Are you fascinated by the complexities of human choices? Are you eager to combine ideas and methods from economics, neuroscience and psychology to understand the cognitive and social aspects of human decision making? Then Neuroeconomics is the right track for you. You will learn how the different disciplines have studied human behaviour, their research tools and how they can be combined for a holistic perspective on human decision making and the role of the brain in it. The programme will prepare you for an academic career in behavioural economics or decision neuroscience or other occupations where a comprehensive understanding of human behaviour is important (consulting, public policy).
Why this programme?
Neuroeconomics is a truly interdisciplinary endeavor aiming at understanding human individual and social decision making by investigating their neuronal basis and underlying psychological processes. Neuroeconomics combines theoretical and empirical research methods and techniques from neuroscience, economics and psychology into a unified approach, aimed at an integrative understanding of human decision making.
The specialisation in neuroeconomics provides you with a holistic perspective on human decision making without sacrificing rigour and methodological depth. This programme is therefore an ideal choice for those who aspire to a career as researcher in academia (behavioural economics, decision neuroscience) or occupations where a comprehensive understanding of human behaviour is important (consulting, public policy).
The specialisation Neuroeconomics is jointly organised by the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience (FPN) and the Economics Departments of the School of Business and Economics (SBE). You will follow courses at both faculties and will receive an in-depth training in quantitative theoretical and empirical methods in economics and cognitive neuroscience as well as extensive hands-on training in all aspects of experimental and neuroscience research.
Through extensive practice in writing research proposals, you will learn to formulate testable hypotheses and translate these into research designs. Workshops will expose you to a wide variety of research methods, ranging from experimental economics to neuroimaging.
From November of the second year, you will devote your time to the preparation and execution of your research internship and master’s thesis. You will conduct your own research project (very often as part of a larger ongoing study), including the writing of a proposal, acquiring and analysing the data. The work is reported in a master’s thesis, written in the style of a scientific journal article. Given the strong multidisciplinary research infrastructure here in Maastricht as well as extensive international networks, you will have ample opportunities for internships related to any aspect of Fundamental Neuroscience, either locally or at other top universities throughout the world. We will help you find a topic and location that best fit your own interests and career goals. Curious about the kinds of projects students have conducted?
Teaching staff and research environment
Neuroeconomics’ teaching staff is a multidisciplinary team of talented researchers from the School of Business and Economics and the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience and the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences. They have diverse backgrounds, including economics, neuroscience, psychology, mathematics, and computer science. Want to learn more about them? See the table below.
Even more members of our academic staff are involved in the programme as instructors in research skills trainings, mentors and supervisors of internships, so you will always be able to find an expert to help you develop your individual interests.
Courses & curriculum
The curriculum of the Research Master in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience is divided in two parts.
The first part focuses on a set of modules offering theoretical and practical research training, and covers the first year as well as the first eight weeks of the second year (for detailed module descriptions please scroll down). In each specialisation, you will participate in domain-specific intensive core courses covering important theories, models, and analytic approaches. Depending on the specialisation you choose, the courses will cover genetic, environmental, affective, cognitive and neurobiological processes underlying the human mind and behaviour, in health or disease. In addition, you will take advanced statistics courses and practical workshops that will allow you to develop your proficiency in general skills like data analysis, scientific writing, and data acquisition with methods and techniques specific for your chosen field.
The second part of the curriculum, occupying most of the second year, focuses on an internship in which data are collected that form the basis for your research master thesis. In the specialisations Psychopathology and Neuropsychology, you have the option to do an additional clinical internship, which also entails a smaller research project and minor thesis. Once enrolled in the Research Master, you will receive timely and detailed information on how to choose a thesis topic, how to approach potential supervisors, and how to choose a good host for the local or (inter)national internship. The curriculum as a whole corresponds to 120 European credit points.
You will be able to tailor some aspects of the curriculum to your specific interests, for example by choosing an elective outside the required curriculum of your specialisation. There are three types of electives: attending regular modules of another specialisation, writing a review paper, or assisting in an ongoing research project. In addition, to foster a better understanding and appreciation of the rich interdisciplinary connections linking cognitive and clinical neuroscience, the curriculum also includes a colloquium series, with interactive lectures by UM faculty as well as visiting national and international speakers. The research grant writing component of the curriculum entails a workshop at the end of year one and a core module at the beginning of year two, during which small groups of students from different specialisations work together to formulate an interdisciplinary research proposal. This primes you to think concretely about all aspects of doing research, which is an excellent preparation for the internship and thesis that follow.
See website www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/fpn/researchmaster
Program taught in: