Training in Psychology of Social and Community Intervention in Spain 2018

Isabel M. Herrera Sánchez
June 2018


University education in Spain is given in public and private universities and in two modalities: face-to-face or distance learning. These universities offer official degrees, which are usually more regulated, and unofficial degrees that are offered by each university. The training of university studies in Psychology is regulated by Royal Decree-Law 1393/2007, of 29 October, which establishes the regulation of official university education . In this report we will only mention the official degrees (Bachelor Degree, Master Degree, Doctoral Degree), of those faculties that offer studies of both the Degree in Psychology and of Official Master and Doctorate studies linked to the area of Psychology of Social and Community Intervention, either because they are specific to this area or because they are dealt with in broader fields, e.g. applied social psychology. With these criteria, 13 faculties were chosen according to their courses in the academic year 2017-2018. The information has
been collected from two main sources: the Register of Universities, Centres and Degrees
( as well as from the public information available for each of these degrees on the corporate websites of their universities.
The area of Community Psychology is acknowledged by the professionals in Spain as Psychology of Social Intervention or Psychology of Social and Community Intervention. In the academic context it also coexists with Community Psychology.

Psychology of Social and Community Intervention in the Bachelor's Degree in Psychology

The teaching of the Bachelor's Degree in Psychology is linked to the branch of knowledge of the Health Sciences. It has a teaching load of 240 ECTS, 60 per academic year and duration of four years. This degree is delivered in 57 Spanish universities and although of a general nature, in all curricula students are already oriented towards the different professional areas of psychology, both in the optional subjects and in the external internships and the final year project. Thus, in external internships (compulsory subject between 12 and 18 ECTS) the possibility of accessing the professional field of Psychology of Social and Community Intervention is offered. In particular, some bachelor's degrees also offer the possibility of starting a more specialized training pathway linked to the area of knowledge of social psychology from a more applied approach (this area includes Psychology of Social and Community Intervention).

Table 1 (see pp 3-4) shows the titles of the Bachelor's Degree in Psychology of those centres that also offer a post-graduate training itinerary linked to the Psychology of Social and Community Intervention. A total of 13 titles have been selected. 5 of these degrees also
allow students to begin this professional itinerary from the Bachelor's level through the optional subjects (UAB, UB, UAM, UCM, EHU). With regard to the range of subjects on offer within the Bachelor's degree, subjects are offered that deal centrally with social and community intervention (Community Psychology or Psychology of Social and Community Intervention) or are included as specific content in the subject-matter of a more generic field (Psychosocial and Organizational Intervention; Applications in Social Psychology, Applied Social Psychology). Only 6 titles include these compulsory contents (UMA; US; ULL; UB; UB; UDG; UV), the rest are offered as part of the
optional course. The vast majority of curricula begin to deal with this content from the third year onwards.

Psychology of Social and Community Intervention in Master's Degree.
The Official Masters and Doctoral Programmes adapted to the European Higher Education Area are regulated by Royal Decree 1393/2007, of 29 October, which establishes the organisation of official university education, and by Royal Decree 861/2010, of 2 July, which modifies Royal Decree 1393/2007, of 29 October. Master's studies offer advanced training of a specialized approach oriented towards professional practice and initiation to research. The Psychology of Social and Community Intervention as a specialized academic and professional field was offered during the 2017-2018 academic year with 12 academic degrees, two of which were interuniversity (offered by two universities), bringing the total to 14 Spanish universities. In all the titles, the aim is to offer a broad vision of the contributions of psychology (and fundamentally of social psychology, including critical social thinking) to the field of social and community intervention. More particularly, these training programs promote the critical analysis of social problems from a contextual and historical socio-cultural perspective, offering strategies that promote social change and the improvement of the well-being and quality of life of individuals, groups and communities in different areas of development.

Table 2 (see pp 5-22) describes each of the degrees by university (indicating their objectives, competencies and contents). There are titles that are specific to the Psychology of Social and Community Intervention or these titles include these contents in their curricula from a
broader area of intervention/research, enabling interdisciplinary training: Master's Degree in Psychology of Social and Community Intervention (USE)
 Master's Degree in Psychosocial and Community Intervention (UAM)
 Master's Degree in Psychology of Social Intervention (UGR, UM, Deusto)
 Master's Degree in Psychosocial Research and Intervention (UAB)
 Inter-University Master's Degree in Psychosocial Intervention (UBA-UDG)
 Master's Degree in Psychological Intervention in Social Environment (UV)
 Master's Degree in Social Psychology (UCM)
 Master's Degree in Organizational Psychology and Psychosocial Intervention (EHU)
 Master's Degree in Social and Community Research and Intervention (UMA)
 Master's Degree in Intervention and Mediation and Family, Social and Community Mediation
The great majority of master's degrees are 60 credits-1 year (UGR, UMA, US, ULL, UAB, UCM, EHU), 4 degrees of 90 credits (UB-UDG, UAM, UM, Deusto,), and 1 degree that is completed in two years with 120 credits (UV).

As for access to these studies, in general, except in specific cases, they allow access to other degrees than psychology (this being a priority over the others), such as Social Work, Social Education, Sociology or other related degrees. The main reference point for the implementation of these titles was the publication of the COP's document "Professional Profiles of the
Psychologist" ( in 1998, which establishes 9 professional profiles, including the Psychology of Social Intervention. This profile is also recognised in the White Book of the Bachelor's Degree in Psychology developed by the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation in 2005 ( This document was prepared with the aim of providing a series of guidelines for the design of the Bachelor's degree in accordance with European requirements. Both references described this profile as one of the emerging sectors with the greatest  professional projection. This specialty has had its main professional development in the field of Social Services under Public Administration, experiencing greater growth in third sector organizations since these entities have taken a greater role in these services in recent decades. Also contributing at its origin was the community mental health movement that arrived in Spain after the democratic transition. It seemed that there were high professional expectations for professional practice, however these expectations have changed substantially in recent years following the regulation of psychology that has occurred only in the health sector (General Law of Public Health 33/2011). With this regulation two figures are recognized: 1) Specialist in Clinical Psychology. Graduates in Psychology receive a 4-year specialized training regulated by the Spanish Ministry of Health (Order SSI/876/2017) and oriented to the hospital or public mental
health services. 2) General Health Psychology: This speciality is available to those who are taking the Official Master's Degree in General Health Psychology (90 ECTS) regulated by law (Order ECD/1070/2013). Thus, for those who wish to work in the health sector, they must have the professional qualification of General Health Psychology or Specialist in Clinical Psychology. This regulation means that in order to practice professionally in the health field you must be accredited by one of the two specialties. The problem arises when public or private social organizations that carry out activities oriented to the health and well-being of groups are not clear on which specialty they should go, producing a movement in the labor market that seeks professional security (regulated professions such as general health psychology
are preferred) over other unregulated professional activities of Psychology such as the Psychology of Social and Community Intervention. This unclear situation is still creating certain problems for the settlement of the profession in the social and community sector. The report
by Miguel López-Cabanas, Fernando Cembranos Díaz and Lorenzo Casellas López in 2017 already raises this issue (available at

As a result of this problem, a working group was created within the Scientific Society of Social Psychology (SCEPS , ) coordinated by Professor María Isabel Hombrados Mendieta Mendieta who, in collaboration with the COP (, is working to claim the profile of the Social and Community Intervention Psychologist in order to find solutions for a possible regulation of this professional activity or at least the recognition of his practice in health and well-being through professional accreditation by professional associations. Within this group, the aim is also to design common criteria in view of the wide range of training available on the master's degree courses, indicating the skills and contents that should be addressed independently of the subsequent diversification.
Areas of research in PhD programmes All these master's degrees give access to the doctoral programmes offered by the universities.

Table 3 in the annex (pp 23-24) shows the doctoral programmes of the universities consulted, selecting the lines of research related to the area within these programmes.

Text and Tables see pdf document above