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Postgraduate course

Community Psychology

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Teaching semester


Place of Instruction


Objectives and Content

The University of Bergen offers students enrolled in the Professional Studies Programme in Psychology lectures and supervised placements in the community psychology course. The aim of this course is to provide students with knowledge and experience within community psychology as a discipline, as well as knowledge of the relevant work and research methods, and insight into the clinical practice of community psychology. Emphasis will be placed on the students┬┐ understanding of the significance of contextual and societal factors related to mental health and quality of life, and how to prevent illness and promote health through community-based measures and measures at the system level. Furthermore, the user perspective and understanding of the marginalization process through community psychology will also be addressed as core topics. The students will be given an overview of the different work methods and inclusive action research used in community psychology, and they will gain experience from community psychology practice through the completion of an independently project.

Topic 1: Introduction to community psychology

Community psychology will be introduced as a discipline in topic 1. The students will also be given an introduction to the scope of mental disorders and mental health problems, risk factors and resource factors. The students will gain knowledge in epidemiological concepts and epidemiological methodology.

Topic 2: Social and societal contexts

In topic 2, the students will be provided with an introduction to core topics of social capital, social networks, social support, and their impact on mental health. The course will further provide an introduction to the societal factors that impact mental health as well as how marginalization processes are understood in community psychology. The students will be introduced to action research and user participation.

Topic 3: Community psychology as a field of practice

In topic 3, the students will be provided with an introduction to community psychology as a field of practice through its focus on preventative strategies and measures taken in the field of mental health. There will be a specific focus on community-based approaches and measures that can be taken at the municipal level. The students will be introduced to the Coordination Reform of Norwegian Health Care, the Public Health Act and the position and potential of community psychology. Students will be given an introduction to the evaluation of community-based prevention and health-promotion measures that can be taken, and preparation for the practice of community psychology.

Topic 4: Project-based community psychology placement

The students will carry out a 15 day project-based community psychology placement. The placement must take place over a period of approximately five weeks, and will conclude at a date agreed upon with the specific clinical placement. The placement is designed as project work based on specific issues relevant to those who work in the field of community psychology. The students complete their practical training in groups, and the placement projects are prepared in cooperation with the clinical placement site and the professional staff connected to the course at the Faculty of Psychology. The placement will provide students with specific experience with project work in the field of community psychology. Relevant placement projects will be prepared in cooperation with relevant organizations such as, for example, the Norwegian Armed Forces, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, RVTS, hospital trusts and the municipal psychologist service. The placement work will be summarized in writing in the form of a report and presented to co-students and the clinical placement site. The written work and the presentation must integrate the placement training with the other topics covered in topics 1-3 of the course.

Learning Outcomes


The student will have:

  • an overview of what community psychology is and what characterizes community psychology thinking
  • an overview of concepts and theories key to understanding human health and behavior in a contextual and societal perspective
  • an overview of core epidemiological concepts and methods
  • knowledge of laws and regulations relevant to public healthcare work, municipal psychologists and community psychologists
  • knowledge of the extent of mental disorders in the population and of the most important factors that impact mental health at the population level


The student will be able to:

  • explain epidemiological concepts and methods
  • explain how user perspective and action research can be applied in community psychology contexts
  • explain core elements in planning and implementing projects relevant to community psychology, such as preventive and health promotion measures at the municipal level
  • formulate and implement simple surveys that can contribute to highlighting the effects of preventive and health promotion measures
  • explain mental health from a social perspective.

General competence

The student will be able to:

  • analyze and present community psychology issues and specific procedures, dilemmas and decisions in this work
  • reflect on the fundamental values that community psychology is based upon
  • reflect on and communicate the significance of psychologists engaging in preventative and health promotion work and measures at the system level

Required Previous Knowledge

The students must have completed and passed all previous courses and course units for the Professional Studies Programme in Psychology.

Access to the Course

Professional Studies Programme in Psychology

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching will consist of a series of lectures in sequences based on the core topics in community psychology. The lectures will introduce students to community psychology as a field and prepare them for practical training in community psychology. The lecture series will be held as a day-long seminar at which representatives from the relevant clinical placement sites will present their placement projects. The students will then be assigned to the various placement projects. The seminar day will conclude with group work and a meeting between the students (placement groups) and a representative from the selected clinical placement site. The lecture series includes a concluding placement conference (1 day) in which the placement project, including any potential findings, interpretations and implications, will be presented to the other co-students and representatives from the clinical placement site. This amounts to 10 credits.

Completion of project-based community psychology practical training includes work on a placement report and the preparation of an oral presentation (presentation at the placement conference). This amounts to 5 credits.

The placement report will be completed as a group project and should be at least 15 pages long (excluding references). The format of the placement report must follow the template provided for students in connection with the course (APA style guide for citing sources). A minimum of two pages of the report must be dedicated to situating the project in the field of community psychology. This part must include perspectives and models that were presented during the lecture series and in the recommended reading.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

  • Completion of community psychology placement (specified through a special project)
  • Preparation of placement report
  • Participation in the preparatory seminar
  • Participation in placement conference

Compulsory coursework requirements must be approved.

Forms of Assessment

  • Placement report
  • Oral presentation of placement project and report at placement conference.

Grading Scale


Assessment Semester


Reading List

The reading is normally made available via Leganto by June 1 for the autumn semester and by December 1 for the spring semester.

Common audiovisual resources and film/video recordings will be used in the teaching.

A general textbook will be recommended as one of the core texts for the thematic introduction to community psychology.

Other relevant material will be made available on the course homepage and in connection with the placement report.

Course Evaluation

This course is assessed in line with the procedures at the Faculty of Psychology which relate to the evaluation of participants and the quality assurance system at the University of Bergen.

Course Coordinator

Department of Psychosocial Science


Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Report from practicum and oral presentation

    Withdrawal deadline
    • Exam part: Report from practicum

      Submission deadline
      07.03.2023, 12:00
      Examination system
      Digital exam
    • Exam part: Oral presentation in conference