Health psychology focuses on the roles of psychology, biology and social or environmental factors on health and health related behaviour. Health psychologists promote healthier lifestyles and seek to improve well-being by understanding the impact that health related thoughts, feelings and behaviour can have on the individual. Health strategy has been shifting from the treatment of disease to the maintenance of health and prevention of illness. This is particularly important in the Welsh context given that self-reported 'good health' is lower in Wales compared to other areas of the UK (ONS 2011), with a high level of risky behaviours (Welsh Assembly Government, 2004).
This MSc aims to produce high quality graduates that are in a good position to improve the health of and well-being of people in Wales and beyond by using specific psychological knowledge and skills. The programme is specifically designed with future employability in mind and provides a student centred approach to preparing graduates for future training and careers in health psychology.
Students will complete the following six taught modules along with a dissertation, which consists of an independent piece of research. Placement style dissertations are offered in external settings so that students, who choose to, are able to build experience in the type of settings in which they might later find employment.
- Research Methods and Design: Equips the student with the qualitative and quantitative research skills necessary to undertake masters level research.
- Biopsychosocial Issues in Health: Explores the impact of biopsychosocial factors in health
- Health Psychology and the Health Psychologist: Provides a critical account of the application of health psychology in the community and workplace
- Changing Health Behaviour: Critically evaluates psychological theories of behavioural change
- Chronic Illness, Stress and Pain: Critically evaluates theories and models of chronic disease, stress, pain and their management.
- Communication in the Health Care Context: Develops the students' understanding of effective communication strategies.
Learning & Teaching
The MSc Health Psychology programme includes some formal lectures, but the majority of the programme is taught interactively, with students actively involved in each session. Group work, seminars, presentations and practical workshops all help to engage students and ensure they are developing the knowledge and skills required for stage 1 training in health psychology and also develop the confidence to use what they learn to the benefit of themselves and others.
The MSc Health Psychology programme is taught on two days each week, for full time students, and on one day each week for part time students. Much of the teaching takes place in the Psychology Postgraduate and Research Centre (PARC) which provides computers that students can use for private study and also a social space and kitchen area for students to make use of. PARC also includes a number of cubicles with software and other technology for use in research.
All of the course materials for the Programme are made available via the Virtual Learning Environment, Moodle, there is also a Facebook page and Twitter site (@cardiffhealthps) for the programme.
All students are allocated a personal tutor during their first week on the programme. Personal tutors will initiate a meeting with the students during the first term and will also invite students to come and see them with the PDP (Personal Development Portfolio) folders during term 2. In addition students are more than welcome to make an appointment to see their personal tutor, module leader or programme director whenever they wish. The programme team all adopt an open door policy and welcome students to come and talk to them about any issues related to the course or their welfare at any time.
The MSc Health Psychology programme at Cardiff Met has a partner programme at City Unity College in Athens. It may be possible for students to engage in a visit to our partner programme, to share workshops alongside their Greek counterparts. Last year the university funded 80% of the cost of the trip for 6 students from the MSc Health Psychology programme, and we are hoping that this funding will be available again for the coming year. The MSc Health Psychology programme is accredited by the BPS and as such constitutes stage 1 training in health psychology. Talks about careers in health psychology, and stage 2 training will be included, as part of the programme and graduates from the programme will provide information about their own experiences and career development.
The MSc is assessed by a range of different coursework assignments including literature reviews, research reports, essays, presentations and posters. No exams are used in the assessment for this programme. Assessments are designed to help students develop the skills they will require during their future careers.
Employability & Careers
An MSc in Health Psychology is the first step (stage one) towards Chartered Psychology status for students who are eligible to hold the Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS). The MSc in Health Psychology will provide the knowledge base and research skills, which will underpin stage two of the process towards Chartership with the BPS (two years of supervised practice). Completion of stage two with the BPS also confers eligibility to become a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered Health Psychologist. All practitioner psychologists are regulated by the HCPC. Health psychologists work in all areas relevant to health, illness and health care delivery.