Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Culture, Positive Development and Health

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Teaching semester

Autumn and spring

Place of Instruction

University of Bergen

Objectives and Content

The course has two main objectives: to introduce students to (i) cross-(cultural) psychology and (ii) positive development and health psychology. The cross-cultural psychology part will focus on (1) the centrality of culture to the understanding of human behaviour, (2) similarities and of differences in human behaviour across societies and cultures and (3) the application of cultural knowledge and competence to providing culturally sensitive and relevant services. To achieve these goals, the course will look at the philosophical and theoretical bases for including culture to the study of human behaviour, the concept of culture and its operationalization for research purposes, methodological challenges in undertaking research across cultures, and the challenges posed by a change in one's culture and emerging multicultural societies. The positive development and health psychology part will focus on (1) the role of self-regulation in the context of psychological themes (such as self-determination, positive youth development and the development of intrinsic motivation) and (2) on different topics in health psychology (such as public health problems, risk behaviours, and health promotion). Relevant theories and models of social psychology, health psychology and motivation will be used to explain how factors at different levels of society can influence healthy and positive development.

There is a wide range of themes, which include the following:

  • The relevance of culture for the understanding of human behaviour
  • Similarities and differences in human behaviour across cultures in the areas of developmental, social, personality, and cognition psychologies
  • Application of cultural knowledge in health, education and organizational settings
  • Central theories and models in preventive health psychology
  • Health behaviour, life styles and positive development

Learning Outcomes


  • Acquire knowledge on different risk and protective factors for health and development
  • Awareness of different perspectives in disease prevention and health promotion
  • Understanding of theories and research in health promotion and development
  • Understanding of human behavior from a (cross-) cultural perspective


  • Use the acquired knowledge on different risk and protective factors to develop an intervention in health promotion and disease prevention.
  • Use the acquired knowledge to understand different aspects of human life and health
  • Use the acquired knowledge on cultural perspective to understand the multicultural challenges that may arise as a result of interaction with people of different ethnic backgrounds.

General competence

  • Be able to reflect on how knowledge of risk and protective factors may have implication for health and development.
  • Have a sense of how perspectives from health promotion and development can be applied in a local community, organizations and in the health sector.
  • To be culturally sensitive to people of different ethnic backgrounds

Required Previous Knowledge

No requirement. 

Recommended Previous Knowledge


Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap


Access to the Course

This is an English language course designed specifically for International and Exchange students. Due to the limited number of spaces available and special entry requirements, admission to the course is limited.

Teaching and learning methods

In-person and/or online lectures

Teaching Methods and Extent of Organized Teaching

Teaching will consist of a series of lectures, seminars and group presentations

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Presentation of group work

Forms of Assessment

An 8-day home exam involving essay writing.  Course curriculum and relevant study materials can be used in the home exam.

Examination Support Material

There are no restrictions

Grading Scale

The grading system for the home exam will be grades A-F.

Assessment Semester

Autumn and Spring semesters

Reading List

Teaching material will be made known to the students before the start of each semester.

Course Evaluation

The students are expected to evaluate the course at the end of the semester according to procedures set by the Faculty of Psychology. The evaluation will take place every third semester, at a minimum.

Programme Committee

Department of Psychosocial Science

Course Coordinator

Department of Psychosocial Science

Course Administrator

Faculty of Psychology


Department of Psychosocial Science.

Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Home exam

    Assignment handed out
    10.09.2021, 09:00
    Submission deadline
    17.09.2021, 15:00
    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination result announcement
    Examination system
    Digital exam