Module code: PSYM151

Module Overview

his module provides students with an understanding of core theories and concepts in health psychology, and the skills and methods used to translate, and reflect on the translation of, health psychology into real-world contemporary health behaviour contexts. The module thus covers transferrable skills useful for a career in health psychology research and practice. Students will also gain an awareness of professional issues in behavioural health psychology. We will encourage students to think reflexively on how to apply professional and transferrable skills in the context of different issues that impact contemporary health psychology. The module has been designed in accordance with requirements (stage 1) of the British Psychological Society's Division of Health Psychology accreditation criteria. This module addresses the following curriculum areas of a British Psychological Society accredited degree: professional issues, core skills, contexts and perspectives in health psychology, health-related behaviors and cognitions, interventions and healthcare and professional settings. This module will help students to learn to think critically and reflexively about the application of health psychology theories, concepts, methods and skills within different contemporary health behaviour domains.

Module provider


Module Leader

GARDNER Benjamin (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 14

Independent Learning Hours: 98

Seminar Hours: 8

Guided Learning: 20

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Content includes:
- The role of health psychology theory, concepts, methods and practice in promoting health behaviour and improving health outcomes
- The role of health psychologists in health promotion and in wider society
- Theoretical approaches to understanding and changing health-related behaviours
- Developing transferable skills required to apply health psychology theories, methods and concepts to real-world health-related problems, and reflect on such application
- Systematically searching, synthesising, and reflecting on past intervention research designed to promote health behaviour

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Intervention presentation 40
Coursework Systematic review 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of health psychology theory and methods, and to demonstrate reflective, critical, and other transferrable skills. There are two summative assessments for this module:

  • An individual presentation (coursework) in which students describe how they would apply health psychology theory, concepts and methods to a real-world health context, and reflect critically on this application (addresses Learning Outcomes 1-3)

  • A systematic review (coursework) in which students demonstrate their ability to systematically identify and synthesise previous research undertaken in a real-world health context (addresses Learning Outcomes 1-4)

Formative assessment and feedback

There is one formative assessment for the module: An oral presentation in which students provide a preliminary overview of how they would apply health psychology theory, concepts and methods to areal-world health context (addresses Learning Outcomes 1-3). Informal formative feedback is provided via verbal feedback from module staff, and fellow students (i.e.,peer review), on students' attempts to apply core theories, concepts and methods to a real-world health context.

Module aims

  • Equip students with an awareness of core theories, concepts and methods for understanding and changing health-related behaviours
  • Provide students with a critical understanding of how researchers have attempted to influence a broad range of health-related behaviours
  • Develop students' practical, research and transferable skills, and experience of deploying these skills, to understand and change health-related behaviour
  • Support students to reflect on and critically engage with issues impacting contemporary health psychology and behaviour change practice and research
  • Equip students with the skills to design, implement, evaluate, and critically reflect on a behaviour change intervention to address a contemporary health issue

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Develop key transferable skills and core knowledge for promoting health behaviour change from a health psychology perspective CKPT
002 Develop awareness of contemporary health and behaviour change issues facing health psychologists CKPT
003 Have an awareness of the role of health psychology theories, concepts and methods for understanding and changing health behaviour CKPT
004 Be able to review and reflect on the quality of research and practice in contemporary health psychology CKPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Develop knowledge of core theories, concepts and methods in health psychology

  • Develop skills in synthesising and applying theories, concepts and methods to real-world health contexts

  • Develop reflective and critical analysis skills

  • Develop communication skills through classroom-based presentations and group discussions

  • Encourage students to consider the skills useful for becoming a health psychologist

  • Make students aware of different issues impacting contemporary health psychology

  • Develop students' ability to critically evaluate research within contemporary health psychology

Seminars and workshops are the main source of content delivery.

Seminars will involve in-class discussions, presentations and other learning exercises.

Workshops will include guidance on undertaking systematic reviews, and problem-based learning activities, comprising group discussions to develop and critically evaluate interventions to address real-world health behaviour problems.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSYM151

Other information

The School of Psychology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience.

This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability (E)

This module supports students employability skills in that it trains them in key practical skills, including the application of and critical reflection on the application of health psychology theories, concepts, and strategies to a variety of real-world health and behaviour change domains. Domains of study include preventive (e.g., hand-washing), protective (e.g., medication adherence), and health promoting (e.g., physical activity) behaviours, all of which are important skills for trainee Health Psychologists. The assessment requires the student to design a health behaviour change intervention for administration to a student-selected non-specialist population, and critically reflect on the design, feasibility and potential effectiveness of this intervention. This requires the accumulation, synthesis and application of knowledge of behavioural theory, and of one or more health behaviour domain. The student must not only be knowledgeable about their chosen area of application, but also communicate information to a lay audience and critically evaluate their work, all of which are key transferrable skills highly valued by employers.

Digital capabilities (D)

Students must engage with multiple digital skills during the course, including (but not restricted to) use of: the University of Surrey Virtual Learning Environment (SurreyLearn) to access the course materials and key content; online search engines to identify appropriate sources for their assignments; electronic bibliographic databases to store these sources; and selection and use of software for appropriate communication and presentation of ideas to non-specialist audiences (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, Prezi).

Global and cultural capabilities (G)

This module focuses on a range of contemporary health and health behaviour change challenges, including those that people the world over and within many different cultures experience and must manage, and so students cover many global challenges. Students will learn about a range of different theoretical and practical approaches designed to address many of the health-related issues currently facing global citizens. Students are encouraged to think about the cultural contexts in which the health-promotion interventions that they design will be implemented. ¿ Sustainability (S)¿ The module covers a range of contemporary issues in health psychology practice, including the promotion and protection of health, which maps directly on to multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals (Good Health and Wellbeing, Reduced Inequalities).

Resourcefulness and resilience (R)

This module provides several opportunities to develop resourcefulness and resilience, and assessments play an important role in this pillar. Students must be resourceful to undertake their two assessments. They must select, albeit with guidance, contemporary health challenges to research and to tackle via, for the systematic review, a structured synthesis and critical analysis of existing research and, for the seen exam, the development of a behaviour change intervention for administration to a lay population. Students must also critically reflect on their intervention. Existing behaviour change initiatives are discussed and critiqued, and personalized, formative feedback provided on the student¿s cumulative intervention review and development work throughout the teaching sessions. Together, these activities are designed to instill confidence and will enable the student to reflect on a positive outcome which will build resilience.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Health Psychology MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Digital Health Transformation MSc 1 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 50% to pass the module
Behaviour Change MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.