***Awarded 'Top Rated Program' label, Keuzegids 2018***
Are you fascinated by the relationship between the brain and behavior? Would you love to learn more about neuropsychiatric disorders like attention deficits, schizophrenia, and dementia? Are you curious about how certain drugs can influence the processing of information in our brain? Then you should consider specializing in Neuropsychology. You’ll study both the cognitive and the emotional-affective aspects of human behavior, and you’ll learn more about how behavior can be influenced through food and medication. The program also contains several courses that focus on improving your academic skills, such as writing papers and research proposals, providing you with an excellent basis for an academic career. But you will also have the opportunity to combine clinical and research internships, which means that positions in healthcare will also be open to you.
Why this program?
The brain is a challenging topic to explore if you want to understand behavior. Yet, the complexity of its myriad of neurons, dozens of biochemical messengers, and infinite neuronal interconnections attract many researchers to this highly challenging field.
The Neuropsychology specialization offers an integrated curriculum that includes most aspects of basic and applied neuroscience. Under the guidance of a multidisciplinary team of main psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychopharmacologists as well as biologists, you will learn to use state-of-the-art clinical and neuroimaging techniques (like EEG and fMRI) and behavioral laboratory facilities.
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 analyzing 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 Neuropsychology, 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?
If you specialize in Neuropsychology, you may also choose to conduct an optional clinical internship in an approved setting, for at least 13 weeks. This can be done in conjunction with the required research internship or separately. Based on client/patient-based investigations you perform during the clinical internship, you will submit an additional, brief research report: the minor thesis. The length of the research internship and associated credits will be adjusted accordingly so that you can complete both internships within the 2-year timeframe of the curriculum.
Teaching staff and research environment
The research covers a broad range of topics, with a primary focus on understanding cognitive (e.g. memory, perception, attention) and emotional-affective (e.g. mood, motivation, arousal) aspects of human behavior. Starting from the perspective of brain structure and function, neuropsychology investigates the continuum from normal behavior to psychological dysfunctions (e.g. depression, addiction and eating disturbances, schizophrenia, ADHD) across the lifespan. In addition, brain-behavior relationships are studied by pharmacological or dietary manipulation of brain neurochemistry and function, mainly in humans. At Maastricht University, scientists affiliated with the European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON) conduct experiments that include the use of psychoactive substances in combination with behavioral, psychophysiological, and functional neuroimaging techniques.
Courses & curriculum
The curriculum of the Research Master in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience is divided into 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 specialization, you will participate in domain-specific intensive core courses covering important theories, models, and analytic approaches. Depending on the specialization you choose, the courses will cover genetic, environmental, affective, cognitive, and neurobiological processes underlying the human mind and behavior, 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 to 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 specializations of 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 specialization. There are three types of electives: attending regular modules of another specialization, 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 specializations work together to formulate an interdisciplinary research proposal. This primes you to think concretely about all aspects of doing research, which is excellent preparation for the internship and thesis that follow.
See website www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/fpn/researchmaster