Master in Social Psychology: Research


Program Description

This Research Master’s programme takes a multidisciplinary approach to the fundamental social psychological processes that illuminate how people are influenced by their social environment. New insights are obtained by incorporating biological, cognitive and evolutionary perspectives in the study of social psychological phenomena. These include situations that involve interpersonal trust, leadership, and cooperation. Social psychology is the core psychological discipline that sheds light on human behavior and attitudes in social situations and settings.

In this programme you will acquire in-depth theoretical knowledge of social psychology and the skills to apply this knowledge to social phenomena in the real world. Moreover, you will also develop the essential skills needed to conduct innovative research of the highest quality. There is a substantial focus on research and presentation skills throughout the programme, as well as related questions such as application of social psychology to real-world problems, and bridging social psychology with insights from adjacent disciplines. The programme provides an excellent opportunity for in-depth exploration of central theories in social psychology and its related disciplines, and offers students the opportunity to gain substantial research experience that will make them competitive for PhD studentship positions, or other research-oriented jobs either within or outside of academia.

Study programme

The Social Psychology department of VU Amsterdam offers talented and motivated students a challenging and unique, two-year Research Master’s programme in Social Psychology.

Features of the curriculum include:

  • Teaching in small classes and individual meetings
  • Expert courses and workshops by leading social psychologists
  • Extensive academic skills training
  • Advanced experimental research training
  • High quality research and study facilities

Interdisciplinary approach
The program takes a multi-disciplinary, integrative approach to fundamental social psychological processes. The underlying idea is that new insights can be generated by incorporating biological, cognitive, neuroscience, and evolutionary perspectives within the study of social psychological phenomena such as communication, cooperative behaviour, interpersonal relations, the self, and emotions.

Research and presentation skills
The teaching program aims at providing specialization in social psychology and creating bridges between social psychology and neighbouring disciplines. During the whole teaching program there will be a strong emphasis on both research skills and presentation skills.

Career prospects

A job as... a researcher, a policy officer, a consultant...
Because Social Psychology combines understanding human behaviour with training in advanced research methods, the career prospects for its graduates are excellent. Students who have completed our research Master’s are especially suited to advanced PhD work. Many social psychologists conduct research and teach at universities or colleges, not only in departments of Psychology but also in Cognitive Science, Business, Education, Political Science, Justice Studies, Law, Health Sciences and Medicine. Others are employed in the private sector as consultants, researchers, marketing directors and managers. Psychologists also work for government and non-profit organizations, designing and evaluating policies or programmes in areas like education, conflict resolution and environmental protection. Our graduates are extremely well-placed for jobs of this kind.

Master of Science
Once you have completed the programme, you will be awarded the title of Master of Science (MSc) in Social Psychology.

Why VU Amsterdam?

Excellent education
Teaching takes place on a small scale and is of the highest quality. The tutors take great care in monitoring and mentoring students. You are assigned an individual mentor who provides you with personal guidance and supervision. We have created several special facilities for students, including a dedicated research lab and a study room.

Leading scientists
You are taught by scientists who have made unique contributions to the areas of research featured in the programme. All enjoy international recognition as prominent researchers in diverse fields of social psychology and associated disciplines. All of our teaching staff receive consistently excellent educational evaluations.

Internationally oriented
The Master’s has a strong international orientation. It is taught entirely in English, with the staff including highly respected international researchers. Half of all new students come from outside the Netherlands, making the programme truly international in character. Your second year provides you with the opportunity to conduct one or two research projects at a university abroad, under the supervision of a prominent international expert.

Admission requirements international students

We are looking for students who are motivated, committed and have potential for growth. They should have a genuine interest in empirical research in the field of social psychology.

Admission Requirements

  • An academic bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in Psychology or a related discipline, preferably with an emphasis on social psychology, biological psychology, cognitive psychology, economics, neurosciences or cognitive sciences and a focus on methodology, statistics and research. Applications from students with a background in other disciplines will be considered, but these candidates must have completed courses in statistics and methodology and have experience of conducting and reporting on experimental research. Prospective students in this category are strongly advised to seek a preliminary advice before proceeding with their application (see below).
  • Good grades: Preferably you have an average grade for your academic bachelor of 7.5 or higher (or international equivalent, e.g. a B or a GPA of 3.3). It is possible to be admitted if your average grade is lower; however, in such cases you will need to complete the entry assignment in a highly satisfactory manner.
  • A satisfactory result in the entrance assignment (see below).
  • The Admissions Committee will take into account recommendations from universities and other relevant information.

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. 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: Social Psychology: Research

  • Language of instruction: English
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Application deadline: 15 July for Dutch students. For international students who apply after April 1 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam can not guarantee that accomodation will be available for them.
  • 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