well-being and health

Well-Being and Health Behaviour, M.A.

Are you eager to learn about people and their concerns and emotions? Would you like to know how to approach and measure a person's well-being in a science-based way? Are you ready to find solutions in the future to help people live healthier lives and prevent premature illness? Come and learn new valuable knowledge that contributes to your current speciality, and with relevant knowledge and experience it is possible to influence the individuals and health situation in your community through health promotion processes and team leadership.

Study level Master's Studies

Duration of study 2 years

Language English

Study form Cyclical studies

Cost per semester 2000 €


Well-being and its management is a growing industry based on evidence-based theories of healthy living and disease prevention. Knowledge of the bases of people's well-being and how it is achieved is an important area to work on, contributing to the functioning of a society that supports human development and well-being.


Our previous president of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid has emphasised in her speeches that it is time for Estonia to become a caring welfare state. This is proved by the government's efforts to alleviate poverty, reduce social exclusion and support an active civil society; to ensure that every individual receives free education according to their ability and to support interpersonal tolerance and protection of human rights; to encourage people to cooperate for a satisfying and dignified life; and to follow the principles of caring and helping the weakest in social policy.

Why should you come to study?

Estonia's activities in promoting its population’s health, carrying out health research and providing for more than 20 years systematic community-based health promotion with health services, as well as relying on widespread use of e-services, allow us to share our experiences with citizens of other countries. Mostly people from countries with similar social structure and economic development come to learn about the processes we have carried out. 

The science-based design of environments that help improve workplace wellness and workplace happiness is increasingly being addressed in Estonia and across Europe; in the same way we can design wellness in teams or in groups of other people working together in the community. On a service basis, it is possible to share recent experience (both in Estonia and in the EU) with companies in other countries where a modern workplace culture is emerging and knowledge of working in a multicultural work environment needs improvement.

We believe that our programme contributes to your current speciality, and with relevant knowledge and experience it is possible to influence the individuals and health situation in your community through health promotion processes and team leadership.

Well-Being and Health Behaviour, M.A.

Who are we looking for?

Our target group is specialists with a Bachelor's degree in the field of education, social sciences, business and administration, natural and exact sciences, health and well-being.

As the Master's thesis and the entire study programme are science-based, it is expected that the candidates have produced a thesis for a Bachelor's degree which involved an empirical part. Therefore, students with a Bachelor's degree in humanities and specialities that do not include a science-based approach to empirical research (finance, history, law, languages, culture, art, etc.) are not suitable for this study programme. Our studies are based on international practice, where Master's theses in the well-being and health behaviour study programme require empirical research or the use of large databases in various areas of well-being and health behaviour (from individual to social policy level).

The study programme focuses on the non-medical (not based on treatment by doctors) approach to health: lifestyle, attitudes, work capacity, environment, personality, habits, ethics, research, evaluation and implementation of interventions. As a target group we see students from Estonia and other countries who want to gain learning experience in the field of health and well-being in Europe. Citizens from developing countries can primarily benefit from these studies and apply the knowledge acquired to further the well-being in their country.

Course Outline

Language of instruction


Form of studies

Learning takes the form of cyclical learning, but we assume it is the primary activity for most learners. Lessons are mostly arranged for two days a week to ensure the maximum and effective engagement of students with the study, depending on the possibilities of the teaching staff.

Mandatory subject-specific and general courses

The study programme concept is based on:

The need for knowledge of theories and concepts in various areas of well-being, such as: 

  • economic well-being, social well-being, emotional well-being, eudaimonic well-being, mental well-being, physical well-being, spiritual well-being;
  • the need for knowledge of theories and concepts of health behaviour and health promotion;
  • the need for knowledge of social, political and psychological strategies for influencing several areas of well-being;
  • detailed knowledge of research methods for participating in research projects and acting as experts, incl. starting doctoral studies.

The bases of the study programme are contemporary well-known concepts and areas of well-being. The fundamental paradigm underlying the study programme is humanistic psychology and positive psychology. For a variety of reasons, these fields have a holistic approach to the topics related to well-being (including health). Different age groups (for example, child welfare, elderly well-being) and groups of the sick or disabled are also considered.
The courses describe socio-political, economic and psychological methods that would increase people's well-being and shape their health behaviour. This is the basis for professional activity or relevant competence.


The Study Programme is formally organised into two modules: compulsory subjects and elective courses. Speciality subjects are according to their content divided into four fields.

1.     Research methods and data analysis

2.     Theories and models of well-being and health behaviour

3.     Social and psychological approaches to well-being and health behaviour

4.     Environmental, economic and target group-based approaches in well-being and health behavior

See Study Programme

Admission Requirements

General requirements


Admission exam

  • Written part of the exam. The documents to be submitted are a curriculum vitae, a letter of motivation (as part of which we would like an overview of the previous study and work experience related to the specialty, the experience of conducting research, future perspectives, as well as the ability to cover study fees and living expenses) and the master's thesis plan (preliminary research topic and research design).
  • Interview (individual interview with the admission exam committee).

Written part of the exam: 50%. Interview: 50%.

Based on the written part and the interview, candidates are assessed in three categories: readiness for master's studies (professional and social readiness), learning motivation, and knowledge for the master's thesis plan In both stages of the exam, the candidate is evaluated in three categories on a scale of 5 points. The percentage given in the corresponding stage is formed from all given grade's average (the maximum percentage is 50 in the case of all average grades of 5, etc.).

Based on the CV and motivation letter,  the ability to explain the choice of university and Study Programme, interest in the subjects included in the Study Programme, previous studying and work experience, learning motivation and perspective, social and financial coping ability are assessed. On the basis of the master's thesis plan, the  previous research experience and the ability to apply knowledge related to the specialty are evaluated. In the three categories, the assessment is given as a whole for the content of the three documents. Evaluation criteria on a 5-point scale are described in a separate file on web-page. In the interview, the same parts as above and their oral presentation are evaluated as a result of self-introduction, answering questions and discussion. The results of the submitted documents and interview also take into account written or spoken English language skills, compliance with the expected level (B2).

It is recommended to read Study Programme and the content of the subjects, previously defended master's theses, and the guideline for master's theses on the TLU SNSH website. It is recommended to read the literature of previous research in the field of the master's thesis proposal submitted by the candidate. Candidates who are outside Estonia are  recommended to read the websites that introduce studying at Tallinn University and the living in Estonia.

The interview is held in English, the ability to learn in English is assessed (the candidate must have a B2 level, proof of the level should be provided).

To change the time (within the day of the exam), candidate should contact wellbeing@tlu.ee. Contact should be made within three working days, taking into account the confirmation/sending of the interview time to the candidate.

For the purposes of identity verification at the admission procedure the Admission Committee has the right to take a screenshot during the oral part of the admission exam carried out via video bridge.

Find more information about the deadlines here.

Find more information about the assessment criteria of admission exam here.

Academic Staff

For years, faculty members at the School of Natural and Sciences and Health have provided courses for foreign students from various institutes, including Erasmus students, confirming their experience of teaching in a multicultural environment. Our lecturers also have experience working or teaching abroad. At Tallinn University we value the principles of a changed learning and teaching concept, student autonomy, constructive feedback and cooperative learning and we also use modern methods and digital solutions.

Aleksander Pulver

Associate Professor in Personality Psychology and the Study Programme Administrator

Aleksander Pulver is the lecturer of personality psychology and the head of the academic study field psychology and behavioural sciences. He has hold various academic positions as from researcher to professor and administrative positions as from head of chair to dean of faculty at Tartu university and Tallinn university. At present time he teaches the personality psychology, personality and social psychology in organization, antisocial behavior and interpretation of data analysis courses.
Subjects of scientific interests are connected with various problems of personality psychology and well-being. The current research projects are related to biopsychological models of personality and psychological well-being.

In the Estonian Research Information System: ETIS

Kristjan Port

Professor of Sports Biology

Kristjan Port is popular in the media and with students. He teaches subjects that are considered the most complex, such as sports physiology and sports biochemistry.

Thanks to him, students begin to understand the effect of sport on the whole body, down to every single cell. Kristjan has a range of knowledge and skills and he is able to make difficult things easy to understand, providing vivid examples as well as conveying important nuances.

In the Estonian Research Information System: ETIS

Sirje Vaask


Sirje Vaask has a doctoral degree in natural sciences from Tallinn University of Technology and master's degree in public health from the University of Kuopio. Previous work experience has been at the Ministry of Social Affairs and at the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. She has also been the WHO National Coordinator for Nutrition, has experience in developing evidence-based dietary recommendations, developing and monitoring health care quality. She has organized health projects and campaigns, including national cancer screening programmes. Research interests have focused on nutrition research methodologies for planning interventions and for using the data for risk assessments. Sirje Vaask has experience in the process of developing evidence-based clinical guidelines as a librarian, working group member and working group leader (management of obesity).

In the Estonian Research Information System: ETIS


Tiina Tambaum

Research Fellow

Tiina Tambaum is a lecturer of educational gerontology and a research fellow of the Estonian Institute of Population Studies. Her research interests and development topics are learning for the elderly, intergenerational cooperation, inclusion of older men, age discrimination, and the operating methodology of volunteer societies. Tiina Tambaum has described in her doctors thesis the so-called natural behaviour of teenagers while they teach digital skills to older people. In Estonia she stands for older people to be seen and treated as developing and decision-making members of society.

In the Estonian Research Information System: ETIS

Elina Malleus-Kotšegarov

Associate Professor of Educational Psychology

Elina Malleus-Kotšegarov is an associate professor of educational Ppsychology whose research interests and development topics are on socio-emotional skills, student well-being and motivation, and the development of a learning environment that supports this. She has a doctorate in psychology from Tallinn University and in her doctoral dissertation she focused on the development of students' knowledge. Since 2015, Malleus-Kotšegarov has given lectures to a wide range of target groups for teacher education and participated in research and development projects related to the description, measurement and development of general competencies. Since 2014, she has been training in the Motivational Interviewing method. Elina Malleus-Kotšegarov is a member of the board of the Estonian Association of Motivational Interviewing Coaches (EMITA) and is also a member of the international MI coaching association MINT. Since January 2022, she is also the advisor in educational psychology at the Ministry of Education and Research.

In the Estonian Research Information System: ETIS


Dr. Kerry Howells

Visiting Professor

Dr Kerry Howells has spent over 25 years researching, teaching and presenting on gratitude, both nationally and internationally. Kerry is passionate about harnessing the role of gratitude to bring about flourishing relationships, a respectful workplace culture and, ultimately, a more peaceful world. Kerry’s work is underpinned by a deep philosophical exploration of gratitude and focuses on how to apply the research on gratitude, and the strategies she has developed, to life’s challenging situations. She has a particular interest in cross-cultural lenses of gratitude and their implications for communication and has studied this in the context of Australian indigenous and African indigenous cultures. Working worldwide with school leaders and teachers she has embedded gratitude in all levels of education, and her first book, Gratitude in Education: A Radical View has been used widely to guide the development of educational programs and strategic change in universities, schools and Early Childhood education.



Eliis Härma

Junior Research Fellow

Eliis Härma graduated from Tallinn University with a master's degree in psychology and is currently a doctoral student in psychology. She has conducted various psychology courses at Tallinn University, actively engages in psychological counseling, and is proficient in psychotherapy methods.


Ivan Strigin

Ivan Strigin is a clinical psychologist, trained in existential analysis and cognitive behavioural therapy. Graduated from Tallinn University with a master's degree in Well-Being and Health Behaviour. He has conducted lectures in practical aspects of counselling and ethics in psychotherapy.



Postgraduate Destinations

Graduate career options

Our graduates will find employment in a variety of fields, such as education, health services and healthcare organisations.

As the speciality is forward-looking, it is not directly related to existing routine jobs, however, some possible jobs include:

  • Health behaviour and well-being counsellors, e.g. institutions providing health and wellness services, either using an individual or a community-based approach.
  • Leaders in a variety of areas (ensuring organisational well-being and team functioning), implementing their everyday work in a broader context of well-being.
  • Specialists in planning, implementing and evaluating community-based interventions for public institution staff well-being, provided that in addition to a Master's degree they have acquired a speciality in a field that supports the launch and management of public activities or programmes (public administration, recreation, etc.).
  • Specialists in non-governmental and civil society organisations dedicated to well-being and intercultural integration and conflict prevention.
    Researchers and applied analysts preparing community-based policies or other measures or interventions (e.g. structural modelling, methods, measurement).

Further study options

The graduates have the opportunity to pursue doctoral studies (for example, in the study programme offered by Tallinn University Health Behaviour and Wellbeing) and carry out their own research or write a research paper at the university whilst working as a lecturer.


Contact Us!


For additional guidelines please contact:

  • Specific questions regarding the programme should be directed to the study counsellor and specialist SILLE SILLUTA.
  • For additional guidelines regarding admission procedure please contact the international admission specialist: 
  • Skype: tu.degree (Thursdays 10:00-12:00 GMT+2) NB! Please schedule for a Skype session via e-mail.

ADDRESSUus-Sadama 5, 10120 Tallinn, Estonia

PHONE(+372) 6409 472



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