Study Applied Psychology (Mental Health and Psychological Therapies) at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.
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, Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner 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, and full BPS accreditation for Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner training. These can be taken as routes within the MSc programme.
This course is undergoing academic revalidation during 2016/17, and course content/modules are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, please contact theCourse Director.
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 as 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.
Structure and 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.
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), 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. 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.