Mental Health Science
Postgraduate Diploma in Mental Health Science
This postgraduate qualification is designed for those with an academic or professional interest in mental health science and the biological and psychological underpinnings of this discipline. It equips students with the necessary skills to critically evaluate the current literature, discuss contemporary issues and communicate a critical understanding of key topics in mental health science. Those who qualify from this programme, will have developed the skills and knowledge that are relevant for pursuing a research career, for employment, and to inform professional practice.
Key features of the course
• Develops knowledge and understanding of key topics in mental health science (stress, anxiety, depression, psychosis and dementia)
• Explores current issues and research at the forefront of mental health science
• Develops skills that are essential for a critical understanding of mental health science and relevant to professional practice.
To gain this qualification, you need 120 credits as follows:
60 credits from:
• Introduction to mental health science (S826) 60
Next start: 28 Jan 2023
60 credits from:
• Core topics in mental health science: psychosis and dementia (SD816) 60
Next start: 28 Jan 2023
Or, the discontinued module SD815
You should note that the University's unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 40 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.
Please note that registration on this qualification is dependent on confirmation of successfully meeting entry requirements. Your place will only be confirmed once entry checking is complete. If you have any questions regarding your suitability for study, please contact the MSc Admissions Panel.
Entry to this qualification will typically require a minimum of an honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in science or a science-related subject (including psychological sciences, health science, mental health nursing or medicine).
If you have other study or experience that you believe equips you to take this qualification you can still apply, but must supply evidence of that study or experience. Your case will be referred to our MSc Admissions Panel. Depending on your previous qualification or experience, some background study may be necessary prior to registering for this qualification or its constituent modules. For further advice, please contact the MSc Admissions Panel.
Please note that this qualification is in two stages. Introduction to mental health science (S826) (Stage 1) should be studied before Core topics in mental health science: psychosis and dementia (SD816) (Stage 2).
All teaching is in English and your proficiency in the English language should be adequate for study at postgraduate level. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend that you have achieved an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least 7. You can assess your English language skills in relation to your proposed studies by visiting the IELTS website.
17 months - 4 years.
How long it takes
You can complete this qualification within 18 months, and up to a maximum of four years of starting the first module.
Post Course Info
This qualification is directly relevant to research and employment in the fields of medical and psychological sciences (neuroscience, psychology, health sciences). It will develop the critical skills and knowledge that are relevant to employment within the health sector, life sciences, medical and related fields, and to inform and strengthen professional practice.
The programme is designed for those seeking to expand their knowledge and understanding of mental health from an interdisciplinary 'biopsychosocial' (neuroscience, psychology and health science) perspective. It is suitable for those who wish to move on to doctoral training, as well as those who are working in clinical roles who wish to further inform and strengthen their professional practice.
This qualification is suitable:
• for those with a personal or professional interest in mental health science, who wish to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of mental health conditions, and cultivate key practical and professional skills required for employment and to strengthen professional practice
• for those who are working in or planning to work in this field (practitioners or policy makers)
• for those seeking employment as graduate research workers
• for those wishing to pursue research careers (and careers in academia) and progress to PhD study (e.g. doctoral research in neuroscience, psychology, health sciences and fields allied to medicine)
• as a stepping stone to a career in clinical psychology, or pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology
• as professional development or for clinical roles in the NHS or other healthcare settings (including mental health nursing, behavioural therapy, psychological counselling etc.) that require specific expertise in this field (focusing on mood and affective disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease and the dementias)
• for graduates who are established in their field of work, and use the qualification as evidence of professional development (e.g. for promotion to more senior positions, or who may wish to take their career in a more specialist direction).
• for clinicians (including GPs) who wish to specialise further in this area (Mental Health) as part of their continuing professional development
• for others who may wish to take this course and move on to a leadership role or more senior positions in healthcare settings or policy-related roles in local or national organisations, or to move into the private sector (scientific publishing, education, teaching and advocacy, human resources, occupational health, management, consultancy or roles in pharmaceutical/life sciences industries).
Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.