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Behavioural and Social Sciences

How do individuals develop across their lifespan? How do individuals and groups adapt to the changing world? What are the origins of psychopathological and brain disorders? Are you a talented student wishing to pursue a career as a researcher?

Our two-year research master programme is designed for excellent and motivated students interested in human behaviour and social phenomena, who aim for a career in an academic or applied (clinical, industry, or governmental) research environment. 

The program has a firm methodological, research oriented basis, with a strong connection between statistics and content-related theories. The programme offers a series of advanced courses on theory building, reflecting on science, research methods and statistics, including training on programming and computer skills. The two research projects (Traineeship and Thesis) are essential for gaining experience in performing research, while being embedded in an active research group. A unique feature of the program is the opportunity to specialize as well as being trained in multidisciplinary research. The first step into specialization is taken by choosing one of the following three thematically oriented domains:

  • Lifespan Development and Socialization
  • Deficits, Distress, and Disorders
  • Sustainability in a Changing Society

Further specialization takes place via the elective modules, traineeship and master thesis. 

How do individuals develop across their lifespan? How do individuals and groups adapt to the changing world? What are the origins of psychopathological and brain disorders? Are you a talented student wishing to pursue a career as a researcher?

Our two-year research master programme is designed for highly talented and motivated students interested in human behaviour and social phenomena, who aim for a career in an academic or applied (clinical, industry, or governmental) research environment.

The programme has a firm methodological, research oriented basis, with a strong connection between statistics and content-related theories. The programme offers a series of advanced courses on theory building, reflecting on science, research methods and statistics, including training on programming and computer skills. The two research projects (Traineeship and Thesis) are essential for gaining experience in performing research, while being embedded in an active research group.

A unique feature of the programme is the opportunity to specialize as well as being trained in multidisciplinary research. The first step into specialization is taken by choosing one of the following three thematically oriented domains:

  • Lifespan Development and Socialization
  • Deficits, Distress, and Disorders
  • Sustainability in a Changing Society

Further specialization takes place via the elective modules, traineeship and master thesis.

More about this programme
  • Testimonial of alumnus Mayra Mascareno Lara

    Here I found an interesting degree programme that I could tailor to my interests.

    I decided to apply to the University of Groningen after an intensive period of searching. I specifically looked for programmes in English, and in that context the Netherlands became an excellent option. Why Groningen? Because here I found an interesting degree programme that I could tailor to my interests.

    In my programme I found a first class academic staff with challenging projects and ideas. In addition, I've experienced that students get many opportunities to participate in research projects, through instances such as your traineeship or a job as research assistant. The interaction with the staff is very direct and you will become easily acquainted with the academic practice. Moreover, I encountered a group of active and motivated students during my programme, who are also very interested to know about your culture.

    The university has a good library with access to vast databases with the latest publications, which allows you to do your research and remain up-to-date with the developments in your area of knowledge. As a foreign student I've experienced how easy it is to communicate in English with everybody at the university. You can also do your shopping or order a coffee, and people will understand you without a problem. However, for long stays such as the Research Master's programme, I would definitely recommend to learn some Dutch because it will bring you to another level of integration to the Dutch culture.

    Living in Groningen deserves a separate chapter. I come from a city with millions of inhabitants, which can be overwhelming at times. In Groningen you will find almost everything you need in a much smaller space. You can easily cover it by walking, however the best way to move around is by bike (in spite of the wind, the rain, and the crazy Dutch bikers!). I love being able to enjoy the vivid centre of the city and, just minutes later, find myself biking in the peaceful natural area of the northern part of the Netherlands. In sum, here I've been able to acquire a solid academic base for my future as a researcher, and additionally an enriching, lifetime personal experience.”

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    – alumnus Mayra Mascareno Lara
  • Testimonial of Marloes van der Klauw

    I really like the supportive environment the Research Master's programme offers

    What I like most about the programme is that it challenges me to consider and discover things on my own. In addition, being appointed as a research assistant gives me the opportunity to be involved in even more research projects.

    During my final year of the Bachelor in psychology, I decided to apply for the Research Master's programme because I found out that doing research was what really appealed to me. In addition, I was looking for a challenging programme in which I could join forces with other critical students who share the same interest in human behaviour as I do. As time flies, I am already in my second year of the Social and Organizational Psychology specialization of the Research Master's programme and I'm glad that I took this opportunity.

    What I like most about the programme is that it challenges me to consider and discover things on my own. For example, I had to decide myself about my study plan, the topics I'm interested in, the courses I would like to take and the literature studies I would like to do. Furthermore, during the courses I'm frequently encouraged to be critical and express my own view on theories, controversies, and methodologies. Altogether, this helped me during my first year to come up with ideas of my own which is very opportune to write and do research.

    In addition, I really like the supportive environment the Research Master's programme offers. There is support from my supervisor, faculty members, and fellow students with whom I can discuss my ideas and questions and who provide me with feedback on my progress. As a central part of the Research Master's programme, seminars are offered in which students and faculty members present their work in order to gain feedback on their ideas and results. For me, those seminars create an open and interactive environment in which I can think out loud and become familiar with all kinds of issues related to human behaviour and research.

    Of course, besides the thinking and talking, the Research Master's programme involves also doing. As part of my traineeship, I designed a study on charisma, persuasion, and terror management. For that, I didn't only have to come up with reliable measurements and manipulations, but I also had to make sure that 120 participants completed my questionnaire. Subsequently, I had to figure out what kind of data analysis was appropriate in order to write a convincing paper on it. In addition, being appointed as a research assistant at the department of Social and Organizational Psychology gives me the opportunity to be involved in even more research projects and use my knowledge in practice by designing experiments and analysing data.

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    – Marloes van der Klauw
  • Testimonial of Nicoleta Bâlâu, Romania

    Challenging, captivating, and enriching

    After one year as a student in the Research Master's programme in Behavioural and Social Sciences, I know that this is an experience that I will never forget.

    I have found this programme to be challenging, captivating, and enriching. The requirements are demanding, but it provides me with an advanced training for my future research career. Groningen is a vivid and youthful city, with many students from various backgrounds, beautiful landscapes, and enjoyable opportunities to spend your free time and join a wide variety of sports. Most of the Dutch speak English,and I would say that this is just one sign of their hospitality. I would warmly recommend the University of Groningen. For its high quality education, international atmosphere, and for the great value that is attached to independence, individual opinions and teamwork.

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    – Nicoleta Bâlâu, Romania
  • Testimonial of
  • Testimonial of Selwyn Renard

    Clinical Psychology track: Inspiring and challenging

    Applying for the Behavioral and Social Sciences research master was partly based on convenience as I also did my Psychology Bachelor in Groningen. However, this does not mean I did not look at alternatives. In the end I decided to apply for the research master in Groningen because it's program looked as one of the more fun and challenging available.

    Choosing what track to follow was a bit more difficult as both the social psychology track and clinical psychology track looked really interesting. I was told I could try to combine the two tracks, through the selection of courses and subjects, as long as I focused on one of the two. In the end I chose for the clinical psychology track with influences from the social psychology track as I thought this focus would be more interesting than the other way round.

    I have been very happy with my decision to follow the clinical psychology track because it definitely delivered as promised. As the program is highly selective, there is a lot of contact between staff members and students. For me these meetings were extremely inspiring because the staff members really take their time for each individual student. The program itself was as challenging as I had hoped, resulting in a great preparation for my current PhD program. An important aspect of the program is that it gives students the opportunity to get out of the program what they want out of it. For me this resulted in going abroad for a few months to do a traineeship with a researcher in the United States, which I thought was an amazing experience. All in all, I have learned a lot during the research master and would recommend it to anyone who has the ambition to follow a career in research.

    Groningen itself is also a great city to study in. First of all, the city is strongly oriented around students which is no wonder as approximately 1 out of 4 inhabitants is a student. In addition, the city is relatively small making everything easy to reach. Groningen has reliable public transportation but I found taking a bike is usually more convenient. Because the city strongly revolves around students it has great study areas, libraries, sporting facilities and student associations.

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    – Selwyn Renard
  • Testimonial of Leonie Kreuze

    Combining research and clinical practice, a great combination!

    I've always been interested in the processes underlying human behaviour and especially in psychopathology in children. Because of my dream to become a clinical psychologist, using knowledge of psychology to help children with mental disorders, I started the psychology bachelor. Then I discovered I also really like many aspects of doing research (generating questions, thinking of research designs, being creative and get new knowledge). I started looking for a master in which I could combine clinical research and practice and found the research master to provide this possibility!

    During the first year of the research master, I increased my knowledge in psychopathology, therapy, methodology and statistics. I got the opportunity to work on systemic reviews and to conduct a meta-analysis, to engage in research design, data collection, data analysis, and writing in the field of clinical psychology. These experiences confirmed my earlier motivation.

    In my second year I really wanted to gain practical skills in the in the field of clinical psychology. Therefore together with my supervisor an integrated master thesis and clinical internship was arranged in a centre for child and youth psychiatry. During a period of 8 months, I spend 2 days on participating in diagnostics and treatment of children with anxiety and mood disorders and autism spectrum disorders. The other three days I participate in research projects performed at the clinical centre and write my master thesis.

    In this way the research master gave me the possibility to learn and increase my knowledge of conducting research in the field of clinical psychology and to gain practical clinical skills. I hope to continue this scientist-practitioner combination in the future.

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    – Leonie Kreuze
  • Testimonial of Minita Franzen

    My first year as a “ReMa student”

    Are you considering applying for the Behavioural and Social Sciences Research Master this year? Have you heard that it is a demanding program and are you wondering if it is something for you? Minita had the same thoughts last year. She is now a first-year student in the program and shares some of her experiences.

    “Awesome!”, is what I nearly shouted into the speaker of my phone when I heard the good news last year: I got accepted for the clinical psychology specialisation of the Behavioural and Social Sciences Research Master program in Groningen. I was going to be a ReMa student, and I was so relieved. I had to write a letter of motivation, was given two weeks to compose my first research proposal, and finally I made it through the final selection, the interview.

    Thus, in September 2014, together with 23 fellow students, I officially started my research career. In my specialisation, we are only 4 people. What a difference; in my Bachelor of Psychology program, which I also completed in Groningen, we had started with 350 people! Being in a small group was immediately one thing I really liked and it had been one of the reasons for wanting to become a ReMa student. Having most lectures in such small groups makes a big difference. We students get to know each other on a totally different level, and also the relationship we build with our professors is incomparable to the atmosphere during the Bachelor program. They suddenly know our names and give us the opportunity to work with them on research projects one-on-one.

    As the name suggests, the focus in the two-year ReMa program is indeed on research. This inevitably means that statistics plays a major role and in the first two semesters you are expected to spend many hours on it. However, it seems I am finally learning statistical methods that are actually applied in real research. In two courses, we are even asked to bring and work on our own data sets (instead of study a book and answer multiple-choice questions in an exam). So yes, if you are considering applying for the ReMa program, be prepared to tackle statistics again, and keep in mind that this plays a major part in psychological research and thus prepares you for what is yet to come. 

    The ReMa not only gives me the chance to do research here at the University of Groningen, but also actively supports my plans of spending time abroad. In the second year, ReMa students are expected to do a traineeship, which I will do at McGill University in Montréal, Canada. I am thrilled to be given this opportunity and I am really looking forward to working with other internationally renowned researchers. In my case, I will also stay in Montréal for my Master thesis. In addition to it being an exciting learning experience, hopefully it helps me increase my chances in obtaining a position as a PhD student.

    Speaking of which, from day one of the ReMa program, we are constantly reminded of and encouraged to think about and plan for the PhD position we are aiming for. No doubt, there is pressure to start publishing and to come up with an innovative, compelling research idea, so as to hand in a competitive application for funding at the beginning of the second ReMa year. Proper planning and a lot of time investment are needed, not only for the PhD application but throughout the whole ReMa program. After all, we were one of the few who got accepted into this program, hence good performance and commitment are expected.

    If you are considering applying for the program, it may help to know that you are offered support and assistance in order to manage to deliver what is expected from you. You will have a mentor within your specialisation and there are special student advisors for the ReMa program. Moreover, during the course Applied Statistics for example, you will also be guided and supported by one of the lecturers. You will be busy with “Uni” every day and there will be times that you feel totally exhausted, but it will be good to know that many people are willing to help.

    So all in all, yes, the ReMa definitely is a demanding and challenging program but the inspiring, stimulating, and personal environment it offers is definitely worth it. If I had to choose again, I would certainly do this ReMa again.

    These were some of my experiences of my first year of the ReMa and I hope sharing these will help you deciding whether this Master program is something for you. If you have any further questions, I am happy to help, so feel free to comment below or otherwise contact me.

     

    *This text also appeared on the Groningen Psychology Blog Mindwise

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    – Minita Franzen
  • Testimonial of Nienke Jonker

    Personal, tailored to your own interests, and opportunities for additional research experience

    During my bachelor of psychology I really enjoyed doing research, so when I started searching for a master program a research master seemed a logical option. My choice fell on the clinical track of the ReMa BSS because this program actually gives you the chance to do a master specifically aimed to train students for a future as a researcher, while still keeping the option open to become a therapist.

    In the free choice part of the master there is room to do the courses that are necessary to be able to do the post master of health psychologist (GZ-psycholoog). Furthermore, instead of a research traineeship it is also possible to do a clinical internship.

    My experience with the research master was excellent. The master has a personal approach, you receive continuous supervision by a senior researcher of your own choice, you have many course options  which can be tailored  to your own interests and your fellow students and supervisors/staff are highly motivated. Importantly, there is an option to apply for funding for your own PhD project.

    The first year of the research master consists of several interesting mandatory courses, such as applied statistics during which you learn programming in R software. Additionally, you are required to complete literature studies in topics of your own interests. During my first year we also got the opportunity for additional research experience, by doing a paid research assistantship with a senior researcher of our choice. This was a great opportunity, and to give you an idea; for my project I learned to work with an eye tracker and performed a study examining the influence of individual differences in body shape concern on viewing patterns of bodies of overweight and normal weight individuals.

    The second year of the research master is highly independent and gives you the time to develop your own interests for your specific area of interest. For me this consisted of a traineeship using eye tracking, a master thesis which provided the basis for my current PhD project, and a literature study in the same area. In addition, I got a great opportunity to go to Gent University for a short visit, through contacts of my supervisor. Here I got to present my master thesis plan and meet several researchers that were working on similar projects.

    To conclude; if you are interested in doing research in clinical psychology, perhaps in combination with clinical work, the research master Behavioural and Social Sciences is a master you should definitely consider.

     

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    – Nienke Jonker
  • Testimonial of Nadja Zeiske

    PhD student in Environmental Psychology at the University of Groningen

    My interest in environmental issues led me to pursue the research master Behavioural and Social sciences, where I could deepen my understanding of the topic and at the same time delve into the world of research. During my master's I had a lot of courses on research methods and statistics, as well as a variety of courses in social psychology and environmental psychology.

    Furthermore, I was encouraged to join ongoing projects from faculty members, assist in research and attend lab meetings of the research groups in the department. I did a traineeship, literature studies and my master's thesis to specialise in Environmental Psychology.

    In July 2016 I started my PhD research in Environmental Psychology about smart energy incentives. I feel really confident in conducting my own research as I had a lot of practice and preparation throughout my master’s, especially by writing my master’s thesis in Environmental Psychology. My thesis was about evaluating a water and energy conservation programme for primary school children called “Water Savers” . Coordinating this project and working with schools and practitioners will be of great help to me for future larger projects that I will design and coordinate.

    I will see what the future holds. Maybe later on in life, I would like to start my own research and consultancy company in the field of sustainability. For now, I am really looking forward to working on my PhD topic for the next four years.’

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    – Nadja Zeiske
  • Testimonial of Marvin Kunz

    The lecturers are excellent.

    My academic training has all been in Groningen. I did my Bachelor's in Psychology here, and am currently doing a Research Master's in Behavioural and Social Sciences, specializing in Social and Organizational Psychology.

    I chose to do a Research Master's because I was intrigued by the idea of critically investigating the claims made in the field of Psychology. I would love to be able to make my own theoretical and critical contribution to the field. Besides critical thinking, I'm learning how to apply particular theoretical models to human behaviour and how to work with statistical analysis.

    The subject that interests me most is Social Psychology. How do the people around us influence how we look at the world? In Western culture, we have a strong notion that you have to be 'yourself', but in Social Psychology it is assumed that the self changes according to those around you. That fascinates me.

    The lecturers at the Department of Psychology are excellent: there's always something to learn from them. The University of Groningen offers great opportunities to learn and challenge yourself. For this programme, it is particularly important that you are willing and motivated.

    Before coming to Groningen I lived in Germany. I always wanted to study abroad and would definitely recommend it to anyone considering it. It really challenges you to adapt to a different culture and get to know new people. Groningen has everything: it's a beautiful city with loads of activities to do alongside your studies. As it's not too big, you feel at home. And I have to admit that the Dutch are really quite nice!

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    – Marvin Kunz
  • Testimonial of Research Master Behavioural And Social Sciences

    – Research Master Behavioural And Social Sciences
Facts & Figures
Degree
MSc in Behavioural and Social Sciences (research)
Croho code
60654
Course type
Research master
Language of instruction
English (100%)
Duration
24 months (120 ECTS)
Start
SeptemberSeptember
Programme form
full-time
Faculty
Behavioural and Social Sciences