Occupational Health Psychology

Programme

The one-year master’s specialisation in Occupational Health Psychology consists of the following parts:

  • mandatory and elective courses
  • an internship
  • a master’s thesis

For the most up to date course overview, see the
e-Prospectus

Master details

  • This is a specialisation of: Psychology
  • Degree Master of Science in Psychology
  • Mode of study Full-time
  • Duration 1 year
  • Start date September and February
  • Language of instruction English
  • Location Leiden
  • Croho/isat code 66604

Wideke Vijverberg, MSc

“My job was a continuation of my internship. I found my internship by sending an unsolicited application.”

What was your motivation to choose this master specialization?
I was looking for a master with diversity. The other masters were focusing on only one discipline of psychology. The OHP master combines multiple disciplines, namely social and organizational psychology, cognitive psychology and health psychology.

What are the most important things you have learned during your master?
The most important thing I learned was the level of thinking, and the way you should handle things. The workgroups were very interesting due to the practical approach. I also found it very interesting to look at an employee from different perspectives (health psychology, human error, group dynamic, organizational structures, etc.) Furthermore, during my master I developed an idea about what I wanted to do in the future. I found out I wanted to help organizations to improve the way they organize and handle issues.

How do you look back upon your master?
Satisfied. I am very glad I chose this master. The employee in his/her working environment was the central topic during this master, and the knowledge I gained regarding this topic is useful in every real-life working situation.

Where did you do your internship, and how did you like it?
I did my internship at an organizational consultancy agency in Utrecht, Andersson Elffers Felix (AEF). I assisted in the execution of advisory processes in different organizations. By doing this, I had the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes in different organizations, and I expanded my view of working life. What options are there? What is going on? What do I like? I have had a great time during this internship. I had nice colleagues and interesting assignments. I liked it so much that I started to work in this agency as a junior consultant.

Where have you worked since your graduation, and where are you currently working?
After I graduated (February 2008) I started to work at AEF, and I have worked there until June 2011. After this I moved to Sint Maarten with my boyfriend, and I still live there. In February 2012 I started to work for the government of Sint Maarten at the department of Interior and Kingdom Relations. This department is responsible for the program management of multiple cooperation programs that are funded by Dutch development funds. I started to work as a project manager and now I work as a program manager of the program “institutional strengthening of government capacity”, which consists of 15 projects.

How did you find this job / these jobs?
My job at AEF was a continuation of my internship. I found my internship by sending an unsolicited application. I found AEF on the ROA website (Raad voor Organisatie Adviseurs). I found my job in Sint Maarten with the help of people in my network and one of my colleagues at AEF. AEF had done an assignment in Sint Maarten, and therefore they knew some key people who led me to this job.

How do you like your current job?
I like it very much! It is a very diverse job with a lot of responsibility, which makes it interesting. A lot of good things are accomplished which makes the job rewarding. I have to work hard, and sometimes people don’t cooperate with you, but that makes it challenging.

What do you still hope to achieve regarding your career?
This is a difficult question. At a certain point in time I will return to the Netherlands, and then I will have to look for another job. This will probably be a job in the area of consultancy, with a focus on change processes, implementation and behavior. For me it is hard to indicate what I would like to achieve in the long term. I think coaching is a nice profession, but it is something I would like to get into later on in my career. To me it also seems a nice challenge to go to another country for a few years at a later point in time. Currently, everything is still open.

What advice would you like to give to future OHP students?
Make the most of it. I liked my master better than my Bachelor, because the master only addressed topics I found interesting. Also see whether there is a possibility to become a student assistant (studentassistentschap) – I learned a lot from it. And if there is a possibility to do your internship abroad, seize the opportunity. I did not do my internship abroad, but I have learned a lot from my experiences in Sint Maarten, and I would recommend anybody to go abroad.

Wideke Vijverberg (master’s student 2006/2007)

Benjamin Hokken, MSc

“Eventually I decided to do Occupational Health Psychology, since in my opinion this master combines health and business very well.”

What was your motivation to choose this master specialization?
At the beginning of the bachelor I was mostly interested in Social and Organizational psychology, and I wanted to go into business. It was clear to me that I was not interested in a clinical or a statistical master specialization. As the study progressed I got in touch with courses in the area of Health psychology, and found them very interesting.

What are the most important things you have learned during your master?
During this master I learned how to map the physical, mental and emotional well-being of employees; know when someone works in the right place; both the short-term and long-term effects of a certain job or behaviour, and what to do against it; and how to build a good intervention in order to improve health and well-being.
How do you look back upon your master?
To me the master was the nicest year of my education. During the bachelor there are sometimes courses you are less interested in, but during the master there were plenty possibilities to choose courses of other master specializations. For instance, I took some courses of Cognitive psychology on the topic of ergonomics. In this way, you can create a master that suits you best.

Where did you do your internship, and how did you like it?
I did my internship at TNO Defence and Safety (Defensie en Veiligheid) in Soesterberg. During this internship I conducted a research on communication systems between different divisions of the army. This internship was not exactly what I wanted to do, but it gave me a good view of research in the area of psychology.

Where have you worked since your graduation, and where are you currently working?
Four years ago I started working at Lifeguard. Lifeguard is an organization that carries out health interventions in companies in order to promote vital and energetic working among employees. Currently, I am still working there.

How did you find this job / these jobs?
First I thought about what I really looked for in a job. I liked the health promotion interventions the most during the master, and I liked to do sports myself as well. I looked for jobs that combined this on google, and this is how I found this company.
How do you like your current job?
Good, in my current position I combine thinking and doing. We often create new programs and we are constantly looking for improvement. I implement these programs in the workplace of the client.

What do you still hope to achieve regarding your career?
My wish is to start my own organization within this line of work. I have already taken the first steps in that direction, and now I hope it will bloom into something successful.

What advice would you like to give to future OHP students?
Try to map what you are interested in and what motivates you. Look for the combination of courses during the master that matches this. Do what you like most, and you will end up fine!

Benjamin Hokken (master’s student 2008/2009)

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