Course Overview

The MSc (Health Psychology) is a one-year full-time or two-year part-time programme of academic study in the discipline of health psychology.

Health Psychology is concerned with the application of psychological theory, research, and practice to the promotion and maintenance of health; the identification and amelioration of psychological factors contributing to physical illness and the improvement of the health care system and formulation of health policy.

This programme is accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI).  Programme staff are active in developing and promoting health psychology in Ireland and internationally. A number of internationally recognised health psychologists contribute to the programme through a series of visiting specialist seminars. It is intended for psychology graduates seeking to develop their knowledge and expertise in Health Psychology. The MSc will enable students to conduct high quality research and will prepare them to undertake further professional training in health psyhology and other areas of psychology.

Scholarships available
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

The selection of candidates is based on academic merit. In recent years, candidates who have been offered a place on the programme have at least an upper Second Class Honours primary degree in Psychology. The degree (or equivalent) should be accredited by the PSI, or should be an equivalent international qualification.

Who Teaches this Course

  • Dr. AnnMarie Groarke
  • Dr. Sinead Conneely
  • Professor Gary Donohoe
  • Dr. Gerry Molloy
  • Dr. Caroline Heary 
  • Ms. Anne Marie Keane
  • Dr. Padraig MacNeela
  • Dr. Jane Walsh
  • Dr. Jenny McSharry

Other members of staff also provide occasional contributions.

Requirements and Assessment

Semester One exams: December. Semester Two exams: April/May. A minor dissertation is submitted at the end of the summer semester. A range of assessment methods are used, including essays, projects, reports, presentations and written examination.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

The programme is intended for psychology graduates (at National Framework of Qualifications Level 8; ) with at least a Second Class Honours primary degree in Psychology (or equivalent). The selection of candidates is based on academic merit. In recent years, candidates who have been offered a place on the programme have at least an upper Second Class Honours primary degree in Psychology. The degree (or equivalent) should be accredited by the PSI, or should be an equivalent international qualification.


Additional Requirements

Duration

1 year, full-time; 2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2020

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

18

Closing Date

You are advised to apply early, which may result in an early offer; see the round offer dates.

NFQ level

Mode of study

Taught

ECTS weighting

90

Award

CAO

Course code

1MHP1, full-time | 1MHP2, part-time

Course Outline

The course is concerned with the application of psychological theory, methods and research to health, illness and healthcare.

Modules included on the programme are: 

  • Health Promotion and Behaviour Change
  • Research Methods in Psychology
  • Perspectives in Health Psychology
  • Biobehavioural Processes in Health and Illness
  • Psychological Processes in Health and Illness
  • Research & Professional Skills
  • Minor Dissertation

The modules cover a wide variety of topics, including adjustment to chronic illness, doctor-patient communication, management of chronic pain and the nature of stress and its psycho-biological consequences.

Module Details for Full Time Course

Module Details for Part Time Course

Students also take classes in research methods in health psychology and carry out an empirical research project in a health-related area. In addition, they have the opportunity to attend research seminars given by international experts in the field of health psychology.

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

Credits
You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
Module
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
Optional
A module you may choose to study.
Required
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Semester
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (90 Credits)

Required PS579: Research Methods in Health Psychology


Semester 1 | Credits: 10


(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. At the end of this module students should be able to: Identify the pertinent questions to consider when developing the methodology for your research proposal. Describe the components that should be dealt with in the methodology section of your research proposal Identify the appropriate statistical test to analyse a given set of data/research design Compute a series of statistical tests on SPSS when given a set of data Interpret SPSS printouts Prepare and present a set of results APA style
Assessments
  • Written Assessment (50%)
  • Continuous Assessment (25%)
  • Computer-based Assessment (25%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PS579: "Research Methods in Health Psychology" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PS584: Health Promotion & Behaviour Change


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the study of health promotion and the science of behaviour change. Students will explore the latest research in the area of health behaviour intervention development and evaluation. Specifically, in the module students will study: • Determinants of health • The role of behaviour in determining health • Health behaviour change theories • Individual and population approaches to promoting health • Methods to develop and test interventions to change health related behaviours o Choosing interventions and policies to change behaviour using the Behaviour Change Wheel o Features of behaviour change interventions: behaviour change techniques; modes of intervention delivery o Fidelity, adherence and engagement in behavioural interventions o Reporting behaviour change intervention studies

Learning Outcomes
  1. Evaluate, and reflect on, the key health psychology theories in relation to their contribution to health promotion and changing health related behaviour.
  2. Reflect on the process of behaviour change and health psychology theories of behaviour change in relation to their own behaviour.
  3. Debate the merits of individual versus population based approaches to health promotion.
  4. Critique health behaviour change interventions, specifically use of psychology theory in intervention development, specification of behaviour change techniques and intervention components, and the evaluation of interventions through randomised controlled trials.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PS584: "Health Promotion & Behaviour Change" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PS585: Perspectives in Health Psychology


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PS585: "Perspectives in Health Psychology" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PS6137: Research and Professional Skills


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This module introduces a variety of key research-related and professional skills, including qualitative research methods, which will enable students to develop their understanding of qualitative approaches and associated methodological issues. Additional skills will include how to critically review research literature, planning and conducting a systematic review and critiquing meta-analytical approaches. Students will also be supported to prepare and complete an ethics application.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the purpose, execution, and relevance of systematic reviews of literature and meta analyses.
  2. Conduct a mini systematic review of research and produce an associated protocol.
  3. Perform literature searches for research purposes, using key library and online resources
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the different qualitative approaches to data collection and analysis
  5. Use citation software for research writing and organization of references
  6. Apply the principles of research ethics to their research.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions (Vol. 4)." by Higgins, J. P., & Green, S. (Eds.).
    Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
The above information outlines module PS6137: "Research and Professional Skills" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PS6136: Dissertation


Semester 2 | Credits: 30

In this module students conduct and report an original empirical research project in a health-related area. The project may be carried out in a psychological laboratory or in a community or health-care setting.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Formulate an answerable research question or problem within the field of health psychology.
  2. Critique the various research methodologies available and decide on an appropriate research methodology.
  3. Review the literature in a topic area, and produce a critique of existing literature and justification for a research study.
  4. Apply ethical considerations to research projects.
  5. Conduct an independent piece of research.
  6. Collect and analyse data using the appropriate methods.
  7. Critically examine empirical findings and draw conclusions from these.
  8. Write a research manuscript in a format suitable for submission to the British Journal of Health Psychology or the Journal of Health psychology
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "Publication manual of the American Psychological Association" by American Psychological Association
    Publisher: American Psychological Association
  2. "Your Psychology Project Handbook." by Wood, C., Giles, D. & Percy, C.
    Publisher: Pearson Education Limited
The above information outlines module PS6136: "Dissertation" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PS587: Psychological Processes in Illness and Health Care


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Written Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PS587: "Psychological Processes in Illness and Health Care" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PS588: Biobehavioural Processes in Health and Illness


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Written Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PS588: "Biobehavioural Processes in Health and Illness" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional PS589: Dissertation


Trimester 3 | Credits: 35

Assessments
  • Research (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PS589: "Dissertation" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Given the strong academic and research basis of this programme, this qualification has relevance for working in a diverse range of settings. Previous graduates have gained employment in research posts and health service evaluation. Other opportunities include working with health authorities or voluntary organisations, that provide support, education and training to those with health-related difficulties. Graduates may also find employment in the area of health promotion or health education.

In addition to helping to prepare for employment in which a background in psychology is an advantage, the MSc (Health Psychology) also provides an excellent foundation for further postgraduate study. Some previous students have progressed to PhD studies, and have gained employment in Universities and other higher education settings (eg. teaching psychology to health professionals or those in training, as well as psychology students and/or conducting research). Others have pursued studies in Clinical Psychology, with Clinical-Health Psychology a potential route in which to specialise.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€7,100 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Tuition

€6,876 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Non EU

€16,400 p.a. 2020/21

Please note:  The fee payable by EU students is listed under "Fees: EU".  This field is the sum of the student levy + tuition.  Fees are payable each year and are subject to change year-on year.

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your full-time tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay full-time TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.

Find out More

Dr Gerry Molloy
E: gerry.molloy@nuigalway.ie
T: +353 91 495 123 

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Downloads

  • Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2020

    Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2020 PDF (21 MB)