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Health Psychology (MSc) 2021 entry

The MSc in Health Psychology starts students on the path to becoming a Chartered Psychologist and provides training in the applications of psychological theory and research methods.

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Key information

Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Science (MSc)

Course dates

  • Start date: 6 September 2021
  • End date: 30 September 2022

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Course duration

One year full time

Entry requirements

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

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Tuition fees

Home: £9,900
Overseas: £24,240

Application deadline

Tuesday 30 June 2021. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • CV
  • personal statement explaining why you would like to take the MSc and how your studies to date have prepared you for the course (300 words)
  • sample of academic work including management and analysis of data (no longer than 2,000 words)
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

Course information

The MSc in Health Psychology is a one-year taught programme run in collaboration with NHS Fife and the School of Medicine and the School of Psychology and Neuroscience at St Andrews. Upon successful completion, you will be equipped with the necessary skills to embark on your Stage 2 training or to facilitate research at MPhil or PhD level.

The programme is intended for graduate psychologists who wish to apply theoretical knowledge from their initial degree into a qualification that can launch them into a career of health psychology working for a health care provider or into health-related research.


  • Successful completion of the course provides a Stage 1 Professional Training for Chartered Health Psychologist status with the British Psychological Society.
  • Students have the opportunity to undertake placements in clinical settings, participating in at least 12 clinical placement visits (students will be required to meet travel costs of approximately £120).
  • Students can access numerous labs including: the Coding Room (for communication research), the Prep and Consultation labs (for behavioural health-related research) and the Simulation Lab at the School of Medicine (for running experimental studies and conducting face-to-face or telephone interviews).
  • Taught by experienced teaching staff who have active research programmes in an area of health psychology.
  • Continuous assessment linked to theory modules based upon realistic problems facing health psychologists.

Teaching format

The programme consists of two full-time semesters of taught modules followed by an independent research period which finishes in the submission of a 5,000-word dissertation. On average, the Health Psychology cohort makes up around 10 to 12 students per year.

Students will take six compulsory modules. Teaching is delivered through:

  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • individual supervision
  • computer exercises
  • practical observation.

Assessment approaches include:

  • thesis
  • peer-assessment
  • written assignments
  • presentations.

Students will have access to a broad, well-qualified and experienced team of academic and health psychologists from both Schools of Medicine and Psychology. In addition, students will be assigned a supervisor who will provide advice and support on the research dissertation project.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details about each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue, which is for the 2020–2021 academic year and therefore some elements may be subject to change for 2021 entry.

Semester 1 

  • Quality of Life, Communication and Chronic Illness: quality of life in health care settings, and the issues of caring for an increasing number of patients within modern health services with chronic conditions. 
  • Theories of Health Psychology and Behaviour Change: covers the context and perspectives of health psychology, including a historical overview and current theories and approaches in health psychology.

Semester 2 

  • Biological Systems and Development: introduces the importance of biological and developmental systems to the understanding of people's perceived and actual health status, including methods of assessing health behaviour and intervening to change health behaviour.
  • Health Information, Prevention and Decision Making: the issues of provision of information and surrounding the decisions made by the general public about their health care.
  • Methods of Data Analysis in Psychology: advanced training in research design, statistics, qualitative methods and modelling.

Whole year

  • Generic Research and Professional Skills in Psychology: introduces students to the various skills and issues that are important to academic psychologists irrespective of their particular area of research.

Students will conduct and report a research project from a health psychology perspective. Projects may comprise field or laboratory-based studies.

The research project will be planned during both academic semesters and written during the summer. It will involve two to three months of data collection and will be written up as a 5,000-word dissertation, in an appropriate scientific journal style, to be submitted by a date specified in August.

Students will be assigned a supervisor who will provide guidance during the planning, research and writing phases.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MSc, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MSc.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2021 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students. 

The next virtual visiting day will be in November 2021.

Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.

Online information events

Conferences and events

The School of Medicine has a busy programme of conferences, workshops and visiting speakers from universities in the UK and from abroad.

The School of Psychology and Neuroscience hosts a weekly seminar programme. These seminars include public lectures, open school discussions and papers presented by a variety of guest lecturers from the UK and abroad. Following the seminar, a drinks reception is held in the staff common room.


Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews. 

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships

After the MSc

Research degrees

Many Health Psychology graduates go on to the Stage 2 qualification route to become qualified Chartered Psychologists of Health Psychology or obtain a studentship for a health-related PhD programme.

The Medical Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council provide funding for doctoral training in health, biological and related sciences covering up to four years funding and, in some cases, accommodation fees.

PhD in Medicine

PhD in Psychology


Students enrolled on the MSc Health Psychology go on to employment opportunities in the NHS Psychological or Public Health Services or join health services research programmes.

Find out more about career pathways for health psychologists (PDF) , a document put together by the BPS Division of Health Psychology-Scotland committee.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

"There are lots of debates and discussions so we are able to challenge ourselves and each other within a small and supportive community. One of the best parts of the MSc Health Psychology programme is that you are taught across both the School of Medicine and the School of Psychology and Neuroscience, so you get a broad range of expertise. The lecturers are always really receptive to feedback, so it is easy to ensure the course is tailored to your needs and you are always supported."

- Worcester, England


School of Medicine
University of St Andrews
Medical and Biological Sciences Building
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St Andrews
KY16 9TF

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 1886

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Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).

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