Health Psychology (MSc) (MSc)

people talking in a home setting

Study mode

Full-Time or Part-Time


Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham

Health Psychologists apply psychological knowledge and skills in clinical and community settings. They contribute to the prevention of illness and the promotion of health and wellbeing, design and implement interventions to improve the experience and outcomes for those who are ill or disabled and for their carers, and help to shape policies and systems which impact on healthcare.

This course covers the range of theory and knowledge that will underpin your understanding of the role of psychology in health care, as well as developing the personal skills that are required for professional work in the sector.  It takes evidence based practice as a framework for advancing your research skills with a focus on assessing issues, designing interventions and evaluating outcomes. You'll also analyse public health issues using large data sets, and using narrative and other qualitative methods in health psychology research.

Our particular ethos is to adopt a critical and holistic understanding of the experience of health and wellbeing, recognising the importance of social, cultural and economic factors. The significance of our psychosocial world has been highlighted during the COVID-19 crisis when we have witnessed the importance of social support networks and economic assets to the physical and mental wellbeing of different demographic groups.  The pandemic has also shown the impact of national policy and community attentiveness on the health of frontline workers themselves.

Recognising the potential of health psychology to contribute to the reduction of health inequalities, the course examines the role of the inclusive, collaborative and reflective practitioner. This includes interventions to support populations facing intersecting forms of structural discrimination.  You will explore contemporary developments which shift the focus from the direct relationship between patient and professional, towards community-level interventions such as social prescribing; the importance of the ‘healthy community’ of family, carers and wider networks in sustaining wellbeing; and the value of non-mainstream approaches including indigenous perspectives. 

Study style

Assessment has been designed to develop the knowledge and skills required of critically reflective and ethical scientist-practitioners, and where possible they reflect the type of real-world activities and problems faced by professional health psychologists.  Tasks for assessment include preparation of reflexive portfolios, systematic reviews, case studies, public health reports and presentations, and intervention and evaluation design.

Course modules

Take a look at the course content for full details of all the modules you'll study on this course.

Entry requirements

  • At least a 2.2 honours degree or equivalent in psychology
  • Eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered membership of the BPS
  • Applicants for this course will be invited to attend an interview to assess suitability
  • A strong academic reference
  • EU and international students need IELTS 6.0 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in each component) or equivalent


See the further details of tuition fees when studying a course at the University of Gloucestershire.

Rachel Sumner staff profile

Staff Profile

Dr. Rachel Sumner

Rachel’s recent research has been evaluating social prescribing programmes in primary care, including ‘arts for health’ and ‘nature on prescription’, and she also works with Macmillan Cancer Care and the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group to evaluate secondary health care programmes for those living with and beyond cancer. Her other main area of reseach expertise is in psychoneuroimmunology and psychoneuroendocrinology, focusing on the health impact of chronic stress. Rachel brings her two main research areas together in a study of Wild Wellbeing, assessing how nature-based activities provide psychological (mood) and biological (hormonal and immune) benefits. Her latest project, in collaboration with University of Limerick, tracks the wellbeing of frontline workers during the Coronavirus pandemic.

students doing sport

Dr Danielle Stephens-Lewis

Dani is a critical health psychologist with a particular interest in the health outcomes surrounding sexual violence, domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation.  Her research has considered societal constructions of female rape victims, the collateral health impact of child sexual exploitation, and victim trajectories and risk assessment.  Her recent work focuses on the development of evidence-based practice for interventions that target men in substance use treatment who perpetrate intimate partner abuse.

student running on treadmill

Dr Matthew Stitch

Matthew specialises in physical exercise and health psychology, with a focus on understanding adoption and adherence behaviours.  His research uses social network analysis to examine the role that social relationships play in supporting individuals to maintain healthy activities. Matthew is also interested in the significance of nature and green space to enhancing psychological wellbeing, and how psychology can contribute to the changes in behaviour required to tackle climate change.

health professionals talking

Learn through collaboration

We have a wealth of collaborations with organisations across the county that provide health and wellbeing interventions, that would support dissertation projects, placements, and enhanced learning opportunities. These collaborations provide the opportunity to witness and explore real-world applications of health psychology theory and practice.

students doing craft activities

Our partnerships

Gloucestershire is a national leader in arts commissioning to improve mental health, and the self-management of chronic conditions including diabetes, obesity and cancer. Students on the course benefit from our partnerships with external organisations promoting these initiatives, ranging from Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, to Artlift, to Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

School of Natural and Social Sciences

Our School of Natural and Social Sciences provides the best possible student experience with cutting-edge technology and strong practical elements to each course. You will work closely with lecturers and other students in the seminar room, the laboratory and the field.