Master in Psychology: Work and Organizational Psychology


Program Description

Work and Organizational Psychology focuses on human behavior within organizations and work situations. Why is one a leader and does the other follow? How can organizations attract competent and trustworthy employees? What are the best ways to reward employees? What are effective decision-making processes? How do organizations influence consumer behaviors? What are optimal negotiation tactics? How can organizations shape teams? What role should leaders have in that process? How can we create a healthy workplace? These are some of the questions that are central within our Work and Organizational Psychology programme.

The Master’s programme Work and Organizational Psychology prepares you for practice. During the Master you will gain insight into the individual characteristics and social processes that shape work and organizations. The courses are taught by people who have research experience and experience in the field. Not only will you be able to theorize about problems that you will encounter in organizations, you will also learn to apply these theories to everyday work-related situations.

What are the available methods with which to assess which personality traits fit within a given work environment or function? How can you properly shape and support change management within organizations? What kind of leadership fits best in today’s world? How can you measure leadership? The answers to these and related questions that you obtain during your Master’s programme are bound to have a lasting impact on your career.

Study programme

The emphasis of the Master’s programme Work and Organizational Psychology lies, on the one hand, in the area of social processes in organizations such as leadership, decision making, and change processes. On the other hand, you can specialize in applied areas such as HR, (personality) assessment, and management. Because of the application-focused character of the Master’s Programme, the link between theory and practice, and the emphasis on practical experience (internship), you will have a strong position on the labor market as a Work and Organizational Psychologist.

Career Prospects

As a Master of Science in Psychology you will quickly find a suitable job. You can work in social aid, in hospitals, mental health institutions, or nursing homes. But you can also end up in the corporate world, for example as Human Resource Manager or Organizational consultant. Depending on the programme you choose, you will find a suitable job as psychologist. Check out your career perspectives with the Master programme you choose.

Are you not finished learning yet after your Master’s degree? After that you can apply to various postdoctoral degrees that educate you to become a health psychologist, clinical psychologist, I/O psychologist or psychotherapist, for example.

Why VU Amsterdam?

Education is of a very high standard
The Master’s degree Psychology at VU Amsterdam is small, intensive, and well organized. You work together with other students in small groups. A lot of teachers are professionals in practice and they will take time to guide you in your learning process. As soon as you start with the programme you will be assigned a teacher as tutor to whom you can turn for study matters or personal matters.

There is a lot of attention for your future
You will have the opportunity to enroll in courses that prepare you for your work career. There is also a good network for internships within major private and public organizations in the Netherlands and beyond.

The broad approach is unique
All the Master’s degrees in the field of psychology are part of the Graduate School of the faculty. Therefore, there is a unique coherence within research, education, and academic and professional training. With the degree Psychology from VU Amsterdam there are many roads you can follow. You receive a good education in scientific research, but there is also a lot of attention for the skills that you will need in the practice of a psychologist.

Unique combination
What is especially unique about the Master’s degree Work and Organizational Psychology, is the combination of Human Resource Management and Organizational Psychology. The degree is not only scientific but also highly applicable: you will get the opportunity to analyze problems in organizations based on scientific research, yet there is also a lot of attention for practice-focused skills such as leadership and negotiation.

Admission requirements for international students

We welcome and look for motivated and ambitious students who are actively developing themselves and are aware of their position and role in society. In order to be successful in this programme you need a solid academic basis in Psychology or a close-related discipline. Typically, successful students in this programme have at least a 7,0 average grade (or an equivalent GPA score).

The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. If you have read the admission criteria below and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required.

In order to gain admission to this Master’s programme, you need to have obtained at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. Academic writing skill is to be demonstrated by submitting a thesis or other piece of academic writing you have done during your prior education.

Specific requirements for the Master in Psychology: Work and Organizational Psychology
For admission to this study programme, a student needs to have completed (or is currently completing) a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology or related programme.

Applicants need to have successfully completed courses related to the core of this programme, consisting of (or equivalents of):

At least 24 ECTS of completed Psychology courses, consisting of:

  • Introduction to Psychology (6ECTS)
  • An (introductory) course ‘Work & Organizational Psychology (6ECTS) (or an equivalent course; this is compulsory) (6 ECTS).
  • A more specialized organizational psychology course (e.g., Human Resource Management, Management and Organization, Human Resource Development, Organizational Behavior, Organizational Development) (6 ECTS).
  • One extra psychology course, such as personality, social, clinical, developmental, or cognitive psychology (6 ECTS).

At least 18 ECTS of completed Quantitative methods courses, consisting of:

  • Statistics (6 ECTS)
  • Research methods (6 ECTS)
  • A more specialized quantitative methods course (e.g., statistical diagnostics, psychometrics, multivariate statistics, multiple regression, or structural equation modelling) (6 ECTS).

English language proficiency

The admission board wants to stress the intensity of the programme: reading scientific articles and writing papers will be a key part, all in a very high pace. Your English language skills, both oral and written, are extremely important in this programme. As you will have to communicate frequently with your fellow students and you will be working with and for international companies.

VU Amsterdam requires all applicants who have not completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia to take an English language test and to submit their score as part of their application. You can apply online for the Master's programme without having the English test results yet. You can apply online for the Master's programme without having the test results. We do advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the programme:

IELTS (academic): 6,5


  • Paper based test 580
  • Internet based test 92-93

Cambridge English

  • Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C
  • Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C

The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers the TOEFL ITP English-language proficiency test. The test is offered by the VU Taalloket. You can find more information and register for this test at

Overview Psychology: Work and Organizational Psychology

  • Language of instruction: English
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Application deadline: 15 July for Dutch and EU/EEA students. 1 April for non-EU/EEA students.
  • Start date: 1 September
  • Study type: Full-time
  • Field of interest: Behavioural and Social Sciences

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to over ... Read More

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to over 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff of 122 nationalities create a dynamic international academic community. The University distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. Curious about student life at VU Amsterdam? Click here to ask our International Student Ambassadors. Read less