Courses

Below, you will find an overview of courses from the current academic year of this Master's. This overview is meant to give you an idea of what to expect. The course offer may change in the coming academic year.

Courses for all tracks

From Theory to Intervention

In this course, a systematic method is introduced that guides the analysis of a social, health, or organizational issue. On the basis of this systematic analysis, an intervention will be developed. Furthermore, relevant literature from the fields of social, health, and organizational psychology is discussed, to form a basis for analyzing social behavior, health promotion, and issues in the organization context.

Students will learn to apply their theoretical knowledge through a systematic intervention development approach, and to formulate an advice on how to tackle existing issues.

Potential topics are:

  • Prejudice and discrimination
  • Conflict and aggression
  • Habitual behaviors and unhealthy lifestyles
  • Loneliness among the elderly
  • Social relations inside organizations
  • Leadership, organization development, diversity at work
  • Productivity, commitment, and performance at work

Academic Professional Social, Health and Organisational Psychology

The Academic Professional course focuses on the professional development of students. Students will work on themes such as job-market orientation, professional reflection, professional and scientific integrity, cooperation with other disciplines, and life-long learning. The course also includes preparation for the internship and thesis in period 1. During return days, colloquia, lectures, and informal drinks, students have the opportunity to exchange experiences and advice, and build a professional network with other students.

Elective courses (Period 2)

Students will follow two elective courses in period 2. You can choose from the elective courses offered by the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, including one or both courses from the other tracks, or choose a course that fits your interests from another faculty or university.

Track Social Influence

Communication: Effective Interaction in Theory and Practice

A series of lectures offers theoretical and empirical insights into effective (interpersonal and group) communication and influence from a social psychological perspective. These lectures serve as a guide to and deepening of the literature for self-study that will be the subject of a written exam. A complementary series of workgroup meetings will offer ample opportunity to put what was learned into practice and improve one's skills in various settings. Students will write an individual analysis of and reflection on their own experiences in these practice sessions and the course as a whole.

Social Influence, Public Communication and Advertising

Social influence is everywhere around us. Not only in advertising, but also in politics, in the supermarket, at work, and at home. Everywhere, people try to persuade each other to buy something, say yes to something, or change their minds about something. How does social influence work, and which strategies are most effective? These questions are central in this course. The goal of this course is to learn the basic theories and processes of social influence, and to learn to apply them to real-life problems. Because people are exposed to more social influence attempts than they can consciously process, we will also look at unconscious forms of influence.

In the first part of the course your learn the basic theory. A written exam consisting of knowledge, insight and application questions tests whether you master the theory. In the second part of the course you work in small groups to develop a solution for a real-life problem (profit or non-profit) with the help and feedback from influence experts from the business world. This second part ends with a written report and an oral presentation.

Internship Social, Health and Organisational Psychology, track Social Influence

Students can choose between a practical internship, a research internship, or a combination of both. Most students opt for a practical internship in an organisation. In a practical internship, the main purpose is to familiarise oneself with the occupational practice in the field of social psychology, such as training, consulting, public communication, advertising, and (marketing) research. The purpose of a research internship is to conduct research in the field of Social Psychology. A research internship can be performed at the university or in another scientific research institute. Moreover, students can choose for a training internship at the university, whereby they are trained to become a trainer in professional communication skills.

Internships are supervised in the organisation by a professional (in principle, a Social Psychologist) who is expert in the activities to be performed. Students also receive supervision from a staff member of the SHOP department. We advise students to start their search for an internship as early as possible and to look for internships beyond that is provided on Blackboard. The regulations concerning the internship can be found on Blackboard. Further information about internships can be obtained via the coordinator of the Master's track Social Influence, Professor Esther Kluwer. She can be contacted via e.s.kluwer@uu.nl or SHOP_Socialinfluence@uu.nl.

Master's Thesis Social, Health and Organisational Psychology, track Social Influence

The domain of social psychology is concerned with the functioning of people in social situations. This social functioning is studied on different levels: the individual, the interpersonal, and the group or organisation. The research that is performed within the department is fundamental as well as applied, and involves both experimental and field research methods. The topics under study as well as the theoretical perspectives are broad, but all emphasise the importance of social influence and social-cognitive processes. The subject of the master's thesis has to be within the specific field of one of the supervisors and should be linked to a current project of the department. Topics of interest include (amongst others):

  • the role of attitudes
  • norms and other factors in explaining social behavior
  • the influence of habits and automaticity of behavior
  • effectiveness of persuasive communication and other behaviour change strategies
  • the (dys)functioning of close relationships
  • person perception and social interaction
  • understanding social justice and its consequences
  • morality and normative behavior

At the start of the master’s programme, students are assigned to a topic and supervisor based on their preferences. The regulations concerning the internship can be found on Blackboard. Further information about internships can be obtained via the coordinator of the Master's track Social Influence, Professor Esther Kluwer. She can be contacted via e.s.kluwer@uu.nl or SHOP_Socialinfluence@uu.nl.

Track Health Promotion

Health Promotion

Good health and well-being is largely dependent on what people themselves do and the opportunities they have for doing so in the context of their physical and social environment. Health psychology offers various theories, concepts and strategies that can be useful for promoting desired, healthy behavior, but applying these tools adequately and effectively is a complex matter. In order to design effective interventions it is essential to systematically develop these interventions using theoretical insights and evidence-based strategies that are fitting to the individual for whom the intervention is designed, the specific behavior at hand and the context in which the health behavior is enacted.

In this course, students will become acquainted with core theories, concepts and strategies used in the domain of health promotion. In 7 lectures, students will be taught the key processes and strategies that enable people to increase control over their health and to improve their health. Current and emerging strategies and possibilities to change health behaviour will be discussed in terms of their effectiveness, as well as their theoretical backgrounds and working mechanisms. In addition, students will learn about how and when these strategies can be successfully applied in interventions, and they will be taught to identify the potential opportunities, problems and boundary conditions associated with applying these strategies. This way, students will be provided with a sound understanding of the theoretical and empirical basis of health promotion, and equipped with the conceptual and practical skills to design and evaluate health promotion policies and interventions.

Nudging

If unhealthy food is placed further away, people will eat less of it; a painted fly in a urinal will prevent men from spilling; and placing trees closer to the edge of a road will reduce driving speed. Small, smart adjustments in the environment that subtly affect people’s default choices have demonstrated to yield impressive results in a broad range of behavioral domains. Importantly, this specific intervention strategy, known as nudging, departs from other intervention techniques as it does not rely on persuasion, but makes use of psychological insights showing that people are often not very rational, but rather make impulsive choices (‘go with the default’). That is, without interfering with autonomy or freedom of choice, nudges aim to make it easier for people to perform a specific behavior, rather than convince them what is ‘right’. Not surprising then, it has recently sparked the interest of policy makers and a large number of public organizations.

This course will focus on the use of nudging as a novel strategy to adapt behavior, with a particular focus on the area of health and well-being. We address the theoretical background of nudges in comparison to other approaches for behavior modification, and incorporate empirical work providing insight into working mechanisms and (boundary conditions for) the effectiveness of nudges. In addition, taking a more practical approach, students will be challenged to think about the design of a nudge, the implementation issues that may come along with it, and the requirements for a proper evaluation of its effectiveness. Finally, the course will address the topical academic and societal debate about nudging and the role of various institutions in promoting health and well-being, including ethical considerations.

Nudging strategies will be examined in different contexts, including private settings, public spaces, health care, schools and work settings. The course has a strong focus on connecting theory and practice and aims to involve international partners and societal organizations working in the field of health promotion.

Internship Social, Health and Organisational Psychology, track Health Promotion

Students can choose between a practical internship, a research internship, or a combination of both. Most students opt for a practical internship in an organization. In a practical internship, the main purpose is to familiarize oneself with the health-related practice in the field, varying from working with behavior-specialist and consultants, to researchers, trainers, coaches, and managers on health-related projects. The purpose of a research internship is to conduct research in the field of Health Psychology. A research internship can be performed at the university or in an organization or scientific research institute. Moreover, students can choose for a training internship at the university, in which they are trained to work as a work group teacher in a bachelor course on communication skills.

Internships are supervised in the organization by a professional (preferably a (health) psychologist) who is expert in the activities to be performed. Students also receive supervision from a staff member of the SHOP department. . We advise students to start their search for an internship as early as possible and to look actively for internships on the internet, through networking, and on Blackboard. The guidelines concerning the internship can be found on Blackboard. Further information about internships can be obtained via the coordinator of the master track Health Promotion, Catharine Evers, PhD. She can be contacted via c.evers@uu.nl.

Master's Thesis Social, Health and Organisational Psychology, track Health Promotion

Health Psychology is concerned with the study of psychological and behavioral processes in health, illness, and health care. In order to improve health it is important to learn in detail about the processes and strategies enabling people to increase control over their health, which is addressed in this field of study. Different strategies and possibilities to change health behavior are addressed, as well as their theoretical rational that explains the working mechanism. This way, students will be provided with a sound understanding of the theoretical and empirical basis of health promotion, and they will be equipped with the conceptual and practical skills to understand, design, and evaluate health promotion policies and interventions. The subject of the master's thesis has to be within the specific field of one of the supervisors and should be linked to a current project of the department. Current research topics in the department include, for instance:

  • Emotion and emotion-regulation
  • Planning and proactive coping
  • Health behavior interventions
  • Self-licensing and confabulation
  • Eating behavior
  • Pain, rheuma, medically unexplained symptoms
  • Bedtime procrastination and insomnia

To discuss thesis topics and procedures, students should contact the coordinator of the master track Health Promotion, Catharine Evers, PhD. Dr. She can be contacted via: c.evers@uu.nl.

Track Work and Organisation

Work & Performance

What is the influence of work on the health of workers? What motivates workers to make their best efforts and perform at work? What makes them inspired and engaged for their job? When do they run the risk of burnout? Why do some employees call in sick while others continue to work when having health problems? What can employers do to keep their personnel healthy, motivated and productive at work for as long as possible?

These and related questions are addressed in the master course Work & Performance. This course elaborates on recent theories and empirical research in the field of Work Psychology. In this course, you will obtain advanced insight in the mutual relationship between work and employee health and wellbeing, and their consequences for work motivation and performance. In this course, you will learn how personal characteristics and factors in the (work) environment influence individuals’ health, performance, and participation in the labour market. You will close read a number of recent reviews and meta-analyses of the theoretical and empirical developments in the area of work psychology. Part of this course is an assignment for which you conduct interviews in an organisation, in order to analyse a problem or challenge with respect to employee health, well-being, and performance. Based on the scientific literature and on the interviews you conducted, you will develop interventions to make work healthier and more enjoyable, and to promote optimal performance.

Organization Development: Monitoring and Changing Culture and Behavior

To survive in a competitive environment, contemporary organizations require their employees to be high performers who strive to maximize the organization’s profit, but who also adhere to high moral standards. One way to achieve this is to create an open culture with room for innovative ideas, diverse perspectives, and dissenting opinions. However, major scandals in the news (e.g., within banks, hospitals, and housing corporations) tell us that creating such an open culture is not an easy task. In fact, these scandals reveal that psychological knowledge is indispensable to monitor and change organizational culture and behavior.

This course will teach you to analyze existing organizational cultures and to develop theoretically sound and evidence-based interventions to change these cultures. In doing so, we will start with a general overview in which we detail what organizational culture is and how it connects to other design components of organizations, such as organizational structure and strategy, leadership styles, and team dynamics.

The course will then zoom in how organizational cultures can be changed, both from within and outside. First, from an inside perspective, the course outlines which strategies organizations can pursue to establish an ‘inclusive culture’ in which employees from diverse backgrounds feel encouraged to contribute alternative perspectives. In addition, it shows how organizations can establish a ‘climate of ethics’, in which employees feel free to express dissenting opinions and act as whistleblowers when the organization or other employees misbehave.

Second, from an outside perspective, this course teaches how supervisory bodies can monitor and identify risk factors in culture and behavior in organizations. Furthermore, it discusses how supervisory bodies influence culture and behavior in organizations to stimulate sustainable performance and prevent moral transgressions.

Tests

  • Multiple choice exam (65%)
  • Group assignments (35%)

Internship Social, Health and Organisational Psychology, track Work and Organisation

Students can choose between a practical assignment, a research assignment, or a combination of these assignments. Most students opt for a practical assignment in an organisation. In a practical assignment, the main purpose is to familiarise oneself with the occupational practice in the field, such as consultancy, HRM, training, coaching, recruitment and selection. The purpose of a research assignment is to conduct research in the field of Work and Organisational Psychology. A research assignment can be performed at the university or in another scientific research institute. Moreover, students can choose for a training internship at the university, whereby they are educated to become a trainer in a course on communication skills.

Internships are supervised in the organisation by a professional (in principle, a Work and Organizational Psychologist) who is expert in the activities to be performed. Students also receive supervision from a teacher of the department. It is recommended to combine the internship with the thesis. We also advise students to start their search for an internship as early as possible and to look beyond the internships that we provide on Blackboard. The regulations concerning the internship can be found on Blackboard. Further information about internships can be obtained via the coordinator of the master track Work and Organisation, Dr. V. Brenninkmeijer. She can be contacted via SHOP_Workandorganisation@uu.nl.

Master's Thesis Social, Health and Organisational Psychology, track Work and Organisation

Work and Organisational Psychology is concerned with the behavior of individuals in work situations. This field of study addresses the causes and consequences of behavior in work situations, thereby covering the individual level, the team level, and the organisational level. The subject of the master's thesis has to be within the specific field of one of the supervisors and should be linked to a current project of the department. Current research topics in the department include, for instance:

  • work engagement
  • burnout
  • authenticity at work
  • leadership
  • work-family balance
  • gender issues at work
  • moral behavior in organisations
  • diversity in the workplace
  • flexible workplace strategies
  • performance and productivity
  • job crafting
  • self-regulation
  • career development
  • lifetime employability
  • organisational justice

At the start of the master’s programme, students are assigned to a topic and supervisor based on their preferences. The regulations concerning the internship can be found on Blackboard. Further information about internships can be obtained via the coordinator of the the master track Work and Organisation, Dr. V. Brenninkmeijer. She can be contacted via SHOP_Workandorganisation@uu.nl

See the Study Programme for more information.