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Psychology: Health and Medical Psychology


Health and Medical Psychology is a new and rapidly developing sub-discipline of Psychology. It can be described as “the aggregate of the specific educational, scientific and professional contributions of the discipline of Psychology to the promotion and maintenance of health, the prevention and treatment of illness, the identification of aetiological and diagnostic correlates of health and illness and related dysfunction, and the analysis and improvement of the health care system and health policy” (Matarazzo, 1982).


The major aim of this MSc specialisation is to provide students with a theoretical and practical background for health psychology research and interventions. This includes the acquisition of knowledge and skills relevant to health promotion and disease prevention, to the well being of the physically ill and the self-management of chronic diseases. Students acquire advanced research skills by participating in a health psychology research project. Completion of the MSc degree will prepare the student for subsequent academic degrees, including a PhD. Visit our Masters In Leiden page for more information about Health and Medical Psychology.


The curriculum of 60 EC offers a variety of courses and a supervised master thesis. The specialisation consists of:

  • 4 mandatory courses (20 EC)

  • thesis (20 EC)

  • practical internship (10 EC) ánd 10 EC elective course(s) or a clinical practical internship (20 EC)

Master's Kick Off

At this day (31 August 2023 for students starting in September and 1 February 2024 for students starting in February) your attendance is strongly advised.

During the Master's Kick Off you will be handed important information on how to organise your studies at Leiden University. The coordinator of your specialisation will be present. You do not want to miss this!

You can find the event page of the Master's Kick Off on the right-hand side of this page.

First year

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Compulsory coursework

Basic Therapeutic Skills 5
Designing Interventions for Behavioural Change 5
Psychological Assessment and Interventions in Chronic Disease 5
Cognitive Behaviour Interventions (HMP) 5
Master Thesis in MSc. Psychology 20

Choose one of the following options as internship

Clinical Practical Internship Psychology 20
Internal Practical Internship (IPI) 10
Internship Psychology 10

Recommended electives

If an internship of 10 EC is chosen, add 10 EC electives.
See overview of all electives

Trainers Course Communication Skills 10
Health Psychology: From Research to Practice 5
Innovations in eHealth Care 5

More info

Additional information


General coordinator and mentor

Dr. Chris Verhoeven

Thesis coordinator

Dr. Margot van der Doef
Dr. Judy Veldhuijzen
Dr. Kaya Peerdeman

Internship coordinator

Dr. Chris Verhoeven

Student representative

Find your student representative in the overview of programme committee members: Student representative

Career Perspective

Career preparation in the master specialisation Health and Medical Psychology

In addition to offering you a solid university education, Leiden University aims to prepare you as well as possible for the labour market, and in doing so contribute to the development of your employability. In this way, it will become easier for you to make the transition to the labour market, to remain employable in a dynamic labour market, in a (career) job that suits your own personal values, preferences and development.

'Employability' consists of the following aspects that you will develop within your study programme, among others:

  1. Discipline-specific knowledge and skills
    Knowledge and skills specific to your study programme.

  2. Transferable skills
    These are skills that are relevant to every student and that you can use in all kinds of jobs irrespective of your study programme, for example: researching, analysing, project-based working, generating solutions, digital skills, collaborating, oral communication, written communication, presenting, societal awareness, independent learning, resilience. But also think of job application skills: preparing a CV, formulating a cover letter, compiling a LinkedIn profile, networking, practising job interviews, preparing and holding a pitch.

  3. Self-reflection
    This involves reflecting on your own (study) career (choices), reflecting on your own profile and your personal and professional development. Gaining insight into, among other things, your competences and personality, your (work) values and motives. what can you do with your knowledge and skills on the labour market?
    Who are you, what can you do well, what do you find interesting, what suits you, what do you find important, what do you want to do?

  4. Practical experience
    Gaining practical experience through practical and social internships and work placements, external research internships and projects, practical assignments, which are integrated into an elective, minor or graduation assignment, business challenges etc.

  5. Labour market orientation
    Gaining insight into the labour market, fields of work, jobs and career paths through, for example, guest speakers from the work field, alumni presentations and experiences, career events within the study programme, the use of the alumni mentor network, interviewing people from the work field, and shadowing/visiting companies in the context of a particular subject.

Employability in the master specialisation Health and Medical Psychology

In your programme, you will also find these employability elements.

Subject-specific and transferable skills
These skills are addressed in the various courses of the programme. Check the specific course descriptions in the study guide to see which skills are involved.

Examples of courses that pay attention to the other employability elements are:


  • Basic Therapeutic Skills

  • Cognitive Behaviour Interventions

  • Internship

  • Relevant elective(s): Trainers Course Communication Skills; Health Psychology: From Research to Practice

Practical experience

  • Basic Therapeutic Skills

  • Designing Interventions for Behavioural Change

  • Psychological Assessments and Interventions in Chronic Disease

  • Cognitive Behaviour Interventions

  • Internship

  • Master Thesis

  • Relevant elective(s): Trainers Course Communication Skills; Health Psychology: From Research to Practice; Innovations in e-Healthcare

Labour market orientation

  • Designing Interventions for Behavioural Change

  • Psychological Assessments and Interventions in Chronic Disease

  • Internship

  • Relevant elective(s): Trainers Course Communication Skills; Health Psychology: From Research to Practice

Activities to prepare for the labour market outside the curriculum

Every year, various activities take place, within, alongside and outside of your study programme, which contribute to your preparation for the labour market, especially where it concerns orientation towards the work field/the labour market, (career) skills and self-reflection. These may be information meetings on decision moments within your programme, but also career workshops and events organised by your own programme, the faculty Career Service or your study association.

For example:

  • Twice a year a symposium is organized by the thesis-and internship coordinators with the aim to let students present a poster (on their thesis) and get in contact with alumni who share their experiences on the labour market and get informed by Career Services about what they have to offer.

  • Twice a year every student is invited for a personal mentor meeting to discuss study planning, progress, and career choices and -options.

  • Brightspace is available to HMP students and includes updated info on thesis, internship, and careers (incl job vacancies).

  • Workshops and (faculty) career events organised by the (faculty) Career Services

  • Workshops and career events of study association Labyrint and SPS NIP

Career Service, LU Career Zone and career workshops calendar

Faculty Career Service
The Career Service of your faculty offers information and advice on study (re)orientation and master's choice, (study) career planning, orientation on the labour market and job applications.

Leiden University Career Zone Leiden University Career Zone is the website for students and alumni of Leiden University to support their (study) career. You can find advice, information, (career) tests and tools in the area of (study) career planning, career possibilities with your study, job market orientation, job applications, the Alumni Mentor network, job portal, workshops and events and career services.

Workshops and events
On the course calendar you will find an overview of career and application workshops, organised by the Career services.