Course syllabus for

Health Psychology, 7.5 credits

Hälsopsykologi, 7.5 hp
This course syllabus is valid from spring 2017.
Please note that the course syllabus is available in the following versions:
Course code
Course name
Health Psychology
7.5 credits
Form of Education
Higher Education, study regulation 2007
Main field of study 
G2 - First cycle 2 
Grading scale
Fail (U), pass (G) or pass with distinction (VG)
Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Decided by
Programnämnden för Psykologprogrammet
Decision date
Revised by
Education committee CNS
Last revision
Course syllabus valid from
Spring 2017

Specific entry requirements

Passed results of the first and second semester (30 credits and at least 15 credits, respectively) of the Study Programme in Psychology.

Student having failed placement (placement or the equivalent) as a consequence of having shown serious deficiencies in knowledge, skills or attitude that client- or patient security or the clients/ the patients/ the employers' trust for the activities/the healthcare been jeopardised, are qualified to new placement only when the individual action plan has been completed.


Part 1: Basic health psychology

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • account for and reason about central concepts, models, issues, study methods and methods of measurement as well as theories and research traditions within the health psychology
  • present knowledge and research findings relevant to health and disease, and evaluate these findings critically with a scientific approach
  • account for how behavioural factors such as sleep and physical activity influence the individual's health and well-being, and reflect on personal health behaviours and behavioural change
  • describe psychological theories and methods central for behavioural change and prevention of some large public health problems such as overweight, alcohol and tobacco dependence, chronic pain, stress and sleep disorders
  • describe and critically review the evidence for treatments within and outside the healthcare system.
  • describe the bases of the body's allostatic systems (nerve-, hormone-, and immune system) and their cooperation, and discuss the relevance of this for health, disease and brain function
  • account for common public health disorders and their pathophysiology, and give examples of their psychological and behavioural causes, as well as psychological and behavioural effects of these problems, and account for how behavioural factors such as physical activity, can improve the physiological function in these diseases

Part 2: Applied health psychology

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • show ability to describe applied work within the field of the health psychology, based on their own observations
  • describe and reflect around the theories and assumptions behind the practical work in the organization, and reflect on difficulties and possibilities with implementation of evidence-based care


The course consists of two (2) part.

Basic health psychology, 6 hp In the first part of the course, knowledge of the health concept and methods to measure health and quality of life are given. Likewise, the student is trained in disease pathology with the aim to obtain general knowledge of the public health disorders regarding occurrence, genesis, treatment and possible influence on the nervous system. Further, the student is taught the bases of the interplay between neural, hormonal and immunological mechanisms in relation to behaviour and health and the diseases that have been studied within the disease theory. Special emphasis is given to psychobiological perspectives on pain, stress and sleep. The student is also taught alternative- and complementary medicine. In this part, the student should also be familiarized with preventive work and methods to influence behaviour/life style and how psychological treatment can be given within the somatic care. T Applied health psychology, 1.5 hp The first part of part 2 consists of observation of professional practice relevant to health psychology, e g psychological treatment in somatic care, preventive health care or in health-psychological research. The final part consists of presentation and reflection on theories and methods that underlie the work on the auscultation place.

Teaching methods

The teaching consists of teacher-supervised lectures and seminars where the students are encouraged to participate actively in discussing and reflecting. Further, the teaching consists of practical modules that aim to let the students fill out and analyse questionnaires or tests that are used in health psychology, and of practical elements that aim to provide familiarity with methods of behavioural change or psychological treatment. Certain seminars, practical parts and exercise sessions are compulsory.

The course coordinator decides whether, and if so how, absence from compulsory course elements can be made up. Study results cannot be reported until the student has participated in compulsory course elements or compensated for any absence in accordance with instructions from the course coordinator. Under the auscultation, 100% attendance at the auscultation place is applies. The teacher responsible for placements arranges auscultation place for regular auscultation. In case of absence, the student should contact the course coordinator for more information.


Part 1: The bases of the health psychology (6 credits)
- Written examination
- Written home exam 
- Written assignments
Part 1 is graded with a three-graded scale Pass with distinction, Pass or Fail. For Pass, Pass is required on all written assignments both written examinations, for Pass with distinction Pass is required on all written assignments and Pass with distinction on both written examinations.

Part 2: Applied health psychology (1.5 credits)
- Written report and oral discussion
Part 2 is graded with two-graded scale, Pass or Fail.

Course grade:
To pass the entire course, at least grade Pass on all examination assignments under part 1 is required and 2. For Pass with distinction in the whole course, Pass with distinction on part 1 and Pass on part 2 is required.

Limitation in the number of examinations:
Students who do not pass a regular examination are entitled to re-sit the examination on five more occasions. If the student has failed six examinations/tests, no additional examination is given. Each occasion the student participates in the same test counts as an examination. Submission of a blank exam paper is regarded as an examination. Examination session to which the student registered but not participated is not counted as an examination session. Next occasion can be the following regular examination in the course. The next re-examination is informed at the start of the course.

Regarding the auscultation, which is a placement (VFU), the number of times a student has the right to auscultate (and thereby be examined) is limited to two (2) times. For more detailed information, see Guidelines for examination compiled by Karolinska Institutet.

Guidelines at failure: Course coordinator can with immediate impact interrupt a student's auscultation if the student shows such serious deficiencies in knowledge, skills or attitudes that client or patient security or the patients/the clients/the employers' trust for the field/the healthcare unit is jeopardised. . When the auscultation is interrupted such as this, it implies that the student fails on the current part and that one possibility to complete the course is consumed. In such cases, an individual action plan should be established, where it makes clear which activities and examinations that are required before the student is given possibility to complete the course again.

Transitional provisions

The transition rules follow KI's local guidelines for examination.

Other directives

Course evaluation takes place according to KI's local guidelines. Results and possible actions are communicated to the students on the course web page.

Literature and other teaching aids

Mandatory literature

Morrison, James Psykiska symtom med medicinska orsaker Zetterström, Gun

Mandatory literature - choose one of these two books

Choose one of the two books below.

Ogden, Jane Health psychology
Morrison, Val; Bennett, Paul An introduction to health psychology

Mandatory literature - choose one of these three books

Lännergren, Jan Fysiologi
Maders Understanding Human Anatomy & Phy.
Sand, Olav; Sjaastad, Øystein V.; Haug, Egil Människans fysiologi Toverud, Kari C.; Bolinder-Palmér, Inger