Course syllabus for

Health Psychology, 7.5 credits

Hälsopsykologi, 7.5 hp
This course syllabus is valid from spring 2020.
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 2020

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

  • describe and reason about central concepts models, theories and methods within health psychology
  • account for common somatic national diseases and their pathophysiology and the relation between illness/ pathophysiology and psychology/ behavioral factors 
  • with a scientific approach, describe and value knowledge, treatment methods and measures relevant for health and disease, both within and outside of established health care
  • describe the body's nervous-, hormonal-, and immune-systems and their interface and discuss its relevance in health, disease, well-being and brain function
  • describe psychological methods central to behavior change and prevention, and show ability to reflect over ones own behavior change
  • in a given context apply health psychological knowledge, theories and/ or methods to describe, analyse and/ or suggest actions regarding problems within the health psychology realm

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 the following two (2) parts:

Basic health psychology, 6.0 hp

Grading scale: VU

In the first part of the course, knowledge is given of the health concept and methods to measure health and quality of life. Disease theory and pathology, and general knowledge about national diseases, regarding occurrence, genesis, treatment and possible influence on the nervous system. The basic interplay between neural, hormonal, and immunological mechanisms in relation to behavior and health, and the illnesses studied. Psychobiological perspectives on pain, stress, and sleep are presented. Preventive work, psychological treatment and methods for life-style  and behavior change within somatic care are included. Complementary and alternative medicine is touched upon briefly.

Applied health psychology, 1.5 hp

Grading scale: GU

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 discussion of observations at the site, and an analysis of theories and methods informing the work in the particular site observed 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 (for instance auscultation) and practical excercises that aim to provide familiarity with methods of behavioural change or psychological treatment. Certain seminars, practical parts, exercise sessions and written assignments are compulsory (please see course schedule).


Part 1, The bases of the health psychology (6 credits)
- Written home exam 
- Individual written assignment (non-mandatory)

Home examination is graded with Pass (G) or Fail (U).
The individual written assignment is graded with Pass with distinction (VG), Pass (G) or Fail (U).

The grading scale for Part 1 is Pass with distinction (VG)/ Pass (G) or Fail (U).
To Pass (G) in part 1 requires the grade Pass (G) for the home examination, and attendance on compulsory educational activities according to instructions in schedule.
To Pass with distinction (VG) in part 1 requires the grade Pass (G) for the home examination, the grade Pass with distinction (VG) for the individual written assignment.

Part 2, Applied health psychology (1.5 credits)
- Written report

The written report is graded with Pass (G) or Fail (U).

The grading scale for Part 2 is Pass (G) or Fail (U).
To Pass (G) in part 2 requires the grade Pass (G) for the home examination.

Course grade
The grade Pass (G) on the entire course, requires the grade Pass (G) on both parts of the course, and attendance on compulsory educational activities according to instructions in schedule.
The grade Pass with distinction (VG) on the entire course, requires the grade Pass with distinction (VG) on part 1, the grade Pass (G) on part 2, and attendance on compulsory educational activities according to instructions in schedule.

Absence from compulsory course elements
The examiner 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 examiner. 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 examiner for more information.

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 KI's local guidelines for examination.

Guidelines at failure
Examiner 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 auscultation possibility 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 auscultation again.

Possibility of exception from the course syllabus' regulations on examination
If there are special grounds, or a need for adaptation for a student with a disability, the examiner may decide to deviate from the syllabus' regulations on the examination form, the number of examination opportunities, the possibility of supplementation or exemptions from the compulsory section/s of the course etc. Content and learning outcomes as well as the level of expected skills, knowledge and attitudes may not be changed, removed or reduced.

Transitional provisions

The transition rules follow KI's local guidelines.

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 R. When psychological problems mask medical disorders : a guide for psychotherapists

Mandatory literature - choose one of these two books

Choose one of the two books below.

Ogden, Jane Health psychology : [a textbook]
Morrison, Val; Bennett, Paul An introduction to health psychology

Mandatory literature - choose one of these three books

Fysiologi Lännergren, Jan; Westerblad, Håkan; Ulfendahl, Mats; Lundeberg, Thomas
Maders Understanding Human Anatomy & Phy.
Sand, olav; et al Människokroppen : Fysiologi och anatomi