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EducationMaster's and PhD degree programmesEnvironmental Psychology
Header image Environmental Psychology

Environmental Psychology

How can psychology help us understand and solve environmental and energy-related problems? How can we motivate and empower people to act pro-environmentally and adapt to a changing environment?

Questions like these are addressed in the Master program 'Environmental psychology'. The program focuses on the interactions between humans and their environment. You will acquire theoretical knowledge and methodological skills to understand and address the human dimension of environmental and energy-related problems. The program is taught by the world-leading Environmental Psychology group at the University of Groningen.

The expertise gained in this master is essential in attempts to limit global climate change and its negative impacts, and adapt successfully to the consequences of climate change. Governments and companies seek advice from environmental psychologists to understand the human dimension of sustainable development, and leading journals, such as Nature, stress the importance of the social sciences for solving environmental and energy-related problems. This master will equip you for job opportunities that focus on finding effective and acceptable societal solutions to these problems.

Facts & Figures
Degree
MSc in Psychology
Course type
Master
Duration
12 months (60 ECTS)
Croho code
60260
Language of instruction
English
Start
February, September
Faculty
Behavioural and Social Sciences
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • We offer one of the few programs in the world that focus on the human dimensions of environmental and energy-related problems
  • A strong emphasis on theoretically innovative research and application of scientific insights in practice
  • You can take part in ongoing research of the internationally renowned Environmental Psychology group, or set up your own new research.
  • You can directly apply your insight to real-life cases (e.g. internship)
  • We use innovative teaching methods
Programme

The master program Environmental Psychology equips you with the theoretical knowledge and methodological skills to understand the human dimension of environmental and energy-related problems. Furthermore, it provides you with the expertise to develop effective and societally acceptable solutions for these problems.

The program introduces you to the main theories in the course Environmental Psychology. Further, you will learn how to design and evaluate interventions to improve environmental quality in the course 'Designing Interventions'. In the course 'Advanced Topics in Environmental Psychology', you will become an expert on a self-chosen topic within the field of Environmental Psychology. Finally, 'Working in Interdisciplinary Teams' teaches you to integrate your obtained knowledge with perspectives from other disciplines to better understand and address the complexity of environmental and energy-related problems.

Throughout the year, you will be working on your individual master thesis and possible internship, in which you can work on your own research project. You will have the opportunity to be involved in collaborations with other universities, governmental agencies, companies and NGOs. Also you will choose a methodological course in which you learn advanced research methods in Environmental Psychology, and follow an elective course to tailor the program to your interests and ambitions.

Periods
CoursesCourse Catalog >1234
Environmental Psychology (5 EC)
An elective course (Choose one) (5 EC)
Master thesis (30 EC)
Methodological course (Choose one) (5 EC)
  • We recommend Advanced research methods in social and organizational psychology
Designing interventions (5 EC)
Advanced topics in Environmental Psychology (5 EC)
Working in interdisciplinary teams (5 EC)

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional

We recommend you to take all the courses as indicated in the programme schedule. If you are interested in writing part of your master thesis abroad, you can discuss this with the master thesis coordinator. In that case, you will be co-supervised by researchers from the university you visit. Our group collaborates with scholars from all over the world.

Entry requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
language test

Bachelor students meet language requirements. For English-taught tracks, students with an HBO Toegepaste Psychologie need to provide evidence of satisfactory results for one of the standard tests. For more details see https://www.rug.nl/gmw/psychology/education/master/aanmelding-en-toelating/taaleisen-engels

previous education

To be eligible for admission to this master, you need to hold a Bachelor's degree in Psychology (or with a strong focus on Psychology) from a Research University, based on wide psychological knowledge and skills, as well advanced statistical and methodological knowledge and skills. For some tracks, it is possible to do a premaster in case you do not completely satisfy the criteria. Details on admission criteria as well as on the admission procedure per prior education can be found on https://www.rug.nl/gmw/psychology/education/master/aanmelding-en-toelating/ PLEASE NOTE: For the enrollment for the September 2021 start of the Master's program, it is very likely that we will have to impose a capacity limitation on the number of students that can enter our program. The rules for the ensuing selection will be announced in the first half of 2020.

Registration procedure

The application procedure depends on prior education.

For a full description of the application procedure, please consult Application and Admission.
Students who have finished the bachelor in Psychology at the University of Groningen can, for most master tracks, register until 1 February / 1 September.

Transfer options

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
All Research universitiesVia a pre-master
Psychology (EN)All Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Applied PsychologyAll Universities of applied sciencesDeficiency program with a maximum of 60 EC
Study programmeOrganizationTransition
PsychologyUniversity of GroningenNo additional requirements
Psychology (EN)University of GroningenNo additional requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
language test

Non-native English speakers must moreover provide evidence of satisfactory results for one of the standard tests. For a complete overview, please seehttps://www.rug.nl/gmw/psychology/education/master/aanmelding-en-toelating/taaleisen-engels

previous education

To be eligible for admission to this master, you need to hold a Bachelor's degree in Psychology (or with a strong focus on Psychology) from a Research University, based on wide psychological knowledge and skills, as well advanced statistical and methodological knowledge and skills. For some tracks, it is possible to do a premaster in case you do not completely satisfy the criteria. Details on admission criteria as well as on the admission procedure per prior education can be found on https://www.rug.nl/gmw/psychology/education/master/aanmelding-en-toelating/ PLEASE NOTE: For the enrollment for the September 2021 start of the Master's program, it is very likely that we will have to impose a capacity limitation on the number of students that can enter our program. The rules for the ensuing selection will be announced in the first half of 2020.

Registration procedure

The application procedure depends on prior education.

For a full description of the application procedure, please consult Application and Admission.
Students who have finished the bachelor in Psychology at the University of Groningen can, for most master tracks, register until 1 February / 1 September.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 December 201901 February 2020
01 May 202001 September 2020
01 December 202001 February 2021
EU/EEA students01 December 201901 February 2020
01 May 202001 September 2020
01 December 202001 February 2021
non-EU/EEA students01 November 201901 February 2020
01 April 202001 September 2020
01 November 202001 February 2021
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2019-2020€ 2083full-time
non-EU/EEA2019-2020€ 14650full-time
EU/EEA2020-2021€ 2143full-time
non-EU/EEA2020-2021€ 15000full-time

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

There is an increasing demand from practitioners and policy makers to understand the human dimension of sustainable development. Technical solution alone cannot solve environmental problems: Behavioural changes are required and sustainable policies and innovations need to be accepted and adopted by the public. This Master will prepare you for job opportunities in science and practice that focus on finding effective and societally acceptable solutions to environmental and energy-related problems.

Our programme equips you for positions in practice or science.

Job examples

  • Policy advisor
  • Environmental policy making (e.g. at national or municipality level)
  • Consultancy
  • Behavioral expert in environmental and energy organizations

    (such as grid operators, energy providers and water companies)

  • Environmental communication and education

    (for example at MilieuCentraal )

  • Researcher at an institute of applied sciences

    (such as the Netherlands institute for social research (SCP))

  • PhD in Environmental and/or Psychological research
Research

Research

The Environmental Psychology group at the University of Groningen is a world leader in the field. The chair of the group, prof. dr. Linda Steg is among the world’s most highly cited researchers. You will have the opportunity to join our research projects, collaborating with other disciplines, practitioners, and experts from all over the world.

Examples of research topics:

  • Cross-cultural research on values, environmental beliefs, and actions
  • Factors influencing pro-environmental actions, such as energy savings and recycling behaviour, at home or at work
  • Public acceptability of policies and technologies aimed at a sustainable energy transition
  • Individual and social factors influencing climate change adaptation behaviours
  • Adoption of sustainable innovations such as electric vehicles
  • Factors influencing sustainable transport behaviours
  • Factors influencing the effectiveness of community energy initiatives
  • Effective governance and public engagement in decisions on sustainable development

Selection of Academic Staff:

Prof. dr. Linda Steg (KNAW member)
Expertise: understanding environmental behaviour including energy use and car use; acceptability and effectiveness of environmental policy; values; intrinsic motivation
Course: Environmental Psychology

Dr. Ellen van der Werff (Master theses coordinator)
Expertise: pro-environmental behaviour; interventions to promote pro-environmental behaviour; policy acceptability and effectiveness; environmental self-identity
Course: Designing interventions

Dr. Goda Perlaviciute (Coordinator Master Environmental Psychology)
Expertise: public evaluations and acceptability of energy sources, systems and policies
Course: Advanced topics in Environmental Psychology

Dr. Lise Jans (Coordinator Master Environmental Psychology)
Expertise: The role of group processes in environmental issues, attitudes, and behaviours
Course: Working in interdisciplinary teams

Selection of recent publications:

  • Bouman, T., & Steg, L. (2019). Motivating Society-wide Pro-environmental Change. One Earth. https://doi.org/(...)j.oneear.2019.08.002
  • Geiger, J. L., Steg, L., van der Werff, E., & Ünal, A. B. (2019). A meta-analysis of factors related to recycling. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 64, 78-97.
  • Keizer, M., Sargisson, R. J., van Zomeren, M., & Steg, L. (2019). The middle road: When personal norms predict the acceptability of push and pull car-reduction policies. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behavior, 64, 413-423. doi:10.1016/j.trf.2019.06.005
  • Liu, L., Bouman, T., Perlaviciute, G., & Steg, L. (2019). Effects of trust and public participation on acceptability of renewable energy projects in the Netherlands and China. Energy Research and Social Science, 53, 137-144. https://doi.org/(...)6/j.erss.2019.03.006
  • Sloot, D., Jans, L., & Steg, L. (2019). In it for the money, the environment, or the community? Motives for being involved in community energy initiatives. Global Environmental Change, 57, 101936. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2019.101936
  • Van der Werff, E., Taufik, D., & Venhoeven, L. (2019). Pull the plug: How private commitment strategies can strengthen personal norms and promote energy-saving in the Netherlands. Energy Research & Social Science, 54, 26-33.
  • Van der Werff, E., Vrieling, L., Van Zuijlen, B., & Worrell, E. (2019). Waste minimization by households–A unique informational strategy in the Netherlands. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 144, 256-266
  • Van Valkengoed, A., & Steg, L. (2019). Meta-analyses of factors motivating climate change adaptation behaviour. Nature Climate Change, 9, 158-163. doi: 10.1038/s41558-018-0371-y.

  • Book: Steg, L. & de Groot, J. I. M. (Eds.) (2019). Environmental psychology: An introduction. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
Apply nowBrochureEventsContact
Master's WeekBroerstraat 5More information

Contact

If you want to know more about the programme Environmental Psychology, please contact:

  • Admissions Board Master Psychology (about admission & application, for students with a Dutch diploma)
    Email: toelatingscommissie.masterpsy rug.nl
  • Student Service Desk (appointment academic advisor & more, see website (onderwijsbalie))
    Telephone: +31 (5)0 363 6301
  • Academic Advisor Psychology (about the programme, enrollment, studying)
  • Admission Office (Please put environmentalpsychology@rug.nl in cc if you are contacting admissions office)
    Email: admission rug.nl
  • Programme Coordinators Environmental Psychology (Program coordinators)
    Email: environmentalpsychology rug.nl
  • Andrea Kis (Student, Year representative)
    Email: k.andrea student.rug.nl
  • Goda Perlaviciute (Coordinator master programme Environmental Psychology)
    Email: g.perlaviciute rug.nl
    Telephone: +31 50 363 7618
  • Watch this videoClose
  • 
						Testimonial of Lise Jans

    Lise Jans, lecturer and researcher - Master track Environmental Psychology

    – Lise Jans
    Read more

    My name is Lise Jans and I'm involved in the Master's track in Environmental Psychology. I coordinate the track together with Goda Perlaviciute and I also teach the course unit 'Working in interdisciplinary teams'. Whereas Environmental Psychology normally focuses on individuals, I myself specialize in group processes – for example, how can we influence group processes to achieve sustainable energy behaviour?

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of Ruben Mul

    This master enables me to bring my knowledge of psychology into practice and apply it to important, urgent matters such as climate change and sustainable energy transition

    – Ruben Mul
    Read more

    My name is Ruben Mul and I'm following the Master's programme in Environmental Psychology. This field focuses on the interaction between humans and their environment. I am particularly interested in how people influence their living environment. How can we encourage people to make more environmentally friendly choices? The Master's in Environmental Psychology teaches us to develop and apply theories to explain and change people's eco-behaviour, a topic that is now more important than ever.

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of Rutger Wessels

    Rutger Wessels works at the Dutch political party GroenLinks on political strategy, online campaigns and as digital media manager

    – Rutger Wessels
    Read more

    After finishing my studies I started working as a Digital Media Manager for a Dutch political party called GroenLinks (GreenLeft). I manage their social media channels, write newsletters and make sure that the messages of GroenLinks reach as many people as possible on-line. Furthermore, I work on the political strategy and on-line campaigns. It is a very diverse and challenging job which allows me to actively apply my knowledge of Social Psychology.

    Close
  • Watch this videoClose
  • Watch this videoClose
  • Watch this videoClose
  • 
						Testimonial of Nadja  Zeiske

    PhD student in Environmental Psychology at the University of Groningen

    – Nadja Zeiske
    Read more

    My interest in environmental issues led me to pursue the research master Behavioural and Social sciences, where I could deepen my understanding of the topic and at the same time delve into the world of research.

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of

    Groningen is one of the few places in Europe where you can study Environmental Psychology.

    Read more

    I studied psychology in Italy and decided to come to the Netherlands to do a Master's degree. I heard from my Italian friends who were already studying in the Netherlands that it is a beautiful country, and that university classes are very different from those in Italy – that lectures are more interactive, and that the programmes have a more practical focus.

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of alumnus Jiro Haratsuka

    I originally studied 'Environmental Engineering' in Japan. Environmental Psychology was a very interesting new field for me

    – alumnus Jiro Haratsuka
    Read more

    I originally studied 'Environmental Engineering' in Japan. When I graduated in 2003, I got a job as a government official at the Japanese Ministry of the Environment. A few years later, I got the opportunity to study for two years in The Netherlands. The first year, I studied 'Environment  and Resource Management' in Amsterdam and in the second year I started the master 'Environmental Psychology' in Groningen.

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of lecturer Goda Perlaviciute

    Goda Perlaviciute – Assistant Professor of Environmental Psychology

    – lecturer Goda Perlaviciute
    Read more

    I am an assistant professor in Environmental Psychology, which means I do both teaching and research in this field. A significant part of my work is coordinating the Environmental Psychology Master's track. This is a new programme, which is very exciting. I also teach a course unit for this programme: Advanced Topics in Environmental psychology.

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of alumnus Nanne Bakker

    Project / account manager and product developer at Energ Delta Institute

    – alumnus Nanne Bakker
    Read more

    I work at the Energy Delta Istitute (EDI) in Groningen as a project and account manager and product developer. EDI educates professionals in the energy sector all over the world.

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of Student Annika Handreke

    I previously did not know a field that combined environmental studies and sustainability with psychology

    – Student Annika Handreke
    Read more

    My name is Annika Handreke, 24, and I started studying the Master Environmental Psychology in September 2017. When I heard about the Master of Environmental Psychology in Groningen, I was immediately intrigued and excited, as I previously did not know a field that combined environmental studies and sustainability with psychology..

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of Alumnus Leonie Venhoeven

    – Alumnus Leonie Venhoeven

Missed our webinar? Not to worry!

After the broadcast, you can watch the recording of the webinar via the online portal of the university. Please note! You can no longer post your question when watching on demand.

Watch the recording of the webinar with dr. Lise Jans (4 March 2019).

We advise to always watch the webinar of the current (academic) year, to prevent that you miss updated topic information. Also, when participating in the live webinar you can ask your questions directly, and listen to the answers to questions of other viewers.

In the 'Open days and events' calendar, you can see which events are planned and how to register.






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Study associations

VIP

VIP is the study association for the Psychology students at the University of Groningen.
VIP organizes study-related and social activities. As a VIP-member, you receive a discount on study books as well as a discount on VIP activities. On this website, you can find more information about VIP, our events, committees, and the book sale.
https://www.vipsite.nl/
Read more
Student profile

We are searching for students:

  • with a Bachelor degree in Psychology (or sufficient related expertise)
  • interested in the interaction between humans and their environment,
  • interested in the application of psychology to address environmental and energy-related problems
  • interested in combining theory and practice
  • planning a future career in- or outside of academia
Study support

Our academic advisors provide more detailed information about our programmes and give advice to prospective students, students who are enrolled in one of our programmes, and alumni.You can turn to them with questions about the programme itself, study planning, choosing courses/minors, enrolment, rules and regulations that apply to a programme, following courses at other faculties, studying abroad.

Do not hesitate to contact an academic advisor. You can arrange for a meeting by phone via the Stu