MSc Health Psychology (on-campus)

PG Health Psychology Header Image
This course helped me to decide which career path I would like to take"

Beth Wagland 
MSc Health Psychology, Health & Wellbeing Assistant, Nottingham NHS Trust

Entry requirements

Good honours degree that confers GBC eligibility of the BPS

This course is for you if you wish to take an on-campus MSc in Health Psychology, that follows the BPS curriculum.

Accredited by the British Psychological Society as Stage 1 Professional Training in Health Psychology
Commended by the BPS for the support provided to students
Use purpose-built psychology labs, including a focus group room, driving simulator and cubicles equipped for cognitive, behavioural and physiological testing.
Ranked 5th in the UK and 32nd in the world (Health Economics/ Public Health, Eduniversal Masters Rankings, 2018)

Mode of delivery: Full time, on campus, (distance learning course available). Teaching on campus takes place on two full days in the week (usually Mondays and Wednesdays). All additional work, independent study, coursework etc. needs to be organised to fit your own circumstances. We understand that some students need to work but emphasise that this is a full-time course and so if working in the daytime you will need to work on your studies in the evenings.

Duration: 12 months

Intake: Up to 20 students per year 

Entry requirements:  

  • We welcome applications from candidates interested in our course who have the skills and capability to excel. All candidates are considered on an individual basis based on their qualifications, experience, references and motivation.
  • Applicants with an Honours Degree, normally 2.1 or above, (makes student eligible for Graduate Basis Recognition of the British Psychological Society (BPS)) will be considered. Applicants may be called for interview.
  • Students who are applying from outside the UK, or who do not have a BPS accredited Bachelor’s degree in Psychology must check with the BPS to see if they qualify for Graduate Basis Registration (GBR). 
  • Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. English language test requirements may be waived where students’ undergraduate degree was studied in an English speaking country. Find out more about our English language requirements.
  • The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor. 

Start dates: September

How to apply: 

  • Apply here
  • The application deadline for UK / EU students is 31st August 2018
  • The application deadline for international students is 1st August 2018
  • If you are applying close to the deadline, please ensure you have all supporting documentation ready for the application. If the deadline has passed, we may still be able to consider you, so please contact us.
We now offer an option to study a 6 week Aston Pre-sessional programme in English for Academic Purposes, delivered by the University’s Centre for English Language and Communication at Aston (CELCA), with the main programme of study at Masters Level. As part of the package, you will also receive ongoing fortnightly Academic English one-to-one support by CELCA following successful progression to the main programme.
Ideal for those who do not have the required English language level to enter the programme directly.

Click here to find out more.

For 2018 entry:

  • UK/EU students: £7,600 
  • International students: £14,950

Aston alumni can benefit from a 20% discount on their tuition fees. Discover our range of scholarships, including the Ferguson Foundation Scholarship for students from Africa and South America.

The MSc Health Psychology course is fully accredited by the BPS and confers Stage 1 Training to become a Health Psychologist.

During the course you will:

  • Develop an in-depth understanding of the theory underpinning health psychology; 
  • Develop your understanding of advanced research methodology and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data to carry out independent work of publishable standard; 
  • Develop awareness of the contribution and application of health psychology within multicultural and multidisciplinary settings;
  • Develop professional and transferable skills in preparation for becoming a health psychologist.
Discover more in this short interview with Programme Director, Dr Rachel Shaw.

This course follows the BPS curriculum for professional training in health psychology. There are six compulsory taught modules and you would be expected to take one to two modules per term depending on your pace of study. There is also the Research Project module.

  • Qualitative Research Methodology: Qualitative research design, interviewing, focus groups, appraising qualitative research, reflexivity, discourse analysis, narrative analysis, interpretative phenomenological analysis, grounded theory.
  • Quantitative Methods and Advanced Statistics:Experimental design, questionnaire design, systematic review methodology, univariate statistics; measures of association, measures of difference, GLM, multiple regression, logistic regression, meta-analysis, factor analysis, structural equation modelling.
  • Health Behaviours:  Fixed health factors, personality, risk perceptions, physical activity, smoking, screening, binge-drinking, health behaviour change and theory-based health interventions.
  • Health Inequalities Across the Lifespan:The social context of health and illness. Psychosocial aspects of both health and illness which contribute to morbidity and mortality in the population: inequalities in health related to socio-economic status, gender and ethnicity. Changes in health and health behaviour over the lifespan.
  • Illness Processes and Behaviour: How biopsychosocial systems integrate. Stress and coping. Relationship between stress, personality and illness such as coronary heart disease. Diagnosis of illness, models of illness behaviour and the impact of illness. Self-management of chronic disease and management of pain.
  • Professional Issues and Applications: Career planning; health psychology professional training; professional conduct; intervention development and implementation; consultancy; working in practice; motivational interviewing; cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • Research Project: You will also carry out a research project under supervision in a specific area of health psychology.

In addition to the knowledge that you will acquire, you will be gain a range of transferable skills, such as:

  • Critical enquiry 
  • Report writing 
  • Active listening 
  • Research methods 
  • Statistical and qualitative analyses 
  • IT skills 
  • Group work 
  • Time management
  • Reflective practice.
Teaching and learning methods include:
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Group work
  • Independent study

All students will receive additional support through a tutorial system.

Teaching on campus takes place on two full days in the week (usually Mondays and Wednesdays). All additional work, independent study, coursework etc. needs to be organised to fit your own circumstances. We understand that some students need to work but emphasise that this is a full-time course and so if working in the daytime you will need to work on your studies in the evenings. 

There is a range of assessment methods including essays, reports, reviews and presentations. There is only one exam which is in statistics.

In the recent accreditation by the BPS the online and campus courses received 5 commendations including the reflective practice incorporated into the course, the online induction programme and the positive feedback from students. 

In order to become a Chartered Psychologist with the BPS or a registered health psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council, students must complete Stage II training. A number of routes to stage II are offered at Aston University. Further details of how to become a Chartered Health Psychologist are available from the Division of Health Psychology or contact Dr Rachel Shaw for further information.

This course will prepare you for membership of the BPS Division of Health Psychology and towards further training and employment in health psychology. 

After studying this course, you can apply for posts as a research assistant or assistant psychologist working in a range of chronic health or health promotion fields. Many graduates go on to complete further training (Stage 2) to become a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society and a registered health psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council. Stage 2 of the training involves developing and demonstrating competences in research, teaching and training, practice and consultancy. 

Recent graduates from both our on-campus and distance learning MSc Health Psychology courses have entered a variety of roles, for example:

  • Assistant Psychologist, St Andrew's Healthcare 
  • Health psychologist, Private health clinic. 
  • Health Researcher, Unspecified Pharmaceutical Company 
  • Research Assistant, The University of Hong Kong 
  • School Programme Co-Ordinator, Food Dudes 
  • Stop Smoking Adviser, Bannerbrook Pharmacy 
  • Team Leader, The Midland Eye Institute 
  • WEA Ambassador, Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Working in the NHS running interventions to improve health of patients and management of their illness
  • Working in the NHS to evaluate and re-design existing health services
  • PhD study.


Alternatively you can follow the progress of one of our graduates:

You will benefit from access to:

  • Fully equipped observational suite (two-way mirror, audio-visual recording) appropriate for focus groups, observation studies, interviews.
  • A range of laboratory cubicles equipped for cognitive, behavioural and physiological testing.
  • The Blackboard virtual learning environment, which hosts all material for the course and discussion boards.
  • Aston University’s electronic library which holds thousands of up-to-date texts, journals and media publications which can be downloaded onto your computer for your study.  
  • The wide range of psychometric scales relevant to health psychologists that are owned by the department
  • Data analysis software such as SPS.

Course Director

Dr Rachel Shaw, CPsychol, HCPC Health Psychologist  

Dr Shaw has been running the MSc Health Psychology for over 5 years. She has been a practitioner Health Psychologist and on the BPS Register of Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors for almost 10 years.

Her research is in applied health settings with patients and healthcare professionals. She has a wealth of experience in research which is fed straight into her teaching. In fact, all the material in the MSc Health Psychology is informed be her own and others’ research.  

Psychology teaching staff

All of our teaching team are research active and the profile of health psychology related research at Aston and our links with practice in the NHS makes us particularly distinctive. Our research expertise includes health promotion and health behaviours, chronic illness management, parental health behaviour, healthy ageing, and evidence synthesis.

Meet our Psychology teaching staff.

“I had done my undergraduate degree here therefore I was familiar with the facilities and it was a familiar environment. I also got reduced fees because I had studied here previously.

The course content was very interesting and the lecturers helpful and friendly. The other students on my course were also very friendly and we formed good friendships and were very supportive of one another.

The Aston experience has helped me to decide what career path I would like to take as well as the relevant knowledge to apply for jobs.”

Beth Wagland
MSc Health Psychology
Health and Wellbeing Assistant, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

PG Health Psychology Tab Image

“I chose Aston University because it was familiar: I completed my undergraduate degree there and also because it's local to where I live. 

I enjoyed the fact that we had a small peer group, having around 20 people on the course meant that we got to know and support each other. I also enjoyed the amount of feedback and support I got from some of the lecturers. 

This postgraduate course has allowed me to get a great job in Forensic Mental Health and it has giving me knowledge and experience and also the option to pursue a career outside of Clinical Psychology”

Trupti Popat
MSc Health Psychology
Assistant Psychologist, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

PG Health Psychology Trupti Tab Image
You may also be interested in the following Aston School of Life and Health Sciences courses:

Discover more in the following ways: 

Interested? We'd love to hear from you

What's next?

Postgraduate events