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MSc Hypnosis in Research, Medicine and Clinical Practice

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  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions, Part-Time

This course is designed to equip you with the critical, methodological and practical skills that are necessary for advancement and development in the areas of clinical and academic hypnosis.

You will be based in the Department of Psychology at BU and the course is also supported by the Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine. It has been developed to meet the needs of practising healthcare professionals and research psychologists with key units being taught over weekends or condensed into one week, and the other units being taught on just two days a week with the option of part-time study available.

You can opt to exit the course with either a PG Cert or PG Dip qualification after taking relevant units. The full MSc qualification will be ideal for graduate students with plans for a future in clinical / medical practice and those looking to be trained in the research methods required for PhD level study.

A key benefit of the MSc is that it contributes a minimum of 72 hours towards the European Certificate of Hypnosis, awarded by the European Society of Hypnosis. If you are studying for a PG Cert or PG Dip you will gain credits towards the European Certificate of Hypnosis (and CPD if required).

You will be trained in the use of hypnosis and will be able to apply it in a range of clinical and research settings depending on your profession and experience. Graduates without a clinical background will be qualified to use hypnosis in ethically approved research protocols, and in clinical and medical settings in the presence of, and following a request from, a suitably qualified clinical or medical specialist. 

The course is unique in that it is taught by leading researchers and clinico-medical practitioners of hypnosis from the Royal Society of Medicine.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2018, January 2019


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Required subjects:

Psychology or subject related to Medicine or Clinical Practice (e.g. Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing or Allied Health Professionals)

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:1 or equivalent in a required subject . If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component of writing, speaking, listening and reading. For more information check out our full entry requirements.

Course details

PG Cert level:

  • Hypnosis in Practice: This unit aims to provide an experiential foundation in the use and application of clinical and experimental hypnosis. It will be delivered in three sessions with intervals of approximately 12 weeks. The unit defines hypnosis as a clinical and/or research tool, the use of which can be taught with 60 hours of training. Delivery is through a combination of practical experiential exercises, lectures and seminars. Study materials will be available on the Royal Society of Medicine’s website. There will be an annual international conference where you will have the opportunity to take part in practical workshops. Poster presentations will form part of your assessment. This module is taught by Dr Ben Parris. Dates 3/4 Feb, 3/4 March, 21/22 April 2018.

  • Hypnosis in Research: You will explore the evidence base for the use of hypnosis in medicine and clinical practice. The unit will also cover evidence for theories of hypnosis and hypnotic suggestibility and will compare and contrast instrumental and intrinsic uses of hypnosis. Neuroimaging findings related to hypnosis and hypnotic suggestibility will be presented and evaluated. You will learn the theories underpinning hypnosis and its uses including clinical, cognitive and neuroscientific levels of explanation. Most of the unit will be delivered as part of a new annual conference organised by the Royal Society of Medicine’s (RSM) Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine section and will take place at BU and RSM. This module is taught by Dr Ben Parris. Dates: 15 - 19 January 2018.

PG Dip level:

  • Advanced Research Methods: The unit covers a range of research methods and a tool used for conducting advanced level research, and describes the intricacies of experimental design in such contexts. The unit aims to prepare students for undertaking independent research using advanced research techniques. 

  • Advanced Statistics: You will learn and apply a range of statistical techniques intended for analysing data from psychological research. These are advanced techniques which are not covered at undergraduate level. 

  • Key Transferable Skills: Presentation and Scientific Writing: This unit is designed to equip you with knowledge and abilities that are essential to careers in research and other professional arenas such as presentation and advanced writing skills.

MSc level:

  • Research Project: You will have the opportunity to employ the apprenticeship model (Voluntary Research Apprenticeship Scheme), working closely with a member of staff in their area of expertise, engaging in discussions about potential areas for original research in their field in order to produce the Project. The nature of the research topic will be focused within the field of hypnosis in research, medicine and clinical practice.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for MSc Hypnosis in Research, Medicine & Clinical Practice here.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Full entry requirements

The requirements for embarking upon this degree are:

  • A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:1 or equivalent in a required subject (Psychology or subject related to Medicine or Clinical Practice (e.g. Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing or Allied Health Professionals).

Those with less standard/traditional qualifications with additional or relevant experience will also be considered, especially when applying for the PCCert Hypnosis in Research, Medicine and Clinical Practice or CPD.
A satisfactory Personal Statement on the Application Form showing evidence of motivation and/or experience to study the main topics of the programmes is required.Two satisfactory references are required.Applicants without an undergraduate Psychology degree are expected to have a GCSE in Mathematics with at least a grade C or overseas equivalent.

​If you lack the formal academic qualifications needed to enter a postgraduate or post-experience degree, there are several alternative routes to follow - some based on experience. Contact the Future Students Enquiry Team for more information.

International entry requirements 

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component of writing, speaking, listening and reading or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our postgraduate entry requirements page.


You will learn and acquire the full range of skills necessary to succeed in both clinical and academic fields.

As an MSc Hypnosis in Research, Medicine and Clinical Practice graduate who is new to this field, you will be prepared to undertake further training for roles such as:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Allied Health Care Professionals
  • Nursing
  • Midwifery.

Or as an MSc Hypnosis in Research, Medicine and Clinical Practice graduate with previous relevant experience, you will have the opportunity to explore the following:

  • Hypnosis as a tool in academic research
  • Enhance your skills and outcomes within your chosen profession.


  • National Health Service
  • Private Health Care
  • University Post Graduate research.

Further study

The course offers a route into PhD-level research by adhering to the teaching outcomes set by the ESRC. There is also an opportunity for existing clinicians to learn the necessary research skills to enable them to conduct their own research and critically evaluate available evidence of the efficacy of hypnosis and hypnotic techniques. 

Meet our staff

Dr Ben Parris is the course leader, and he is also Head of Research and Principal Lecturer in Psychology. His research interests focus on the control of attention. To better understand this process he employs behavioural, eye tracking and brain-based methods. He is particularly interested in investigating individual differences in the control of attention in hypnotic suggestibility and in ADHD and what these differences tell us about the role of interacting variables such as motivation, reward and consciousness in the control of attention.

Dr Martin Wall President Elect European Society of Hypnosis, Past President Royal Society of Medicine Section Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine. Honorary Lecturer and Clinical Supervisor at The Peninsular College of Medicine and Dentistry.

Mrs Jacky Owens is a retired Cancer Nurse Specialist. Current President of the Section of Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine at The Royal Society of Medicine.Publication -  Brann L., Owens J., Williamson A.(eds: ):  ( 2012) The Handbook of Contemporary Clinical Hypnosis: Theory and Practice: John Wiley & Sons: Malasia  SBN 978-0-470-68367-5.

Sally Hanks BDS SFHEA PGCAP BSCAH Adv Dip (Accred). Final Year lead, Professional Development lead and Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) of Clinical  Education Plymouth Unversity Peninsula School of Dentistry. Expertise in clinical hypnosis, personal and professional development and medical education. Chair of UK Council for the Dental Teachers of Professionalism Group. Current research focus & areas of interest: Medical Education PhD ‘Deconstructing, conceptualising and assessing management and leadership qualities in dental professionals: an ethnographic study of principles in practice’; Developing capability over competency; The use of the medical humanities in clinical education; The teaching, learning and assessment of professionalism.

Dr Grahame Smith, Co-presenter and organiser for BSCAH training for health professionals in Northern Counties (eg The Retreat York and Queens Oncology Centre Hull) GP partner, trainer, and appraiser (retired). Past President of BSCAH and other roles. Interest in application of hypnosis, including  everyday informal techniques, to help people with a range of problems as seen in general medical practice.

Many of our staff and students are involved in community or charitable trusts in addition to their academic practice or study, and we have close ties with the British Psychological Society. We are committed to developing our field through our research, practice and educating future psychologists. Read more about the specialist interests of our Department of Psychology staff online, and register now to meet us!

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services. You will receive details of these if you are offered a place on the course.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork and non-financial support whilst on placement
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsidised travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages
  • Optional fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the Students section of the website.

Repeat units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies studies (with or without attendance), you may be required to pay additional fees equivalent to one ninth of the tuition fee per 20 credit unit.

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

What our staff say

Dr Ben Parris

We have clinico-medical practitioners of hypnosis from the Royal Society of Medicine teaching on the course as well as leading researchers at BU.

Additional information

Simon Phelps

Career development

Read about career and development opportunities and discover how gaining industry experience could help you.

Purbeck House common room

International students

We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.