The programme provides an opportunity for students to enhance their skills and knowledge in areas of applied psychology related to mental health practice and research. It trains and equips students wishing to:
Enter further professional training in Clinical, Counselling, Educational or Forensic Psychology;
Become more employable for positions in the public and private sector (such as Assistant and Associate Psychologist posts, and Research Assistant/Analyst posts);
Pursue PhD research in the area of mental health.
In addition, the course has gained full AFT accreditation for Foundation Level training in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice. This can be taken as one of the routes within the MSc programme.
The MSc Applied Psychology programme was shortlisted for the 2017/18 gradireland Postgraduate Course of the Year in the 'Health Sciences' category.
*Please note: This MSc programme is the same MSc Applied Psychology programme that has run on the Magee campus of the University - it has moved to the Coleraine campus and will run there from September 2018 onwards.
The comprehensive syllabus of this MSc programme provides an opportunity for students to enhance their skills and competencies in areas required by all professional psychologists. This includes an exploration of the professional issues encountered in practice, the advanced research methods employed by scientist practitioners, and the techniques and theory associated with psychological assessment, formulation and intervention. The course also provides an in-depth consideration of psychological theory and research concerned with the aetiology, assessment and treatment of psychological problems across the lifespan. Students are provided with a comprehensive knowledge of some of the major psychological therapies, (namely Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Family Therapy and Systemic Practice), and gain practical experience in their use - through live role play and video analysis in the School's skills labs, and experiential group work within lectures.
On certain training routes within the programme, students will have the opportunity to put these skills into practice within a clinical placement. In addition, students undertake a Masters level research project, taking the study from inception and ethics approval, through to data collection, analysis, and writing up for publication. As the course is taught by both experienced researchers and practising clinicians, there is also excellent opportunity to enhance knowledge and skills that will be invaluable for applications and CVs, as well gaining experience in interview techniques for further professional training and jobs in the field. Finally, the MSc presents a further placement opportunity for students who have completed the course, in the form of a 15-credit standalone placement module ('Clinical Placement in Applied Psychology'). A selection of clinical placements have been secured in Psychology Services in the local Western Health and Social Care Trust, in specialisms including Adult Mental Health, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Paediatric Psychology, Older Adults, Personality Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder Services. Students who enrol on this post-MSc module will be working as the equivalent of Assistant Psychologists on a voluntary basis in these services, providing valuable work experience to draw upon when applying for posts or further training in professional applied psychology.
Teaching and learning assessment
The modules on the programme are delivered through a combination of lectures, workshops, practical skills training, and student-led seminars. There is a strong emphasis on experiential learning and skills analysis. Assessment methods vary across the modules, dependent on their focus - students will undertake a selection of written assignments (essays, reflective commentaries, research reports) and assessed role-plays of clinical skills, as well as a smaller number of written examinations. All students will complete the MSc Research Project over the duration of their time on the programme.
Work placement / study abroad
The programme has a number of opportunities to connect clinical placement experiences with studies on campus. The BPS-accredited Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner Training (which composes part of one of the course routes), includes a 9-month clinical placement in low-intensity psychological therapies services, arranged by the course team. The AFT-accredited Foundation Level Training in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (which composes part of another course route), includes a module that explores and assesses students' clinical experiences in this area of practice - placement for this module is arranged by students themselves. Finally, the MSc presents a further placement opportunity for students who have completed the course, in the form of a 15-credit standalone placement module ('Clinical Placement in Applied Psychology'). A selection of clinical placements have been secured in Psychology Services in the Western Health and Social Care Trust, in specialisms including Adult Mental Health, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Paediatric Psychology, Older Adults, Personality Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder Services. This post-MSc module is only open to those students who have completed the MSc at Ulster, and students who enrol on this module will be working as the equivalent of Assistant Psychologists on a voluntary basis in these services (length of placements are typically between 6 months and one year).
British Psychological Society (BPS)
Accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) against the requirements for qualification as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner.