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Mental Health Sciences Research - MSc

Course Description

This programme offers a stimulating and practical training in mental health research. The UCL Division of Psychiatry offers teaching and supervision from leaders in international research in fields from neuroscientific to social and epidemiological, along with a range of relevant options from other leading UCL departments. This diversity of options allows students to tailor a programme that closely fits their needs.

Degree information

This programme will equip students with the research skills needed to undertake doctoral-level research and/or to collaborate in major research projects. They will produce a piece of original research ready to submit for publication, and will acquire current knowledge of cutting-edge research in mental health.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of two core modules (45 credits), five optional modules (75 credits) and a dissertation/report (60 credits).

Core modules
-Core Principles of Mental Health Research (double module)
-Statistical Methods in Mental Health

Optional modules - students will select at least 60 credits from the following modules of which at least 30 credits must be from the Division of Psychiatry’s own modules:
-Culture in the Clinic
-Current Research in Depression and Anxiety
-Current Research in Dementia
-Current Research in Learning Disability
-Current Research in Psychosis
-Epidemiological and Social Methods in Mental Health (double module)
-Introduction to Biological Research in Mental Health
-Mental Health Services – Policy, Design and Evaluation

Other approved modules:
-Cellular and Molecular Modules of Disease (Institute of Neurology)
-Ethnicity, Migration and Health (Department of Epidemiology & Public Health)
-Health Inequalities across the Lifecourse (Department of Epidemiology and Public Health)
-Higher Functions of the Brain (Institute of Neurology)
-Neuroimaging: Introductory Science and Methods (Institute of Neurology)
-Neuroimaging: Imaging Modalities (Institute of Neurology)
-Social Determinants of Global Health (Department of Epidemiology and Public Health)
-Or any other module approved by the Programme Director as having a large research component relevant to mental health.

The final 15 credits may be obtained from any available module at UCL, subject to the Programme Director approving the overall selection for each student.

Final report
All students undertake a final research project. This is reported as a research paper of 6,000-8,000 words ready for submission to a specified journal, a blog of 1,000 words and a 20-minute talk.

Teaching and learning
This programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical workshops, with considerable use of supporting online learning. Assessment methods include unseen exams, coursework including designing questionnaires and systematic review strategies, developing protocols, analysing data, giving talks and presenting posters. There is a strong emphasis on developing practical research skills.


This new programme will equip graduates with strong practical research skills and understanding of the current status and direction of mental health research in their area of interest, preparing them to pursue doctoral studies, including through applications for nationally funded fellowships. Clinicians will be equipped to participate fully in collaborative studies and to begin to function as independent investigators. For those without clinical qualifications, the programme is likely to assist students in embarking on a career in mental health research by obtaining research posts and opportunities for PhD places.

Students will be taught by and carry out projects with leading researchers at the cutting-edge of their fields, learning about research directly from experts rather than from textbooks. Previous Division of Psychiatry MSc graduates have had a strong track record of publishing papers based on their research projects in peer-reviewed journals, and of going on to further academic posts and to doctoral studies.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL has a cluster of international research leaders in mental health in fields including genetics, epidemiology, and applied clinical research. Optional modules provide an entrance to other renowned departments at UCL e.g. in neuroscience and epidemiology.

The programme is strongly focused on student participation and acquisition of the practical skills needed to embark on a career in research. The wide range of research interests within our division allows us to offer a programme that integrates biological and psychosocial approaches.

We offer opportunities to get involved in the work of internationally significant research groups in a stimulating, friendly and supportive atmosphere.

Visit the Mental Health Sciences Research - MSc page on the University College London website for more details!

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Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

An upper second-class Bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related scientific or social science discipline, or a professional health qualification (medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, social work), or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Additionally at least six months’ full-time work experience (or the equivalent) in a mental health service setting or in clinical mental health research is required.

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