Psychology in Medicine [EL026]

Course highlights

EC points


Start date


End date


Course days



A. van 't Spijker, PhD

Course fee

€ 1680






Basic medical knowledge required.


  • Medical Psychology


How to apply

Detailed information about this course:


Medical psychologists study the way somatically ill people think, act and feel. The aim of this course is to teach students about psychological determinants of illness and illness behavior, the psychological consequences of somatic illness and psychological care for somatic patients. First, you’ll learn about ‘normal’ reactions to disease. We’ll then focus on abnormal and pathological reactions to somatic illness and on problems that patients might have in adjusting to their disease.

We will discuss models that explain why some people find it difficult to adjust to their disease, such as the stress coping model and the stress vulnerability model. Other models that will be discussed in this course include the Health Belief Model, the Theory of Planned Behavior and the Stages of Change Model. These models are widely applied by medical psychologists in interventions for somatic patients. Modern neuroscientific models for understanding behaviour and behavioural disorders will be addressed as well.

In this course, we will focus on various somatic problems, such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, infertility, organ transplantation and chronic pain.

Finally, basic theories of doctor-patient communication will be discussed, as communication between doctors and patients has become more and more important.

The learning method in this course is problem-based learning. Furthermore, you will build a new model for understanding a complex and realistic problem in medical psychology.


  • Understanding and applying the major models and theories in medical psychology;
  • Understanding the complex relationship between somatic, psychological and social aspects in disease and health;
  • Gaining state of the art knowledge about psychosocial interventions in health care;
  • Understanding principal theories of doctor-patient communication.


Attendance, Assignment(s)

Reduction on fees

PLEASE NOTE: This does not apply to the fee of the research master programmes (120 EC points)

No fees are charged for  Erasmus MC PhD candidates, provided they have an account in Hora Finita, the Erasmus University PhD registration system. When submitting the application, you can state that someone else pays your tuition fee.

In case of cancellation or no show, the cancellation policy applies based on the full course fee.


25% reduction for all (international) PhD candidates without formal appointment at Erasmus MC

Upon receipt of your application you will receive a request to upload proof of enrollment as a PhD candidate.