UCC Postgraduate courses

Psychology - Applied Psychology (Mental Health)

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Course Fact File
Duration1 Year Full-time
Teaching ModeFull-time
NFQ LevelLevel 9
Closing Date11 March 2024
Non-EU Closing Date11 March 2024
Start Date9 September 2024

Course Outline

The MA in Applied Psychology (Mental Health) gives you an advanced understanding of the discipline of psychology in mental health settings. The course is designed to help you to appreciate both the potential and values of applied psychology, to think critically about psychological theory and practice, and to give you the opportunity to explore your own particular interests. It offers you an opportunity to develop a clear understanding of the practice of a professional psychologist, to advance understanding of mental health services, and to connect theory to practice under the supervision of either a clinical or counselling psychologist.

Applied psychologists use research and theory to analyse real-world situations, develop appropriate interventions, and evaluate outcomes. The course will enable you to pursue postgraduate professional training opportunities and to pursue a variety of career paths where psychological expertise in mental health is needed.

The MA in Applied Psychology (Mental Health) is a one-year full-time programme and is structured in two parts.

Modules (90 credits)

Part I (60 credits)

  • AP3119 Psychological Therapies (5 credits)
  • AP6016 Research Methods and Data Analysis (10 credits)
  • AP6023 Psychological Assessment (5 credits)
  • AP6128 Introduction to Psychotherapeutic Skills (5 credits)
  • AP6174 Clinical presentations (Child, Adolescent, Adult, and ID (10 credits)
  • AP6180 Mental Health and Disability Placement* (20 credits)
  • LW6616 Critical Perspectives on Mental Health Law (5 credits)

Part II

  • AP6137 Dissertation in Applied Psychology (30 credits)

*Placements: While sufficient placements will be secured for all students on the programme, if a student chooses not to accept the placement offered by the School of Applied Psychology, it will then become their responsibility to secure an alternative placement for themselves that meets with the School of Applied Psychology placement criteria for MA in Applied Psychology (Mental Health). Placements may be located throughout the Republic of Ireland. 

All placements will be supervised in a work setting relevant to the programme of study. Placements will run two days a week (usually Thursdays and Fridays) for at least six months (340 hours minimum).

Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Psychology (Mental Health) (NFQ Level 9, Major Award)

Students who have completed and passed modules to the value of at least 60 credits in Part I and who fail or do not wish to proceed to Part II may opt to exit the programme and be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Psychology (Mental Health).

Transfer to MA (Applied Psychology)

Students who pass the taught modules Part I but fail the Placement (and repeat placement if taken) or are deemed unsuitable to undertake a placement may be permitted to transfer to the MA (Applied Psychology) to complete the remaining 20 credits of taught modules and 30 credit dissertation on the MA (Applied Psychology) or complete 20 credits of taught modules and exit with a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Psychology.

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue where you can search for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year to year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

This is a one-year full-time course. Lectures take place on Mondays to Wednesdays with placements being held usually on Thursdays and Fridays. However, students may agree other times with their placement providers to avail of good learning opportunities. Placement is central to the programme, providing a unique learning experience that will give you supervised workplace experience over a six-month period (approx. 340 hours in total).

While all students will be offered a placement, specific placements will be secured through a competitive placement interview process in semester 1. Placements can be located throughout Ireland. If a student chooses not to accept the placement offered by the School of Applied Psychology, it will then become their responsibility to secure an alternative placement for themselves that meets the School of Applied Psychology placement criteria for the MA.

Students failing the Placement may, with the approval of the programme team, be permitted to either extend or repeat the Placement. Students may repeat the placement only once in a repeat year. Students failing or not completing the placement because of a serious ethical breach will not be permitted to repeat the placement.


A variety of assessment methods are incorporated into the MA in Applied Psychology (Mental Health). These include essays, portfolios, reports, class tests, research proposals, journal of learning, class presentations, research thesis, taped practice work with transcript and analysis

Who teaches this course

The programme is delivered by staff from the School of Applied Psychology in the main. Contributions are also made by other professional/voluntary bodies where appropriate (e.g. clinical psychologists in HSE).

Why Choose This Course

Our MA programme offers successful applicants a strong grounding in the theory and practice of applied psychology in the field of mental health. A key feature of this programme is a six-month placement of two days a week on Thursdays and Fridays for six months (approx. 340 hours) in a mental health setting supervised by a clinical or counselling psychologist.

Through the combination of research, theory, and practice, this programme offers a solid foundation for professional education programmes based on psychotherapeutic practices.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Our MA students will have the opportunity to gain work experience in a mental health service under the supervision of a clinical or counselling psychologist. Upon successful completion of this placement (AP6153), which lasts for six months (two days a week usually Thursdays and Fridays for 6 months approx. 340 hours), students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate their ability to take part in the mental health work of the placement provider;
  • Demonstrate evidence of learning activities and experiences by keeping a journal of learning and completing a reflective portfolio;
  • Apply theory from programme coursework to complete work placement tasks/activities;
  • Utilise the principles of applied psychological practice in  mental health placement settings;
  • Reflect on learning and demonstrate personal development throughout the process;
  • And demonstrate an ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with colleagues.

Skills and Careers Information

This programme will support students in securing places on professional education programmes (level 10) in psychology.

Securing a place in a professional education programme in clinical and counselling psychology is particularly competitive. Completing this MA, which includes modules and placements (endorsed by clinical and counselling psychologists practicing in the HSE and related agencies) similar to professional education courses in clinical and counselling psychology, will further enhance the attractiveness of graduates from this programme for level 10 programmes.


Applicants must:

  1.  Hold a Second Class Honours Grade 1 in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) in Psychology.

  2. Satisfy the eligibility requirements for graduate membership of either the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) or the British Psychological Society (BPS). This must be demonstrated by the applicant by providing evidence that your undergraduate degree/qualification(s) is accredited by the PSI or by the BPS. Applicants whose undergraduate degree/qualification(s) is not listed as an accredited qualification by either the PSI or the BPS are required to provide evidence from the PSI or the BPS that they (the PSI or the BPS) consider your undergraduate degree/qualification(s) to be equivalent to the PSI/BPS degree, in terms of granting you eligibility for graduate membership of the society. This evidence must be sought by the applicant by applying directly to either the PSI or BPS as appropriate.

  3. Provide the name and email address of 1 referee. A written report will be requested from this referee by the School of Applied Psychology, UCC and must be submitted by the Referee (by 5th April 2024).

  4. Supply statements detailing:
  • A research proposal which must include details that would ordinarily be contained within an abstract. Your research proposal is very important for your application as it demonstrates your potential to undertake and successfully complete a research dissertation.

  • Motivation and readiness which should include information on:
    Reasons for applying to the programme;
    How your experience to date has prepared you for a mental health-related placement; include details of any professional or voluntary positions held;
    How the MA Applied Psychology (Mental Health) programme fits with your career plan.

Consideration under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) may also be given to applicants who do not meet the minimum academic entry requirements as stated above but who present with a Second Class Honours Grade 2 in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) in Psychology and have significant and directly relevant work experience or has performed impressively in a relevant Master's degree acceptable to the School selection committee. In such cases, the applicant must clearly set out the grounds upon which they wish to be considered in the motivation and readiness statement.

Please note that:

If you are in the process of completing your undergraduate degree in Psychology or a conversion/Masters degree you must be in receipt of your final results (whether undergraduate or postgraduate) before 31st July.

Please Note:  The application closing date for this programme is 11th March 2024.  This means that the statements mentioned above (research proposal and motivation and readiness) must be fully completed by 11th March, 2024.
Supporting documentation, including non-UCC academic transcripts, evidence of eligibility requirements for graduate membership of either the PSI or BPS must be uploaded to the submitted application by 5th April 2024.  

Applicants will not be shortlisted for interview:

  • If final results are not available before 31st July.
  • If a fully completed referee report has not been submitted to the School, from the referee whose name and email address you supplied as part of your application, by the time of shortlisting.
  • If your application is missing information or supporting documentation (including: academic transcripts, evidence of eligibility requirements for graduate membership of either the PSI or BPS, research proposal, detail on motivation and readiness) by the time of shortlisting.



Applicants will be shortlisted for interview based on:

  • academic performance,
  • referee report,
  • evidence of research capacity,
  • commitment to the area of applied psychology,
  • awareness of professional issues in placement settings,
  • preparedness for a mental-health related placement.

Garda Vetting

Please note that as part of this programme students will require Garda Vetting as they will take part in a placement or UCC related activity where they will be working in an unsupervised capacity with children and/or vulnerable adults. For more information on this process please read the UCC Student Garda Vetting Policy.

International Applicants

To be considered for an offer, you must provide all the required documents at the time of application. Follow these steps before applying:

  1. Check the entry requirements: You must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.
  2. Prepare supporting documents as outlined in the Requirements Section of this course page. Pay close attention to the guidance on the information that should be included in the motivation statement.
  3. Accreditation: You must satisfy the eligibility requirements for graduate membership of either the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) or the British Psychological Society (BPS). Accreditation applications are reviewed every 6-8 weeks.
  4. Only then start the application by clicking on the Apply Now button.

For Applicants with Qualifications Completed Outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.

  • In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.
English Language Requirements

Applicants who are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

Fees and Costs

Postgraduate EU and International Fees 2024/2025

See our Postgraduate EU and Non-EU (International) Fee Schedule for the latest information.


If your course requires a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second-semester fee payment in January.

Fee payment 

Fees are payable in two equal instalments. First payment is at registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

See different options on our How Do I Pay My Fees? page.

Any questions? See the 'Contact Us' section on the Fees Office page.

How To Apply

1. Check dates

Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

2. Gather documents

Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
  • Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.

3. Apply online

Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.


Deferrals are not permitted on this programme.

The closing date for non-EU applications is 11 March 2024

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact