MSc Health Psychology

What is Health Psychology?


Health psychology is a rapidly expanding discipline that can be defined as the practice and application of psychological methods to the study of behaviour relevant to health, illness and health care.  Health psychologists use psychological principles to promote changes in people’s behaviour and their associated beliefs about health and illness.

The Health Behavior Research Centre helps to coordinate the UCL MSc Health Psychology programme, a research-based, BPS-accredited Stage 1 qualification. The programme is the longest-running MSc Health Psychology in the UK, and offers unrivaled teaching, delivered by leading experts in their field. The HBRC undertakes research aimed at advancing our understanding of behaviours that have a major impact on health and to contribute to the development of interventions to promote healthy lifestyles. The Centre is part of the Department of Behavioural Science & Health, UCL.

Meet the team

Professor Andrew Steptoe, Psychologist, Programme Director

Dr Lion Shahab, Senior Lecturer in Helth Psychology, Programme Lead

Dr Abi Fisher, Lecturer in Physical Activity and Health

Dr Clare Llewellyn, Lecturer in Health Psychology

Dr Christian Von Wagner, Senior Lecturer, Health Psychology

Key benefits of studying Health Psychology at UCL

  • Recent REF 2014 ratings show that UCL is the top research university by research strengths  
  • The Times Higher Education World University Rankings' has UCL ranked as one of top ranking universities in UK for research in health sciences; 
  • UCL has been leading the field in Health Psychology research since 1987 and employs the largest number of health psychology researchers in the country;
  • The course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) which ensures not only the quality of the course but also that the widest range of training, development and employment opportunities are open to students;
  • The course is delivered by the leading experts in their field, for example Professor Andrew Steptoe (lecture on cardiovascular disease), Professor Robert West (lecture on smoking cessation), Professor Sir Michael Marmot (lecture on health inequalities).
  • Core staff regularly feature on international media outlets e.g. Watch a recent interview with programme director Professor Andrew Steptoe on BBC newsListen to programme lead Dr Lion Shahab talking about -cigarettes in an interview with ITV
  • Students can expect a high proportion of one-to-one contact and support, having termly academic tutorials and access to personal and departmental graduate tutors and dedicated supervisors
  • Professional development of students is actively encouraged through teaching (e.g. on effective job applications and interview techniques), careers lectures, placements and work opportunities within various research groups.
  • The course aims to provide students with applied practitioner skills (see Placements) as well as advanced researcher skills (see Projects and Publications; this year one of our students received the DHP Outstanding Thesis Award).
  • Internationally renowned course attracting students from all over the world