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The Master in Health Sciences at the University of Lucerne offers students from a wide range of disciplines the necessary knowledge and skills towards a comprehensive understanding of health, functioning and disability.

The program provides a broad background in health sciences from a biopsychosocial perspective and has a focus on the interaction of individuals and their environment within the context of health. Students will also have the opportunity to choose a Major in a specific area to get more in-depth knowledge depending on their professional interest and career direction.

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The two-year master’s program with 120 ECTS-credits includes core courses that will be offered during the first three semesters. The core courses include different modules: Human Functioning Sciences, health systems and services, research design, and qualitative and quantitative methods. Other core courses include scientific and professional skills development.

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The Major in Research Methods offers a comprehensive understanding on how evidence in medicine and health care is examined and attained. It provides insight into the processes involved in drug development and preparation of health care policies. The principles of biostatistics are taught and methodological tools are introduced to design, analyse, interpret and critically appraise clinical research.

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The Major in Health Services Research involves the study of the roles of organizations, finance, manpower, technology, and prevention in the provision of health care services, and their impact on utilization, cost, and quality of care. It explains the last mile to the patient by bridging between clinical research and medical care performed under everyday conditions. The goal is the provision of higher quality, more efficient medical care to populations.

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Expenditures for health care constitute are large and growing share of total public and private expenditures, which has led to concern amongst policy-makers in many countries. On the other hand, the health sector produces a valuable output, health and health care, and hence it contributes to the general well-being of the population.

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Psychological aspects as well as the social environment are important factors influencing health and health Behavior. Personality factors such as self-efficacy or optimism, attitudes and expectations, but also experiences and emotions affect how individuals behave in general, but importantly also how they behave regarding their health and how they experience their health state. While individuals with predominantly negative affective states report worse health states and more physical symptoms, their optimistic counterparts experience enhanced psychological and physical well-being. Others with high self-efficacy expectations feel competent to execute certain health Behaviors such as physical activity, while others again engage in risky Behaviors such as smoking, mainly because their social environment is doing the same.

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Communication is a central process in the provision of health care and the promotion of health. Health communication “encompasses the study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual and community decisions that enhance health” (Healthy People 2010).

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Students have the opportunity to apply for a paid internship with a collaborating partner organization of the Department of Health Sciences and Health Policy. They will have the chance to gain first-hand experience in applying their knowledge and skills in health sciences research and practice. During their internship in the third semester, students will also be expected to develop their master thesis proposal, which will be supported by their supervisor and members of their research group.