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MSc Health Psychology

Course Description

Equipping you with a sound knowledge of theories and practical issues relevant to health psychology.


Health psychology applies the theories, methods and techniques of psychology to issues of health and illness. These are integrated into the psychological processes related to the maintenance of health, the promotion of the psychological wellbeing of the physically ill, and the normal and pathological responses to ill health and stress.

Visit the website http://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/health-psychology


You will consider the psychological and physiological responses of the individual to ill health, as well as the social and community contexts of health-related behaviours and the systems for healthcare.

You will be equipped with a sound knowledge of theories and practical issues relevant to health psychology and also a good understanding of both quantitative and qualitative approaches to research.

The programme, which is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), provides the academic component (Stage 1) on the route towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist.

Module overview

Compulsory modules:

Quantitative Research Methods
In this module, you will develop the skills to conduct and assess quantitative research effectively.

Qualitative Research Methods
In this module, you will develop the skills to conduct and assess qualitative research.

Preparation for Academic Research in Psychology
This module aims to provide students with the basic skills of research design, data analysis, publishing and ethical conduct, and to prepare students with the skills they need to produce a dissertation report of publishable standard.

Conducting Health Psychology Research
This module provides you with advanced knowledge and understanding of the methods, theory and practice in different types of assessment techniques used in health psychology research.

Chronic Conditions
This module provides you with advanced knowledge and understanding of theory and practice, in particular relating to chronic illness/disability such as cancer, HIV, cardiovascular disorders, pain, arthritis and diabetes.

Psychological Aspects of Healthcare
This module covers psychological factors that influence the patient’s passage through the healthcare system.

Maintaining Health Throughout the Life-Span
This module provides you with advanced knowledge and understanding of the methods, theory and practice in developing and maintaining health throughout the life-span.

Optional Modules:
You also choose one optional module from the following:

- Aspects of Experimental Psychology
- Crafting Research: Linking Theory and Methods
- Ergonomics and Human Factors
- Inquiry and Design
- Psychological Neuroscience: Psychophysics & fMRI
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Health Psychology
- Psychology of Sustainable Development

Full-time students: Four modules per semester in total

Part-time students: Modules split across two years as agreed with the Course Director

Teaching and assessment

Teaching hours:
Lectures: 12–14 hours per week in term time.

Seminar Series: Between six and ten hours per term over the duration of the programme.

Supervision: Up to nine hours per term over the duration of the programme.


The programme is modular and is offered in both full-time and part-time modes. One module (22 contact hours) provides 15 credits. You will complete seven compulsory modules and one optional module. You will also be required to present a dissertation comprising an original piece of empirical research within an area of health psychology. This will be approved and supervised by one of the School’s academic staff.


Career prospects for students of this programme are very good, with graduates working in a variety of careers allied to medicine.

Some examples of where graduates of this programme have gone on to work include:

- Trainee clinical psychologist, Black Country NHS Trust

- Residential care officer, Community Homes – Intensive Care and Education, Reading

- Compensation analyst, Hewlett Packard, Bracknell

- Assistant psychologist, NE Essex Mental Health Services NHS Trust, Colchester

- Aids Council carer, Papworth Trust, Cambridge

- Trainee health psychologist at the Queen Elizabeth Foundation

Some students have remained in the School of Psychology and undertaken research for a PhD.

Other students remain in the School and become full-time research officers, working on one of the many research projects we have which are supported by the research councils, government, industry or the charitable trusts.

Graduates have also chosen to move to other universities to undertake research (as PhD students or research officers), as the Surrey MSc provides students with a recognised and thorough grounding in research methods.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/postgraduate

Visit the MSc Health Psychology page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Sarah Bolger

“Although the demands on my time and energy were challenging, I received unbeatable support from the team at Surrey.”

Sarah, a Practice Development Midwife with 15 years’ experience as a qualified nurse and 11 years’ experience as a qualified midwife, explains how a Masters from the University of Surrey has boosted her career prospects.

“I wanted a course that would enable me to consolidate my previous experience and give me the qualification I needed for career progression. I chose the University of Surrey because it offers higher education as part of a contract with local Trusts. I was also looking to study at a university that could rival others at a national and even an international level.

The most challenging aspect of the course was juggling my academic work, working for the Trust and family life. The impact of studying for a Masters on family life can never be underestimated, so time management is key. For me, this often meant studying in the evening, which after a long day at work was gruelling.

Although the demands on my time and energy were challenging, I received unbeatable support from the team at Surrey. The emphasis wasn’t on taking away my challenges, but providing me with guidance so I could find a path that enabled me to achieve my full potential.

Now I have completed the course, the sense of achievement I have is immeasurable. At Surrey, you’re encouraged to think outside the box and consider new ideas.

Based on the results of my Masters, I have been awarded a full-time funded PhD studentship at Surrey. It’s thanks to the experience I had during my Masters that I had the confidence to even apply.”

(Student Profile)

Marianna Dalkou

What attracted you to choose the University of Surrey and to study your course here?

I chose the University of Surrey because of its reputation and the very good ranking it had in university tables. Regarding the specific programme that I chose I found that it had the most interesting course and the professors are some of the most prominent figures in the field of Health Psychology (Jane Ogden, Mark Corpley).

What is your strongest memory of your time at Surrey – what do you picture first when you think of being here?

Being at Surrey was one of the best experiences of my life and when I think about my time in the university a big smile always crosses my face. Even though I was away from my home country, the University offered me a great sense of security and hospitality. I knew that if I had any problem it would be solved in minutes.

Something that I will never forget is the first thing that Mark Corpley (the course director) told us in our first lecture: “be aware... during your MSc you have to remember that time flies.” He was so right.

Last but not least, one of the best things that happened to me was that I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people and to make new friends for life.

What were the best things about your course?

The best thing is that the course provided us with a variety of very interesting modules and taught us how to critically evaluate scientific data. I am grateful that after the completion of my MSc I further improved my research skills.

I really enjoyed the seminars that were held in the university campus addressed only to Health Psychology Postgraduate students. During these seminars I had the chance to learn very enlightening things related to my field and also useful information and tips about job opportunities.

What are your top tips for students aspiring to work in your profession?

Critically evaluate everything you read, be creative, be patient and enjoy the ride!


Discounts for Surrey graduates - No. of awards TBC

If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford, you could be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught postgraduate Masters programme fees. This scheme is for applicable to Postgraduate Taught entry students only and is reviewed annually.Students who graduated in 2013 are eligible, as well as alumni from previous years, on receipt of evidence of the award from Surrey and where we can identify that you actually studied in Guildford. Students from SII-DUFE are eligible for this scheme.Associated Institution students are not eligible. Not available to modular self-pacing students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

10% tuition fee discount


Self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford

Application Procedure

If you have any enquiries regarding this matter please contact the Student Fees and Funding Office on [email protected]

Entry Requirements

A first or 2.1 honours degree (or recognised equivalent qualification) in psychology and Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the BPS. English language requirements; IELTS minimum overall: 6.5; IELTS minimum by component: 6.0

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