Course specification and structure
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RPHLTPSY - Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Professional Doctorate Level Doctoral
Possible interim awards Master of Science
Total credits for course 540
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Social Sciences
Subject Area Psychology
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 2 YEARS  
Part-time 3 YEARS  
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

This course offers a Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology on completion of two years full-time supervised practice (or equivalent), attendance at workshops and completion of a Thesis Portfolio. The course offered here has a strong practitioner focus with students completing placement(s) for equivalent to two years of full time. This placement should be suitable for demonstrating and developing health psychology skills and competencies. Completion of the course will be commensurate with demonstrating the competencies needed for achieving the Stage 2 qualification for Chartered Status. There will be a synthesis between taught workshops and the practical placements in achieving the qualification. Students will be required to demonstrate the core competencies in 5 core units to fulfil the requirements for Stage 2. In addition to this, students will be required to complete D-level Research training. The course will be delivered by professional workshops, supervised practice, research, weblearn and peer supervision.

Course aims

The course aims to develop skills as a trainee health psychologist in line with recommendations from the British Psychological Society (BPS) Division of Health Psychology (DHP) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). It aims to introduce students to the competencies they are required to demonstrate in order to be eligible to become a Chartered Psychologist and a Registered Psychologist. Key areas of the course include; research methods, consultancy, general professional skills competencies, teaching and training and psychological interventions in health psychology. Overall, the course aims:
1. To produce competent, informed, reflective, ethically and professionally sound practitioners of health psychology who are able to work in different settings.
2. To enable students to develop consultancy skills in health psychology.
3. To ensure students are able to teach and train using a range of teaching approaches tailored to different groups (minimum of two different groups) in aspects of health psychology.
4. To provide students with the opportunity to plan and implement an original research project at doctoral level that is relevant to health psychology. As well as a systematic review in the field of health psychology, but not necessarily in the same area to their research project.
5. To provide an opportunity for students to acquire skills in developing, implementing, evaluating and reporting psychological interventions (including face-to-face work with an individual client and through a medium other than face-to-face with an individual client).
6.To satisfy the academic requirements for the core competencies specified by The British Psychological Society's Health Psychology Qualifications Board (HPQB).

Course learning outcomes

The following learning outcomes incorporate and depend on the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original research or other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of Health Psychology, and merit publication.

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

• underpin their work with a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge that is at the forefront of Health Psychology

• conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of Health Psychology, and to adjust the project design in the light of unforeseen problems

• apply on the basis of a detailed understanding techniques for research and advanced academic enquiry

• make informed judgements on complex issues in specialist fields, often in the absence of complete data, and be able to communicate their ideas and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences

• continue to undertake pure and/or applied research and development at an advanced level, contributing substantially to the development of new techniques, ideas or approaches

• apply the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and largely autonomous initiative in complex and unpredictable situations, in professional or equivalent environments.

Assessment strategy

The course is assessed via a Thesis Portfolio (46,000-52,000 words in total) and a Viva Voce (that assesses the entire Thesis Portfolio). Components that make up the Portfolio of Evidence (see below) can be undertaken in any order and submitted for assessment during the Thesis Stage. This flexibility is necessary so that the candidate may plan their doctoral work and on-going professional activity in relation to the placement learning as appropriate. Each year, candidates’ progress will be reviewed against agreed action plans and new action plans will be agreed in light of current circumstances. The Thesis Portfolio is assessed on a Pass/Fail basis. Students must Pass all components of the assessment. Students are entitled to reassessment in line with the current academic regulations.
The Thesis Portfolio is made up of the following components:
Professional Skills competency portfolio (reflective commentary) (3000 words)
An in-depth reflective commentary to record a student’s experiences and learning on professional aspects of the course. Students will be expected to demonstrate continuing professional development in key areas of professional practice.
A report (1000 words) summarising the student’s involvement of service users and or carers in their training.
Psychological Intervention portfolio (two case studies) (6000 words)
The first case study should be a 3000 word report (plus a 500 word reflective commentary and observer’s report) of a psychological intervention that has been implemented through face-to-face work with an individual client, detailing all elements of the process: assessment, formulation, intervention and evaluation.
The second case study should be a 2000 word report (plus a 500 word reflective commentary) of a psychological intervention that has been implemented through a medium other than face-to-face with an individual client (e.g. group or online), detailing all elements of the process: assessment, formulation, intervention and evaluation.
Systematic Review (6000 words)
The systematic review is an exhaustive review of an area or question of the student’s choosing based on a search of the relevant literature adopting strict criteria (e.g. Cochrane). It is assessed by consideration of the formulation of the scope and orientation of the review, the competence of the literature search (using both computerised and manual searches), use of quantitative and/or qualitative material, the development of arguments and issues arising from the literature search and a critical evaluation of its content.
D Level Research Dissertation (25000 words)
This work should consist of an original and independent research project commensurate with quality and quantity of Professional Doctorate level.
Consultancy portfolio (case study) (5000 words)
The case study should be based on a real contract that includes setting up a contract, client/consultant relationship processes and assessment of the consultancy, taking account of relevant consultancy theory. This should include a contract and working agreement and provide a detailed account of the request and identification of the need for the consultancy, the negotiating, planning and management of the project and a clear description and report of the consultancy aims, objectives, deliverables, data collection, outcomes and evaluation.
Teaching and Training portfolio (3500 words)
Case study (including teaching plan) (1500 words), teaching evaluation (1500 words), reflective commentary (500 words) and observer’s report.
The case study provides an opportunity for a more detailed reflective account of one aspect or part of a student’s teaching and training activity. The teaching plan should demonstrate how one part of their teaching has been planned in a systematic way, taking account of the profile and learning needs of the learners, and the relevant published theory and good practice. The teaching evaluation should be a formal evaluation of one part or aspect of the student’s teaching. The brief reflective commentary will include an observer’s report and explore changes made as a result of learning through feedback and self-reflection. Teaching experiences must take place in at least two groups and one group must include health care professionals (either qualified or in training). There also must be a series of teaching and training to enable development and reflection of progress.
Competency log book (to be provided for each competency logging relevant experience and learning throughout the course, demonstrating two years (or part time equivalent) of supervised practice. Log books should clearly indicate the sub-unit of competency in accordance with the Qualification in Health Psychology (stage 2) candidate handbook 2015 and the Standards of Proficiency relevant for Health Psychologists outlined by the HCPC, 2015.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Compulsory work placement equivalent to 46 weeks full-time work for two years to be approved and supported by the Academic supervisor. All work placements must have a work place supervisor who are appropriately registered with a professional body (e.g. HCPC, NMC, GMC, SET, BABCP) and able to participate in training and placement monitoring throughout the course. Students will be required to have a work placement in place as a condition of acceptance on to the course. Work placements should be organised by students themselves and suitable to demonstrate relevant learning and practice for the course. In accordance with BPS guideline, at least two-thirds of practice must take place within the UK.

Course specific regulations

Fitness to Practise Procedures – Psychology
A. Policy 67
B. Definitions and Interpretations 68
C. General Provisions 69
D. Admissions 69
E. Continuing Fitness 71
F. Return to Studies 77

A. Policy
A.1 London Metropolitan University recognises that in conferring certain academic awards that lead to a professional qualification or registration, it has a duty to ensure the fitness of students for practise and registration. As a result students on courses leading to such awards have certain obligations and responsibilities that go beyond those of other students. In ensuring that it abides by its duties in these respects it may not be possible for the University on every occasion to respect students’ confidentiality.

A.2 Fitness to Practise Regulations are necessary:
A.2.1 To comply with the requirements of the regulators which accredit the courses;
A.2.2 To protect clients and service users with whom the student may come into contact during the training;
A.2.3 To show that students are fit to practise their future profession and have developed the requisite professional attitudes and behaviours;
A.2.4 To ensure that students do not invest the time and money in qualifying for a career which they are not suited for;

A.3 The aim of this document is to give effect to these principles and obligations, and to provide a procedural framework through which possible issues can be addressed.

A.4 These Regulations enable investigation of a number of areas to be undertaken via a single process:
A.4.1 Admissions (in Part ‎D);
A.4.2 Continuing Fitness (in part E); and
A.4.3 Return to Studies (in part F).

A.5 Reasonable adjustments will be made to this procedure so that a disabled complainant is not substantially disadvantaged by the procedure.

B. Definitions and Interpretations
B.1 The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) defines ‘fit to practise’ as practitioners having the skills, knowledge, character and health to do their job safely and effectively and in the context of these Procedures this is in relation to:
B.1.1 A student starting a particular Professional Course; or
B.1.2 A student continuing with her/his current Professional Course; or
B.1.3 A student’s return to her/his current Professional Course;
B.1.4 Where the student’s behaviour or health means they are in breach of, or cannot comply with, the code of conduct/ethics issued by the Regulator and/or the University;
B.1.5 Causes a serious or persistent concern about the possibility that they will:
B.1.5.1 In virtue of their behaviour or practise, put at risk clients, patients, the public, other students, staff or themselves;
B.1.5.2 Damage the trust in the relevant profession;
B.1.5.3 Fail to maintain high standards of personal conduct, honesty and integrity and in so doing fall outside of the legal and/or ethical boundaries of the profession;
B.1.5.4 Fail to act in the best interests, or respect the confidentiality, of clients, service users etc. that they may come into contact with;

B.2 Professional Course means a course of academic study that leads to professional qualification or registration.

B.3 Regulator means the professional body which accredits the course;

B.4 A reference in these regulations to a particular office-holder includes that officer-holder’s deputy or nominee.

B.5 Any period expressed as a period of days shall mean clear working days and shall exclude the days by which the period is calculated.

B.6 Applicant means any person who has applied or is considering applying to study on a course at the University or a person to whom an offer (whether conditional or unconditional) of a place to study at the University has been made, whether or not that offer has been accepted.

B.7 Any notice or other communication under this Procedure required to be in writing may be sent by email.

B.8 “Authorised Staff Member” means a member of academic staff who teaches on a professionally accredited course other than the course for which the student is registered.

B.9 A Friend means a person, who shall normally be a member of staff or student of the University, appointed by a student to assist him or her in the conduct of his or her case at a hearing.

Read full text in the Course Handbook

Modules required for interim awards

This course does not have modules

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

The course holds a position between both the scientist practitioner and reflective practitioner paradigms. Throughout the course, critical reflection is encouraged on these and other current discourses within contemporary health issues; we expect students to adopt a questioning stance to clinical practice that constantly looks to service user’s needs and expectations. Students develop reflective practice throughout their course of study through professional skills training workshops, supervision, daily logging and reflective assignments.

Other external links providing expertise and experience

QAA descriptors, Levels 7 and 8

Professional Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) accreditations & exemptions

The course is recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as providing the Stage 2 requirements for Chartered Psychologist status and is subject to approval by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a requirement for registration as a Registered Health Psychologist. Completion of the course enables you to apply for registration with these bodies.

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

Students would be expected to go into careers within the health service, charity sector or academic sector in a professional capacity as a Chartered Psychologist and Registered Health Psychologist. This course automatically enables students to achieve Chartered status with the British Psychological Society upon accreditation by the Health and Care Professions Council.

Career opportunities

Graduates usually progress to careers within the health service, charity, business or academic sector in a professional capacity as Chartered Psychologists.

Entry requirements

You will be required to have:

  • Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • a good first degree in psychology
  • completed an accredited Health Psychology MSc (60% average or above) or completed the Stage 1 qualification for Health Psychology with the BPS
  • organised an appropriate work placement that is equivalent to 46 weeks full-time work for two years, which will be approved and supported by your lead supervisor (work placements should be organised by students themselves and demonstrate relevant learning and practice for the course)
  • a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Please note that this course is not eligible for Tier 4 student sponsorship.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2013/14 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 01 Sep 2013 Last validation date 02 Sep 2013  
JACS codes C841 (Health Psychology): 100%
Route code HLTPSY

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 08 September start Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
TEMP0003 Thesis Core 360        

Stage 1 Level 08 January start Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
TEMP0003 Thesis Core 360        

Stage 2 Level 08 Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
TEMP0004 Thesis Core 360