The course provides an opportunity for students to enhance their skills and knowledge in areas of applied psychology related to mental health practice and research. It aims to provide a foundation for students wishing to enter further professional training in Clinical, Counselling or Health Psychology, and/or to become more employable for positions in the public or private sector that involve the application of psychology to mental health issues; or to pursue PhD research in the area of mental health.
The first section of the syllabus will provide an opportunity for students to enhance their skills and competencies in areas required by all professional psychologists, including basic professional issues, research methods, and techniques of clinical psychological assessment.
The course will go on to provide an in depth discussion of psychological theory and research concerned with the aetiology, assessment and treatment of psychological problems through the life course; starting with Child and Adolescent Mental Health, followed by Adult Mental Health issues.
Students will be provided with a comprehensive knowledge of some of the major psychological therapies, (namely Cognitive Behaviour Psychotherapy and Family Therapy and Systemic Practice) and will gain some practical experience in their use.
Finally, as the course is taught by not only experienced researchers but also practicing clinicians, there is excellent opportunity to enhance knowledge and skills in applications, CV, gaining experience and interview techniques and strategies.
To gain a Masters degree, the student is required to successfully complete 180 university credits.
Professional Issues in Applied Psychology (15 credits)
This module introduces students to the nature and history of applied psychology. Students will consider the proliferation of ‘psychology professions’ and the common theoretical, empirical and methodological core of these professions. The module will thereby anticipate professional issues in health, counselling and clinical psychology. Students will also discuss and reflect upon professional practice areas such as work contexts, ethical principles, supervision and reflective practice, report writing, legal issues and child protection governance; and the role and regulations of professional bodies. There is one piece of coursework assigned for this module.
Advanced Research Methods in Applied Psychology (15 credits)
This module is designed to give students training in the advanced qualitative and quantitative research methods that are required for contemporary research in applied psychology. The major focus will be on research methods for mental health and health psychology. Important issues such as data collection and research ethics will also be discussed. There is one piece of coursework assigned to this module.
Psychological Assessment (15 Credits)
This module seeks to provide students with the necessary theoretical background and practical skills to design, select, administer, score, interpret and report a variety of different assessment methods. These will be drawn from the areas of health, clinical and counselling psychology. The module will equip students with transferable skills that can be employed in a variety of clinical settings. There is one piece of coursework assigned to this module.
Adult Mental Health (theory and applications), (15 credits) and Child and Adolescent Mental Health (theory and applications), (15 credits).
These two modules discuss theoretical perspectives that have contributed to an understanding of specific psychological disorders and syndromes, and also consider approaches to treatment, based on the principles of evidence – based practice, relevant to the child, the adolescent, the person with learning disability, the adult and the older adult (across the lifespan). There in one exam for each of these modules.
Family Therapy and Systemic Practice 30 credits
This 30 credit modules introduces the student to family therapy and systemic practice theories and concepts, the aim of which is to help the student be able to understand how problems, mental ill health and distress may be explained through the lens of systemic thinking. The main models of Structural, Strategic and Milan theories, along with their historical development will be explored. The process of systemic psychotherapy will be explained with opportunity to practice a systemic assessment through the use of genograms and to practice relevant intervention techniques, with example case studies. Issues relating to culture, the therapeutic relationship, power and gender in systemic practice will be discussed, along with case examples of how family therapy and systemic practice can be applied in various clinical settings. This module will form part of the necessary training to gain a foundation level certificate in Family Therapy, accredited by the Institute of Family Therapy (IFT). There is a portfolio of work required to gain the foundation certificate. Those who have some access to clients will be able to complete the work in their own place of work.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (15 Credits)
Th This module aims to develop a knowledge and understanding of Cognitive and Behavioural Theories, and discusses how the cognitive model conceptualises psychological problems. The module explains the process of cognitive Assessment, formulation/ case conceptualisation and treatment using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). A further aim is to develop, not only the student’s basic psychotherapeutic skills, but also CBT techniques and strategies. The module will also provide opportunities to practice skill development using role play and video analysis. There is one piece of coursework assigned to this module.
For the MSc, students will also Research Project (60 credits)
This module will reflect the skills and knowledge acquired through the course as a whole. The student will be supported by a supervisor to undertake a piece of research in an applied mental health area, across the lifespan. A research proposal will be approved by the Course Committee, in accordance with University and School ethical review requirements. The student will begin to work on their research when they commence the course and will submit their work in September of the following year.
Duration and Mode of Attendance
One year full time and 2 years part time.
Students will attend lectures/ seminars/workshops every Wednesday and Thursday.
The part time students year 1 attend on Wednesday’s.
The part time students year 2 attend on Thursday’s.
And Full time students attend on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Classes on both days usually begin at 10am and usually end around 5.30/6pm.
Those with a 1st class honours degree or 2:1 in Psychology which confers eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Status with the British Psychological Society (BPS) or the Psychological Society of Ireland.
Those with 2:2 are welcome to apply but preference will be given to those who have some additional relevant clinical experience to add to their CV.
Closing date is the 31st June 2012
Please note, applicants will be permitted 5 working days after the deadline of 31st June, to submit all necessary supporting documentation to the Faculty office in the University of Ulster, Magee campus.
As it can take some time to obtain an academic reference, it is advisable to contact referees well in advance of the deadline. Applications that are incomplete or missing any supporting documents after 5 working days will not be rejected but it should be noted that when allocating places on the course, precedence will be afforded to those applicants who submitted the full application on time.
Teaching Methods and Assessment
Lectures will introduce core material and provide a framework for the organisation of its content. Some modules will have seminars built into the lectures, which will promote further discussion and critical evaluation of issues covered in the lecture series, with related skills (such as interpersonal, communication and dissemination skills) being developed through ongoing hands-on experience with relevant materials and group discussions.
In the clinical and psychological therapy modules, the core material (clinical presentations, therapeutic approaches, and assessment) will be introduced via lectures and student-led seminars, which will follow with psychotherapeutic skill training in our human interaction skills labs which have state of the art digital recording equipment to record and appraise ongoing skill development.
Some modules assess via coursework in the form of essays, designing interventions, portfolios and case studies, and some are assessed via examination only (2).
Exemptions and Transferability
Those who have already undertaken professional post graduate training in Family Therapy and Systemic practice or CBT may be exempt from undertaking these modules.
Those who have PhD may be exempt from the Advanced research methods module.
We are currently seeking part accreditation with the Institute of Family Therapy to approve the modules on family therapy to form part of a Foundation level Certificate in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice.
Careers And Postgraduate Opportunities
Currently, our students are being successful in acquiring Assistant Psychology positions which can lead to Agenda for Change (AfC) (NHS) pay band 5; which with experience is allowing people to apply for Associate Psychology positions (AfC Band 6). Others are being successful in gaining entry onto Professional Doctorate programmes in Clinical or Counselling Psychology; or PhD scholarships in Psychology across UK and Ireland.
The Faculty of Life and Health Sciences Staff- Magee
Tel: +44 (0) 28 7167 5027 or 028 7167 5379
Karen Kirby, C. Psychol, HPC Reg Practitioner Psychologist,
Lecturer in Psychology
School of Psychology
Tel: +44 (0) 28 7137 5109
Frequently Asked Questions
Will this course help me to gain entry to clinical or counselling psychology?
Yes, the course aims to increase/enhance the student’s knowledge and skills in psychological theory and how to apply this to clients in a clinical setting. The course aims to help prepare students on how best to complete their application forms, how to make the best out of their CV’s and how to prepare for an interview.
Is there a placement with this course?
No, currently there is not, but we are planning placements in the near future. However, some students are successful in gaining an assistant psychology position whilst on the course, and use this experience to apply theory to practice.
Can I practice as a Chartered applied psychologist when I finish?
No, this course only acts as a stepping stone to build on your knowledge, skills and abilities in order to help the student become more competitive in applying for clinical or counselling psychology; and/or employable to either work or research in the area of mental health and well being. Employment is usually in areas such as an assistant psychologist, mental health worker or working in charitable organisations or working as a research assistant/associate.
Students from the Republic of Ireland have previously secured funding, in the form of a Post Graduate study grant, from their local county council. This is an application which may be means tested. The student makes an independent application to their own county council. The University are not involved in this application or in any decision making process in this instance.
“Completing the master’s course at Magee provided me with an interactive, supportive and creative space which facilitated the development of my psychological understanding, skills and personal development. Furthermore it provided immense insight into the various settings of applied psychology and issues relating to the profession. This assisted me greatly in obtaining a place on a clinical training programme as well as giving me valuable and generalisable skills and knowledge. A worthwhile and recommendable experience in becoming an applied psychologist.”
‘The MSC in Applied Psychology was an invaluable experience in helping me develop my career as a competent researcher in applied areas of psychological theory. The course provided me with a supportive environment to acquire various professional skills essential for securing a position on research training courses such as a PhD. The content of the various modules also provided me with an elaborative insight how psychological theory meets the real world, enabling me to develop my skills in psychological thinking and mindfulness’.
University of Ulster
‘Doing the MSc in Applied Psychology deepened my knowledge of professional and clinical aspects of working as a psychologist. It made it clear to me that counselling psychology was the career I wanted to pursue, and it was a strong asset when it came to my application to the Doctorate in Counselling Psychology in Trinity College, Dublin.’ Catherine Lamarche-Ward
D. Co.Psych Trainee
‘As someone who was consulted about the redesign of the Masters Course I believe it reflects a really positive step forward in terms of producing people who can come into Assistant and Associate psychologist type posts in the NHS already ‘fit for purpose’. By this I mean the Course will equip them with a range of highly relevant competencies in areas such as assessment (incl., psychometrics), case formulation and two psychotherapeutic modalities’.
Professor Gerry Cunningham
Clinical Director of Psychology Services
Western Health & Social Care Trust
Campus Contact Information
||University of Ulster,
||University of Ulster,
|University of Ulster
BT52 1SATel: 028 7012 3456
|University of Ulster
BT37 0QBTel: 028 7012 3456
|University of Ulster,
|University of Ulster,
|University of Ulster
BT15 1EDTel: 028 7012 3456
|University of Ulster
BT48 7JLTel: 028 7012 3456