MSc in Psychology: Environmental Psychology

General

Program Description

How can psychology help us understand and solve environmental and energy-related problems? How can we motivate and empower people to act pro-environmentally and adapt to a changing environment?

Questions like these are addressed in the Master's program 'Environmental psychology'. The program focuses on the interactions between humans and their environment. You will acquire theoretical knowledge and methodological skills to understand and address the human dimension of environmental and energy-related problems. The program is taught by the world-leading Environmental Psychology group at the University of Groningen.

The expertise gained in this master is essential in attempts to limit global climate change and its negative impacts, and adapt successfully to the consequences of climate change. Governments and companies seek advice from environmental psychologists to understand the human dimension of sustainable development, and leading journals, such as Nature, stress the importance of the social sciences for solving environmental and energy-related problems. This master will equip you for job opportunities that focus on finding effective and acceptable societal solutions to these problems.

Why study this program in Groningen?

  • We offer one of the few programs in the world that focus on the human dimensions of environmental and energy-related problems;
  • A strong emphasis on theoretically innovative research and application of scientific insights in practice;
  • You can take part in ongoing research of the internationally renowned Environmental Psychology group, or set up your own new research;
  • You can directly apply your insight to real-life cases (for example, on the internship)
  • We use innovative teaching methods.

Program

Year 1

The master program Environmental Psychology equips you with the theoretical knowledge and methodological skills to understand the human dimension of environmental and energy-related problems. Furthermore, it provides you with the expertise to develop effective and societally acceptable solutions for these problems.

The program introduces you to the main theories in the course of Environmental Psychology. Further, you will learn how to design and evaluate interventions to improve environmental quality in the course 'Designing Interventions'. In the course 'Advanced Topics in Environmental Psychology', you will become an expert on a self-chosen topic within the field of Environmental Psychology. Finally, 'Working in Interdisciplinary Teams' teaches you to integrate your obtained knowledge with perspectives from other disciplines to better understand and address the complexity of environmental and energy-related problems.

Throughout the year, you will be working on your individual master thesis and possible internship, in which you can work on your own research project. You will have the opportunity to be involved in collaborations with other universities, governmental agencies, companies, and NGOs. Also, you will choose a methodological course in which you learn advanced research methods in Environmental Psychology, and follow an elective course to tailor the program to your interests and ambitions.

Courses

  • Environmental Psychology (5 EC)
  • An elective course (Choose one) (5 EC)
  • Master thesis (30 EC)
  • Methodological course (Choose one) (5 EC)
  • Designing interventions (5 EC)
  • Advanced topics in Environmental Psychology (5 EC)
  • Working in interdisciplinary teams (5 EC)

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional.

We recommend you to take all the courses as indicated in the program schedule. If you are interested in writing part of your master thesis abroad, you can discuss this with the master thesis coordinator. In that case, you will be co-supervised by researchers from the university you visit. Our group collaborates with scholars from all over the world.

Admission requirements

Dutch diploma

Specific requirements More information
Language test

Bachelor students meet language requirements. For English-taught tracks, students with an HBO Toegepaste Psychologie need to provide evidence of satisfactory results for one of the standard tests.

Previous education

To be eligible for admission to this master, you need to hold a Bachelor's degree in Psychology (or with a strong focus on Psychology) from a Research University, based on wide psychological knowledge and skills, as well as advanced statistical and methodological knowledge and skills. For some tracks, it is possible to do a premaster in case you do not completely satisfy the criteria.

Please note: For the enrollment for the September 2021 start of the Master's program, it is very likely that we will have to impose a capacity limitation on the number of students that can enter our program. The rules for the ensuing selection will be announced in the first half of 2020.

International diploma

Specific requirements More information
Language test

Non-native English speakers must provide evidence of satisfactory results for one of the standard tests.

Previous education

To be eligible for admission to this master, you need to hold a Bachelor's degree in Psychology (or with a strong focus on Psychology) from a Research University, based on wide psychological knowledge and skills, as well as advanced statistical and methodological knowledge and skills.

Please note: For the enrollment for the September 2021 start of the Master's program, it is very likely that we will have to impose a capacity limitation on the number of students that can enter our program. The rules for the ensuing selection will be announced in the first half of 2020.

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
Dutch students

01 December 2019

01 May 2020

01 December 2020

01 February 2020

01 September 2020

01 February 2021

EU/EEA students

01 December 2019

01 May 2020

01 December 2020

01 February 2020

01 September 2020

01 February 2021

non-EU/EEA students

01 November 2019

01 April 2020

01 November 2020

01 February 2020

01 September 2020

01 February 2021

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Program form
EU/EEA 2019-2020 € 2083 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2019-2020 € 14650 full-time
EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 2143 full-time

Job prospects

There is an increasing demand from practitioners and policymakers to understand the human dimension of sustainable development. Technical solution alone cannot solve environmental problems: Behavioural changes are required and sustainable policies and innovations need to be accepted and adopted by the public. This Master will prepare you for job opportunities in science and practice that focus on finding effective and societally acceptable solutions to environmental and energy-related problems.

Our program equips you for positions in practice or science.

Job examples

  • Policy advisor
  • Environmental policymaking (for example, at the national or municipality level)
  • Consultancy
  • Behavioral expert in environmental and energy organizations (such as grid operators, energy providers, and water companies)
  • Environmental communication and education (for example at MilieuCentraal )
  • Researcher at an institute of applied sciences (such as the Netherlands Institute for social research (SCP))
  • Ph.D. in Environmental and/or Psychological research

Research

The Environmental Psychology group at the University of Groningen is a world leader in the field. The chair of the group, prof. dr. Linda Steg is among the world’s most highly cited researchers. You will have the opportunity to join our research projects, collaborating with other disciplines, practitioners, and experts from all over the world.

Examples of research topics

  • Cross-cultural research on values, environmental beliefs, and actions;
  • Factors influencing pro-environmental actions, such as energy savings and recycling behavior, at home or at work;
  • Public acceptability of policies and technologies aimed at a sustainable energy transition;
  • Individual and social factors influencing climate change adaptation behaviors;
  • Adoption of sustainable innovations such as electric vehicles;
  • Factors influencing sustainable transport behaviors;
  • Factors influencing the effectiveness of community energy initiatives;
  • Effective governance and public engagement in decisions on sustainable development.

Selection of Academic Staff

Prof. Dr. Linda Steg (KNAW member)

  • Expertise: understanding environmental behavior including energy use and car use; acceptability and effectiveness of environmental policy; values; intrinsic motivation
  • Course: Environmental Psychology

Dr. Ellen van der Werff (Master theses coordinator)

  • Expertise: pro-environmental behavior; interventions to promote pro-environmental behavior; policy acceptability and effectiveness; environmental self-identity
  • Course: Designing interventions

Dr. Goda Perlaviciute (Coordinator Master Environmental Psychology)

  • Expertise: public evaluations and acceptability of energy sources, systems and policies
  • Course: Advanced Topics in Environmental Psychology

Dr. Lise Jans (Coordinator Master Environmental Psychology)

  • Expertise: The role of group processes in environmental issues, attitudes, and behaviors
  • Course: Working in interdisciplinary teams

Selection of recent publications

  • Bouman, T., & Steg, L. (2019). Motivating Society-wide Pro-environmental Change. One Earth. https://doi.org/(...)j.oneear.2019.08.002
  • Geiger, J. L., Steg, L., van der Werff, E., & Ünal, A. B. (2019). A meta-analysis of factors related to recycling. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 64, 78-97.
  • Keizer, M., Sargisson, R. J., van Zomeren, M., & Steg, L. (2019). The middle road: When personal norms predict the acceptability of push and pull car-reduction policies. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behavior, 64, 413-423. doi:10.1016/j.trf.2019.06.005
  • Liu, L., Bouman, T., Perlaviciute, G., & Steg, L. (2019). Effects of trust and public participation on the acceptability of renewable energy projects in the Netherlands and China. Energy Research and Social Science, 53, 137-144. https://doi.org/(...)6/j.erss.2019.03.006
  • Sloot, D., Jans, L., & Steg, L. (2019). In it for the money, the environment, or the community? Motives for being involved in community energy initiatives. Global Environmental Change, 57, 101936. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2019.101936
  • Van der Werff, E., Taufik, D., & Venhoeven, L. (2019). Pull the plug: How private commitment strategies can strengthen personal norms and promote energy-saving in the Netherlands. Energy Research & Social Science, 54, 26-33.
  • Van der Werff, E., Vrieling, L., Van Zuijlen, B., & Worrell, E. (2019). Waste minimization by households–A unique informational strategy in the Netherlands. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 144, 256-266
  • Van Valkengoed, A., & Steg, L. (2019). Meta-analyses of factors motivating climate change adaptation behavior. Nature Climate Change, 9, 158-163. doi: 10.1038/s41558-018-0371-y.
  • Book: Steg, L. & de Groot, J. I. M. (Eds.) (2019). Environmental psychology: An introduction. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
Last updated Apr 2020

About the School

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astr ... Read More

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Central Bank. Geographically, the University is rooted in the Northern part of the Netherlands, a region very close to its heart. Read less
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