Health Behaviour Change


Exploring health behaviours and behaviour change to inform policy and practice 

This short course will explore the mechanisms of action and factors that influence various health behaviours. It will introduce health behaviour change theories and key types of health behaviour change interventions. Participants will have the opportunity to evaluate existing healthcare interventions through the critical appraisal of relevant research literature, behaviour change theory and intervention development guidance.


On completion of the course, participants will be able to apply the knowledge learnt through the above objectives to develop, implement and evaluate health behaviour change interventions to influence health care practice and policy.

This module will cover:

  • What health behaviours are and the reasons for changing them
  • The drivers of harmful health behaviours and why health behaviours are difficult to change
  • The levels of health behaviour change intervention and the ethical considerations associated with intervening
  • Key behaviour change theories
  • Health behaviour change for wellness
  • Harm reduction approaches to behaviour change
  • Medication adherence
  • Designing, implementing and evaluating health behaviour change interventions

The last date for receipt of complete applications is 5pm Friday 24th February 2023. Regrettably, late applications cannot be accepted.

Programme details

This module is run over an eight week cycle where the first week is spent working on introductory activities using a Virtual Learning Environment, the second week is spent in Oxford for the face to face teaching week (this takes place on the dates advertised), there are then four Post-Oxford activities (delivered through the VLE) which are designed to help you write your assignment. You then have a week of personal study and you will be required to submit your assignment electronically the following week (usually on a Tuesday at 14:00 UK Local Time).


Description Costs
Short Course in Health Sciences £2675.00


Details of funding opportunities, including grants, bursaries, loans, scholarships and benefit information are available on our financial assistance page.



If you are an employee of the University of Oxford and have a valid University staff card you may be eligible to receive a 10% discount on the full stand-alone fee. To take advantage of this offer please submit a scan/photocopy of your staff card along with your application. Your card should be valid for a further six months after attending the course.


Dr Nicola Lindson

Module Coordinator

Dr Nicola Lindson is a Research Lecturer in Health Behaviours based in the Health Behaviours team at the Nuffield Department for Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford.

Dr Jamie Hartmann-Boyce

Module Coordinator

Jamie Hartmann-Boyce is an Associate Professor in Evidence-Based Policy and Practice based in the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the Nuffield Department for Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford. She is the course director of the Evidence-Based Healthcare DPhil programme.

Course aims

By the end of the course the student will be expected to:

  • Identify and explain human behaviours that influence health
  • Explain the mechanisms associated with the development of human behaviours that influence health
  • Describe key facilitators and barriers to changing health behaviour
  • Identify and classify levels of behaviour change interventions, based on an established framework
  • Discuss key theories of behaviour change, including their strengths and weaknesses
  • State the key considerations when developing a complex behavioural intervention
  • Determine the key considerations when implementing a complex behavioural intervention
  • Evaluate a health behaviour change intervention, based on health behaviour change theories and intervention development guidance
  • Apply critical appraisal skills to the literature underpinning the evidence on health behaviour change

Assessment methods

Assessment will be based on submission of a written assignment which should not exceed 4,000 words.

Academic Credit

Applicants may take this course for academic credit. The University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education offers Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points for this course. Participants attending at least 80% of the taught course and successfully completing assessed assignments are eligible to earn credit equivalent to 20 CATS points which may be counted towards a postgraduate qualification.

Applicants can choose not to take the course for academic credit and will therefore not be eligible to undertake the academic assignment offered to students taking the course for credit. Applicants cannot receive CATS (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme) points or equivalence. Credit cannot be attributed retrospectively. CATS accreditation is required if you wish for the course to count towards a further qualification in the future.

A Certificate of Completion is issued at the end of the course.

Applicants registered to attend ‘not for credit’ who subsequently wish to register for academic credit and complete the assignment are required to submit additional information, which must be received one calendar month in advance of the course start date. Please contact us for more details.

Please contact if you have any questions.


This course requires you to complete the application form and to attach a copy of your CV. If you are applying to take this course for academic credit you will also be required to provide a reference. Please note that if you are not applying to take the course for academic credit then you do not need to submit a reference.

Please ensure you read the guidance notes which appear when you click on the symbols as you progress through the application form, as any errors resulting from failure to do so may delay your application.

Selection criteria

Admissions Criteria:
To apply for the course you should:

  • Be a graduate or have successfully completed a professional training course
  • Have professional work experience in the health service or a health-related field
  • Be able to combine intensive classroom learning with the application of the principles and practices of evidence-based health care within the work place
  • Have a good working knowledge of email, internet, word processing and Windows applications (for communications with course members, course team and administration)
  • Show evidence of the ability to commit time to study and an employer's commitment to make time available to study, complete course work and attend course and university events and modules.
  • Be able to demonstrate English Language proficiency at the University’s higher level


Accommodation is available at the Rewley House Residential Centre, within the Department for Continuing Education, in central Oxford. The comfortable, en-suite, study-bedrooms have been rated as 4-Star Campus accommodation under the Quality In Tourism scheme, and come with tea- and coffee-making facilities, free Wi-Fi access and Freeview TV. Guests can take advantage of the excellent dining facilities and common room bar, where they may relax and network with others on the programme.

IT requirements

Please ensure that you have access to a computer that meets the specifications detailed on our technical support page.