The Master’s Programme in Psychology focuses both on in-depth study of theory and on the acquisition of professional and research skills. The distinctive feature of the Leiden programme is that the teaching is not restricted to only the functioning of psychological processes; these processes are always connected to their behavioural consequences, with the aim of understanding self-regulation and behavioural control. In this way, students not only develop their knowledge of psychology as a science, but also learn to apply this knowledge in order to understand practical problems and to develop effective interventions for dealing with these problems.
In line with the profile of Leiden University as a research-intensive institution, the teaching programme is based on state-of-the art scientific research and maintains a strong emphasis on the acquisition of academic and research skills. Completion of the MSc degree prepares students for subsequent academic degrees, including a PhD.
The objective of the programme is to equip students with advanced training in research methods and professional skills that prepare them both for a career involving psychological research as well as for the application of scientific knowledge and methods in various professional settings. Training is provided in all relevant skills, including reviewing the relevant literature, applying theoretical knowledge to analyse practical problems, developing hypotheses and writing research proposals, designing and carrying out empirical studies, designing and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions, conducting advanced statistical analyses, and presenting results and recommendations.
The programme offers nine specialisations:
“We strongly believe in Kurt Lewin’s adage that there is nothing as practical as a good theory.”
“How can we translate the insights of psychological theory into practice? This simple yet crucial question underlies most of the courses we offer at Leiden University. To be able to change behaviour, you first of all need a firm theoretical basis that helps you under¬stand where it comes from.
It is not an easy task, however, to put theory into practice. To relate the complexities of daily life to psychological theory, you need to practise; you need to be able to simplify while maintaining enough detail to appreciate the uniqueness of the particular situation you wish to examine. You need to combine insights from different theories, and to approach the problem from different angles.
To do this, new skills have to be developed. To this end, our students practise in small groups where they discuss the difficulties they encounter, present their ideas, and conduct their own research, together with our professional staff.
The challenges are many. In my own specialisation, Social and Organisational Psychology, we study, for example, how people approach cultural diversity. When is it a threat? How can you make people realize that it also offers new opportunities? We can use our social psychological theories to find ways to reduce the threats and reap the benefits that lay ahead.
The focus on the symbiosis between theory and practice is evident in all our specialisations. We strive for a fertile environment where sound theory results in good practice. Take a look at what we offer, and join us if you share our enthusiasm!”