Our MSc in Health Psychology is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and is designed for students who are interested in a career in health psychology. The MSc teaches students a variety of things, including the key theories in health psychology and how to apply them and the interaction between psychological processes and disease and illness. Tarnjit Sidhu is a current part-time student on the course and below she explains what compelled her to do a master’s in health psychology and provides us with a first-hand look of what the course is really like…
After graduating with a Psychology degree from Loughborough University in 2016, I moved back home ready to begin ‘real life’. I’ve always had a passion for learning and psychology has always particularly fascinated me. I continuously found myself questioning why people did certain things, and once I moved back home I realised I had a lot more to learn.
I decided to take a year out between my undergraduate and master’s degree to see whether it was really what I wanted to do. Even though the year between my degrees provided me with invaluable skills and experiences within the financial sector, this also made it clear to me that psychology was the path I wanted to take.
Enrolling onto the MSc Health Psychology course was something I was both excited and anxious about. Starting university is always a nerve-wracking time – but starting university the second time around felt really different. Not knowing the university or the staff was something that particularly worried me, as living in Loughborough had meant I had built an excellent rapport with the staff in my school and I was also lucky enough to have a really great group of friends. Despite this, after my first few weeks at Manchester, I knew I would love my time there!
Health Psychology is the scientific study of the psychological and behavioural processes involved in physical health, illness and healthcare. This can involve exploring illness experiences, developing and testing theories, and designing interventions to change health-related behaviours. Health Psychology aims to promote health and wellbeing, prevent illness and disability, enhance the lives of those living with health conditions, improve health services, and inform health policies. The course covers many aspects of health psychology and is interactive as well as informative which I have really enjoyed. This has included active engagement during lectures, delivering presentations as well as the chance to provide regular feedback as to how the course can be improved.
The MSc also involves completing a dissertation project. My project has involved looking at the awareness and knowledge of Type 2 diabetes and the risk factors related to this in the South Asian population. South Asians are up to 70% more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease and Type 2 diabetes than the general population. Because of this, my research will identify gaps in knowledge and ultimately aim to inform health professionals of cultural adaptations that need to be made in health information being provided to South Asians. This qualitative project has allowed me to increase awareness of Type 2 diabetes within this population.
The course also focuses on personal development and focuses on equipping students with all the relevant skills needed to continue academic studies or take on professional roles. The professional issues module assists with the development of transferable skills, and also includes workshops the various career paths you can take once you finish the MSc, which is really helpful.
The course also encourages critical thinking within all modules, which is helpful for all aspiring psychologists. Teaching on the course is varied and this keeps the content and modules fun to engage in. As such, the course has gone above and beyond my expectations and has not only equipped me with invaluable psychological experience but has also helped me gain confidence in my academic abilities.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Manchester, and am really happy to say I’ll be continuing my Postgraduate studies within the school in September when I’ll be starting my PhD with the Medical Research Council on their Doctoral Training Programme. My time at Manchester has provided me with invaluable experiences both personal and academic, and the MSc has helped me further my knowledge with a supportive network of staff around to help when needed.
To anyone wanting to study MSc Health Psychology – I would really encourage it! Deciding to study an MSc is a big decision, so make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons otherwise it’ll be a really long year! But in the end, it’s so worth it! For me it’s been more than an academic journey, it’s helped open up so many more opportunities and helped me grow as a person. I had a lot of personal life hurdles during my MSc and the staff have been amazing in helping me overcome these and grow to my full potential and I’ll always appreciate that. Thank you to all the staff at Manchester for their support and encouragement! I look forward to coming back as a PhD student!