Find a Degree Postgraduate Taught Programmes Health Psychology
MSc Health Psychology

Programme Details

This MSc programme in Health Psychology, which is accredited by the British Psychological Society, offers you the opportunity to expand on and apply your knowledge and skills to help solve some of the big health issues facing society today.

The British Psychological Society (BPS) has declared Health Psychology the fastest growing field of psychology in the UK. This MSc programme aims to provide you with an understanding of theories and methods in this exciting field and the ability to apply them to play an active role in helping solve the health challenges that face our society.

The common theme throughout this MSc is behaviour and behaviour change, with an emphasis on protective and risky health behaviours, behaviour in illness and disability, health professional behaviour, behaviour change interventions and stress.

Although the topics covered are diverse, the main areas of interest are:

  • Health behaviours - understanding and changing participation in health damaging and health protecting behaviours
  • Psychological aspects of illness and disability - examining the psychological impact of illness on individuals, families and carers, promoting positive 'illness behaviours'
  • Health related cognitions and emotions - investigating the cognitive and emotional processes which explain health and illness behaviours
  • Processes influencing the delivery of health care - studying factors that influence how health care professionals and organisations deliver care
  • Professional practice - training in key skills such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing and health coaching
  • Health psychology in context - two days shadowing health professionals in the NHS

The MSc is a British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited course so successful completion confers Stage 1 of the BPS training requirements for Chartered Health Psychologist status.

MSc 12 Months Full Time and 24 Months Part Time | On-campus learning | September start

Why Choose Aberdeen?

  • The programme has a strong emphasis on multi-disciplinary working which provides an excellent learning environment for future health psychologists.
  • The University's Aberdeen Health Psychology Group (AHPG) is an internationally recognised academic centre in Health Psychology. The group co-ordinates the MSc and various member of the research staff are involved in the teaching.
  • You will benefit from the AHPGs close working relationship with other disciplines and specialties (like epidemiology, health services research, health economics, pharmacy, exercise physiology, public health nutrition and academic primary care).
  • The programme runs from the Foresterhill Health Campus which includes a large teaching hospital, Medical School and from January 2016, the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, providing easy access to facilities and specialists from a range of disciplines.
  • The MSc is embedded within a research active Medical School which means that teaching and research projects reflect the real world workings of Health Psychology
  • The course is BPS accredited

Contact Information


[Jump to: Programme Team | Assessment | Teaching]

The teaching and assessment in the MSc Health Psychology programme was highly commended by the British Psychological Society in 2015. Teaching consists of an empirical research project, a literature review of an area of interest and seven diverse taught courses which cover a range of topics relevant to real world health psychology.

Compulsory Courses

Health Behaviour & Behaviour Change (15 credits)

This course aims to provide students with an understanding of how behaviours (e.g. smoking, diet, medication adherence, etc) can protect, promote, risk or damage health; the key drivers of (un)healthy behaviours; and techniques to change health behaviours. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Stress, Personality & Health (15 credits)

This course explores how stress and personality can affect our health by influencing how we view the world, how we react to situations and events (psychologically, physiologically and behaviourally) and our capacity to cope in difficult circumstances. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Illness, Disability & Interactions with Healthcare (15 credits)

This course aims to explore how illness, disability and people's interactions with healthcare professionals and services are influenced by beliefs, perceptions and behaviours. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Health Professional Behaviour (15 credits)

This course examines how the behaviour of health professionals can impact on patient care and service delivery, for example through doctor-patient communication, healthcare professional stress, medical decision making, and staff adherence to safety procedures. Students on this course spend two days shadowing health professionals in the NHS and are trained in key professional practice skills such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing and health coaching. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Research Methods & Practice for Psychology (15 credits)

This course teaches students in the field of health psychology how to conduct high quality behavioural research, how to become an informed consumer of research, and how to think and operate within a professional, ethical framework. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Applied Statistics (15 credits)

This course aims to equip students with knowledge of statistical principles and methods but will NOT concentrate on statistical theory. Students will also gain experience of analysing, presenting and interpreting numerical data in the health context. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Evidence-Based Health (15 credits)

This course aims to enable the fundamental understanding and application of evidence based health at an individual- and population-level, focusing on systematic reviews to synthesise evidence as well as methods to translate and implement evidence to inform health. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Health Psychology Research Review (15 credits)

This course aims to provide students with (a) an opportunity to complete a thorough and comprehensive review of the existing literature on a clearly defined topic in an area of interest to Health Psychology, and (b) the academic skills to search, synthesise and clearly present in writing a large amount of research evidence.

Working largely independently with the support of an academic supervisor, students on this course will produce a substantial literature review of a publishable standard. Reviews may be either narrative or systematic depending on the topic area. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Generic Skills (0 credits)

This course will improve your employability through a bespoke online resource to help identify strengths and areas needing improvement. Self-assessment allows you to identify development areas for employability skills such as communication, IT and numeracy skills and personal attributes like creativity, organisation and timekeeping, flexibility, team working. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Health Psychology Research Project (60 credits)

This course offers students the opportunity to complete a substantial piece of data-driven, empirical work within the field of Health Psychology, under the supervision of an experienced Health Psychology researcher.

Topics available will be varied but within the domain of Health Psychology. Students will identify a suitable topic area, develop a research protocol, design and implement an empirical study and write up the results in the format of a journal article. Read full details in our course catalogue.

^ top

Programme Team

The programme will be delivered by the following team. Links take you to individual staff profiles.

^ top


There are different types of assessment throughout the programme including formative assessment (in class presentations or online quizzes) and summative assessment (assignments, presentations, written/oral tests/examinations, research review and thesis).

^ top


The course emphasises active learning and repeated exposure to best practice. A variety of teaching methods are used to help students achieve the three main course aims of understanding (lectures, tutorials, self-study), application (observation, placements, group work, practicals, problem based learning), and the development of a critical academic attitude (structured discussions, debates, critical review tutorials).

Much of the teaching is participatory and students are expected to consolidate all taught content by completing related tasks and activities and engaging in independent study.


With an ageing population, an obesity epidemic and an associated increase in chronic health conditions requiring behavioural interventions the demand for Health Psychologists is expected to rise further.

Health psychologists, because they have learned to apply psychology to applied topics, can work in a variety of environments and organizations.

Many will find excellent jobs at the NHS as health care practitioners or in academia. Others may choose career paths in the consumer and marketing sector, or in other commercial organizations with an interest in health and psychology.

Completion of the MSc confers Stage 1 of the British Psychological Society’s requirements for training as a Health Psychologist so students will be eligible to begin Stage 2 training (2 years of supervised practice) upon graduation. In Scotland, several funded ‘Health Psychologist in Training’ posts are advertised each year to enable graduates to complete their Stage 2 training while employed by the NHS.

One thing is sure: whatever route you choose, you will have a qualification that there is significant demand for.

Applicants will usually need to possess an upper second (2:1) class (or better) Honours degree in Psychology recognised as Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) by the British Psychological Society.

International students who hold Psychology degrees NOT accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), must contact the BPS Partnership & Accreditation Team (details available on the BPS website) to ask for written confirmation that their degree can be considered equivalent to a BPS accredited degree.

Applicants should note that obtaining this confirmation from the British Psychological Society can take several weeks so students must contact the Society well before the application deadline for the MSc programme.

Document requirements

For this application we need at least:

  • An official full Bachelor degree transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) so far (original & official English translation)
  • Degree certificate (if you have already graduated)
  • Academic reference letter OR a reference letter from your employer (if you have 2+ years of work experience in an industry relevant to the programme)
  • Detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
  • Ideally - current CV/resume

It is important when submitting an application that you ensure you have completed all the necessary sections and enclosed all the relevant documentation to ensure that your application can be processed as quickly as possible. Any missing document may result in delay.

English Language requirements

Even if you have been educated in the medium of English you must meet our English Language requirements (certain countries may be exempted from this requirement). Full details are available on our English language requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the 'Postgraduate Standard' level of English proficiency.

University of Aberdeen offers also pre-sessional English courses that when successfully completed will remove language conditions for studying at the University of Aberdeen. Further details are available on the Language Centre website.


Tuition Fee Rates 2016/17 - MSc Health Psychology

  • UK/EU students: £4,500
  • International students: £13,800

Further information about tuition fees and cost of living for both UK/EU and International students can be found on the Finance and Funding web pages.


Prospective students should visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

University of Aberdeen Alumni Discount Scheme

The University of Aberdeen is very pleased to offer a 20% discount on postgraduate tuition fees for all alumni who have graduated with a degree from the University of Aberdeen. More Information can be found here.

(Please note this cannot be claimed in conjunction with any other scholarship award)


Related Information

General Information

Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
The Hub
King's College

Tel: +44 (0)1224 272090 / +44 (0)1224 272091
Fax: +44 (0)1224 272576