Masters degrees in Psychopharmacology involve advanced study of chemical substances’ psychological and behavioural effects on the human mind and body.
Related subjects include Abnormal & Clinical Psychology, Molecular Neuroscience and Neuropharmacology. Entry requirements normally include an undergraduate degree in an appropriate subject such as Pharmacology, Medicine or Psychology.
Psychopharmacologists are interested in the effects that drugs have on mood, sensation, thinking and behaviour, and whether certain substances have psychoactive properties.
For example, you could explore links between clinical drugs and long-term side effects, such the proposed correlation between the contraceptive pill and depression.
Alternatively, you might investigate how hallucinogenics and narcotics affect an individual’s reality. You could also consider their long-term impact, asking whether hallucinations create false memories or examining the link between narcotics and paranoia.
Careers are extremely broad, with possible routes including diagnostics and psychotherapy, social work and counselling, or forensic applications such as rehabilitation and probation services. Other careers include public administration and policy-making.
The Abnormal and Clinical Psychology course aims to provide a high level of understanding of the theory and practice of clinical psychology within healthcare settings and prepares students for professional clinical training.
Teaching and Employability:
Clinical psychology focuses on the challenges faced by people with clinical, mental or physical (neuropsychological) health conditions. The role of the clinical psychologist is to work with these individuals and attempt to improve their quality of life.
The Abnormal and Clinical Psychology course will greatly enhance students’ suitability for professional clinical training, for example a three year DClin Clinical Psychology programme at a BPS accredited training centre.
Entry onto a clinical psychology doctorate training programme is extremely competitive, with candidates usually expected to have acquired training and experience beyond degree level.
The MSc degree provides a valuable academic foundation for future doctoral training in clinical psychology, it is largely theory-based and is designed to address core topics in abnormal and clinical psychology.
Clinical training courses also look for evidence of clinical experience with relevant client groups.
Swansea University does not provide this directly, but work experience (paid and voluntary) may be available through the local NHS Psychology Services. Opportunities may also be available locally through independent and private sector organisations (e.g. Mind Cymru, Headway, private rehabilitation services, etc.). These opportunities are regularly advertised and students are supported in making the most of them.
Please note this course does not lead to a clinical qualification recognised by the British Psychological Society.
Modules on the MSc in Abnormal and Clinical Psychology may include:
The one year, full-time degree for Abnormal and Clinical Psychology requires students to attend the University for two full days a week (normally Monday and Tuesday).
The two-year part-time degree requires students to attend the University for one full day a week.
In the first two semesters taught modules are provided with the research project typically undertaken during the summer months.
On occasion sessions are arranged on other days of the week (e.g. when visiting clinician talks/workshops or employability sessions).
Teaching is done via group sessions with practical classes provided on research and design topics. These will be assessed via written course work and a written examination.
The MSc in Abnormal and Clinical Psychology is suitable for:
Many of the College of Human and Health Sciences team are leaders in their specialist fields of research. They undertake novel and original research in a variety of areas, including clinical and health psychology, brain injury, sleep, cognition, neuroscience and developmental psychology.
Find out more about the Psychology team at Swansea University.
The College of Human and Health Sciences has a vibrant postgraduate community with students drawn from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities. The College is known for its friendly, welcoming and supportive environment, which combined with its extensive facilities, state-of-the-art technology and superb beachside location, helps to ensure that students benefit from an exceptional student experience. In addition, students have access to a wide range of excellent facilities and equipment for realistic workplace experiences.
Here's what students had to say about the Abnormal and Clinical Psychology MSc:
“Completing the MSc has been very beneficial, as in addition to improving my academic knowledge and skills, as well as confidence, it has enabled me to quickly secure employment in this field”. Sam (MSc Abnormal and Clinical Psychology, 2013-14)
“The level of expertise of the lecturers is second to none” Katie (MSc Abnormal and Clinical Psychology, 2011-12)
“An outstanding and highly interesting MSc program” Vasilis (MSc Abnormal and Clinical Psychology, 2009-10)
“Thanks to my masters, I am in such a good placement in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a multi-speciality hospital's Cardiology Unit” Phoram (MSc Abnormal and Clinical Psychology, 2009-10)
“I'm now an Assistant Psychologist in Cardiff, and I do not think I would have had a chance of getting such a post if I didn't have the MSc. I'm really glad I did it!” - Bryn (MSc Abnormal and Clinical Psychology, 2008-09)
“The MSc helped me to get my first assistant post and provided me with a good academic basis to pursue a career in clinical psychology. I am now undertaking the DClin Psych course in Oxford!” - Nicola (MSc Abnormal and Clinical Psychology, 2007-08)
This programme teaches advanced experimental approaches to dissecting the mechanisms of drug action (pharmacology), a science that has seen innovative theoretical and technical development at UCL for over a century.
In addition to providing experience of both classical and modern pharmacological techniques, the programme will help develop skills for literature search-based data acquisition and analysis; written and verbal communication of science; abstract writing; poster preparation; graphical processing; image preparation for publication; writing a scientific paper; and giving research presentations.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of three core modules (75 credits), one optional module (15 credits), and a research project (90 credits).
Students choose one of the following:
Students undertake an original research project which culminates in a 15,000-word dissertation and an oral presentation.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, journal clubs, practicals, tutorials and a laboratory project. Student performance is evaluated through formal examination, coursework, and the research project.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Experimental Pharmacology and Therapeutics MSc
This programme is likely to lead to careers in biomedical sciences, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry and clinical laboratories, and extend to clinicians interested in moving towards a scientific career. Students will obtain a thorough knowledge of and practice in pharmacological assessment, drug design and development pathways. It is anticipated that graduates will move onto PhD programmes and/or build careers in industry or clinical investigations through employment as research associates/scientists in the pharmaceutical industry or academia.
The knowledge and transferable skills developed on this programme will be advantageous for those considering employment in any pharmaceutical or healthcare setting, or contemplating further studies in related fields. The programme will also provide excellent training in critical appraisal of complex data, which will transfer well to other disciplines.
The programme is jointly taught by UCL Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology (Division of Biosciences), and the Research Department of Pharmacology at the UCL School of Pharmacy. Both departments are historically and currently internationally leading in this field, and together provide cutting-edge education in theory, research practice and innovation in pharmacology.
The programme is designed to impart extensive experimental expertise applied to drug development and subsequent therapeutics. The combination of traditional and experimental approaches in pharmacology, coupled with current innovation in therapeutics and drug discovery and development, fosters a unique set of skills, which will enable graduates of the programme to engage in various aspects of pharmaceutical research globally.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Division of Biosciences
82% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.