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Psychology: Health Promotion & Behaviour Change (track)
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Study programme

Study programme

This master's programme covers content areas addressing four of the most important health problems in our society today:

  • Sex and sexually transmitted diseases
  • Addiction
  • Stress
  • Obesity

Practical workshops will be offered at the start of each content domain: You will learn (1) intervention mapping, a protocol for developing effective behaviour change interventions, and (2) statistics/methods to analyze changes in health behaviour. You will also attain hands-on experience with (3) programming online interventions, along with clinical training in (4) motivational interviewing, which is an important evidence-based method to motivate behaviour change.

In this Master's track, the highly interactive education model Problem-Based Learning (PBL) will be used, which adds to skill development important to any future career, such as chairing, communication (e.g. giving and receiving constructive feedback) and group collaboration. Experts in the field are also invited to give guest lectures on their speciality.

There is a multidisciplinary approach to all topics, highlighting biological, psychological and social dimensions. There will also be a developmental perspective, as behaviour changes over the course of life. Finally, practical/societal problems and consequences are discussed.

At the end of this Master's track, you will be able to 

  • approach practical health problems based on state-of-the-art theory and methods
  • design, execute and evaluate theory-driven intervention programs  (e.g. e-health)


Sex and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

This course will provide you with knowledge and skills related to sex and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. You will acquire knowledge about the most important theories and empirical research regarding the influence of peers on unhealthy behaviours. What is, for instance, normative and what is deviant in terms of sexual behaviour in early adolescence as compared to adulthood? What is the role of parents?


Being obese has serious consequences for one’s health and wellbeing. Especially in the current obesogenic environment, where unhealthy but ‘hedonic’ food is easily accessible, people experience difficulties with controlling their eating behaviour. You will learn theories explaining unhealthy behaviours, identify predictors of health behaviours and learn strategies that could effectively change behaviour.


In this course, you will learn to understand how addictive behaviours such as excessive alcohol use and smoking develop and are maintained in adolescence and adulthood. You will learn about conditioning and neurobiological processes and genetics in addiction, including the crucial role of motivation in behaviour change. You learn how to use these theories in interventions aimed at decreasing unhealthy behaviours. This includes online interventions, interventions in schools and face-to-face interventions.


Stress negatively impacts health, which may involve multiple pathways including unhealthy behaviours and biological dysregulation. This course will provide in-depth knowledge about stress topics, such as the effects of stress on cognition, emotion and motivation for (un)healthy behaviours (e.g. addictions). You will learn about stress-reduction techniques, such as mindfulness, and how to evaluate the effectiveness of such interventions.


As this is not a clinical Master’s track, completing it does not qualify you for clinical certification in the form of a Basisaantekening Psychodiagnostiek (Basic Qualification in Psychodiagnostics, a certificate issued by Dutch Institute for Psychologists) or a GZ-aantekening