Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Education Master's and PhD degree programmes Behavioural and Social Sciences - Research
Header image Behavioural and Social Sciences

Behavioural and Social Sciences

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.

For scholarships and grants please scroll down.

1. Mental Health: Perspectives from Neuro- and Clinical Psychology
What are the origins of psychopathological and brain disorders?
Specializations: Clinical Neuropsychology| Clinical Psychology | Psychometrics and Statistics

2. Lifespan Development and Socialization
How do individuals develop across their lifespan?
Specializations: Developmental Psychology | Orthopedagogy | Pedagogical and Educational Sciences | Psychometrics and Statistics |Sociology

3. Understanding Societal Change
How do individuals and groups adapt to the changing world?
Specializations: Environmental Psychology | Organizational Psychology | Psychometrics and Statistics | Social psychology | Sociology

Facts & Figures
Degree
MSc in Behavioural and Social Sciences (research)
Course type
Research master
Duration
24 months (120 ECTS)
Croho code
60654
Language of instruction
English
Start
September
Faculty
Behavioural and Social Sciences
Why study this programme in Groningen?
Programme
  • Science course: How to theorize.
  • Statistical and methodology modules give you a profound basis in various statistical methods, including computer skills and the ability to sensibly use statistics to solve empirical research problems.
  • Compulsory theme-specific modules introduce the theme, offering a broad view and the unique perspectives of the theme-related specializations.
  • Elective modules allow for further specialization, in the theme-related specializations.

All first-year students are offered a research assistantship in a project of choice. This opens the opportunity for a paid participation in an ongoing research project. In the traineeship, you learn how to conduct high-quality scientific research by participating in an ongoing research project.

Periods
CoursesCourse Catalog >1234
*Advanced statistics (7.5 EC)
*How to theorize (2.5 EC)
LDS | Lifespan development (5 EC)
MH | Mental Health: a multidimensional perspective (5 EC)
UCS | Theorizing change (7.5 EC)
*Seminars (2.5 EC)
LDS | Modelling interactions between persons and variables over time (5 EC)
LDS | Socialization (5 EC)
MH | Mental Health: advanced research methods (5 EC)
USC | From problem analysis to intervention design (7.5 EC)
*Specialization courses (see online catalogue) (10 EC)
Elective courses (see the online catalogue) (10 EC)
*Applied statistics (10 EC)
MH | Clinical interventions and e-health for adults and youth OR Neuropsychological assessment (5 EC)
*Traineeship (10 EC)
  • You learn how to perform multidisciplinary research, by jointly carrying out a research project about a societal problem.
  • Elective modules allow for further specialization in the theme-related specializations.
  • A clinical science traineeship allows a student to integrate work in clinical or clinical-educational practice and a scientific perspective. The clinical traineeship consists of two integrated parts, namely (i) a traineeship in an institution and (ii) a practical at university on applied science. Students in the theme MH may add a clinical internship, to be trained in diagnostic and other clinical skills and qualify for a postdoctoral clinical training programme.
  • Students in the themes MH may add a clinical internship, to be trained in diagnostic and other clinical skills and qualify for a postdoctoral clinical training programme.
  • Science course: Reflecting on Science and Integrity.
Periods
CoursesCourse Catalog >1234
*Multidisciplinary research in action (5 EC)
*Reflecting on Science and Integrity (7.5 EC)
*How to write an effective research proposal (5 EC)
Electives (see online catalogue)
Master's thesis (30 EC)
Seminars (2.5 EC)
*Clinical traineeship (20 EC)
*Specialization courses (see online catalogue) (10 EC)

Curriculum

Please note:

  • MH, LDS and USC indicate the compulsory theme modules, for each of the three themes.
  • Courses marked with an * are compulsory courses for all students, regardless of the chosen theme.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional

The Traineeship and Master thesis projects can be performed internally at the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences of the University of Groningen, or externally at another university or research institute in the Netherlands or abroad. The teaching staff has an extensive national and international network, resulting from cooperations with top-level researchers across the world.

Entry requirements

Transfer options

Transferring from...

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Psychology (EN)All Research universitiesAdditional requirements
SociologyAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
Academic training primary school teacherAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
Educational SciencesAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
Interdisciplinary Social ScienceAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
assessment interview

If you apply for the programme, you may be invited for an additional assignment and/or an interview with the Admission Board to provide additional information about your motives and aspirations to enter the research master's programme.

language test

Sufficient knowledge of the English language. | CPE in Advanced English:>=185 | TOEFL: an overall score of >= 100, with >= 25 on speaking and writing on the internet-based form | IELTS: an overall score of >= 7, with >=7 on speaking and writing (academic version) |

reference letter

You must arrange for two names of academic referees who have knowledge of your academic record. Please note: only provide two names, it is not necessary to arrange letters of references.

(motivation-) letter

A letter (800 words at maximum) in which you explain why you wish to follow this particular degree programme, theme and specialization and what your expectations and ambitions are.

other admission requirements
  • High performance during the bachelor's degree programme (weighted average BA grade at least 7.5 or equivalent)
  • Preference for one of the three domains
  • Knowledge of relevant theories and statistics (including multiple regression and analysis of variance), and experience with statistical software packages.

Not sure if you meet these statistical requirements? Please read the Statistical Entrance requirements. This pdf document includes a self-test.

Registration procedure

Application is a procedure involving 4 steps that differ for students from a non-Dutch university and students from a Dutch university.

Roughly the steps are
1) sign up in Studielink, 2) provide information, 3) selection procedure, 4) admission decision.

Please read the detailed application procedure carefully.

Selection procedure

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202301 September 2023
EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
assessment interview

If you apply for the programme, you may be invited for an interview with the Admission Board to provide additional information about their motives and aspirations to enter the research master's programme.

language test

Sufficient knowledge of the English language. | CPE in Advanced English:>=185 | TOEFL: an overall score of >= 100, with >= 25 on speaking and writing on the internet-based form | IELTS: an overall score of >= 7, with >=7 on speaking and writing (academic version) |

previous education

University bachelor in a social science (e.g., Psychology, Sociology, Pedagogics, Educational Sciences)

reference letter

You must arrange for two names of academic referees who have knowledge of your academic record. Please note: only provide two names, it is not necessary to arrange letters of references.

(motivation-) letter

Your motivation to enter the research master's programme and your professional background are important elements in successful completion of the programme. Also, it is very important for us to know what your objectives are in completing the research master so your needs can be assessed. Please write (type) a short report (no longer than 1 to 2 pages) listing your motivation, relevant study or work experience and any other information which you think is related to your admission such as thesis proposals, areas of particular interest and/or professional qualifications in social and behavioural sciences.

other admission requirements
  • High performance during the Bachelor's degree programme (weighted average BA grade at least 7.5 or equivalent)
  • Preference for one of the three domains
  • Knowledge of relevant theories and statistics (including multiple regression and analysis of variance), and experience with statistical software packages.

Not sure if you meet these statistical requirements? Please read the statistical entrance requirements. This document includes a self-test.

Registration procedure

Application is a procedure involving 4 steps that differ for students from a non-Dutch university and students from a Dutch university. Roughly the steps are
1) sign up in Studielink, 2) provide information, 3) selection procedure, 4) admission decision.

Please read the detailed application procedure carefully.


Selection procedure

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202301 September 2023
EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2022-2023€ 2209full-time
non-EU/EEA2022-2023€ 16201full-time

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

Holders of this degree are well equipped for further study and training for a PhD thesis, for employment as a research practitioner, for employment as policy advisors in government institutions and for employment in the public or private sector.

The research master theme "Mental Health: Perspectives from Neuro- and Clinical Psychology" also prepares for a career as a scientist-practitioner, that is, a psychologist working in clinical practice while also pursuing scientific research in the fie

TNO, CITO and CBS are possible Dutch employers after finishing our master programme.

Job examples

  • PhD student
  • Researcher

    in public or private sector

  • Policy advisor

    in government institutions

  • Research practitioner
Research

Research Master & Research Groups

The degree programme prepares you for a PhD or applied research position, aiming to impart knowledge, skills and understanding in the field of social and behavioural sciences in such a way that you are capable of performing scientific research in this area.

The programme builds upon a long-standing collaboration within the faculty between a number of research groups in sociology, psychology, and pedagogical and educational sciences with a shared interest in the social behaviour of individuals in institutional and cultural contexts.

They all focus on methodologically and theoretically advanced research on applied problems. Typical research topics include, for example, motivation, solidarity behaviour, or commitment. Within the programme, you choose a multidisciplinary domain that is a collaboration between different research groups:


Apply nowBrochureEventsContact

Contact

  • Graduat School Bss (for students with a Dutch diploma)
    Email: gradschool.bss rug.nl
  • Middy Langley (student Understanding Societal Change) (Any questions? You can email a current student)
    Email: m.g.langley student.rug.nl
  • Admissions Office Bss (for students with a non-Dutch diploma)
    Email: bss.msc.admission rug.nl
  • Study Advisor Research Master Bss (about the programme, enrollment, studying)
    Email: studyadvice.rema.bss rug.nl
  • Mihaela Cimpian (student Lifespan Development And Socialization) (Any questions? You can email a current student)
    Email: m.cimpian student.rug.nl
  • 
						Testimonial of

    Alumnus Fenna van der Wijk - PhD in Criminal Network Analysis at the University of Groningen

    Read more

    “I am currently doing a PhD in criminal network analysis at the University of Groningen. In collaboration with the Dutch National Police we are working on a project called 'Multiplexity in Criminal Networks' which concerns the examination of organized crime. Specifically, we aim to study the possible ways individuals become involved in criminal networks, the development of criminal activities in criminal networks, and the impact of law enforcement interventions on those networks.

    Throughout the years of my education I have made it my mission to foster society by combatting organized crime. This idea already started growing when I was younger as a result of watching crime series. During my bachelor in Sociology I chose the specialisation Sociology of Crime and Safety and did a minor at the Faculty of Law, where I followed some law and criminology courses. I was so passionate about the topics that were discussed that I knew I definitely wanted to do something with them. Before, studying criminology had also been on my mind but I wanted my studies to have a bit of a broader societal lense from the start. After graduating from my bachelor, I decided to do the Research Master in Behavioural and Social Sciences (BSS) and chose a lot of courses where I could focus on the phenomenon of organized crime. For example, I wrote a literature study on women trafficking and an essay on American youth gangs.

    The Research Master BSS especially shaped my critical thinking and programming skills. What I still value these days are the courses Advanced Statistics, Applied Statistics, and Statistical Analysis of Complex Social Networks. During this programme I chose the Lifespan Development and Socialization domain with the specialization label Sociology. I also did a traineeship at the Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University in England Here, I really learnt to apply some social network analysis on real criminal events data for the first time, skills that I later implemented in my Master’s Thesis.

    For the next four years I am very excited to be working on my own project proposal. I feel like I got a lot left to learn and I am grateful to be able do this in a work setting which provides me with the time and resources to further develop myself in this field. In the future, it is my dream to fulfill a bridging position between practice and science, and use police data, such as registrations and investigations, to get more insight into organized crime groups. Ultimately, I would like to help the police with predictive policing, so that based on previous events they can increasingly prevent criminal activities from happening.

    I definitely recommend following the research master if conducting research is your passion or if you want to, like myself, gain a PhD position later on. Two years seems long but I saw it as an opportunity to develop myself. From my experience, it can however be challenging and, therefore, I would advise students who experience problems to always keep talking to fellow students, lectures or the study advisor.”

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of

    Alumnus Robert Görsch - PhD student in Environmental Psychology at the University of Groningen

    Read more

    “I'm a PhD student in the group of Environmental Psychology at the University of Groningen. My job is to conduct research and I also have to do a little bit of teaching as part of my PhD responsibilities. The topic of my research is the acceptability of energy technologies and environmental policies.

    Currently I am working on a systematic literature review about the support, acceptability and protest of and against ten different energy technologies. This includes all renewable energies but also emerging new technologies like carbon captive storage, an energy facility that tries to capture Co2 that is produced by fossil fuel burning and stores it under the ground. I think the research about acceptability and what people's most important perceptions are of those technologies is very interesting. Sometimes engineers or politicians may think something is a perfect solution, but if people don’t like it, then it can significantly decrease the potential of a certain technology.

    The research master of Behavioral and Social Sciences really prepared me for a career in research. During the programme you have to read and understand literature, think about research questions and come up with new ideas. You also have to design studies and to conduct them, analyze them and use statistics. I think the big strength of a two-year programme is that you have enough time to work on these skills and at the same time can explore your research interests. For me personally an important motivation to do the BSS research master in Groningen, is that it has a big lab with many people working on environmental psychology.

    The great thing about working in science and working as a PhD student is that you have a lot of autonomy and freedom to decide what you want to work on. In the future I would like to do something with my research that is also of use for people outside of academia, for example policy makers or NGO’s that are interested in environmental issues.

    If you are interested in research and would like to do a PhD then I definitely advise to think about the research master. Having two years to take into a lot of the programme, the stats education but also the theory courses and having the chance to talk with peers and other researchers about ideas and explore them practically is a very good preparation I think.”

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of Jannis Friedrich

    Alumnus Jannis Friedrich - PhD in Embodied Cognition at the German Sport University

    – Jannis Friedrich
    Read more

    I just received a PhD position at the Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln, where I will start as of April 2021 with a research project on embodied cognition. This is an approach that basically says that cognition is not only something in our head but also takes place in our bodies and our surroundings.

    For example: in a supermarket you are pushing a shopping cart or holding a basket which are two different actions. They found out that people who were using a shopping cart, which you have to push, were less likely to buy little candies at the cashier than people who were holding a basket. This is because their body posture was basically in an avoiding position by pushing something (the shopping cart) away the whole time. During my research project, I will likely focus on sports and to what degree we adapt these certain mindsets when we are playing sport.


    When I was young my dad showed me a little graph. In the middle there was a small circle which said ‘everything you learn at elementary school’, around that a bigger circle which showed ‘what you learn in highschool’, and an even bigger circle of what you learn at the university. Everything outside these circles basically presents all the information humankind has, he said back then. By doing research you’re expanding that circle of what everyone knows. This really caught me because I can add something to that pool and that’s a nice idea. In the second year of my bachelor I knew that I wanted to do the research master Behavioural and Social Sciences. Eventually, I chose the theme Understanding Societal Change with a specialization in Social Psychology.


    The research master really prepared me for the PhD position, having to do research, read papers and think about statistics. At the beginning, a lot of things are difficult from the start but once you get into reading papers, you become good at it and you are going to like it. From my experience the programme is not as hard as you might think it is. When I did the research master I went to the library every week and I still managed to have a social life. Also, the people are really friendly here and there is a lot of support. After my PhD, I would like to become a postdoc and eventually professor. On the side I would like to do something in the direction of consultancy or marketing.

    Close
  • Watch this videoClose
  • 
						Testimonial of lecturer Rafaele Huntjens

    Associate Professor - Rafaele Huntjens

    – lecturer Rafaele Huntjens
    Read more

    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.




    Close
  • Watch this videoClose
  • 
						Testimonial of lecturer Casper Albers

    Casper Albers - Associate professor in Psychometrics and Statistics

    – lecturer Casper Albers
    Read more

    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.

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of lecturer Marieke Pijnenborg

    Marieke Pijnenborg - Associate professor Clinical Psychology & Experimental Psychopathology

    – lecturer Marieke Pijnenborg
    Read more

    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.

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of Schedule Research Master Bss

    Schedule Research Master programme 2021

    – Schedule Research Master Bss
    Read more

Research master students about their thesis topics

This blog is for anyone interested in the Behavioural and Social Sciences research master's programme, the research carried out by its students and what makes these subjects research-worthy.

Latest blogs:
-EEG, neurofeedback training and executive functions by Karl Zimmerman
-Resonating with Nature by Carolin Belz
-How Do pro-LGBTIA+ Policies Affect the Life Satisfaction of Sexual Minorities? by Maaike Jonker
-Do You Know Yourself? Understanding Identity Fragmentation in Dissociative Identity Disorder by Wencke Donath

Read more

For the Research Master BSS

Read more
Student profile

You

  • are considering a research career in an academic or a clinical, industry, or governmental setting
  • aim to specialize within a field of (social) science
  • love to learn from other disciplines
  • find it important to obtain a firm methodological, research oriented basis
  • are interested to develop your statistical skills

Yes? Then our two-year English taught research master programme could be the right choice for you.

Study support

The focus of your programme is to be shaped via your choices for one of the themes, for the optional modules and for your traineeship and master's thesis. You compose and monitor your personal study plan in close consultation with the academic advisor.

At least twice a year you will be invited by the academic advisor to discuss your study progress. You can also visit the academic advisor for confidential or study-related issues.

A mentor (i.e., a staff member of the theme in which you plan to specialize) is assigned to you at the start of the programme. The mentor provides substantive information and guidance about your specialization, individually and/ or in groups. You and your mentor meet several times during the year. In the second year, your supervisor of the master's thesis will take over the role of mentor.