Psychology offers an interdisciplinary minor in collaboration with Interdisciplinary Social Science, Public Administration and GeoSciences. This Minor is appealing for all students with an interest in health and well-being in the broader sense and combines knowledge from Psychology, Interdisciplinary Social Science, GeoSciences, and Law, Economics and Governance.

‘Good health and well-being for all’ is one of the Global Goals determined by world leaders in 2015. Both for individuals and societies at large, a high level of well-being is essential for their potential to flourish. It has even been argued that the level of population well-being is a more important indicator of the (economic) performance of countries than financial indicators like the Gross Domestic Product.

Achieving this goal of good health and well-being, however, critically depends on a complex interplay between factors at the level of the individual, their (social) environment, and the society they live in. These micro-, meso-, and macrolevel factors, can thus not be understood in isolation. Rather, society calls for graduates with novel multidisciplinary insights to promote citizens’ well-being.

In the minor Well-being by design: behavioral foundations and public policy, students will learn to adopt such a broad multidisciplinary perspective by combining knowledge from psychology, interdisciplinary social science, geosciences, and public administration.

We will address four illustrative themes throughout the courses: health, education, finance, and sustainability. Each of these topical issues impacts on well-being and has its specific challenges for individuals and governments. What explains individuals’ struggles with adopting and/or maintaining various health behaviors? How can governments stimulate citizens to make healthy or sustainable choices? What is the relation between someone’s financial circumstances and their level of well-being? How can education help to foster people’s wellbeing and their chances in life?

In four (out of five) courses, students will learn about:

  • the social relations and structural arrangements affecting people’s well-being and their relation with individual level processes;
  • a public administration perspective on how institutions can play a role in promoting well-being by using behavioral insights;
  • individual well-being, including the psychological factors that drive people’s behavior such as motivation, emotion and self-regulation;
  • the role of the (urban) environments and how spatial arrangements influence health and well-being;
  • a critical, integrative perspective on happiness as the ultimate index of well-being, including a discussion of misconceptions about happiness and a critical review of empirical evidence on happiness interventions.

Moreover, students will develop academic skills that are required to work from an interdisciplinary perspective and tackle such big issues as well-being. These skills include debating skills, analyzing literature from an unfamiliar discipline, collaborating in multidisciplinary teams, and communicating scientific insights to relevant stakeholders. This Minor offers an excellent preparation for the Master's programme Social, Health, and Organizational Psychology​, particularly the Health Promotion track.

Minor students will have the opportunity to gain Honours credentials by participating in an extra multidisciplinary assignment.

Study Programme

The minor offers the following five courses, of which you will need to choose four. All courses take place in Semester 1.
Minor coordinator: Denise de Ridder.


  1. Health in society (Interdisciplinary Social Science; coordinator Marijn Stok): 201900017
  2. Government and behavior: the use of behavioral insights in and by governments (Public Administration; coordinator Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen): USG4660
  3. Self-regulation (Psychology; coordinator Catharine Evers): 201600023
  4. The science of happiness (Psychology; coordinator Denise de Ridder): 201900028
  5. Geographies of Health (GeoSciences; coordinator Dea van Lierop): GEO2-3317

Entrance requirements

All bachelor students can apply for the Minor.

Utrecht University students

Register for the Minor and the courses online via OSIRIS Student.

The courses do not necessarily need to be taken in this order, nor do they need to be taken in the same academic year. When you have taken each of these four courses when finishing your Bachelor, you receive your Minor.

Note: First you have to register for the Minor to see if it is possible to enrol. Your subscription to the Minor does not automatically mean that you are also enrolled to the courses within the Minor. You will have to enrol in the courses separately. Please take into account the periods of enrolment.

You will find the course descriptions in the OSIRIS Course Catalogue.

Students from other Universities

Enrol for the courses through our application form at OSIRIS Online Application (visit our subsidiary courses page for more information). Use the same application form to apply for the Minor.
After your form is processed, the Student Information Point will enrol you for the Minor.

Exchange students

Exchange students from partner universities can register for the minor through the International Office. The International Office will check your eligibility for the individual courses and the minor and, if applicable, enrol you for both. If you have any questions about the enrolment, please contact the International Office (

Minor declaration

If you are a student of Utrecht University, the minor will be included in your International Diploma Supplement (provided that you have met all the requirements, of course).

If you are not a student of the University, it may be useful to request a minor declaration. This will allow you to demonstrate that you have successfully completed the minor. When you have passed all courses of this minor, you can apply for a minor declaration in Osiris Case. To do so, you must be enrolled in the minor.

Further information

For substantive questions you can contact Prof. Denise de Ridder, email:
For all other questions you can contact the Educational Support Team of Psychology: