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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. Master’s Programme – 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)


At the very start of your study programme all master’s students enrol for all courses at the Master’s introduction and course enrolment day. At this day the attendance of first year master’s students in Psychology is required if they start with a master’s programme.

Master’s course registration

First year

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Compulsory coursework

Basic Therapeutic Skills 5
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention 5
Psychological Assessment and Interventions in Chronic Disease 5
Cognitive Behaviour Interventions 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

Trainers Course Communication Skills 10
Health Psychology in 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

Internship coordinator

Dr. Chris Verhoeven

Student representative

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


A master's degree in Psychology at Leiden University combines theoretical knowledge with academic and professional skills, making you an attractive candidate for many employers.

Professional skills
The master's specialisation Health and Medical Psychology will provide advanced training including skills relevant to health promotion and disease prevention. Furthermore, you learn to apply the intervention methods to the well-being of the physically ill and the self-management of chronic diseases.

Research skills
In line with the profile of Leiden University as a research-intensive institution, the teaching programme is based on state-of-the art scientific research. It maintains a strong emphasis on the acquisition of academic and research skills. Training is provided in all relevant skills, including: •Reviewing the relevant literature •Applying theoretical knowledge to analyse practical problems •Developing hypotheses and writing research proposals •Designing and carrying out empirical studies •Designing and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions •Conducting advanced statistical analyses •Presenting results and recommendations

See our website for possible career positions.