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MSc Health Psychology

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Professional Issues

Unit code PSYC69841
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Division of Psychology and Mental Health
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit addresses key professional and career development issues for working in clinical and health psychology. Topics covered include reflective practice and personal development, ethical and statutory obligations, career routes in health and clinical psychology practice and research, development of job applications and interview practice, and multidisciplinary working.


This unit aims to:

  • Consider the importance of reflection in academic activities and professional practice
  • Discuss issues related to professional working in research and practice settings, including ethical and statutory obligations.
  • Provide an understanding of potential career routes and provide opportunities for students to interact with people working or training in clinical, health, and research-related roles.
  • Enable students to develop skills in writing job/training applications and in interview technique.
  • Understand goals of other disciplines, and the value of working in collaboration with other disciplines for example health economics.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course unit, students will be able to;

  • Understand the importance of reflection on studying, practice, and personal development
  • Critically evaluate the material presented across sessions, and demonstrate this evaluation in the reflective log.
  • Critically reflect on one’s own learning and practice
  • Understand a range of potential career routes, and the pathways required for those career options
  • Understand the legal and ethical frameworks relevant to research and practice in clinical and health psychology (in particular, BPS and HCPC).
  • Understand the roles undertaken by people in other disciplines and the value of multidisciplinary working.
  • Understand key aspects of the focus of other disciplines, e.g. health economics
  • Integrate other disciplines’ perspectives with existing view on research and practice.
  • Develop skills in CV writing, job application writing and being interviewed.
  • Be able to present oneself confidently and positively in writing and in person

Teaching and learning methods

This unit will be delivered with a mixture of staff-led seminars, visiting speakers (e.g. people who work or train in health and clinical psychology-related settings), interactive discussions and workshop-style sessions. Blackboard will be used to provide access to materials from sessions (e.g. lecture slides), a podcast related to multidisciplinary working in practice, and reading lists. Blackboard will also host a discussion board for students to raise any questions they might have and to gain feedback from staff and other students.

Assessment methods

1. Reflective log (minimum 200 words/week. Recommended overall target length: 4000 words; worth 70%). Students will be expected to keep a log wherein they critically reflect on their learning across all taught courses and their own development.  Students will receive formative feedback early in the first semester and logs will be submitted for a grade at the end of the first semester.


2. Job application (CV of an appropriate length plus job application of a maximum 1500 words; worth 30%). Students will be presented with a selection of job opportunities (job descriptions and person specifications) that would be suitable for someone with an MSc in Clinical & Health Psychology or Health Psychology. Students will choose one of these jobs and write an application and CV for the selected job.

Recommended reading

Key readings are listed below. Additional references will be provided with individual sessions.

  • The British Psychological Society (2008) ‘Generic Professional Practice Guidelines, 2nd Edition’ (2008).
  • The British Psychological Society (2014) ‘Code of Human Research Ethics’ (2014)
  • Donaldson, C & Gerard, K. (2005). Economics of Health Care Financing: The Visible Hand (2nd Ed). Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Entwistle, N. J. & Peterson, E. R. (2004). Conceptions of learning and knowledge in higher education: Relationships with study behaviour and influences of learning environments. International Journal of Education Research, 41(6), 407-428.
  • Litva A, Peters S. (2008) Exploring barriers to teaching behavioural and social sciences in medical education. Medical Education,42, 309-314.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Rachael Powell Unit coordinator

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