MSc Health Psychology / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

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 research seminars.

PhD with integrated master's

If you're planning to undertake a PhD after your master's, our Integrated PhD programme will enable you to combine your postgraduate taught course with a related PhD project in biology, medicine or health.

You can also visit this page for examples of projects related to integrated master's courses.

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 psychology trainee 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.

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. 

For examples of published student research projects please see our recent work on:

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.

This course is led by Dr Tracy Epton .

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

Coursework and assessment

We use a range of assessment methods, including exams, essays, presentations, portfolios, reflective logs, practical reports and a dissertation.

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. For some units 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). Other units will be taught workshop style, which is an interactive lecture. Two of the synchronous units will be taught on Mondays, the other two on Thursdays. Part-time students will take two taught units each semester in 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 17-20 hours part-time) studying hours around external commitments.

Example units

Semester 1:

  • Critical, Creative and Comprehensive Research Methodologies
  • Professional Issues
  • Psychology in Clinical Practice 1
  • Health and Society

Semester 2:

  • Critical, Creative and Comprehensive Research Analysis
  • 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
Psychology in Clinical Practice 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

I greatly enjoyed my time on this course. The range of units expanded my knowledge and fuelled my passion for the subject.  Specifically, the opportunity to complete a mini systematic review has been a huge benefit to me since I have graduated. Having this experience secured me interviews for many research related roles and has now given me a practical foundation upon which to build my knowledge at PhD level.

The staff on the course are lovely and supportive as well as being knowledgeable and up-to-date in their respective fields. My time at Manchester provided me with many practical skills and a confidence I was surprised to see in myself.

Lucy Hulme, 2021

'Completing the MSc Health Psychology course was an enjoyable and worthwhile experience for me. The dissertation was a particular highlight as it allowed me to work on a piece of research from idea conception to the write-up of the study in journal format. I gained a true appreciation of what the research process is like and grew my research skills to a position that has continued to benefit my career.

The staff are lovely and encouraging and have continued to support me. They are truly dedicated to health psychology and are committed their students, whether that be by helping with applications for future study or by providing a range of placement options.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on this course and it has provided me with numerous skills that I have taken forward with me as I complete my PhD. Particularly it has helped me to develop a love for health psychology and increased my confidence in my abilities, for which I will always be grateful.

Helena Bilsborough 2021

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 .