MSc Health Psychology

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Looking to become a Health Psychologist? Our Masters degree is the course for you and meets the British Psychological Society’s requirements for Stage 1 training in Health Psychology.

Health Psychology

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September 2021, September 2022
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 24 months. Discontinuous - 60 months maximum.
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based, Stand-alone modules


British Psychological Society

The British Psychological Society accreditation logo for Health Psychology


Health psychology is the study of psychological and behavioural processes in health, illness, and healthcare. It is concerned with understanding how psychological, behavioural, and cultural factors contribute to physical health and illness.

Health Psychologists promote healthier lifestyles. They try to find ways to encourage people to improve their health and also to improve the healthcare system as a whole. For example, helping people to lose weight or stop smoking, or advising doctors on better ways to communicate with their patients.

You’ll learn to use your knowledge of psychology to promote general wellbeing and understand physical illness. We will teach you the skills needed to help people deal with the psychological and emotional aspects of health and illness, and to support people who are chronically ill.

Our MSc Health Psychology has a strong experiential focus and emphasises the application of health psychology to real world settings. The course includes contributions from healthcare practitioners. You will carry out a brief placement in a healthcare setting, which can include the NHS, third sector (charities) or industry, and you’ll usually arrange this placement yourself with support from the course team. You are encouraged to carry out research in healthcare contexts where possible.

This Masters in Health Psychology is designed to meet the British Psychological Society’s requirements for Stage 1 training towards professional Health Psychologist status. Through formal teaching and practical experience, you’ll acquire relevant skills and core competencies as a basis for professional training in health psychology (Stage Two) or other applications of psychology to health issues.

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

This accredited MSc Course aims to provide the first part (Stage 1) of postgraduate training in Health Psychology, in accordance with the BPS requirements, by:

  • Enabling students to understand and critically appraise the theoretical basis of Health Psychology, including psychological models and methods applicable to the study and understanding of health and health care issues.
  • Enabling students to critically evaluate the application of Health Psychology approaches to practice, policy and research in health service or related settings.
  • Making students aware of the unique contribution psychology can make to the understanding of health, illness and health care issues, within a multidisciplinary framework.
  • Enabling students to formulate, design and carry out their own empirical research project to a publishable standard.

Via formal teaching and practical experience of Health Psychology applications, students will acquire relevant skills and core competencies which will provide a basis for continuing into professional training in Health Psychology (Stage 2) or other applications of psychology to health issues.

Professional accreditation

Students will acquire relevant skills and core competencies which will provide a basis for a UK British Psychological Society recognised professional training in Health Psychology (Stage 1).

Work placements

You’ll carry out a brief placement in a health or social care setting, which can include the NHS, third sector (charities) or industry. You’ll usually arrange this placement yourself with support from the course team.

Flexible learning

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

Faculty facilities

The Psychology department has outstanding laboratory space fitted with high-quality equipment. It has excellent computing infrastructure, and both research and teaching activities are supported by in-house technical staff with computing, programming, electronic and audio-video expertise.

We've invested heavily in research infrastructure, including our own Psychology Kindergarten, which provides an outstanding facility for developmental research and teaching. Purpose-built laboratory space has also been created to support human electrophysiology research (EEG/ERPs), health research (including GSR and heart rate monitoring), face research (including eye-tracking) and vision research (including stereoscopic displays).

Research overview

Stirling has one of the leading psychology departments in the UK. It ranked in the top 20 in the recent research assessment (REF 2014). It was one of only seven non-Russell group universities to do so, the others being Birkbeck, Royal Holloway, Sussex, Essex, St Andrews and Bangor.
Source: Times Higher Education magazine.

Our quality of research publications ranked third in Scotland after Aberdeen and Glasgow. The relevance of our psychology research activity to society received the highest possible rating, which only four other psychology departments in the UK achieved (REF 2014 results).

Our MSc students get involved in our lively community of research excellence.

What our students said

Katie Heslop
Katie Heslop
MSc in Health Psychology
Thank you, Health Psychology Team for a brilliant learning experience – I am so pleased that I chose to study at Stirling.
Read Katie's story
Robbie Snowden
MSc Health Psychology
The course offered both theoretical knowledge and practical real world examples, this armed me with the ability to critically evaluate our current understanding of our health behaviours
Read Robbie's story
Heather Renwick
MSc Health Psychology
The course allows you to learn so many important transferable skills that are beneficial for any future career. I can't recommend the course highly enough.
Read Heather's story

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MSc Health Psychology

MSc Health Psychology (Discontinuous Study)

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