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Overview of the Behaviour Change study programme

The Behaviour Change study programme is designed to instil students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to carry out optimal research and to implement interventions in the practical field of behavioural change as a starting professional. The knowledge, skills and attitudes are not only discussed during the courses, but are truly acquired and applied in practice in this Master’s programme. In all cases, an academic approach is key.

The study programme incorporates both theory and practice and has been carefully designed: you will explore methods and scienti­fic literature and master important skills. It will train you to become a practice-based researcher, being able to get to work immediately. During the internship, you can focus on a topic that you find particularly interesting.

The programme contains two courses that focus primarily on acquiring knowledge of psychological theories that are relevant to explain behaviour, and on possible intervention strategies that influence determinants of behaviour. First, the course Psychology of Behaviour Change: Theories and Interventions discusses the theoretical basis for explaining behaviour, behaviour regulation, and behaviour change. The course will start with explaining essential intra-individual determinants of behaviour (e.g., resistance to persuasion; motivation; habits) and how these determinants and interventions can be connected to broader approaches to behaviour change such as nudging and boosting. In addition, the role of the social and cultural context in which these determinants are embedded is addressed. Next, in Integrative Approaches and Models of Behaviour Change you will learn how to compare different theoretical approaches and how to integrate different theories and theoretical concepts to elicit the strongest behaviour change.

The programme also contains two courses that focus primarily on knowledge and skills on how to develop an effective behaviour change intervention. First, during Science in Practice I, you will learn how to integrate empirical knowledge in a theoreti­cal model, specified to a practical behaviour change problem, and link the different underlying processes to concrete intervention strategies. Then, during Science in Practice II, you will learn how to test the effectiveness of a behaviour change intervention and how to report the complete project to science and to practice in the form of an advisory report.

Finally, in the course Being a Behaviour Change Professional, you will learn how to (verbally) communicate professionally and effectively in the context of behaviour change projects. How can you best present yourself to relevant stakeholders and clients? What is the contribution of behaviour change psychologists? What can you offer that is unique?

Internship and Master’s Thesis

The final assignment—the internship and Master’s thesis—conclude the Behaviour Change Master’s specialisation. The final assignment consists of a well-defined case, involving the analysis of a problem and the development and testing of an intervention. The skills and knowledge acquired throughout the Master’s programme will be applied and expanded during this project. Your acquired knowledge of behaviour change will be deepened and your skills in this area will be further developed on a topic of your interest. You will write an academic master thesis and advisory report on this project.