Theses & Internships

All MSc programmes at Wageningen University include a thesis research period and an academic oriented internship. Students from Wageningen University can write their Bachelor or Master thesis with the chair group Health and Society (HSO). Below you will find a list of HSO staff members with their topics of expertise.

The internship is a learning period during which the relationship with professional practice is emphasised and usually lasts about 4 months. The chair group HSO offers various internship opportunities, both in the Netherlands and abroad.

Please visit our BrightSpace page to find the current thesis and internship vacancies. If you see a thesis or internship topic that sparks your interest, you can contact the thesis and internship coordinator via

Examples of recently completed HSO theses and internship reports:

BSc thesis

  • The impact of sports on burnouts and bore-outs in working people
  • Adolescent participation in Green Citizen Initiatives
  • Salutogenic design in mental healthcare settings
  • Body and appearance-related factors as predictors of Orthorexia Nervosa
  • The effect of yoga on women’s sense of embodiment

MSc thesis

  • Long-term health effects of the combined lifestyle intervention X-Fittt GLI
  • Cervical cancer prevention: What do Dutch Surinamese and Caribbean women want?
  • Family connection during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The role of the partner in the support and empowerment of pregnant women’s dietary quality
  • Nature-assisted therapies: Facilitators and barriers for implementation

MSc internships

  • Internship as JOGG-director at GGD Brabant Zuid Oost
  • Research on childhood obesity at Obesity Action Scotland
  • Consulting internship at Raedelijn
  • Developing a poster with Healthy snacks for children at Voedingsjungle
  • Research on the spread of lifestyle information at the municipality of Utrecht

All completed MSc theses can be found in the online WUR library.

Sometimes a thesis gets published! For example, this thesis about the ATLAS-school based health promotion programme by Bonnie van Dongen, or the thesis about patient-centred care for hospitalizad COVID patients by Lieke van Disseldorp. Also research during internship gets published sometimes, for example this research about the development of social farming in Italy by Myriam Dell’Olio and this research 'Climate Change and Schools: Environmental Hazards and Resiliency' by Simone Uijttewaal.

Thesis topics by staff members:

Prof.dr. Spencer Moore Jr

  • The use of social network analysis to study the social relationships of older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Social media, social networks and health
  • COVID-19, social isolation, and health behaviors
  • Global health inequities
  • Adverse childhood events and later life health
  • Social drivers of food choice Annemarie Wagemakers

  • Empowerment of pregnant women and women with a baby and their partners to have a healthier dietary intake. The development, implementation and evaluation of an integral empowerment strategy
  • Combined lifestyle interventions to promote healthy eating and physical activity. This includes research on (the best) tools for professionals to implement combined lifestyle interventions and the impact of these interventions on multiple levels, short- and long term, etc.
  • (Community) health promotion and socially vulnerable groups: e.g. physical activity, reproductive and sexual health, pregnancy, nutrition
  • (Organisation of) hospital care
  • Public Health Policy, Citizen participation, Citizen science, Intersectoral collaboration, the social environment of health
  • Use of (Participatory) action research methods, in combination with other research methods Lenneke Vaandrager

  • The application of salutogenesis to work, communities and neighbourhoods: the role of learning
  • Natural outdoor environments and health: environmental justice, healthy urban environments, green/blue spaces and recreation, green daycare
  • The built environment and health: e.g. city planning & healthy architecture, age-friendly design
  • Realist synthesis evaluation, Participatory Action Research, creative research methods Laura Bouwman

  • How to enable consumer engagement in sustainable, healthful eating practices?
  • Which experiences support the construction of meaning and purpose to eating healthfully and sustainably?
  • (How) do sustainable eating practices spill-over to other behaviours and within which contexts?
  • How do people cope with everyday challenges towards healthful and sustainable eating?

Dr. Kirsten Verkooijen

  • Social-psychological determinants of health behaviour. For instance, the role of (self- or social) identity, perceived scarcity, social norms, affect and self-regulation in physical activity and eating behaviour
  • Social-psychological outcomes of health behaviour. For instance, the impact of physical activity on wellbeing, emotional or cognitive skills
  • Socially vulnerable people (e.g., low SES) and physical activity and/or dietary behaviour
  • Interactions between health behaviours
  • Understanding (un)healthy behaviour by unravelling the interaction between individuals and their social and physical environment

    Dr. Marleen Bekker

    • Innovatie en hervorming van de zorg, welzijn, preventie
    • Deelonderzoek binnen evaluatie van Programma Alles is gezondheid
    • Gezondheidseffectschatting voor beleid
    • Intersectorale samenwerking gezondheid in de stad
    • Evaluatie van lokale of regionale gezondheidsnetwerken of allianties
    • Klimaat, infectieziekten en gezondheid (met Yvette Buist- promovenda aanpak Eikenprocessierups of Henk Broekhuizen-postdoc onderzoeker preventie van vector-overdraagbare ziekten)
    • Politiek en gezondheid: risico’s en bescherming van kwetsbare groepen

    Dr. Kristina Thompson

    • Social and economic determinants of Covid-19 vaccination rates and case rates
    • The impact of recessions and job loss on health outcomes
    • Adverse events in childhood and their relationship to later-life health outcomes
    • The intergenerational transmission of socio-economic status and health

    Franshelis Garcia, MSc

    Research on understanding:

    • The attitudes and behaviors towards people with chronic conditions or medically unexplained symptoms.
    • Stigma and coping with the stigma surrounding bariatric surgery
    • Cross-cultural differences in health and behavior

    Caro-Lynn Verbaan, MSc

    • Sustainable food and eating practices, such as the motivation to consume local food
    • Alternative diets (e.g. low-carb, vegan/vegetarian, Mediterranean, etc.) and eating disorders (e.g. orthorexia nervosa or binge eating disorder)
    • Explaining (solutions or interventions for) challenging global health concerns (e.g. climate change, access and availability of care, nutrition, etc.)
    • Global One Health challenges and dilemmas from a social sciences point-of-view

    Dr. Marthe Derkzen

    • Nature and health
    • Community gardens
    • Healthy living environment
    • Global health
    • Climate and health, heat vulnerability
    • Local food systems
    • Social justice
    • Citizen initiatives, social participation

    Natalie Vinkeles Melchers-Martinez, Ph.D., MSc., MPH.

    • The impact of climate change on the distribution of infectious diseases; One Health; Planetary health
    • Infectious disease control and surveillance, mainly Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), zoonotic diseases, and vector-borne diseases
    • Geospatial mapping and risk mapping
    • Disease outbreak management and resilience, including real-time data collection and reporting
    • Risk factor analysis and predictive modelling (incl. environmental, social and economic determinants) of disease transmission
    • Health system strengthening and capacity building in middle- and low-income countries
    • Mixed-Methods research