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Pharmacological and Biological Approaches to Clinical and Health Psychology


Entry requirements

Personality, Clinical and Health Psychology or a similar course (at the discretion of your study adviser.).


Understanding of the role of biopsychological factors in psychopathology and health problems and their treatment has increased considerably in the past decades. This is mainly due to rapid developments in the fields of pharmacology, (functional) neuroimaging, genetics, and psychoneuroimmunology. Knowledge of biopsychology and psychopharmacology is essential to understand the underlying mechanisms of disorders, but also to understand and improve diagnostics and treatment.

This course focuses on basic knowledge of the role of biological processes in the development and course of psychopathology (in particular, mood and anxiety disorders), and health problems (e.g., pain and allergic reactions). The emphasis lies on genetic, neurobiological, immunological, and endocrine (hormonal) mechanisms. Biological mechanisms of non-pharmacological and pharmacological therapies and treatments are reviewed. Attention is also paid to recent developments in treatment, such as TMS, bright light therapy and innovative approaches to adjunctive psychopharmacology.

Course objectives

After completion of the course, students are able to:

  • Describe basic biological processes in relation to clinical and health psychology, in particular genetics, neurobiology, endocrinology, and immunology; and

  • Explain the relevance of these biological processes for pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments.


For the timetables of your lectures, workgroups, and exams, select your study programme.
Psychology timetables



Students need to register for lectures, workgroups and exams.
Instructions for registration in courses for the 2nd and 3rd year

For information on registration periods consult the bachelor course registration


Elective students have to enroll for each course separately. For admission requirements contact your study advisor.

Exchange/Study abroad

For admission requirements, please contact your exchange coordinator.


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date; students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination.
Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

8 2-hour lectures

Assessment method

Examination consisting of 40 multiple choice and 5 essay questions. The examination questions cover the book, syllabus and lecture handouts.

Regulations on grade calculations.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud.

Reading list

  • Selected chapters from R.H. Ettinger. (2011) Psychopharmacology: International Edition. Pearson Education. ISBN-13: 9780132787642

  • Syllabus with selected readings

  • Lecture handouts

Contact information