Psychology, Health and Behaviour MSc

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Special Features
  • Teaching & Assessment
  • Employability
  • Fees
  • Entry Criteria

About the Course

  • How can we change risky health behaviours (such as smoking, drinking)?
  • Why don’t people take medicines as directed, even when the medicines are prescribed for serious illnesses?
  • What psychological and social factors influence physical health?

This course is aimed at a variety of graduates; people working in the health who wish to further their understanding of the psychological aspects of health and illness; health professionals (medical doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, to mention a few); international students; psychology graduates who wish to gain skills to help them obtain a place on a Clinical Psychology Doctorate or study further at PhD level; and graduates in related disciplines such as sociology and anthropology.


The MSc teaches an understanding the psychological aspects of health, illness beliefs, and behaviours, and provides knowledge and research skills to undertake health research.


Admissions and Course Enquiries
Web: Admissions Enquiries Information
Tel (before application): +44 (0)1895 265599 (Course Enquiries)
Tel (after application): +44 (0)1895 265265 (Admissions Office)
Contact Admissions or Course Enquiries Online

Course Director: Dr Bridget Dibb

Related Courses

Course Content

The course consists of four taught modules (30 credits each) and a final dissertation (60 credits) totalling 180 credits. Modules are subject to variation but at the time of printing, planned modules are as follows:

The Psychology of Managing Illness
This module introduces various factors associated with chronic illness. For example, the impact of illness on quality of life, adjustment to chronic illness, adherence to treatment/rehabilitation, factors important in predicting change in various illnesses.

Understanding Health
This module introduces various theoretical models and their relationship to health behaviours. These are related to health and risk behaviours which include smoking, dieting and eating; sexual behaviour; alcohol and substance use; exercise and health promotion.

Multidisciplinary Approaches to Health
This module introduces themes and disciplines that are related to health psychology and looks at the approach to health taken by these different disciplines. This includes medical sociology, medical anthropology, cross-cultural psychology and medical ethics.

Health Research and Research Methods
This module trains students to write literature reviews and discusses the practicalities of research. Students will be trained in qualitative and quantitative research methods and equips the student with the skills to undertake health research.

Students will undertake a research project in a topic of their interest, chosen after discussion with their supervisor.

Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel.

Special Features

Our MSc offers some unique modules and allows a broad understanding of health and how to undertake health research.

Academics have published high-impact journal articles and books on a broad range of subjects and have received research funding from a variety of bodies, including the EU, the Commission for Racial Equality, the Nuffield Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Home Office, the Department of Health, The Wellcome Trust, The Leverhulme Trust and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The programme is run by Dr Bridget Dibb:

Dr Bridget Dibb is a Chartered Psychologist and a registered Health Psychologist who has previously taught and supervised health psychology at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Her research interests include: factors important for quality of life and adjustment to chronic illness, with a focus on posttraumatic growth, social comparison, and the perception of stigma. She has also carried out research into weight loss issues in obese adults. Other areas of interest include sexual health, illness cognitions, and illness behaviours.


Assessment is by coursework (including term papers and oral presentations), and a dissertation of up to 15,000 words.


This MSc is a valuable precursor to any future research degree or clinical doctorate. Skills learnt on this course will also benefit those working within health and illness who wish to further their careers.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2015/6 entry

UK/EU students: £7,000 full-time; £3,500 part-time

International students: £14,750 full-time; £7,375 part-time

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).

Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.

Entry Requirements 2015/6

A UK first or 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification in a Social Sciences or medical related subject, the health professions or applicants who hold a medical degree. Applicants with a 2.1 or above degrees not in these areas but with relevant experience willl be considered on an individual basis

Applicants with 2.2 Psychology degree with relevant experience will be considered on an individual basis. Applicants with other 2.2 degrees that have a maths background plus substantial relevant work experience will be considered on an individual basis.

Please note our MSc Psychology, Health & Behaviour course is not a pathway to becoming a Health Psychologist in the UK.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)

Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.

However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a number of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.

Page last updated: Thursday 04 June 2015