Health Psychology

Study options

Award

Professional Doctorate

Key facts

Location:
Stoke-on-Trent campus
Location:
Stoke-on-Trent campus
Study option:
Full-time
Study option:
Part-time
Duration:
3 Years
Duration:
4 Years
Start date:

First in the UK

First Stage 2 training course to be accredited by the BPS

BPS Commended

Commended for positive and strong ethos of developing reflective practice, exemplary support and widening access agenda

Tailored to your needs

You can choose which competence to work towards, and make the most of opportunities that come your way

The Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a unique opportunity to experience and develop your professional skills in Health Psychology, under the guidance of highly qualified and committed staff.

Our Professional Doctorate has been delivered since 2002 and was the first Stage 2 health psychology training programme to be accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). It remains one of the few accredited programmes in the UK, currently attracting students who are working in different placements throughout the UK.    

This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society. When you’re awarded the degree you’ll gain Stage 2 accreditation towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist and be eligible to apply to register as a Health Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).  The programme offers learning and teaching opportunities in health psychology to allow students to demonstrate Level 8 (Doctoral Level) competences in research, psychological interventions, consultancy, aspects of professional practice, and teaching. 

The focus of the Doctorate is on the acquisition of professional skills through placement learning, with an emphasis on reflection, professional competence, and accountability in professional practice. The programme is a research degree, and therefore also places an emphasis on research.  Students will be taught in both quantitative and qualitative methods, and will be guided in supervision sessions to conduct a systematic review and empirical study.  Both will be of publishable standard and will be written up as journal articles.    

Staffordshire University has a thriving Health Psychology research culture, focused in the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, with an excellent national and international reputation.

The Health Psychology Programmes at Staffordshire University have nine commendations from the BPS (2018). The Programme staff team are committed to principles of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) promoting diversity in Health Psychology. This is demonstrated across various aspects of the Programme, including selection and recruitment, and while students are training on the course.   

Please note that this course requires full time students to be on placement for a minimum of two years and to pay the fees detailed per year of study. Students need to allow for an additional period of time for writing up during which there is a writing up fee to be paid each year until completion.

Health psychology is the study of psychological processes and their application to health, illness and healthcare. Through this course, you’ll develop competence in professional skills, as well as research, psychological interventions, teaching, and consultancy.

The qualification will provide a guarantee for employers that you’re competent in core aspects of health psychology and professional practice.

This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society. When you’re awarded the degree you’ll gain Stage 2 accreditation towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist and be eligible to apply to register as a Health Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Staffordshire University has a thriving Health Psychology research culture, focused in the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, with an excellent national and international reputation.

We anticipate a blended earning model in 2021-22 with some sessions on campus, and others online. 

The Health Psychology Programmes at Staffordshire University have nine commendations from the BPS (2018).

Please note the closing date for the Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology is 30th June 2021

Please note that this course requires part time students to be on placement for a minimum of four years and to pay the fees detailed per year of study. Students need to allow for an additional period of time for writing up during which there is a writing up fee to be paid each year until completion.

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: Professional Doctorate Health Psychology

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: Professional Doctorate Health Psychology

Work placements

You’re expected to have a relevant health-related placement (paid or unpaid) before applying to the course. The placement will need to be formally approved prior to you joining us, and you’ll need to identify a workplace contact (who will be a suitably qualified healthcare professional, but does not need to be a psychologist) who will be willing to provide us with quarterly reports, and will be available to support you. Placements differ across trainees, if you’re concerned whether your placement is suitable, then please contact the course leaders directly.

Broadly, a placement (in effect the trainee’s place of work) can be any setting where health psychology is practised (e.g. hospitals, primary healthcare, public health and academic settings) and where you would be able to get the opportunity to complete most of the competences (i.e. teaching, research, psychological interventions and professional competence).  Trainees’ placements on our Professional Doctorate are wide and varied and have included public health, research teams in universities, hospitals and health psychology business units, primary and secondary care settings, prisons, hospices and pupil referral units.

You’ll be assigned a University supervisor who will visit you and your contact at the beginning, middle and (usually) end of the placement (this visit may be online).

Sometimes you may also need to spend time in other settings to attain all the experience and skills you need to complete the course.

Course content

The taught elements of the course involve a programme of interactive workshops which runs throughout the year, covering five competencies. 

 

 

 

The taught elements of the course involve a programme of interactive workshops which runs throughout the year, covering five competencies. 

 

 

 

Professional body accreditation

Postgraduate accreditation

Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as a practitioner psychologist.

The British Psychological Society logo

The course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as providing Stage 2 training in Health Psychology.

 

Professional body accreditation

Postgraduate Accreditation

The British Psychological Society logo

The course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as providing Stage 2 training in Health Psychology.

 

Psychology Facility Tour

Psychology Facility Tour

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Join Senior Lecturer Nikki for a tour around our state-of-the-art psychology facilities.

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Modules

The tables provide an indicative list of the modules that make up the course for the current academic year. Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Our teaching is informed by research, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. 

Please note: Year 3 will be the earliest that the viva examination can take place.  The exact date within that year will depend upon the time taken to write up and submit work for the different modules.  Also, the course is currently going through a revalidation.  Although the competences will stay the same, the titles to modules may change from September, 2022.

Year 1 compulsory modules
Year 1 compulsory modules
Advanced Research Methods In Health Psychology 180 credits
Consultancy Skills In Health Psychology 45 credits
Placement Learning N/A
Professional Competence In Health Psychology 45 credits
Psychological Interventions 45 credits
Teaching In Health Psychology 45 credits
Year 2 compulsory modules
Year 2 compulsory modules
Viva Examination N/A

Modules

The tables provide an indicative list of the modules that make up the course for the current academic year. Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Our teaching is informed by research, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. We aim to ensure that all modules run as scheduled. If for any reason a module cannot be run we will advise you as soon as possible and will provide guidance on selecting an appropriate alternative module. Please note Year 5 will be the earliest that the viva examination can take place.  The date will depend upon the time taken to write up the different modules

Year 1 compulsory modules
Year 1 compulsory modules
Advanced Research Methods In Health Psychology 180 credits
Consultancy Skills In Health Psychology 45 credits
Placement Learning N/A
Professional Competence In Health Psychology 45 credits
Psychological Interventions 45 credits
Teaching In Health Psychology 45 credits
Year 2 compulsory modules
Year 2 compulsory modules
Advanced Research Methods In Health Psychology 180 credits
Consultancy Skills In Health Psychology 45 credits
Placement Learning N/A
Professional Competence In Health Psychology 45 credits
Psychological Interventions 45 credits
Teaching In Health Psychology 45 credits
Year 3 compulsory modules
Year 3 compulsory modules
Advanced Research Methods In Health Psychology 180 credits
Consultancy Skills In Health Psychology 45 credits
Placement Learning N/A
Professional Competence In Health Psychology 45 credits
Psychological Interventions 45 credits
Teaching In Health Psychology 45 credits
Year 4 compulsory modules
Year 4 compulsory modules
Advanced Research Methods In Health Psychology 180 credits
Consultancy Skills In Health Psychology 45 credits
Placement Learning N/A
Professional Competence In Health Psychology 45 credits
Psychological Interventions 45 credits
Teaching In Health Psychology 45 credits
Year 5 compulsory modules
Year 5 compulsory modules
Viva Examination N/A

Entry requirements

Closing date for applications: Wednesday 15 June 2022

Dates for Interviews: Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 July 2022

You’ll need:

  • An honours degree recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as offering Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership
  • To have completed BPS Stage 1 training in Health Psychology. That is either a BPS-accredited MSc in Health Psychology with a grade of Merit or above, or the BPS Stage 1 qualification in Health Psychology with a grade of 60% or more
  • To have an approved placement

If your first language is not English, you must have achieved Level 7 on all parts of IELTS.

If you’re shortlisted, you’ll be interviewed before being admitted on to the course. In this interview you’ll need to put forward a suitable idea for an empirical study which links in with current staff research interests and show that you have access to relevant research populations though your placement. You’ll also need to show how you can complete the competences within the placement.

Closing date for applications: Wednesday 15 June 2022

Dates for Interviews: Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 July 2022

You’ll need:

  • An honours degree recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as offering Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership
  • To have completed BPS Stage 1 training in Health Psychology. That is either a BPS-accredited MSc in Health Psychology with a grade of Merit or above, or the BPS Stage 1 qualification in Health Psychology with a grade of 60% or more
  • To have an approved placement

If your first language is not English, you must have achieved Level 7 on all parts of IELTS.

If you’re shortlisted, you’ll be interviewed before being admitted on to the course. In this interview you’ll need to put forward a suitable idea for an empirical study which links in with current staff research interests and show that you have access to relevant research populations though your placement. You’ll also need to show how you can complete the competences within the placement.

Careers

This course is built around you gaining practical experience as you work towards your competencies.

  • You’ll be working in a health psychology-related field through the placement you organise prior to commencing your Stage 2 studies. As such, you gain valuable experience in all elements of health psychology work, and you evidence this experience in a portfolio.
  • We provide sessions on the programme where we teach you about developing a CV, applying for posts and interview skills.
  • You’ll have opportunities to see other health psychologists present their work (including our own graduates), either as guest lecturers or as part of the speaker programme organised by the school.
  • We have a range of graduates from our programme, who are able to mentor you, whilst you are applying for posts;
  • Finally, we host a conference in July each year, organized by students, at which you’re required to present your work. We also invite workplace supervisors to attend, along with ex-students (many of whom are themselves employers). Speaking at the conference is an opportunity to showcase your work and to advertise your skills.
  •  

All of these opportunities, combined with the placement-based learning enhance your employability.

Once you’ve completed the course you can apply to the Health and Care Professions Council to become an accredited practitioner, and for full membership, including Chartered Status, of the British Psychological Society.

See the BPS website for more information about careers.

All students have access to Career Connect, our dedicated careers team.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching

The Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology has been designed around placement learning, where students acquire professional skills through a health-related placement. This placement learning is supported by a series of supportive interactive seminars. 

Students will be taught in small groups using a variety of methods, chosen to allow them the opportunity to attain the learning outcomes for each module. These include interactive seminar sessions, student presentations on real world experiences, discussion activities, individual reflection tasks, guided reflection, online activities, role plays and contributions from our service user and carer group as well as guest speakers who are registered Health Psychologists.   

Seminars are scheduled fortnightly on Wednesdays in the first year, and monthly on Thursdays in the second year.  Sessions run from 10am -12 noon in the morning, and 2-4pm in the afternoon.  In addition, students are expected to attend the invited speaker seminar series which is scheduled from 4-5pm in the second year. The extended lunch break between 12 noon and 2pm in the middle of the day is to enable students to meet with supervisors and module leaders for supervision.     

In addition to the seminars there is a two-day Induction Programme and an annual Welcome Back meeting in September, and a Student-Led Conference which takes place in June.  The Conference is an opportunity for students to build confidence in presenting their work through poster, oral presentations, or workshops.  Second year students organize the Student Conference and this adds to their professional development.

All the teaching is supported by Blackboard, a virtual learning environment. 

The Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology has been designed around placement learning, where students acquire professional skills through a health-related placement. This placement learning is supported by a series of supportive interactive seminars. 

Students will be taught in small groups using a variety of methods, chosen to allow them the opportunity to attain the learning outcomes for each module. These include interactive seminar sessions, student presentations on real world experiences, discussion activities, individual reflection tasks, guided reflection, online activities, role plays and contributions from our service user and carer group as well as guest speakers who are registered Health Psychologists.   

Seminars are scheduled fortnightly on Wednesdays in the first year, and monthly on Thursdays in the second year.  Sessions run from 10am -12 noon in the morning, and 2-4pm in the afternoon.  In addition, students are expected to attend the invited speaker seminar series which is scheduled from 4-5pm in the second year. The extended lunch break between 12 noon and 2pm in the middle of the day is to enable students to meet with supervisors and module leaders for supervision.     

In addition to the seminars there is a two-day Induction Programme and an annual Welcome Back meeting in September, and a Student-Led Conference which takes place in June.  The Conference is an opportunity for students to build confidence in presenting their work through poster, oral presentations, or workshops.  Second year students organize the Student Conference and this adds to their professional development.

All the teaching is supported by Blackboard, a virtual learning environment. 

Assessment

Students will initially be required to produce an individual learning plan with a Gantt Chart which details the different competences and describes their plans to complete them over the course of the programme. This is submitted to an Assessment Board for approval, in the January after students begin studying on the programme.   

Once approved, students are able to complete the range of assessments, which including case studies, a consultancy contract, reflective reports, a communication skills evaluation and two journal articles with associated commentaries. All assessments involve real-life contexts and are usually based around opportunities from placement-based learning.  There are two submission dates per year; these are usually in January and June.  At least one piece of work needs to be passed each year, in order to progress. Work on this award is only awarded Pass or Fail.

At the end of the period of study, and when all assessments have been passed, and approved by a Progress Board, students will be asked to submit a portfolio which contains the work which has been passed and includes an Abstract. Students will then be able to progress to the Viva Examination module.  All students will take part in a viva voce examination, where they will discuss their portfolio with an Internal Examiner and an External Examiner who are registered Health Psychologists usually working in a similar area of research. Students must receive pass marks in all assessments, have attended at least 80% of the supportive programme, and perform successfully at the viva examination in order to receive the Professional Doctorate qualification.

Students will initially be required to produce an individual learning plan with a Gantt Chart which details the different competences and describes their plans to complete them over the course of the programme. This is submitted to an Assessment Board for approval, in the January after students begin studying on the programme.   

Once approved, students are able to complete the range of assessments, which including case studies, a consultancy contract, reflective reports, a communication skills evaluation and two journal articles with associated commentaries. All assessments involve real-life contexts and are usually based around opportunities from placement-based learning.  There are two submission dates per year; these are usually in January and June.  At least one piece of work needs to be passed each year, in order to progress. Work on this award is only awarded Pass or Fail.

At the end of the period of study, and when all assessments have been passed, and approved by a Progress Board, students will be asked to submit a portfolio which contains the work which has been passed and includes an Abstract. Students will then be able to progress to the Viva Examination module.  All students will take part in a viva voce examination, where they will discuss their portfolio with an Internal Examiner and an External Examiner who are registered Health Psychologists usually working in a similar area of research. Students must receive pass marks in all assessments, have attended at least 80% of the supportive programme, and perform successfully at the viva examination in order to receive the Professional Doctorate qualification.

Learning support

Throughout the Professional Doctorate programme, students will be supported by individual supervision from their Staffordshire University supervisor(s). Face-to-face meetings with  supervisor(s) tend to be every two weeks in the first year, and then every four weeks in the second year, although students will be expected to keep in regular contact by e-mail. 

In subsequent years, students are expected to work as independent learners, where they will be working closely with their supervisors and the module leaders.  Supervision sessions may either take the form of a face-to-face meeting, or via MS Teams, however, there must be a minimum of six face-to-face meetings per year.  Continuing students will also be required to attend the Welcome Back programme and Annual Conference, and will be invited to the supportive programme such as the Psychology Department seminars and CPD workshops at the University throughout this time.  

Additional support

If you have additional needs like dyslexia or a sensory impairment, then our Student Inclusion Services are here to help make sure nothing stands in your way.

Feedback

We strongly encourage students to discuss the suitability of their placement (or other) opportunities for each piece of assessment with their supervisors and the relevant module leaders before they engage with them. The module leader will advise on whether the opportunity fits the assessment criteria requirements.    

Formative methods of assessment are also used to provide feedback on progress and to assist in preparation for summative assessments (below). These include examination of 3-page plans (module leaders) and final drafts (supervisors) of pieces of assessed work and eventually the overall portfolio including a mock viva examination.  Formative feedback will be provided for each piece of assessed work through e-mail, face-to-face meetings, and/or MS Teams meetings.

*Apart from the Advanced Research Methods module where the module leader will also comment on a full draft of your work.

We strongly encourage students to discuss the suitability of their placement (or other) opportunities for each piece of assessment with their supervisors and the relevant module leaders before they engage with them. The module leader will advise on whether the opportunity fits the assessment criteria requirements.    

Formative methods of assessment are also used to provide feedback on progress and to assist in preparation for summative assessments (below). These include examination of 3-page plans (module leaders) and final drafts (supervisors) of pieces of assessed work and eventually the overall portfolio including a mock viva examination.  Formative feedback will be provided for each piece of assessed work through e-mail, face-to-face meetings, and/or MS Teams meetings.

*Apart from the Advanced Research Methods module where the module leader will also comment on a full draft of your work.

Staff

You'll be taught by staff who have experience in different areas of health psychology.  

Dr Rachel Povey

Associate Professor

I'm the course leader for the Health Psychology Professional Doctorate. My areas of expertise are healthy eating, dietary change and psychological aspects of diabetes.

Rachel's profile

Dr Gemma Hurst

Course Director

I am the Course Leader for the MSc Health Psychology. My research focuses on measuring the impact of environment exposures on health and wellbeing and exploring the wider determinants of health in relation to health inequality. I am also experie…

Gemma's profile

Lisa Cowap

Lecturer

My expertise is within Health Psychology and conducting research employing both quantitative and qualitative methodologies.

Lisa's profile

Dr Jennifer Taylor

Senior Lecturer

My research interests are in exploring health risk behaviours, particularly those which have potentially negative, identity implications, such as sunbed tanning.

Jennifer's profile

Fees

If you would like to know more about the fees listed and what this means to you then please get in touch with our Enquiries Team.

Alumni discount

If you've previously completed a Staffordshire University undergraduate degree (excluding HND and foundation degrees) you may be entitled to a discount of up to 25% off your course fees for any subsequent postgraduate taught course (terms apply, see the alumni discount page for details). If you have any questions about how this relates to you, please contact feesandbursaries@staffs.ac.uk.

Included in tuition fees
Included in the fees:
  • Participation in the Annual Staffordshire University Health Psychology Conference
  • Access to support and advice from our award winning technicians
  • Access to events organised by the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research
  • Participation in the Annual Staffordshire University Health Psychology Conference
  • Access to support and advice from our award winning technicians
  • Access to events organised by the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research
Not included in tuition fees
Not included in the fees:
  • You may need to allow additional time after you have completed placement for writing up, during which there is a £500 writing-up fee each year until completion
  • You’ll also need to pay for your criminal records check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

 

  • You may need to allow additional time after you have completed placement for writing up, during which there is a £500 writing-up fee each year until completion
  • You’ll also need to pay for your criminal records check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

 

Accommodation and living costs
Accommodation and living costs

Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

For more information on accommodation and living costs, please see: Accommodation

Sources of financial support

Providing you are studying towards a full Masters qualification you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £11,570 to help with tuition fees, maintenance and other associated costs. Student loans are available for many of our postgraduate degrees and are provided by the Student Loans Company (SLC). The loan can cover a wide range of postgraduate study options; part-time, full-time and distance learning. 

For more information and how to apply visit masters loan.

Scholarships and additional funding

There are sometimes paid bursaries offered associated with specific placements for this course.  These are advertised separately. 

Our students

I felt that the team got the balance of supporting me and enabling/encouraging me to be autonomous, spot on. The doctorate always felt organised, diverse, innovative, up to date and responsive to me as a student.

Dr Meg Linscott

Health Psychologist – Pain Service, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust

The scope of the course broadened my appreciation of the range of areas within which a Health Psychologist might practice and further strengthened my passion to progress my career along the Applied Health Psychologist route.

Dr Louise Clancy

Health Psychologist, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust

The highlight of the Doctorate for me was how the different competencies individually and collectively, gave me confidence for, and prepared me professionally, for the role I had in Public Health whilst I studied, and now in my career as an independent Health Psychologist.

Dr Mike Oliver

Health Psychologist & Chartered Psychologist, Health Psychology Matters Ltd

The peer-support system set up from the start of the programme was a great opportunity to share, discuss ideas and get further support. The different modules covered in the programme opened up many opportunities for a range of work positions after graduating.

Dr Dayyanah Sumodhee

Research Associate at King's College London and NHS Stop Smoking Practitioner

Undertaking the Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology was one of the best decisions of my career. Not only did I gain a broad range of competencies and skills, I also gained confidence in my skills and abilities through practical application. The balance of taught sessions, independent learning, applied experience and well thought out assessments prepared me for the diverse nature of Health Psychology. 

Dr Daniel Masterson

Senior Researcher at Staffordshire University and Healthy Urban Planning Officer at Stoke-on-Trent City Council

Apply

Applications are not currently available for this course.

Rules and regulations

If you are offered a place at Staffordshire University, your offer will be subject to our rules, regulations and enrolment conditions, which may vary from time to time.

Students of Staffordshire University enter into a contract with us and are bound by these rules and regulations, which are subject to change. For more information, please see: University Policies and Regulations

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