culture (15 credits)
-Developing complex interventions (15 credits)
-Professional and contextual Issues in health psychology (15 credits)
-Introduction to research design & statistics (15 credits)
-Advanced research design & statistics (15 credits)
-Dissertation (60 credits)
Health psychologists work in academia as researchers and within the NHS and the wider healthcare sector. The nature of the work means you will be trying to influence public health policy in terms of the way that health care is practised. You will also be evaluating how health care professionals do their work while adhering to the best clinical standards.
As a UK student, because the Health Psychology MSc is accredited, it is known as Stage 1 of the standard training in healthcare psychology. By successfully completing this course you will be able to move on to Stage 2 training (a doctoral level qualification in health psychology). This leads to becoming a fully recognised health psychologist whereby you can apply for Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Full membership of the Division of Health Psychology means you will also be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a Chartered Health Psychologist. You can only use the protected title ‘Health Psychologist’ by registering with the HCPC, the statutory regulator.
Graduates of the MSc in Health Psychology and MSc in Psychology & Health take a variety of career paths across the NHS and wider public sector. Here are some examples of the kinds of roles our graduates go on to do:
-A PhD student studying a Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology.
-A research assistant in higher education, NHS or the private sector.
-An assistant psychologist in an applied setting.
-An NHS or third sector healthcare professional, such as a smoking cessation officer, or a public health and health promotion practitioner.