Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 2PS276

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
Second cycle
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 29 October 2021
Responsible department
Department of Psychology

Entry requirements

The student should be admitted to Master's programme in social sciences. Also required is 90 credits in psychology or in some other social science subject.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should be able to - give a general account of the area of public health - account for the fundamental features in national and international policies and strategies with regard to work in public health issues, - understand and explain important public health concepts and the determinants of the public health, - account for different theories of stress - give examples of and analyse different environmental stressors, the complexity in the stress response, and psychological manifestations of acute and chronic stress - discuss the importance of social and cultural processes, social ecology, with regard to individual stress reactions and possibilities for recovery, - account for a behavioural medicine view and its treatment principles in relation to large public health problems as obesity, alcohol and tobacco dependence, and chronic pain.


The aim of the course is to provide basic knowledge about public health issues at different levels, e.g. individual, national, and international levels. Further, an overall view is presented on human health related both to individual predispositions and the surrounding environment. The contents of the course are constituted by several parts, a public health-, a person-environment-, and a behavioural medicine perspective. In the first part of the course, the most common public health problems of today are presented. Biological and social determinants as well as the environments importance for health and illness are considered, with a focus on health-promoting and preventive measures.

In the second part, the complexity of the stress response will be analysed. Different forms of environmental stressors will be focused, and psychological manifestations of stress will be identified. Here, different coping strategies as well as the concept of recovery are also described.


Teaching is given in the form of lectures and seminars. Supervision is given in connection with short essays and thesis work. The teaching may be given in English.


The students knowledge is assessed via written examinations, individual short essays and thesis work in groups. Further, the student's achievements at participation in seminars are assessed. For examination, the grades used are passed with distinction, passed, and failed.

Other directives

Other requirements, prerequisites and conditions for participation in and the fulfilment of the course, e.g. compulsory attendance, design of own work, etc., are evident from information given at the course introduction. A student who does not meet the mandatory requirements for a passing grade is usually given the opportunity to complete remaining parts the following term and/or is given complementary assignments by the course director.