The Social and Organisational Psychology specialisation offers in-depth knowledge of a broad range of theories and research domains in this area, all concerning the way people’s social environment influences thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.
The main aim of this specialisation is to provide a broad overview of classic and more recent approaches. You will be trained to integrate different perspectives and findings, in order to develop novel research questions. Through written assignments and discussions and presentations in small groups you will practice developing theory-driven analyses of a range of issues in social and organisational psychology, and learn how to examine these with advanced research methods.
You can specialize in the topic of your preference in your choice of assignments and electives, which can also be taken from other programmes. During your training in advanced academic and research skills you will be actively involved in an ongoing research program. Your (international) internship and master’s thesis will enable you to gain hands-on experience and learn from established scholars, under close supervision in research tutorials.
“Unconscious processes in the brain affect how we make decisions”
“I wasn’t really sure whether I wanted to carry on in the scientific world, so I had my doubts about doing this research master’s. In the end, my curiosity and enthusiasm for research tipped the balance. Once I’d made up my mind, I was happy to be accepted for the programme. The admission requirements may seem daunting, but they are important: it’s a tough programme and you have to be really motivated. I found the research master’s a completely different experience from the bachelor’s. You’re part of a small, close-knit group of students, so you have more one-to-one contact with the lecturers. That was something I really appreciated, and it also broadened my social network.
The most positive aspect of this master’s for me was the freedom of choice and the possibility of combining different subjects within the programme. You have a lot of room for individual choice alongside the general courses that are the same for students of all the different tracks. I wanted to look more closely at both social and economic psychology as well as neuroscientific research techniques such as fMRI, and I was able to put together my own master’s programme, combining all the areas I was interested in. In the second year I did a research internship at the Donders Institute in Nijmegen, where I was involved in an fMRI study of how the hormone oxytocin influences economic decisions in a social context.
The internship fired my enthusiasm for further research and I am now studying for a PhD in Marketing at the Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University), in partnership with the Donders Institute. My research focuses on consumer choice behaviour and how these choices can be influenced by unconscious processes in the brain. It’s an interesting subject because such knowledge can help motivate consumers, for instance in making healthier or better choices.
I would definitely recommend this research master’s if you’re interested in doing psychological research. It’s the kind of research that can be applied to many different fields, so you don’t need to narrow your focus down to one particular academic career. Some of my fellow students are now working in the business sector or in government and semi-government organisations.”