Keep up with all the latest thoughts and opinions.

We make it happen.

Why Study a BPS Accredited Health Psychology Masters?

Friday, October 8th, 2021

Health Psychology student talking with peers - header image for BPS accreditation blogpost

What is BPS accreditation and why is it important?

What are the actual benefits of an online BPS accredited Health Psychology course?

If you’re considering a Masters in Health Psychology and want to know whether to look for an accredited programme or not, we’ve got the answers.

What is the BPS and what is a BPS Accredited course?

The British Psychological Society is the professional body, incorporated by Royal Charter, that represents psychologists and psychology in the UK. They are the voice of the profession, strive to improve the discipline, and ensure standards of practice and knowledge.

In promoting excellence in psychology, the BPS has accredited training and educational programmes since the 1970s. The aim is to set a standard of learning and proficiency for practising psychologists in the country.

Is BPS accreditation important?

Accreditation is a rigorous process, which includes the institution submitting a thorough application and the BPS visiting the university. Standards must be met in a series of critical areas, including programme content, ethical and legal conformity, and admissions.

If your course isn’t accredited by the BPS, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a good educational programme. But it’s fair to say that courses that are BPS accredited have a reliable seal of approval that non-accredited programmes can’t necessarily claim.

What are the benefits of studying a BPS accredited masters?

Do you need to be concerned whether your prospective course is accredited? Perhaps a more pertinent question is: what real advantages will BPS accreditation give you on such a programme?

Here are some of the main reasons Ulster’s Health Psychology MSc became accredited and how it helps our students.

Industry recognition

For students on a Health Psychology MSc there are tangible benefits beyond just the industry approval of being on a BPS accredited course.

However, being recognised by the industry body for training to their standards is significant. It tells future employers, patients, and other practitioners that you have been educated to an approved set of criteria. You’ll become a trusted professional in the eyes of those you’ll work with and for.

Up-to-date course framework and content

As an accredited course, the BPS ensures that the design and content of our Health Psychology MSc follows their specifications. This makes all learning outcomes relevant and up to date for what’s going on across the industry to help your career.

Attaining BPS accreditation requires visits to the institution and ongoing monitoring of its standards. This gives you peace of mind that your department is keeping on top of their subject, in terms of teaching and student satisfaction.

Registered Training

The British Psychological Society also sets the standards for becoming a Registered Health Psychologist. On our accredited Health Psychology MSc, the BPS framework means that the programme counts as Stage 1 Training.

Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership

If you enrol on a BPS accredited undergraduate or conversion course, you’ll be eligible for GBC membership. This is often a requirement to go on to further, more specialised psychological study on a BPS accredited MSc. This also gives you access to BPS Student Membership perks. From £26 you can access events, online communities, discounts, and subscriptions.


A course that’s accredited will have better access to industry networks, community groups and news. As a graduate, it helps to have as many connections and opportunities as possible to secure a good job as a Health Psychologist, applied psychologist, public health advisor or whatever your specialism.

In general, joining a wider workforce of psychologists with a shared understanding of industry concerns and interests can only make you a better practitioner.

You can gain a perfectly good understanding of psychology without a BPS accreditation, but you’ll likely miss out on opportunities and relevant industry information if your course isn’t accredited. Universities make the effort to secure accreditation to stay competitive and to appeal to students, so it’s also a sign that your prospective institution cares about the quality of its teaching.

So perhaps it might be more sensible to ask: why wouldn’t you look for a BPS accredited Health Psychology course?

Benefits of Ulster’s BPS accredited Health Psychology MSc

Ulster University’s School of Psychology is proud to have earned BPS accreditation in its Health Psychology MSc distance learning programme. It affirms the quality of our teaching to have our qualification approved by the industry body.

In addition, several Ulster Faculty members are actively involved with the BPS itself, which is another way of ensuring we consistently hit the Society’s benchmarks.

Lecturer on the programme, Dr Lynn Dunwoody has held several roles with the BPS. She currently chairs the Partnership and Accreditation Committee – so she is very well-versed in the procedures and requirements in gaining BPS accreditation.

Dr Liz Simpson, course director of our Health Psychology MSc, is a member of the Northern Ireland branch of the BPS. She also sits on the Partnership and Accreditation Committee.

Other members of staff are Registered Health Psychologists or Chartered Psychologists themselves. The department is highly research-active and made up largely of practising scientists as well as acclaimed academics.

That is one other significant advantage of a masters course getting a BPS accreditation. Not only is it more appealing for students, but it gives lecturers and course tutors greater motivation to teach at their institution.

Attracting the best talent in Health Psychology keeps Ulster’s online MSc in healthy form. The University is ranked 44th best in the UK and rising, so we’re keen to maintain our standards and deliver the best possible teaching to our students. BPS accreditation is a part of that overall strategy.

Find out more about our flexible, distance learning Health Psychology MSc

Related blogs

Young health psychology masters student smiling while studying on laptop - What is GBC guide

What is GBC and how can you apply for it?

Friday, 23rd June, 2023

Blog Post Image

Mastering Health Psychology: 6 essential skills for Health Psychologists

Thursday, 6th April, 2023