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Overview of the Behaviour Change study programme

The study programme incorporates both theory and practice and has been carefully designed: you will explore methods and scientific literature and master important skills. You will be trained to become a practice-based researcher who will be able to get to work immediately. During both the track course and the Master’s Project, you will be able to focus on the aspects that you find most interesting. The study load of this programme is 60 EC. After completing the programme you will be Master of Science in Psychology. Below you will find a schematic representation of the curriculum, which is followed by the course descriptions.

Course code Course name Period EC
SOW-PSMBC10 Psychology of Behaviour Change: Theories and Interventions 1,2 8
SOW-PSMBC14 Being a Behaviour Change Professional 2


SOW-PSMBC15 Models of Behaviour Change 1


SOW-PSMBC16 Approaching Behaviour Change 2


SOW-PSMBC75 Internship and Thesis Behaviour Change 3,4


The language of instruction of this Master's programme is English. Dutch or English may be used for active language use, for example during presentations and with open questions during exams. English is used for passive use of language, for example during lectures, instruction and multiple choice questions.

Psychology of Behaviour Change: Theories and Interventions
This course teaches you the basic theoretical constructs to explain behaviour, behaviour regulation and behaviour change. It will discuss specific topics such as resistance, goals, habitual behaviour, social influence, and the role of the cultural and interpersonal environment . These topics will be examined in relation to several different issues, such as sustainability, lifestyle, social relations and active citizenship. A great deal of attention will also be paid to specific behaviour change techniques.

You will learn how to study a behaviour change case in the field, how to research the behaviour in question, integrate empirical knowledge in an applicable theoretical model, and link the different underlying psychological processes to concrete intervention strategies.

You will learn how to implement and test the effectiveness of a behaviour change intervention and how to report the complete project to science and to practice in the form of a research report and an advisory report.

Models of Behaviour change
You will get to know and learn to work with four core psychological models that explain behaviour in different ways. You will learn how each model offers a different perspective on how to explain behaviour. In addition, you will learn to critically evaluate the potential use of each model to inform behaviour change interventions.

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? You will also learn to reflect on your responsibilities as a behaviour change professional.
Approaching Behaviour Change
You will gain understanding of how different behaviour change techniques connect to different (ethical) perspectives. Specifically, the distinction between boosting and nudging approaches to behaviour change is explained, where the former emphasizes transparency and a focus on competences and the latter emphasizes freedom of choice and focusses on making subtle changes to the choice architecture. This distinction raises many questions. What are advantages and disadvantages of each approach, both practically, and ethically? And to what degree are different approaches able to elicit long-term changes in behaviour? What ethical considerations are tied to different approaches and interventions to behaviour change?

Internship and Master’s Thesis
The internship and Master’s Thesis collectively form the graduation assignment, in which you will do your intervention research during the internship and write up the results in a thesis and an advisory report. You will deepen your acquired knowledge of behavior change and further develop your skills in this area and put both of these into practice. The programme offers various work placement posts with external parties, but internships may also be personally secured by students. You will preferably focus on a concrete, well-defined problem within an organisation. The duration of the entire graduation assignment is 21 weeks.

Study abroad
During your Master’s programme, you will have the opportunity to go abroad for your internship and Master’s Thesis. Most students are very excited about gaining some international experience. You will learn to look at things from the perspective of a different culture and you will meet new people; it is an experience that will enrich your life. What’s more, it will look great on your CV. The Faculty of Social Sciences can provide you with comprehensive information about studying abroad. Please see the International Office for Social Sciences website for information about meetings, scholarships, internships and other practical information.