Are you considering a research career in an academic or an applied setting? Do you want to specialize within the field of behavioural and social sciences and receive a multidisciplinary training?
As a research master student you choose one of our three multidisciplinary themes. The theme-specific courses will give you a broad view on the theme and will introduce you to the unique perspectives of the theme-related specializations. In the course of the first semester you will choose your own specialization. It will enable you to tailor your master to the topics that you wish to engage in.
Distress, and Disorders
What are the origins of psychopathological and brain disorders?
Specializations: Clinical Neuropsychology| Clinical Psychology and Experimental Psychopathology | Pedagogical and Educational Sciences | Psychometrics and Statistics
Development and Socialization
How do individuals develop across their lifespan?
Specializations: Developmental Psychology | Pedagogical and Educational Sciences | Psychometrics and Statistics |Sociology
in a Changing Society
How do individuals and groups adapt to the changing world?
Specializations: Environmental Psychology | Organizational Psychology | Psychometrics and Statistics | Social psychology | Sociology
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.
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.
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
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.
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.’
In Social Psychology it is assumed that the self changes according to those around you. That fascinates me.
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!
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.”
Associate Professor - Rafaele Huntjens
My name is Rafaële Huntjens and I'm an associate professor in experimental psychopathology, focusing on dissociative disorders and other trauma-related disorders. The beautiful thing about experimental psychopathology is that it provides you with the tools to investigate causal mechanisms involved in psychopathology. It thus goes beyond merely showing correlation which may be spurious. It can be widely applied from basic research questions to applied studies.
I participate in the Psychology bachelor and master and in the Research master Behavioural and Social Sciences in the domain Deficits, Distress and Disorders. I’m the coordinator of the domain and I also coordinate and teach the course Experimental Psychopathology. In this course we discuss experimental studies examining cognitive models specifying important factors (e.g., memory, attentional bias) in psychopathological phenomena like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and dissociation.
Within the domain we address associations between brain and behavior, as well as we use an experimental approach with a focus on understanding the causal mechanisms underlying the onset and maintenance of disorders. Studying this domain provides you with a better understanding of human distress, psychopathological disorders, and brain disorders and deficits. Students gain knowledge and tools to conduct fundamental research as well as more applied research on assessment and diagnosis and improving interventions in healthcare. It is possible to specialize as a clinical psychologist, clinical neuropsychologist or developmental psychologist. The program offers a combination of theoretical and practical training in small-scale, group based education allowing for close interaction with the teaching staff and fellow students.
Casper Albers - Associate professor in Psychometrics and Statistics
My name is Casper Albers and I'm an associate professor in Psychometrics and Statistics within the Research Master's degree programme.
I am also the coordinator of the Psychometrics and Statistics course units. This means that I ensure that these course units dovetail with each other and with the rest of the course units and that the state-of-the-art knowledge in this field is reflected within the degree programme. Further, I teach the Statistical Methods for Single Case Designs course unit on the Master’s programme.
The Research Master at the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences offers a perfect mix of broadening and deepening course units. Students are given enough information about all branches of behavioural sciences to be able to understand the basics. At the same time they are given the space to become an expert in a certain field. Thus the degree programme prepares students perfectly for the labour market, both in and outside academic research.
This versatility is what makes my field so interesting. Statisticians can pretty much turn their hand to anything. One day I might be working with clinical psychologists on a better model for understanding depression, the next with social psychologists to study how we can motivate people to use less electricity. On another day I’ll be studying the mathematical properties of a new model, and I could round the week off by working with education theorists on a study of the effectiveness of the flipped classroom.
This Master’s programme is suitable for anyone interested in human behaviour – both individual and group behaviour. It is perfect for curious students who really want to get to the heart of the matter.
Marieke Pijnenborg - Associate professor Clinical Psychology & Experimental Psychopathology
I teach the course units 'Evidence-based interventions' and 'Diagnostic models and strategies' on the Clinical Psychology Track. Although I work for the departments of Clinical Psychology and Experimental Psychopathology, my research lies somewhere between the departments of Clinical Neuropsychology and Clinical Psychology. I feel at home in both fields.
My particular expertise is in psychotic disorders. Psychoses are extremely interesting. They create a very unique clinical picture, with many different manifestations and affecting many different types of people. It is fascinating to see how the brain can fool itself. People believe unimaginable things that other people cannot understand or see, regardless of contradictions or external proof. The next question is how best to help these people return to functioning in society. Increasing social participation and counteracting stigmatization are thus my most important objectives.
Psychology is a branch of science that is very close to daily life. Psychologists study day-to-day social processes. The main attraction of clinical psychology is to make a difference for other people. Curiosity is a major factor – curiosity about the causes of problematic behaviour and the motivation to find out how to best treat these problems.
The Clinical Psychology Track has a lot to offer prospective students. For example, we look at scientific themes from a clinical practice point of view, while at the same time paying attention to innovations in care. We also conduct experimental research to see which processes lie behind certain forms of psychopathology. The expertise of the lecturers is very varied – we have a lot of knowledge from many different domains.
You can watch our webinars after the broadcast. The webinar of 13 March 2019 features dr. Maike van der Vlugt discussing courses, career prospects, admissions, expertise of staff and many other topics.