MSc Health Psychology (online programme)

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Entry requirements

A good Psychology degree that confers eligibility for GBC with the BPS

This course is for you if you wish to take one of the UK's only Distance Learning MSc programmes in Health Psychology that have BPS accreditation. In the most recent accreditation the online and campus-based courses received commendations, including the reflective practice incorporated into the course, the online induction programme and the positive feedback from students.

Ranked 5th in the UK and 32nd in the world (Health Economics/ Public Health, Eduniversal Masters Rankings, 2018)
Distance Learning
Accredited by the BPS as Stage 1 training in Health Psychology
Commended by the BPS for its support for students & the induction programme for new online students

Mode of delivery: Completely online, no need to come to campus (campus-based course available).

Duration: Part-time students can complete the course over 18 months to 3 years depending on their pace of study.

Intake: Approximately 10-15 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 a good honours degree in Psychology, normally 2.1 or above, that confers eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the BPS will be considered.
  • Students who have a Psychology degree with an equivalent grade of a 2.1 or above from a non UK institution but do not have GBC will be advised to apply to the BPS for recognition of their degree and confirmation of eligibility of GBC. This will be a requirement of securing their place on the course.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. 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: October.

How to apply:
  • Apply here to start in October 2018. The application deadline is 1 August 2018 (international applicants) and 31 August 2018 (Home / EU applicants).

For 2018 entry:

  • UK/EU students: £550 per 10 credits: full course: £9,900
  • International students£550 per 10 credits: full course: £9,900

The MSc Health Psychology course is fully accredited by the BPS and allows you to study online at a pace that suits you, with no need to come onto campus. It confers Stage 1 Training to become a Health Psychologist.

This course is the UK's only Distance Learning MSc in Health Psychology that is accredited by the BPS.

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 Course Director, Dr Rebecca Knibb.

You will study a course that 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Research Project: You will also carry out a research project under supervision in a specific area of health psychology.  We have three hand in dates across the year for the project and you can choose the hand in date to suit your circumstances and pace of study.
This is an online course that is delivered through a virtual learning environment (Blackboard). You do not need to come onto campus in order to study this course.

Lecture material will be provided through audio PowerPoint presentations and seminar activities will be facilitated by an online discussion board.  You will also interact with staff and other MSc students via Skype and have tutorials using Skype, email or telephone.

Assessment is 100% coursework.

If studying part-time this is equivalent to approximately one day a week, which you can spread out over the whole week at a pace to suit you.

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.

This MSc is accredited by the British Psychological Society as Stage 1 Professional Training in Health Psychology. This course is one of only two Distance Learning MSc courses in Health Psychology that have been accredited by the BPS.

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. 

Contact Dr Rachel Shaw for further information.

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.

You will benefit from access to:

  • 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 SPSS.
Dr Rebecca Knibb CPsychol, AFBPsS
Chartered Psychologist and Registered Health Psychologist
Senior Lecturer in Psychology.

Dr Knibb has fifteen years of experience in running MSc Health Psychology courses for campus and online students, and therefore truly understands the challenges faced when studying at this level.

She has a strong belief in ensuring students understand how research can be incorporated into practice. Her research expertise is in quality of life and management of long-term conditions, particularly allergy. Dr Knibb is also a trained psychotherapist with an MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy.

Click here to view Dr Knibb's full staff profile.

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 methods (including systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-synthesis).

Meet the team:
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