Standards for the accreditation of Masters & Doctoral programmes in health psychology

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1 The British Psychological Society Promoting excellence in psychology Standards for the accreditation of Masters & Doctoral programmes in health psychology October

2 Contact us If you have any questions about Accreditation through Partnership, or the process that applies to you please feel free to contact the Partnership and Accreditation Team: Tel: +44 (0) Our address is: Partnership and Accreditation Team The British Psychological Society St Andrews House 48 Princess Road East Leicester LE1 7DR If you have problems reading this handbook and would like it in a different format, please contact us with your specific requirements. Tel: +44 (0) ; Printed and published by the British Psychological Society. The British Psychological Society 2014 Incorporated by Royal Charter Registered Charity No

3 Contents 5 Introduction 5 Benefits of Society membership 9 What is accreditation? 10 Benefits of accreditation 11 Our standards: An introduction 15 Our standards for Masters programmes in health psychology 18 Programme standard 1: Learning, research and practice 18 A. Stage 1 training requirements 18 Context 18 Core skills 19 Curriculum 21 B. Teaching and learning 21 C. Assessment 22 Programme standard 2: Working ethically 23 Programme standard 3: Selection and entry 24 Programme standard 4: Society membership 25 Programme standard 5: Personal and professional development 26 Programme standard 6: Staffing 27 Programme standard 7: Leadership and co-ordination 28 Programme standard 8: Physical resources 29 Programme standard 9: Quality management 30 Appendix 1: HCPC Standards of Proficiency (profession-specific knowledge) 31 Appendix 2: Evidencing achievement of Stage 1 standards 33 Our standards for Doctoral programmes in health psychology 36 Programme standard 1: Learning, research and practice 36 A. Required competencies for Doctoral programmes in health psychology 61 B. Teaching and learning 61 C. Supervised practice 62 D. Assessment 63 Programme standard 2: Working ethically accreditation through partnership 3

4 64 Programme standard 3: Selection and entry 66 Programme standard 4: Society membership 67 Programme standard 5: Personal and professional development 68 Programme standard 6: Staffing 70 Programme standard 7: Leadership and co-ordination 71 Programme standard 8: Physical resources 72 Programme standard 9: Quality management 75 Additional information 76 Information for trainees 76 Establishing eligibility for the GBC 76 Studying abroad as part of an accredited programme 76 Accreditation of programmes offered outside of the UK 77 Governance 77 Complaints about accredited programmes 4

5 Introduction The British Psychological Society ( the Society ) is the learned and professional body, incorporated by Royal Charter, for psychologists in the United Kingdom. The Society has a total membership of approximately 48,000 and is a registered charity. Under its Royal Charter, the key objective of the Society is to promote the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of psychology pure and applied and especially to promote the efficiency and usefulness of members by setting up a high standard of professional education and knowledge. The Society has been involved in the accreditation of programmes of education and training in psychology since the early 1970 s. The Society currently accredits programmes at both undergraduate (and equivalent) and postgraduate levels. Undergraduate, conversion, and integrated Masters programmes are accredited against the requirements for the Society s Graduate Basis for Chartered membership (GBC), the curriculum requirements for which are derived from the Quality Assurance Agency s subject benchmark statement for psychology (which is due to be reviewed in 2015). Postgraduate programmes are accredited against the knowledge, practice and research requirements for Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) status in a range of domains of practice. A number of the postgraduate programmes that are accredited by the Society are also approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the statutory regulator of practitioner psychologists in the UK. Benefits of Society membership Our standards include an expectation that education providers offering accredited programmes provide their students and trainees with information on Society membership and its benefits. In view of our partnership approach, we are working to provide a toolkit for education providers and as part of this we encourage you to reproduce the following pages within your Student Handbooks or share them on your virtual learning environment. accreditation through partnership 5

6 The British Psychological Society Promoting excellence in psychology Your professional body The British Psychological Society is the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the United Kingdom. We promote excellence and ethical practice in the science, education and practical applications of psychology. As a postgraduate student on an accredited programme, Graduate membership of The British Psychological Society will broaden your appreciation and understanding of psychology, and open up a network of like-minded students, academics and professionals, not to mention future opportunities. Membership of the Society also reflects your aspiration to represent the highest possible professional standards. Completing an accredited programme gives you a route for progressing to Chartered Psychologist status, the gold standard within the discipline. Only Chartered members of the Society can use the designation CPsychol after their name and the Chartered Psychologist logo. Download the flyer from our website 6

7 Our membership has a powerful voice in raising the profile of psychology, developing standards and advancing the discipline. We champion the work of our members and the contribution psychology can make to society. We support our members by providing guidance, career development and networking opportunities. Our members matter to us and Graduate members have access to opportunities to develop their knowledge, skills and experience, which can offer a competitive advantage in the jobs market. Benefits include: MBPsS, your designation as a Graduate Member in recognition of your academic achievement and professional status our monthly flagship publication, The Psychologist, keeping you up-to-date with the very latest research, news and views our Member Networks: providing a rich web of personal and professional contacts that enable you to stay informed with, and contribute to, your areas of interest and expertise preferential rates on professional development opportunities, conferences and events, designed to inspire and guide you throughout your studies and career opportunities to influence the profession by contributing to Society Committees, working groups and consultations PsychSource, a single access point to our 11 journals and 32 other titles published by Wiley. This facility also includes full-text journal articles, journal abstracts, BPS Blackwell books and multimedia content. PsychSource is fully searchable and personalisable according to Member interests A wide range of guidelines, guidance documents and support in professional practice and ethical decision-making Opportunities to join specialist registers and promote your expertise. To hear what benefits of belonging to the Society our members enjoy most, watch our videos on More information is available at and our membership team is available at or +44 (0) accreditation through partnership 7

8 PsyPAG is a national organisation for all psychology postgraduates based at UK institutions. It is run on a voluntary basis by postgraduates for postgraduates. Committee PsyPAG is run by an elected committee, open to any postgraduate student. Elections are held at the PsyPAG Annual Conference. Membership PsyPAG has no official membership scheme; anyone registered as a psychology postgraduate student at a UK institution is automatically a member. This also includes Practitioners-in-Training (e.g. trainee clinical/educational/ occupational/sport psychologists). Conferences and Workshops PsyPAG runs an annual conference and supports several workshops throughout the year. Publication PsyPAG Quarterly is published four times a year and is delivered free of charge to all postgraduate psychology departments in the UK. It is also available electronically on our website. To contribute to the publication, contact the editorial team at Bursaries Bursaries are available to support attendance at workshops, events, international and domestic conferences, and the PsyPAG Annual conference. Awards PsyPAG runs several award schemes, including an MSc Researcher Award, Rising Research Award and an Outstanding Supervisor Award. Mailing list PsyPAG maintains a JISCmail list open to all psychology postgraduate students. This is a fantastic resource for support and advice regarding your research, statistical advice or postgraduate issues. You can sign up for free via our facebook.com/psypag Download the flyer from our website 8

9 What is accreditation? accreditation through partnership 9

10 What is accreditation? Accreditation through Partnership is the process by which the British Psychological Society works with education providers to ensure that quality standards in psychology education and training are met by all programmes on an ongoing basis. Our approach to accreditation is based on partnership rather than policing, and we emphasise working collaboratively with programme providers through open, constructive dialogue that allows space for exploration, development and quality enhancement. This document sets out our accreditation standards for masters and doctoral programmes in health psychology. If you are submitting a new programme for accreditation, or are preparing for an accreditation visit or review, you should read these standards in conjunction with the relevant process handbook. All handbooks can be downloaded from Benefits of accreditation Delivering a programme that meets the high quality standards required for accreditation is a significant commitment, and there are lots of reasons why Society accreditation is worth your investment of time and money: It is a highly regarded marker of quality that prospective students and employers understand and value. It enhances the marketability of your programmes in a competitive market place. It gives your graduates a route to Society membership. Belonging to the Society is an integral part of students development as psychologists, as it recognises their qualifications and reflects their aspiration to achieve the highest possible professional standards. It is a high quality benchmarking process that is defined by psychologists, and delivered and developed in partnership with psychologists. It is aimed at getting the best out of programmes, through promoting psychology as a science, facilitating quality enhancement and providing solution-focused support. It provides a direct opportunity for you and your students to influence the Society, its support for education providers and students, and its policies for the future. Together we have a powerful voice in raising the profile of psychology in the UK and internationally, developing standards and advancing the discipline. 10

11 Our standards: An introduction accreditation through partnership 11

12 Our standards: An introduction The Society publishes standards for the accreditation of undergraduate, conversion and integrated Masters programmes in psychology, and for postgraduate programmes of professional training. Our standards for undergraduate, conversion and integrated Masters programmes represent the requirements for Graduate membership of the Society and the Graduate Basis for Chartered membership (GBC). Our postgraduate standards span eight domains of practice, seven of which relate to pre-qualification training leading to Chartered membership of the Society, and full membership of one or more of the Society s Divisions (the Division of Clinical Psychology, the Division of Counselling Psychology, the Division of Educational and Child Psychology or the Scottish Division of Educational Psychology, the Division of Forensic Psychology, the Division of Health Psychology, the Division of Occupational Psychology and the Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology). These correspond to the seven protected titles regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council. We also accredit specialist post-qualification training programmes in Clinical Neuropsychology. In addition, we also publish standards for the accreditation of Psychological Well-being Practitioner training programmes. These programmes are typically offered at level 6 and/or level 7. In 2012, the Society s Partnership and Accreditation Committee (PAC) commenced a process of review in collaboration with its postgraduate Training Committees, Divisions, providers of accredited programmes and other relevant stakeholders. The purpose of the review was twofold: 1. To inform and influence a review of the Standards of Proficiency for practitioner psychologists being undertaken by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) which is due to be completed in 2014/15. The Standards of Proficiency represent the minimum threshold for safe and effective practice. It is important to note that Stage 1 training programmes fulfil the significant role of enabling graduates to fulfil those Standards of Proficiency that are deemed to represent the key concepts and bodies of knowledge that are relevant to the practice of health psychologists (see appendix 1). 2. To ensure that the Society s own standards reflect contemporary theory and practice, enabling accredited programmes and the Society s own qualifications to develop psychologists who will be fit for purpose for the future. As such, these reflect the optimal professional standards at both a theoretical/ academic level (Stage 1) and an applied / practice level (Stage 2), promoted by the Society through the award of Chartered psychologist status. In reviewing our standards for accreditation, the Partnership and Accreditation Committee was keen to create flexibility for programmes to develop distinctive identities, by making the most of particular strengths around research and practice shared by their staff team, or those that are reflected in the strategic priorities of their department or university. The standards in this document therefore seek to achieve: Greater continuity across Stage 1 and Stage 2 training; Clearer reflection of appropriate level descriptors (as defined by the QAA); Greater emphasis on the core skills that graduates of accredited programmes are expected to develop through their engagement with the discipline; and, for Stage 1 programmes, 12

13 An outcomes-focused set of requirements that avoid prescription and encourage a flexible approach to delivering the required academic knowledge base. The requirements for Stage 1 and Stage 2 training are brought together in the working model outlined below: Ethics Health settings Client groups & others Professional conduct Consultancy Generic professional competence Research research & research methods Stage 1 professional issues Stage 2 contexts & perspectives in health psychology remaining stage 1 curriculum areas (see document) Psychological interventions Teaching & training This document sets out our accreditation standards for masters and doctoral programmes in health psychology. The standards were approved by the Society s Membership Standards Board in May 2014 and July 2014 respectively, and came into operation on 1 October accreditation through partnership 13

14 14

15 Our standards for Masters programmes in health psychology accreditation through partnership 15

16 Our standards for Masters programmes in health psychology Our standards are organised around nine overarching areas, and have been derived following extensive consultation between the Society and education providers; these comprise our programme standards, and must be achieved by all accredited programmes. Each overarching standard is followed by a rationale for its inclusion, together with an outline of the factors that education providers might wish to consider in confirming their achievement of each standard. The information provided is not intended to prescribe a particular approach to meeting our standards; rather it is intended to reflect the likely areas of interest for visiting teams or reviewers when exploring achievement of the standards with education providers, students / trainees, employers, and other stakeholders. During partnership visits, the questions that visiting teams will ask will be designed specifically to give education providers every opportunity to confirm their achievement of the standards. Some of our nine overarching standards are complemented by a series of further standards that are of specific relevance to Masters programmes in health psychology. These represent the benchmark level of quality that the Society expects all accredited programmes of this kind to attain. However, we recognise that different programmes will aim to meet these standards in different ways and our overall approach is to encourage flexibility in the methods used in meeting the standards. Overall, our standards are designed to support education providers offering programmes of training that meet the underpinning academic knowledge requirements for full membership of the Division of Health Psychology. Completion of an accredited Masters programme in health psychology will provide a basis for entry to further professional training towards eligibility for Chartered membership of the Society (CPsychol), Full membership of the Division of Health Psychology, and professional practice as a health psychologist. Providers may also wish to put forward integrated Masters programmes that seek to combine the requirements for the Graduate Basis for Chartered membership of the Society (GBC) and for stage one postgraduate training in health psychology. Where this is the case, programmes will be evaluated against the two separate sets of standards they are seeking to meet (i.e. the standards contained in this handbook, and those applying to undergraduate programmes which are outlined separately). To that end, such integrated Masters programmes should incorporate no less than 180 level 7 credits, and will need to include both an empirical project in psychology at level 6, and an empirical study in health psychology at level 7. Our standards framework is organised as follows: 16

17 Psychology 1. Learning, research and practice 2. Working ethically Quality management 9. Periodic review Access to education & training 3. Selection and entry 4. Society membership Resourcing psychology 6. Staffing 7. Leadership and co-ordination 8. Physical resources Developing psychologists 5. Personal and professional development accreditation through partnership 17

18 Programme standard 1: Learning, research and practice The programme must reflect contemporary learning, research and practice in psychology The programme must be able to document its intended learning outcomes, the ways in which these reflect the relevant domain-specific requirements, the learning and teaching strategies that will be used to support students achievement of the learning outcomes, and the assessment strategies that will enable students to demonstrate those achievements. Students successful fulfilment of the programme s requirements must be marked by the conferment of a named HE award at the appropriate level. Education providers will normally demonstrate their achievement of this standard through production of a programme specification. Whilst programme specifications are a standard feature of quality monitoring for education providers, inclusion of this standard here offers an opportunity for the Society to identify innovative and creative practice in relation to teaching, learning and assessment. A Stage 1 training requirements Context The purpose of Stage 1 training is to build upon undergraduate knowledge and skills, to provide an in depth knowledge and understanding of the discipline informed by current scholarship and research, including a critical awareness of current issues and developments in health psychology. This knowledge and understanding, and the associated core skills, will support students in their progression to Stage 2 training, where they can begin to develop their practice under supervision; there should not be an expectation of applied practice at Stage 1. Core skills Accredited programmes are expected to support their students development of a range of core and transferrable skills that are central to health psychology practice and to a range of other areas of employment. The standards for the accreditation of Stage 1 programmes are outcomes based, and encourage the development of critical thinking skills and ways of working such that students engage with the discipline by: Critically evaluating the current knowledge, theory and evidence base relevant to the discipline (note: this may comprise both psychological theory and knowledge from other disciplines), and understand that this is an important first step for all work and activities; Identifying and developing skills and capabilities relevant to progression to health psychology practice; Using a range of techniques and research methods applicable to psychological enquiry; Applying relevant ethical, legal and professional practice frameworks (e.g. BPS, HCPC), and maintaining appropriate professional boundaries 1 ; Communicating effectively (verbally and non-verbally) with colleagues, research supervisors, and a wider audience; 1 Programmes should ensure that students are aware of the legal and statutory obligations and restrictions on health psychology practice in the UK context. 18

19 Critically reflecting on and synthesising all of the above to inform their developing professional identity as a trainee health psychologist; and Disseminating their work appropriately in a range of appropriate written (e.g. professional reports, journal papers, conference posters) and oral (e.g. presentations, one-to-one feedback) formats. It is expected that the development of the above core skills will be embedded throughout each of the following curriculum areas, which correspond to the headings outlined in relation to Stage 1 training (presented in the diagram on page 13). Programmes should use the grid in appendix 2 to evidence how they address the curriculum and skills development requirements outlined in this document. Development of skills in critical self-reflection should underpin Stage 1 training. This will provide preparation for and continuity with Stage 2 training and professional practice. Note: Ethical and professional practice frameworks are not specifically outlined separately in the curriculum requirements below as these are considered core skills; however programmes will find it useful to refer to work currently being undertaken by the Society s Ethics Committee to support the teaching and assessment of ethical thinking and decision-making (see Programme Standard 2). Curriculum Accredited programmes should ensure that students develop the above core skills across the curriculum areas outlined below. Programmes are encouraged to develop specific emphasis and focus on some areas in more depth than others, to reflect the areas of strength of the staff team delivering the programme, or to promote a distinctive identity for the programme as a whole. However, each area should be covered as a minimum as outlined below in relation to the knowledge and skills that students should be able to demonstrate on successful completion of their programme. Research and research methods Students should demonstrate the ability to use a range of techniques and research methods applicable to advanced scholarship in the discipline. Students should learn how to conduct qualitative and quantitative research of relevance to health psychology, and each student should conduct at least one empirical study, and a mini systematic review 2. Students should have the appropriate skills and capabilities to collect and analyse data relevant to health psychology. Contexts and perspectives in health psychology Students should demonstrate a critical understanding of historical and current theories / approaches in health psychology. This includes awareness of related disciplines, such as medical sociology, medical ethics, medicine, behavioural medicine, health policy, and / or health economics. Physiological and psychosomatic disease processes Building on a fundamental understanding of the physiology of health and illness, students should be able to appraise and evaluate evidence relating to the epidemiology of health and illness, including acute and long-term conditions 3, stress, and psychoneuroimmunology. 2 This should not be a full-scale publishable systematic review, but a piece of work that moves students beyond working with single papers and allows them to demonstrate their ability to synthesise the quality of the evidence base in a chosen area. 3 When selecting which long term conditions to address, programmes should consider current public health priorities and/or most prevalent diseases. accreditation through partnership 19

20 Client groups and other stakeholders Students should have the knowledge and skills to enable them to progress to working with a range of client groups across the lifespan. This should include: cross-cultural perspectives (e.g. those relating to ethnicity or religion); sex and gender differences; children and the role of the family in health and illness; and death, dying and bereavement. Students should also have the knowledge and skills relevant to working with other professionals, including: and understanding of theories of leadership, and the role of collaborative working in interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary teams. Health-related behaviour and cognitions Students should be able to critically evaluate theoretical models of health-related behaviour and cognitions. This should include: health enhancing and compromising behaviours; efficacy and control beliefs; attributions; health beliefs and attitudes; social and individual representations of health and illness; symptom and risk perception; and decision making by health psychologists, patients / clients, etc. Students should be aware of the ways that factors such as personality, health literacy and emotional intelligence may impact on the above. Interventions: Applications of health psychology Students should be able to compare and contrast a range of interventions applicable to health psychology settings and health and well-being outcomes (e.g. cognitive-behavioural approaches, motivational interviewing). Students should understand issues relevant to the design and evaluation of a range of interventions. This should involve knowledge of: health needs assessment; the process of formulation, based on assessment, which informs choice of intervention; management of acute and long-term conditions; behavioural change techniques; and health education and promotion. Healthcare and professional settings Students should have the knowledge and skills to enable them to progress to working within a range of settings and contexts relevant to health psychology. This should include appropriate use of communication and interviewing skills such as development of rapport and trust, questioning, reinforcement, reflection of content and feeling, and non-verbal communication. Students should also have a critical understanding of the impact of hospitalisation on adults and children; preparation for stressful medical procedures; adherence; and issues related to patient satisfaction. Measurement issues Students should demonstrate a critical understanding of psychometric issues relating to the development of outcome measures for acute and long-term conditions, stress and coping, health-related quality of life, and other psychological outcome measures. Students should have exposure to the practical administration of some psychometric tests, and also an understanding of scale development. Professional issues Students should recognise the need to take responsibility for their own professional development (e.g. through PDP), and should therefore understand the principles and utility of critical selfreflection for their development as trainee health psychologists. Students should be aware of the legal and statutory obligations and restrictions on health psychology practice in the UK context. Students should be introduced to the implementation of policy, strategy and legislation in health contexts (including European and international perspectives on health psychology). 20

21 B Teaching and learning 1. Programmes must have a statement of orientation and values that underlie their programme specification. In addition to articulating learning outcomes and an assessment strategy that reflect the competencies outlined in this handbook, programmes must be able to show how their orientation and values inform their teaching and learning strategy. 2. Students are entitled to expect a learning experience which meets their needs, and which is underpinned by research-led teaching, and a supportive and enabling learning environment. 3. Accredited programmes should be conducted within a demonstrable research culture, evidenced by the active current publication record of members of the programme team and other staff allied to the delivery of the programme. C Assessment 1. Assessment rules, regulations and criteria should be published in a full and accessible form and made freely available to students, staff and external examiners. 2. Assessment practices should be fair, valid, reliable and appropriate to the level of award being offered. Assessment should be undertaken only by appropriately qualified staff, who have been adequately trained and briefed, and given regular opportunities to update and enhance their expertise as assessors. 3. Education providers should have in place policies and procedures to deal thoroughly, fairly and expeditiously with problems which arise in the programme of assessment of students. These should include the grounds for student appeals against assessment outcomes, and the process that students should follow if they wish to pursue an appeal. accreditation through partnership 21

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