Introduction

The University of Aberdeen is following Scottish Government Guidelines in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes adhering to physical distancing measures to support a safe environment for our staff and students. Therefore, the programme structure and delivery method for September 2020 may differ slightly from that listed on this page. Find out more about September 2020 study with us.

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.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MSc
Duration
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September
Location of Study
Aberdeen

Health Psychology is 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 our society faces.

Successful completion of the MSc Health Psychology confers Stage 1 of the BPS training requirements for Chartered Health Psychologist status.

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

What You'll Study

Semester 1

Semester 1

The MSc Health Psychology programme consists of an empirical research project, a literature review of an area of interest and a number of taught courses which cover topics relevant to real world application.

Project students have access to lab space in the University's clinical research facility and to a wide range of equipment (heart rate monitors, GPS trackers, activity monitors and electronic diaries), measures (health relevant questionnaires), and tests (standardised cognitive batteries).

View our Health Psychology Sample Project list here.


Compulsory Courses
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods and Analysis (PU5054)

This course teaches students in the field of health psychology how to conduct high quality quantitative research and how to think and operate within a professional, ethical framework. The structure of the course reflects the logical flow of the research process itself, moving week on week from the planning of research (generating and refining research questions, evaluating evidence, designing studies), through study conduct (ethical practice, quantitative methods, measurement issues, data handling, research governance) to the statistical analysis, interpretation, reporting and dissemination of research findings (to academic, policy, public, and media audiences).

  • Stress, Personality & Health (PU5053)

Humans vary from one person to the next, both in terms of their stable characteristics and in terms of how they respond to different situations and environments. These individual differences can in turn influence health positively and negatively. This course explores key individual differences in stress and personality. We will explore differences in physical, psychological and behavioural responses to stress; methods of coping with stress; theoretical determinants of stress; and the role of personality in health and illness.

Health Behaviour and Behaviour Change (PU5022)

15 Credit Points

Unhealthy and risky behaviours – such as a poor diet, sedentary behaviour, not attending screening programmes, or not taking medication as prescribed – are leading causes of suboptimal health and premature death, health care expenditure, and sickness absence. Health Psychology examines what drives these behaviours and how they can be changed. This course aims to provide students with the core knowledge and skills for developing and implementing effective interventions to promote healthier behaviours.

View detailed information about this course
Health Psychology Research Review (PU5029)

15 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses
Illness, Disability and Interactions with Healthcare (PU5517)

15 Credit Points

This course aims to explore the psychological side of illness and disability and learn how Health outcomes (e.g. quality of life, death, disease) depend to a large extent on people’s beliefs, perceptions, decisions and actions. Over the course, students will learn how these factors can change how symptoms are interpreted and reported, how risk is perceived, how illness and disability are experienced, whether help is sought from medical professionals, and whether recommended treatments are adhered to over time. Students will also study contemporary models of disability and explore how disability behaviour influences health outcomes.

View detailed information about this course
Health Professional Behaviour (PU5518)

15 Credit Points

This course examines how the behaviour of health professionals can impact on patient care and service delivery, and trains students in key professional practice skills such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing and health coaching.

View detailed information about this course
Systematic Reviewing (PU5526)

15 Credit Points

This course will equip students with the relevant skills to interpret and conduct systematic reviews on the effectiveness of healthcare interventions.

Students will learn to formulate a clear research question and understand the principles and main steps for undertaking systematic reviews. In particular, they will learn how:

i) to develop an adequate search strategy;

ii) to critically appraise primary studies;

iii) to extract data from primary studies;

iv) to identify the main sources of heterogeneity among primary studies;

v) to analyse findings from primary studies;

vi) to interpret results;

vii) to assess the quality of existing systematic reviews.

View detailed information about this course
Qualitative Health Research (PU5529)

15 Credit Points

This course provides a sound introduction to qualitative health research. You will consider the relevance and value of qualitative methodologies which respond to current health agendas. The course introduces planning to conduct relevant research and a range of methods to generate, handle and analyse qualitative data. You will gain insight into issues of rigour, quality and ethics, and understand the importance of engaging with relevant audiences. The course is delivered by a range of experienced contributors, and you will gain insight into the practicalities of undertaking qualitative research via practical workshops and stimulating lecture sessions.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses
Health Psychology Research Project (PU5909)

60 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

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.

Learning Methods

  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

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).

Why Study Health Psychology?

  • 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 members of the research staff are involved in the teaching.
  • You will benefit from the AHPG's close working relationship with other disciplines and specialities (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 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.
  • The Medical School at the University is ranked 1st in Scotland and 2nd in the UK (Source: The Guardian University League Tables 2020).
  • The University of Aberdeen is a Top 30 UK University, Complete University Guide 2021
  • The University of Aberdeen is a World Top 170 University (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020)

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Applicants should possess a 2:2 or higher undergraduate honours degree in Psychology (recognised as Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) by the British Psychological Society) or have completed a British Psychological Society-accredited conversion course.

International students with degrees NOT accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) must contact the BPS Partnership & Accreditation Team to ask for written confirmation that their degree is considered equivalent to a BPS accredited degree. Obtaining this may take several weeks.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 51; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

CV
an up-to-date CV/Resumé
Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme

Fee Information

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £9,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year
International Students £21,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year

Additional Fee Information

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

The following options are available to support your studies. Please click the links for full details and eligibility criteria.

Scholarships

Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

Postgraduate Open Day

Register to attend our Virtual Open Day on and speak live with academics.
Find out about life at the University of Aberdeen with a live Q&A with current students.

Register Now

Careers

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 studied the general theory behind human behaviour and behaviour change, can work in a variety of environments and organisations.

Many will find excellent jobs at the NHS as healthcare practitioners or in academia. Others may choose career paths in the consumer and marketing sector, in health related commercial organisations (e.g. weight management companies), in charitable organisations, or in any other setting where behaviour or behaviour change is a focus.

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 (two 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.

Industry Links

We have excellent links with NHS Grampian and are co-located on the Foresterhill Health Campus with a large teaching hospital.

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Access to lab space and specialist equipment

Equipment, measures and tests available include: heart rate monitors, GPS trackers, activity monitors, electronic diaries, health relevant questionnaires and standardised cognitive batteries.

Our Experts

Other Experts
Professor Marie Johnston
Dr Clare Cooper
Dr Daniel Powell
Dr Heather Morgan
Dr Zoë Skea
Professor Diane Dixon
Dr Chantal den Daas
Programme Coordinator
Dr Julia Allan

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Facilities

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Health Sciences Building

Health Sciences Building

The Health Sciences building, located on the Foresterhill Health Campus, houses the purpose built Clinical Research Facility, researchers from the Institute of Applied Health Sciences and the Imaging Department which boasts state-of-the-art equipment

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Foresterhill Health Campus

Foresterhill Health Campus

The Foresterhill Health Campus is one of the largest clinical complexes in Europe which includes the Medical School, large teaching hospital, the Institute of Medical Sciences and the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health.

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Library facilities

Library facilities

A dedicated Medical Library on the Foresterhill Health Campus and the fantastic facilities in the Sir Duncan Rice Library at King’s College, are complemented by online access to the key medical and health sciences journals and textbooks.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX