MSc Psychology: Health & Social Psychology

Maastricht University, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience

Program Description

MSc Psychology: Health & Social Psychology

Maastricht University, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience

MSc Psychology - Specialisation in Health & Social Psychology

Why is it so hard for some people to limit their alcohol consumption? Why do some people lose their temper easily? Do you like finding answers to questions such as these? And can you see yourself helping people change their habits? Then you should consider specialising in Health and Social Psychology. The main focus of this specialisation is on understanding how people’s personalities, cognitions and social environment influence their health and social functioning. You'll analyse the underlying mechanisms of unhealthy or antisocial behaviour using recent theories and models from various psychological disciplines. And you'll use this knowledge to set up behaviour-change programmes. After completing your master’s, you can become a researcher in an academic or applied health setting, or work in communication planning, health promotion or policy-making.

The underlying mechanisms of unhealthy & antisocial behaviour

Using recent theories and models from various psychological disciplines, you'll learn how to analyse the underlying mechanisms of unhealthy and antisocial behaviours such as:

  • eating disorders
  • smoking
  • excessive drinking
  • reckless driving
  • unsafe sex

With this knowledge, you can systematically develop interventions to help people change such behaviour. You'll delve into issues like automatic versus controlled influences on behaviour, self-regulation and the development of behavioural change programmes.

Programme outline

The specialisation in Health and Social Psychology offers the following core courses:

  • Bad habits: will familiarise you with various recent views from both social and clinical psychology which explain how healthy and desirable behaviours and their negative counterparts develop and endure. Bad habits will be considered from a cognitive perspective, with a focus on automatic associative processes and perceptual processes. The role of the social environment in the occurrence of bad habits is also included in this course.
  • Manipulation: deals with strategies of social influence, persuasion and attitude change. You’ll learn which techniques, tactics and procedures people use to manipulate or change the beliefs and behaviour of other people. You'll participate in discussions on how social influence techniques work and about the psychological principles underlying the effects of those techniques.
  • Self-control regulation: focuses on the regulation of behaviour. You’ll look at issues such as why people find it so hard to resist their impulses and will study various self-control processes, including emotional self-regulation, automatic self-regulation and the role of thinking (beliefs) and acceptance. You’ll also focus on possible ways of improving the ability to practise self-control.
  • Planning behaviour-change programmes: focuses on applying psychological theories to the development of behavioural-change interventions. You’ll look at topics such as risk communication, attitude change, social influences, self-regulation, and prejudice and discrimination.
You'll also take a number of professional skills trainings in addition to lectures and workshops on reserch methods and designs, research ethics and applying for ethical approval, writing a research proposal, and data analysis. This will help prepare you for completing a research internship and writing your thesis.

Admission Requirements

See website

Health & Social
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated August 1, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 1, 2017
1 year
Full time
1,984 EUR
May 31, 2017
or Apr. 30, 2017 for non-EU/EEA students
Start date Sept. 1, 2017
Netherlands Maastricht
Application deadline May 31, 2017
or Apr. 30, 2017 for non-EU/EEA students
End date Aug. 31, 2018
Duration 1 year
Price 1,984 EUR
per year; €14000 for non-EU/EEA students