MSc Health Psychology / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course description

Are you interested in how psychology can be applied to health, illness and healthcare, and how interventions can be used to improve outcomes and the experience of healthcare?

Our MSc in Health Psychology is designed for students interested in a career in health psychology and has been accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

On successful completion of a BPS-accredited MSc in Health Psychology, students who hold BPS Graduate Basis for Chartership can continue to Stage 2 training to become Chartered Psychologists with the BPS and to become registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as Registered Health Psychologists.

You will learn from staff at the Manchester Centre for Health Psychology , covering topics such as:

  • key theories in health psychology and how to apply them;
  • current approaches to changing health-related behaviour at individual, population and regulatory levels;
  • the interaction between psychological processes (cognitions, emotions, behaviour) and disease and illness;
  • the ways in which social-cultural factors contribute to health;
  • advanced research methods and analysis techniques in both quantitative and qualitative research;
  • the role and scope of health psychology within academic and healthcare settings.

You will also have the opportunity to attend seminars.

Special features

Training in a research-active environment

Our training covers a broad range of research methods taught by leading experts in their field.

We prepare you for a future research-active career, whether as an academic, health psychologist or other research or practitioner role.

You will benefit from being part of a dynamic department with opportunities to attend research seminars and learn about the work of staff, students and health psychology trainees.

Flexible learning

You can choose to study full-time or part-time, enabling you to fit learning around your other commitments.

Conference award scheme

We are keen to support our students' career development. As a student on this course you will be able to apply to our conference award scheme.

The student with the best abstract will be awarded funding to attend a national conference where they can showcase their research. This is a great opportunity to develop your skills and network with others in the field.

Work placements

Voluntary work placements are available. These are up to 75 hours and can be completed in a block over the summer or continuously throughout the full year. Work placements include working in a variety of settings (e.g. schools, hospitals, universities and other organisations) with trained Stage 2 health psychologists and research teams.

Teaching and learning

You will learn through blended learning. This will involve some asynchronous material that you will be expected to work through before attending an online or in person synchronous session. 

All course units are supported by the use of Blackboard (a virtual learning environment) through which you can access learning materials, reading lists and other accompanying resources.

Each course unit on Blackboard also has its own discussion board, where you can post questions and interact with staff and other students on the course.

A significant amount of teaching and learning will take place through the dissertation unit (60 credits), where you will be expected to take a lead role in developing a research project with regular support, input, and mentorship from their project supervisor.

This course is led by Dr Tracy Epton  and Dr Debbie Smith .

Find out more about postgraduate teaching and learning methods at Manchester.

Coursework and assessment

Our team are passionate about your learning and development.

We combine traditional and contemporary teaching methods and formats to provide a varied and engaging learning experience. These include asynchronous materials, group discussions, seminars, workshops, problem-based learning exercises, self-paced online training, student presentations and independent supervised study.

You will learn first-hand from researchers, practitioners and individuals who have lived experience of psychological and physical health problems, giving you an invaluable insight into these difficulties.

Our programme team work to support the individual needs of our students. You will be allocated a personal academic advisor who will guide your academic and professional development, but also provide pastoral support.

You will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with influential research-active staff, to produce a high quality dissertation using qualitative, quantitative or mixed research methods.

Course unit details

Full-time students will take four 15-credit taught units in each of Semester 1 and Semester 2. These will be taught using blended learning. There will be asynchronous materials for you to work through prior to a synchronous session (some of these will be online and some will be in person). Two of the synchronous units will be taught on Mondays, the other two on Thursdays. Part-time students will take two taught units each year of their studying (such that they will be expected to attend classes on one day of the week each year).

In addition, all students will be allocated a supervisor for the dissertation (60 credits), a unit that runs for the full year (students are also expected to work on the dissertation over the summer). The dissertation consists of an independent piece of research. Students will also have the option to undertake a voluntary work placement unit either over the course of the year or in an intensive period over the summer.

Note: we are aware that you may have other commitments outside of the MSc (e.g. employment) and we fit teaching into two days of the week to help you to manage multiple commitments. However, this is an intensive, demanding course, so you need to make sure that you are able to fit in full-time (35-40 hours) (or part-time) studying hours around external commitments.

Semester 1:

  • Research Methods 1
  • Professional Issues
  • Facilitating Change (Part 1)
  • Health and Society

Semester 2:

  • Research Methods 2
  • Mind and Body
  • Health Behaviour Change
  • Illness and Healthcare

This course is taught in parallel with the  MSc in Clinical and Health Psychology and students on both courses take the same units for the first semester.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Critical, creative and comprehensive research methodologies PSYC60001 15 Mandatory
Dissertation PSYC60010 60 Mandatory
Facilitating Change 1 PSYC69741 15 Mandatory
Critical, creative and comprehensive research analyses PSYC69802 15 Mandatory
Mind and Body PSYC69822 15 Mandatory
Health and Society PSYC69831 15 Mandatory
Professional Issues PSYC69841 15 Mandatory
Health Behaviour Change PSYC69842 15 Mandatory
Illness & Health Care PSYC69852 15 Mandatory
Health Psychology Placement PSYC66660 0 Optional

What our students say

The course covers many aspects of health psychology and is interactive as well as informative which I have really enjoyed. This has included active engagement during lectures, delivering presentations as well as the chance to provide regular feedback as to how the course can be improved.

The course also focuses on personal development and focuses on equipping students with all the relevant skills needed to continue academic studies or take on professional roles.  The professional issues module assists with the development of transferable skills, and also includes workshops the various career paths you can take once you finish the MSc, which is really helpful.

Teaching on the course is varied and this keeps the content and modules fun to engage in. As such, the course has gone above and beyond my expectations and has not only equipped me with invaluable psychological experience but has also helped me gain confidence in my academic abilities.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Manchester, and am really happy to say I'll be continuing my Postgraduate studies within the school in September when I'll be starting my PhD with the Medical Research Council on their Doctoral Training Programme.

My time at Manchester has provided me with invaluable experiences both personal and academic, and the MSc has helped me further my knowledge with a supportive network of staff around to help when needed.

Tarnjit Sidhu, MSc Health Psychology graduate 2019

Read more at the Biology, Medicine and Health Student Blog


You will be able to access and benefit from the excellent range of facilities throughout the University, including our libraries (one of the best resourced in the country), careers, student support and IT services.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service .