COVID-19 update: This course will start online and continue on campus later. Read more

What will I learn?

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Health Psychology Practice is a four year (full time) postgraduate research and professional training qualification. The PhD has been developed in line with the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) ratified guidelines for postgraduate programmes for Health Psychology Practitioners. The PhD provides ‘Stage 2’ training in Health Psychology Practice, building on ‘Stage 1’ academic training in health psychology provided through Masters programmes in Health Psychology.

This is a new and exciting Programme, the first of its type in the Republic of Ireland. Trainees, through supervised practice in applied settings, develop core health psychology practice skills to work as Health Psychology Practitioners. Health Psychologists are employed in a number of settings, including hospitals, academic health research units, health services, primary care, government departments and university departments.

The programme combines a PhD thesis with training and supervised practice to develop five core Health Psychology competencies:

  • Generic Professional Competence
  • Health Psychology Interventions Competence
  • Consultancy Competence
  • Teaching and Training Competence
  • Research Competence

The PhD allows students to gain eligibility for Registered Membership of the PSI as a Registered Psychologist and become a full member of the PSI Division of Health Psychology.

Supervised practice

Supervised practice will allow students to gain direct experience of professional working and to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to practice as an independent health psychologist. During the course of the programmes students will:

  • Gain experience within at least two distinct settings: relevant settings shall include university or educational settings, health promotion organisations, community settings and health services.
  • Gain experience with a minimum of two different types of clients: relevant client groups shall include health service users and providers, health professionals, health professional students, multidisciplinary research groups and community groups.
  • Document a minimum of 140 hours client contact time over the duration of their training. Contact time should be spread across a number of client groups and settings.

Research interests:

  • Developing and evaluating behavioural health interventions.
  • Chronic disease (particularly coronary heart disease and diabetes): self-management and psychosocial aspects.
  • Sexual issues, sexual counselling and chronic illness.
  • Interventions to change health-related behaviours and the use of behaviour change techniques.
  • Understanding and managing health in the context of multiple illnesses.
  • Illness perceptions of people with chronic conditions.
  • Adherence to medication.

Which department am I in?

College of Arts Social Sciences and Celtic Studies

Study options

Full Time (4 years)

Tuition fees
€14,250.00 (US$ 16,481) per year

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Start date

10 January 2022


National University of Ireland, Galway

University Road,


Republic of Ireland

Entry requirements

For international students

A PSI accredited MSc in Health Psychology, or equivalent, is required for entry. Entrants will be expected to have no less than an upper second class honours undergraduate degree in psychology. Candidates should be proficient in the use of the English language.

Students are selected by a Course Committee comprising the course Director(s), prospective research supervisor(s) and Head of School of Psychology. An interview process forms part of the selection procedure.

English Language Requirements

IELTS: 6.5 overall; Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE): 176 overall; Cambridge C2 Advanced (CPE): 180 overall; TOEFL: 88; Pearson PTE: 61; Duolingo English Test: 110.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


About National University of Ireland

While situated in one of the smaller university cities globally, NUI Galway has a far-reaching reputation for excellent research and study programmes.

  • Four excellent colleges offering a wide selection of courses
  • Excellent reputation for teaching excellence and research
  • Exceptionally high graduate employment rates
  • Study in a city regularly voted one of the world’s friendliest