Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology DPsych


    About This Professional Doctorate

    Course Description

    Health Psychology can help to address health challenges affecting people’s day to day lives, prevent illness and foster health and well-being. This course will train you to develop scientific and practitioner skills in Health Psychology, and to be eligible to become a health psychologist. It is based on real-world placement learning, and includes regular teaching and workshops. 

    You'll acquire specific competencies as defined by the British Psychological Society. You'll also gain competence in carrying out a piece of high quality empirical research to a standard publishable in peer review journals.

    Supervision is provided by the experienced and enthusiastic health team in Psychology. We have an excellent international reputation in the field of Health Psychology with a record of high quality research into health and health behaviour.

    Overseas candidates are expected to commence and undertake most of their training in the UK.

    Top-up Research Doctorate in Health Psychology

    The Professional Doctorate award is also available for study via a two year part-time top-up research doctorate route. Applicants who already hold a doctoral level (practitioner) qualification in Health Psychology via the British Psychological Society (QHP), and are eligible for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a ‘Health Psychologist’ will be eligible to complete the research module for award of the Professional Doctorate degree.

    Students following this route will be required to complete the ‘Applied Research in Health Psychology’ module, via one-to-one supervision.

    On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

    • show an advanced knowledge of Health Psychology theory, research and methods
    • develop, deliver and evaluate evidence-based health interventions
    • maintain high ethical and professional standards in Health Psychology practice and research
    • provide consultancy for individuals, teams or organisations
    • design, deliver and evaluate training courses in Health Psychology

    Professional Accreditation

    On successful completion of this 'Stage 2' training, you'll be eligible for registration with the HCPC under the protected title of ‘Health Psychologist’. 

    You will also be eligible to apply for full membership of the Division of Health Psychology and can become a BPS Chartered Health Psychologist.

    This Professional Doctorate Health Psychology degree is fully accredited and commended by the British Psychological Society.

    Work Placements

    Placements are an integral part of this course and you can work in a wide range of settings, including the NHS, local government, health and social care, third sector (charities) or other organisations. In most cases you'll identify your own main placement, and this will need to be organised and approved as part of the application and admissions process. Placements can be paid or unpaid, in your own workplace or elsewhere, or can be carried out on a voluntary basis.

    Placements must cover at least two broad areas of work. This could be one main placement supplemented by shorter pieces of work elsewhere, or by time split more or less equally between two placements, or they can be sequential over time.

    Overseas candidates are expected to start and undertake most of their training in the UK.

    Examples of placements with our trainees include:

    • A mental health charity, providing health behaviour interventions for clients, and training staff providing support for people with complex behavioural problems in GP practices
    • Providing training for hospital staff in motivational approaches and behaviour change, and contributing to staff well-being support during the Covid-19 pandemic
    • Working with people with learning disabilities
    • Working in primary care to deliver health psychology interventions

    Course Details

    The course focuses on developing high quality practice and research skills and your capacity to work as an independent scientist-practitioner. It emphasises person-centred and collaborative ways of working, which are characteristic of Health Psychology approaches.

    This course will aim to prepare you for working in multidisciplinary contexts, in the context of the Scottish and UK Government targets for improvement of the nation’s health. This acknowledges the interplay of biological, psychological, socio-economic and cultural factors.

    Psychology at the University of Stirling has a long history of collaboration with local and national health care providers, and community groups. Course team members have been involved in many collaborative research projects, teaching and professional consultancy. Existing links to the local, national and international health and healthcare community will be fostered and developed in the Professional Doctorate. Stirling is also committed to increasing patient and public involvement (PPI) from the local community. We have PPI representatives on our Course Steering Group and will involve patient and carer groups as far as possible in different aspects of the course.

    After you graduate

    Health Psychology is a flexible and broad field of study and this is reflected in the wide variety of work that health psychologists can do. For example, within policy bodies, public health or clinical health services such as the UK NHS, and also in health and social care, in communities, workplaces and in the third sector (charitable organisations).

    Examples of possible roles for qualified Health Psychologists are:

    • delivering health assessments and management strategies for chronically ill patients, for example, those with cancer or chronic pain
    • providing rehabilitation or prehabilitation courses, e.g. for patients with coronary heart disease
    • working to support patients and carers in patient support organisations
    • behaviour change consultancy with primary health care teams in the community
    • health education and health promotion in educational or industrial settings
    • conducting evaluative research in order to provide a research evidence base for health policy decisions
    • influencing health behaviours, for example in smoking cessation courses, weight reduction groups, or with sexual health care providers
    • carrying out teaching and research for health care students in academic settings
    • teaching and training NHS health and social care professionals – such as pharmacists, dentists, social workers

    Visit the Health Psychology DPsych page on the University of Stirling website for more details!

    Entry Requirements

    Applicants must:

    - hold a good (2:1 or above) honours degree in psychology
    - be a graduate member of the BPS or hold the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC)
    - have successfully completed a BPS Accredited (Stage 1) MSc in Health Psychology within the past 5 years to a minimum of merit grade or equivalent
    - have Level 7 IELTS (minimum of 6.5 in each band) or equivalent for students where English is not their first language.


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