Orientation, educational goals
Health psychology is a rapidly developing field of scientific research and practice, which uses psychological approaches and methods for the study of health and illness determinants and of the broader context of care for health improvement. This scientific field stresses psychological, socio-economic, and organisational correlates of health behaviour. Health psychologists use theoretically and empirically founded psychological principles of changing behaviour, beliefs, and social conditions regarding health and illness. Health psychology is aimed at increasing people’s quality of life and well-being by applying programmes for health improvement, illness prevention, health-care and health system optimisation, as well as maintaining interdisciplinary connections with the medical, humanitarian, social and pedagogical scientific fields.
The purpose of the Health Psychology Master’s Program is to prepare specialists who can carry out a broad range of psychological and counselling services as well as research in fields related to social and health policies on a high professional level. Other major objective of the programme is expanding and broadening of the basic knowledge, theoretical approaches, and research methods in the field. It is thematically committed and directed to significant pressing societal problems, to development and improvement of professional competencies. The programme presents the opportunity for development and a narrow specialisation within health psychology, related to extensive research of a specific topic. The Educational-Scientific Laboratory for Cross-Cultural Research of Human Development and Psychological Health at the Department of General, Experimental, and Genetic Psychology, part of the Faculty of Philosophy assists the research project activities of the Master’s Programme.
Education (knowledge and skills, needed for successful professional work; general theoretical and special preparation, etc.)
The education in the Health Psychology Master’s Programme gives in-depth and critical understanding of the basic knowledge, theories, and research methods related to improving health, preventing illnesses, and increasing quality of life. This involves opportunities for designing, conducting, and analysing psychological research for the purpose of developing analytical, problem-solving, and intervention developing abilities relying on scientific proof. Each of the disciplines studied in the Programme is completed through preparation and defence of a course project. The Master’s Programme is completed by defending a Master’s Thesis which represents a theoretical and empirical research on a topic chosen by the student, which is to be released under the guidance of a supervisor. The defence of the Thesis is carried out after the completion of the third semester in front of a state committee of university lecturers with an academic rank.
The Master’s Programme facilitates the development of knowledge and skills necessary for expert diagnostic and counselling activities in finding adaptive solutions on individual group and societal levels. Graduates attain professional competencies and skills for conducting psychological research – fundamental and applied, for psychological counselling, for health education, for work with people who have health issues or chronic illnesses, for behaviour change and adaptation in multicultural environment. Health psychology graduates receive the qualification Master and attain the right to carry out diagnostic work and counselling related to illness prevention, health improvement, increasing quality of life, managing and optimizing social and health policies.
Students graduating the Health Psychology Programme can find realisation in different professional directions related to psychology and healthcare in public, municipal, and private health and social services, day and rehabilitation centres, educational institutions, medical and pharmaceutical companies, research centres and institutes, non-governmental organisations. They can work as experts and consultants applying programmes and practices for health promotion, illness prevention, health care systems and education optimisation, and quality of life improvement.