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MSc Health Psychology

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
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The British Psychological Society accreditation logo for Health Psychology

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September
  • 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
  • Accreditations British Psychological Society

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 One 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.

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Find out more about our MSc Health Psychology course, as well as life at Stirling. Watch our webinar >>

  • Top reasons to study with us
  • Professional accreditations

    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 healthcare 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

    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.

  • Academic requirements

    A minimum of a 2.1 honours degree in Psychology or related subject. A qualification recognised by British Psychological Society giving Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership is preferred.

    Students accepted without a BPS-recognised qualification and intending to progress to BPS Stage Two training towards practitioner health psychologist status will be required to undertake an accredited Psychology conversion course following this programme. Find out more about our Psychology accredited conversion course.

  • English language requirements

    If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

    • IELTS 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each sub-skill
    • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 176 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
    • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with 56 in each sub-skill
    • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
    • Trinity ISE II Pass overall and Merit in all sub-skills, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills

    Last updated: 5 December 2019

    For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

  • Pre-sessional English language courses

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

    Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

You’ll take three modules in each semester with a research project over the summer months.


The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery in the next academic intake of this course. These may be subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes.

Course Details

  • Teaching

    We combine formal teaching, workshops and practical experience of health psychology applications.

    Where possible, each of the course modules will include teaching input from practitioners working with individuals or groups, either in a research or service delivery context.

    All members of the course team are readily accessible to students and will provide you with a flexible, individualised and engaging training experience that meets your needs. The modules are delivered in seminars which include lectures, workshops and practical/experiential sessions. Teaching is scheduled to take place on 2 full days per week (currently Monday and Tuesday) to allow for work commitments. However, it is important to emphasise that this is a full-time course with the workload (eg reading, course work, research project) and time commitment required for a full-time postgraduate course.

  • Assessment

    You need to complete and pass the six modules above to be awarded the MSc Health Psychology. Assessment is by formal exams and coursework, including oral presentations, essays, group work and critical reviews of research.

  • Course director
  • Fees and costs

    Fees shown are per year (fees are different for each course)


    Home/EU Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course*

    If you’re domiciled in Scotland, you may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover your tuition fees and associated living costs. Students domiciled in the EU can also apply for tuition fee support, although may not be eligible to receive funding to support living costs.

    If you're domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you should be eligible to apply for a loan from your regional body.

    English students apply for a loan of up to £10,609 per year as part of the UK Postgraduate Loan Scheme, Welsh students can apply for a non-means tested loan of up to £13,000 from the Welsh Government and Northern Irish students are eligible to apply for support of up to £5,500.

    *Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.


    Overseas (Non-EU) Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course. Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.


    Please note: You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

  • Scholarships and funding

    There are typically five £1,000 competitive bursaries to contribute towards fees or maintenance costs for students beginning a taught Masters course in Psychology. All students, formally accepted onto the MSc course are eligible to apply for these awards.

    If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

    Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

  • Additional costs

    There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

  • Cost of living

    If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

    EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

    Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

  • Payment options

    We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

Health Psychology is one of the fastest growing areas of applied psychology and our Masters provides you with the first stage of professional training towards becoming a health psychologist. Students intending to go on to become registered Health Psychologists can achieve this by working in healthcare or in academic posts. Scotland is unique in offering a two-year NHS-funded training course for Stage Two health psychology trainees.

Health Psychologists are employed in various settings: 

  • health assessments and management strategies for chronically ill patients, for example, those with cancer or chronic pain
  • rehabilitation programmes, e.g. for patients with coronary heart disease
  • working with patients and carers in palliative care
  • working with primary health care teams in the community
  • health education and health promotion in educational or industrial settings
  • conducting evaluative research in order to provide a research evidence base for health policy decisions.
  • influencing health behaviours, for example in smoking cessation programmes, weight reduction, or sexual health
  • carrying out teaching and research in academic settings
  • teaching and training health care providers

More information about Health Psychology in general, BPS Chartership and careers can be found at the British Psychological Society, Division of Health Psychology website

  • Employability skills

    You’ll learn key transferable skills by carrying out observational placements in healthcare settings and dissertations that often involve delivery of an intervention. You’ll also carry out presentations, learn communication and interviewing skills and behaviour change techniques.

Katie Heslop
Thank you, Health Psychology Team for a brilliant learning experience – I am so pleased that I chose to study at Stirling.
Katie Heslop
Scotland MSc in Health Psychology
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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
Robbie Snowden
Scotland MSc Health Psychology
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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.
Heather Renwick
Scotland MSc Health Psychology
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