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Mark Parkinson

MSc in Health Psychology

HLS_Postgraduate -Student _Mark -ParkinsonWhat appealed to you about Northumbria University?

The excellent track record for interesting and engaging psychology research and for pushing the boundaries of psychological knowledge. I also like the well-equipped psychology labs, well-resourced libraries and well organised courses. Finally, there is a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

What was it about the course that particularly appealed?

Having completed the Graduate Diploma in Psychology and gaining a distinction I was keen to move into Health Psychology. Northumbria is one of the few institutions in the region to offer the MSc in Health Psychology with the award of Stage 1 Chartered Health Psychologist on completion. It has strong links with the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle and local universities specialising in health and medicine, making it ideally placed to offer a wealth of academic and practical expertise.

Have you found it difficult to balance your workload with your studies and home life?

No. As a part-time student I attend one day of formal study per week over the course of two semesters per year. This allows me ample opportunity to maintain a good work-life balance and still attend lectures, seminars and workshops.

Can you give an example of a piece of work you’ve been involved with recently and what it involves?

I have been exploring the theories of stress from biological, psychological and social perspectives. I have also examined the practicalities of research into everyday stress via lectures, lab-based experiments and workshops. This has included measuring stress via heart rate, blood pressure, galvanic skin response, psychological stress reactivity measures and measures of cortisol levels. A main task has been to produce a report for the NHS concerning the causes and consequences of stress and make recommendations regarding the most appropriate techniques for measuring stress.

What do you do when you’re not studying?

I’m a teacher, I love music and adding to and sharing my vast collection, including a monthly ‘rock night’. I’m a gym bunny with lifetime membership, I enjoy a good hike in the hills or along the coastlines, I enjoy travel to Greece and good-old fashioned big family get-togethers.

How do you get on with your tutors?

Very well. They are approachable and welcoming at any time and happy to help out if you need support or advice. Tutors make every effort to ensure that as a postgraduate student you are gaining as much as possible from the course and they actively encourage students to strive to reach the academic level they themselves have reached.

If you have just one message to pass on to someone who’s just about to start a programme like yours, what would that message be?

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