Study Psychology in English in The Netherlands

1. A Career in Psychology

Psychology is one of the most popular subjects to study because it has a big impact on all areas of life, from education and health, to the economy and crime.

Psychology is the scientific study of human mind and behaviour. Psychologists apply scientific methodology to explain human behaviour. They formulate theories, test hypotheses through observation and experiment, and analyse their reports with statistical techniques that help them identify important findings.

If you are interested in finding out why people behave the way they do or how the brain works then psychology could be for you.

The British Psychological Society website offers some excellent resources for exploring careers in the different areas of Psychology: Forensic, Health, Clinical, Educational, Occupational, Neuro, Sport and Exercise, Counselling, Academia Research and Teaching.

2. Will my psychology degree from a Dutch university be recognised?

You should have absolutely no problem with recognition of a psychology degree from a good university. If you are satisfied with the overall quality of the university and the reputation of its psychology department then it is unlikely that you will ever be at a disadvantage if you study psychology abroad.

Having said that, we have heard recently that it is important to choose a course with British Psychological Society accreditation. To date the society has not had a process for considering international degrees for accreditation and therefore no international degrees are currently BPS accredited.

Graduates who have not taken an accredited degree programme in Psychology can undertake a conversion course. Conversion courses provide an opportunity for graduates to build on their first degree qualification to become eligible for the Society's Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). The course usually consists of at least one full year (approximately 45 weeks full-time, or its part-time equivalent) and typically comprises either 120 or 180.

3. Undergraduate opportunities to study psychology in English

1. University of Groningen

The BSc in Psychology at the University of Groningen is a versatile, scientific degree programme offering specialisations in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Cognitive Psychology and Psychophysiology, Clinical Neuropsychology, Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Social Psychology and its applications.

The programme offers a thorough training in methodological and statistical knowledge and skills.

Career Opportunities

Psychology is a multi-facetted discipline, with many different sub-disciplines. Accordingly, there are many different types of psychologists, such as for example industrial psychologists, neuropsychologists, experimental psychologists, sports psychologists, social psychologists, developmental psychologists, or clinical psychologists.

Their career paths (usually after fininshing a master's degree in Psychology) are even more diverse. Many psychologists fulfill advisory functions or are involved in some form of diagnostics and counseling. Many of them actually work in an interdisciplinary context, for example with social scientists from other disciplines (e.g., as a policy advisor). They distinguish themselves through detailed knowledge of the laws of human behaviour in combination with an analytical and methodological approach to problem solving.

For students who are mainly interested in working with clinical patients, it is important to realize that a bachelor's and/or master's degree in Psychology do NOT qualify students as psychological therapists. Rather, a master's of science in psychology diploma is a prerequisite for further qualification in this area (post-master education).

2. Erasmus University Rotterdam

Do you wish to comprehend human behaviour? Would you like to help people or organisations solve their problems professionally?

The BSc in Psychology at Erasmus University Rotterdam works with the small-scale teaching/learning method of Problem-Based Learning (PBL). In groups of around ten students, you discuss real-life cases which psychologists are confronted with in their work on a daily basis, providing you with an insight into the psychologist’s practice. This concerns subjects such as memory, anxiety, burnout, learning, group behaviour, etc.

The BSc Psychology puts an emphasis on the practical application of theoretical knowledge. This means that you will not only acquire knowledge about the main psychological theories, but also develop basic skills required for a psychologist during practical sessions. These include psychological discussion, diagnostic and intervention skills. Plenty of attention is devoted to training scientific research and writing skills as well.

Career Opportunities

As a graduate in Psychology, you can work in many areas. Particularly in industry and education there is great demand for well-qualified psychologists. Are you more interested in science? The International Bachelor in Psychology also prepares you for a career as a researcher in this field.

3. Leiden University

If you’re naturally interested in people’s behavior and have an inquisitive mind the BSc in Psychology at the Leiden University is worth a look.

Psychology is a science. This means you will be trained to look at things from different perspectives and be as objective as possible. Being good at observing people and listening to them is important for a psychologist. You have it in you to think systematically and analytically, and to reason clearly. A feeling for language helps too.

Career Opportunities

The choices you make during your years at Leiden University will greatly influence your future career. The first year of your bachelor’s offers a fixed programme that’s the same for all students. From the second year on, you can either decide to stay broad in your orientation on the field, or you can choose to specialise by taking electives focusing on a certain subdiscipline in addition to the mandatory second year courses. Electives include Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Cognitive Ergonomics, Culture and Diversity at Work, and Psychological and Neurobiological Consequences of Child Abuse.

3. Postgraduate opportunities to study psychology in English

The unique MSc programme in International Crimes and Criminology at VU Amsterdam teaches a small group of approximately 25 students the necessary intellectual skills to take this approach and how to apply the knowledge and expertise to real-world situations.    

Why did 21 year old US army reservist Lynndie England torture Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib? Was a genocide committed when Serbian troops invaded Srebrenica in July 1995? Is justice done if the International Criminal Court prosecutes LRA-rebel Dominic Ongwen?

Answering the above questions is far from easy, yet extremely important. War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide harm individuals, disrupt societies and pose a threat to international peace and security.

Preventative strategies cannot be effectively implemented without a thorough understanding of the root causes of these crimes. A call for action to stop crimes from taking place can only take place if effective monitoring systems are in place, while successful prosecution of orchestrators or organizers of these crimes can only take place if they can be clearly linked to atrocities that have taken place on the ground. Designing these strategies and executing these tasks can only be done by means of taking a multi- and interdisciplinary approach.

The MSc in Social Psychology at Tilburg University focuses on both individual and group behavior in formal and informal social contexts.

Students study how people behave in their social surroundings and what influences this behavior. Particularly problems related to consumer behavior, work and organizational behavior and decision-making in social, economic and organizational contexts are important themes within the curriculum.

Related to these themes, two separate specialisms are available, each with its own focus and study programme: Economic Psychology; Work and Organisational Psychology.

If you’re intrigued by the intricacies of human behaviour, both normal and dysfunctional, then MSc Behavioural Sciences (research) programme at Radboud University Nijmegen may be worth considering.

Nothing is more fascinating than human behaviour. Why are there so many people called Dennis living in Denver, for example? And why do some people become addicted and others not? Behavioural scientists at Radboud study the answers and can teach you how you can set up valid experiments and research designs to study human behaviour. A distinctive feature of this Master’s programme is its multidisciplinary approach. Psychologists and educationalists work together on themes such as addiction, dyslexia, phobias, relationships, stereotypes and stress.

4. Does it make sense to study psychology abroad?

Yes. Psychology is one of the most popular subjects at British universities and there are lots of graduates every year competing for a relatively small number of interesting jobs. International experience will immediately differentiate you from your peers as you will have an understanding of how psychology is practised internationally.

Some thoughts from psychology students at Dutch universities

Tom Morin

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