Occupational Health Psychology (MRes/Professional Doctorate)

Birkbeck's MRes/Professional Doctorate in Occupational Health Psychology is the only one of its kind offered in the UK. 

This research degree, run by Birkbeck's Centre for Sustainable Working Life, combines advanced education in applied research and professional development with the opportunity to conduct real-world research under the guidance of world-leading academics. Assessment is based on coursework including a systematic review with an empirical study and a translation, culminating in a doctoral thesis. 

This programme will appeal to those in the UK and abroad who are looking to develop, advance or change careers in occupational health psychology and management or in an associated area. 

Indicative areas of research conducted under the auspices of the Centre for Sustainable Working Life include: 

  • Assessment and coaching 
  • Chronic illness - including cancer and PTSD - and working life 
  • Health and safety management 
  • Healthcare 
  • Occupational and social psychology 
  • Occupational epidemiology 
  • Organisational communication and relationships 
  • Organisational risk management 
  • Psychosocial approaches to occupational health 
  • Stress in the workplace and work-life balance 
  • Sustainable health and wellbeing in the workplace. 


  • Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • This the only such programme currently offered in the UK and can be tailored to students’ interests and, if appropriate, to those of their employing or professional organisations.
  • Teaching staff and supervisors will be acknowledged occupational health psychologists or experts in health and safety management and/or actively involved in occupational health.
  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    Good first degree or Master's qualification in a relevant subject area.

    Applicants who do not hold a Master's degree in a relevant subject may be required to take some MSc modules.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
    • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

  • Fees


    Part-time home/EU students, Year 1&2: £4600 pa
    Part-time home/EU students, Year 3,4&5: £2260 pa
    Full-time home/EU students, Year 1: £ pa
    Full-time home/EU students, Year 2&3: £ pa
    Part-time international students, Year 1&2: £7425 pa
    Part-time international students, Year 3,4&5: £6225 pa
    Full-time international students, Year 1&2: £ pa
    Full-time international students, Year 3,4&5: £ pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    Fees and finance

    From 2018-19, PhD students resident in England can apply for government loans of up to £25,000 to cover the cost of tuition fees, maintenance and other study-related costs.

    Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.

    Fees discounts: if you are a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.

  • Our Research Culture

    Our Research Culture

    Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

    Find out more about Birkbeck research offering insights and expertise to inform business, contribute to economic success and develop ground-breaking technologies.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course.


    Applications are considered throughout the year for an October start date. A brief outline research proposal (1500 words) should be submitted with the application form, in addition to a covering letter and current CV (résumé). You may also submit any other documents to support your application.

    The outline research proposal should clearly evidence how your core research interests align with those of the Centre for Sustainable Working Life. Prior to submitting an application and research proposal online, you are encouraged to contact Dr Laura Thompson (Director of Learning) and CC Professor Tom Cox (Head of Centre), to discuss your interests and request further information regarding the organisation of the programme.

    Completed applications will, in the first instance, be evaluated by the Head of Centre and the Director of Learning. Candidates whose application meets the Centre’s interests will be invited for interview and referees will be contacted.

    Students register for an MRes in the first instance (typically on a part-time basis) and subsequently transfer to the Professional Doctorate if progress is satisfactory. The MRes degree is examined through completion of essays, presentations and a systematic review.

    The thesis submitted for the Professional Doctorate degree must form a distinct contribution to knowledge of the subject; it must afford evidence of originality, shown either by the discovery of new facts or by the exercise of independent critical power.

    Application deadlines and interviews

    The entry month for the programme is October each year.

    You can apply at any time during the year, until September.

    If you wish to apply for funding, you will need to apply by certain deadlines, please consult the websites of relevant bodies for details.

  • Finding a supervisor

    Finding a supervisor

    A critical factor when applying for postgraduate study in occupational health psychology is the correlation between the applicant’s intellectual and research interests and those of one or more potential supervisors within the Department.

    Find out more about the research interests of our Centre for Sustainable Working Life staff.