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Psychology - Applied - Mental Health & Psychological Therapies

This course provides an in-depth consideration of psychological theory and research concerned with the aetiology, assessment and treatment of psychological problems across the lifespan.

You will be provided with a working knowledge of some of the major psychological therapies, (namely Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Family Therapy and Systemic Practice), and gain some practical experience in their use, as well as have the opportunity to apply for clinical placement after the course. In addition, you will have the opporunity to undertake a Masters level research project.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

Applicants must hold at least a 2:1 degree in Psychology, which confers eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Status with the British Psychological Society (BPS) or the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI).

Those with a 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.

All applicants, regardless of qualifications, are advised to use the space provided in the personal statement/additional information section of the online application process, to detail any experience that may be relevant to studying an MSc in Applied Psychology.

For those students interested in undertaking Route 1 on the programme (Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner), you will be selected through an interview process - this interview specifically determines entry to Route 1, and does not affect the offer of a place on the MSc.

For the more clinical-based optional module of 'Family Therapy and Systemic Practice 2', students will be required to be working in a clinical setting, either voluntary or paid, where having access to clients (under supervision) will be an essential criteria. Students must arrange this for themselves.

Other Qualifications

Only those with a primary degree in Psychology are eligible to apply. However, if you have a degree in another discipline, and feel strongly about making a career change into Psychology, you can apply to the British Psychological Society to undertake a Graduate Conversion Course in Psychology, which then gives you eligibility for Chartered Status in the future. If you have successfully completed the conversion course, your application for entry to this programme will then be considered.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

Those who have already undertaken professional postgraduate training in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice or CBT may be exempt from undertaking the modules related to these therapeutic methods.

Those who have attained a PhD may be exempt from the Advanced Research Methods module. Applicants in either of the above situations can enquire about Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) at the time of applying.

Duration

Attendance

One year full-time

Mode of Attendance Depending on the route taken, there will be a slight variation in the days that students will be on campus or on placement:

PWP students will attend on Wednesdays and Thursdays in Semester 1, with an additional two days per week in their placement context dedicated to placement-related activities; and then Wednesdays and Thursdays in Semester 2, as well as two additional days per week in their placement context.

Students on the main course route ('Mental Health and Psychological Therapies') will attend on Wednesdays and Thursdays in Semester 1, and Wednesdays and Thursdays in Semester 2.

Students on the 'Mental Health with Family Therapy and Systemic Practice' route will attend on Wednesdays and Thursdays in Semester 1, and Mondays and Wednesdays in Semester 2, with an additional day per week in their placement setting in Semester 2.

Skills Block: All students will attend an initial skills block at the start of the programme – students on all routes will attend for 4 days of this block; PWP students also attend on the fifth day. Classes will then commence the following week, on the days outlined above.

Start time and finish time on taught days:

Each taught day will commence at 9:15am and run until 5:00pm. This applies to the days during the skills block and the days throughout each semester.

Start time and finish time on placement days:

If you are undertaking a placement of any kind, then these days should be treated as full days in a professional work context.

Please note that, while unlikely, these details are subject to change.

Duration2 years part-time

Mode of Attendance Depending on the route taken, there will be a slight variation in the days that students will be on campus or on placement:

Students on the main course route ('Mental Health and Psychological Therapies') will attend on Wednesdays throughout Year 1 and Thursdays in Year 2. Note: depending on the modules a student may want to undertake in Semester 2 of Year 2, they may attend on Wednesday mornings and Thursday mornings for that semester (although this is optional).

Students on the 'Mental Health with Family Therapy and Systemic Practice' route will attend on Wednesdays throughout Year 1. In Year 2, they will attend on Thursdays (Semester 1) and Mondays (Semester 2). Students on this route will also be required to spend an additional day per week on placement during Semester 2 of Year 2.

Skills Block: All students will attend an initial skills block in the first week of the programme, lasting 4 days. Classes will then commence the following week, on the days outlined above.

Start time and finish time on taught days:

Each taught day will commence at 9:15am and run until 5:00pm. This applies to the days during the skills block and the days throughout each semester.

Start time and finish time on placement days:

If you are undertaking a placement of any kind, then these days

Careers or further progression

Graduates are successful in acquiring assistant psychologist positions, which with experience, allows them to apply for associate psychologist positions. Others are successful in gaining entry onto professional doctorate programmes in clinical, counselling and educational psychology. Graduates also secure posts in research and PhD scholarships in psychology across the UK and Ireland.

Further enquiries

Contact
Admissions
T: +44 (0)28 7012 3210
E: admissionsce@ulster.ac.uk

Dr Donal McAteer
T: +44 (0)28 7167 5427
E: dh.mcateer@ulster.ac.uk

Subjects taught

Structure & content

To complete the Masters programme, students are required to successfully complete 180 university credits. Programme Routes: There are three different 'routes' that students can take during their time on the programme, depending on their interest or the experience they would like to gain from their training. These routes have been designed because feedback from students suggests that some people like to maintain a broad range of skills and experience, whereas others prefer to focus on a particular area of practice. The route students choose may depend on the kind of work or further training that they want to pursue beyond the MSc course itself (note that all 3 routes include the carrying out of an MSc Research Project):

The 'Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner' route – This route incorporates training as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP), which is fully accredited by the British Psychological Society. PWPs work in primary care mental health services, delivering low intensity psychological interventions (with a CBT focus) for people experiencing mild to moderate emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. This is a well-established role in mental health services in England, and services in Northern Ireland are developing to include a focus on this way of working. Students taking this route will spend time on clinical placement during the course, arranged by the course team (more on this below).

The main course route, entitled 'Mental Health and Psychological Therapies' – This route offers a breadth of experience in theory and skills training, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Family Therapy & Systemic Practice skills modules, Advanced Research Methods, and a choice amongst key Mental Health and Professional Issues modules.

The 'Mental Health with Family Therapy and Systemic Practice' route – this incorporates elements of the main course route (e.g. CBT, Mental Health modules, research methods), as well as Foundation Level training in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (fully accredited by the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice). The training focuses on approaches implemented when supporting families, but also on how these approaches and concepts can be applied to working with individuals. Students on this route must have secured their own work in a therapeutic setting (to enable them to practice systemic therapy skills), including supervision by an accredited therapist.

Route Availability

Full-time students will be able to enrol on any of the three routes on the course (pending any selection procedures). Part-time students will be able to enrol on either the main course route or the 'Mental Health with Family Therapy and Systemic Practice' route – unfortunately, part-time students cannot enrol on the PWP route, due to the structure of the training.

Route 1: There are a limited number of places on the PWP route, because of the limited number of clinical placements available. Therefore, the course team will be holding interviews for those interested in undertaking this route through the course. Please note:Due to the placement attached to the PWP training, and the supervision provided, there is an increased fee for the modules (worth 75 credits) associated with this training (other modules on the MSc course are charged at the standard rate). Students expressing an interest in this route will be informed of the additional fee (which will depend on university fee levels set for the year).

Route 2: The main course route is open to all applicants.

Route 3: Students interested in undertaking the 'Mental Health with Family Therapy and Systemic Practice' route: Note that those students taking route 2 or 3 will all take the first Family Therapy module (this takes place in Semester 1). Decisions on whether to progress onto taking the second Family Therapy module in Semester 2 can be made during Semester 1 of the programme. Those students who express an interest during Semester 1, and who meet the entry criteria for the second module (i.e. working in a therapeutic setting with appropriate supervision; passing the first Family Therapy module), will be able to continue on the Family Therapy course route and complete the AFT-accredited Foundation Level training (as well as taking the other MSc course modules). Spaces are limited for the second module, so a selection process may take place if there is a high demand; in addition, a minimum number of students must be enrolled on the module for it to proceed.

Post-MSc Clinical Placement:Students interested in undertaking the 'Clinical Placement in Applied Psychology' (15-credit standalone placement module that takes place after the course): This module is open to students once they have completed the MSc programme at Ulster, and students enrolled on the programme will be given the opportunity to apply for this as they approach the end of their taught modules in Semester 2. Spaces on this module are limited by the number of placements available, and students will be interviewed before undertaking the module.

Application date

Application is through the University's online application system.

Enrolment and start dates

Year of entry: 2020/21

Postgraduate Information Session 26 March 2020
Register at: ulster.ac.uk/pg-information-events

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