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.
Distress, and Disorders
What are the origins of psychopathological and brain disorders?
Specializations: Clinical Neuropsychology| Clinical Psychology | 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
How do individuals and groups adapt to the changing world?
Specializations: Environmental Psychology | Organizational Psychology | Psychometrics and Statistics | Social psychology | Sociology
Alumnus Fenna van der Wijk - PhD in Criminal Network Analysis at the University of Groningen
“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.”
Alumnus Robert Görsch - PhD student in Environmental Psychology at the University of Groningen
“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.”
What research topics interest our students?
Student Milan Büscher, 25, from Germany:
“I am interested in spillover effects: how does past behavior impact future behavior? Investigating environmental behavior is extremely relevant and important, and because I identified a gap in previous research, I decided to pick this topic for my thesis.
My thesis title is ‘Contribution ethic as a mechanism of environmental spillover effects’. In short, I investigated how the belief that one has contributed their part to society by acting environmentally friendly, influences their future behavior. Do they become inspired to do more, or are they satisfied and do less? Contrary to what some might think at first, we found that believing that one has done their part seems to lead to more and not less environmental friendly behavior!
The study we did was very theoretical, so it is important to test the practical application of the findings. Based on this study, when designing ways to impact people’s behaviour, it might be useful to remind people of their past environmental friendly behavior.
I was happy to do this research because I’m passionate about this topic and I could work with a supervisor that I knew was knowledgeable and very helpful. There is still a lot of research to be done in this field, and I hope to be a part of that in the future.”
Milan did his bachelor Psychology in Groningen, and decided to continue with the Research Master. He chose the track Understanding Societal Change , with a specialization in environmental psychology.
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.
Schedule Research Master programme 2021