Theory and History of Psychology

General

Program Description

Theory and History of Psychology (formerly: Reflecting on Psychology) mean putting psychology in perspective. Our goal is to understand why psychological concepts and phenomena are the way they are, and how they could be different.

Using perspectives from the history, philosophy, and sociology of science, this Master encourages students to study the field of psychology itself and to explore its relations with other parts of science and society. Students of Reflecting on Psychology will study topics such as the the role of fMRI scans in public debates, the replication crisis and other past crises, the limits and boundaries of psychology as a science, the potential of new digital tools for studying psychology and its history, and the reasons for the dominance of experimental and quantitative methods in psychology.

This program aims to attract a select group of students who will be supervised individually and encouraged to come up with their own research topics. Students from Reflecting on Psychology will become skilled in writing, qualitative analysis and reflection. They will learn how to write essays, participate in discussions, and give lectures. By examining psychology's past and its present, as well as its issues and its boundaries, we aim to give students access to its future.

Why study this program in Groningen?

  • A very special program giving you the tools to see beyond the discipline's present horizons (requiring a background in Psychology);
  • Run by a group of specialists in the Theory and History of Psychology;
  • Unique in Europe, we know of three English-speaking graduate programs in the world.

Program

Year 1

Our one year program consists of 30 EC courses and a 30 EC master thesis project – which can include an internship of a maximum of 15 EC.

Our foundation courses are Conceptual Issues in Psychology, which is a course in classic and theoretical readings we find essential for this master, and Brain, Consciousness and Society, which deals with findings from psychological, psychiatric and neurological research and their reception.

Our elective courses are Reflections of Psychology: Critical Issues, for which you will prepare a lecture on a topic that deals with reflections on psychology or adjacent fields; and Boundaries of Psychology, which explores the boundaries of psychology as a scientific discipline.

For most courses, you have to make assignments or write essays. Since writing is such an important aspect of our program, we also offer a course in Writing Skills. This course runs through the first three blocks and will help you in your writing process. Furthermore, we offer a course on Qualitative Research Methods, in which various ways of doing qualitative research will be explored. All courses are given in the first three blocks, the last block is free of courses to give you the opportunity to finish your master thesis.

Courses

  • Conceptual Issues in Psychology (5 EC)
  • Qualitative Research Methods (5 EC)
  • Writing Skills
  • Master Thesis
  • Brain, Consciousness, and Society (5 EC)
  • Reflecting on Psychology: Critical Issues (5 EC)
  • Boundaries of Psychology (5 EC)

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional.

We recommend you to take all the courses as indicated in the program schedule. If you are interested in doing an internship or research stay abroad, you can discuss this with the master coordinator.

Admission requirements

Dutch diploma

Specific requirements More information
Language test

Bachelor students meet language requirements. For English-taught tracks, students with an HBO Toegepaste Psychologie need to provide evidence of satisfactory results for one of the standard tests.

Previous education

A BSc in Psychology.

Please note: Only students with an HBO (Dutch University of Applied Sciences) Applied Psychology degree can be admitted to the (pre-)master's program. Applications of students from other HBO programs will not be considered.

International diploma

Specific requirements More information
Language test

Non-native English speakers must provide evidence of satisfactory results for one of the standard tests.

Previous education

Non-native English speakers must provide evidence of satisfactory results for one of the standard tests.

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
Dutch students

01 December 2020

01 March 2021

01 December 2021

01 February 2021

01 September 2021

01 February 2022

EU/EEA students

01 December 2020

01 March 2021

01 December 2021

01 February 2021

01 September 2021

01 February 2022

non-EU/EEA students

01 November 2020

01 March 2021

01 November 2021

01 February 2021

01 September 2021

01 February 2022

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Program form
EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 2143 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 15000 full-time

Job prospects

Students who have finished the History in Psychology master will go on to become:

Job examples

  • Historians of science, for example, in archives, as non-fiction authors, or academics;
  • Government advisors - advisors of science policy for governmental organizations;
  • Academics - researchers or teachers in departments of social sciences, philosophy or medicine;
  • Science communicators - freelance, or for editorial offices of a magazine, university or publisher;
  • Qualitative researchers for research agencies, or governmental organizations;
  • Teachers of psychology or related fields in schools for higher professional education, or secondary schools.

Research

Theory and History of Psychology is the master program of the expertise group Theory and History of Psychology. We study the relations between Psychology (and related disciplines), the subjects they study, and the society and culture that they are part of. We draw our inspiration from History and Philosophy of Science and from Science and Technology Studies.

Staff members

  • Douwe Draaisma's main interests are the history of psychology, neurology and psychiatry, history of time measurement in psychology, the purported relation between autism and delinquency, and autobiographical memory. His latest project deals with the revision of memories and its consequences for forensic-psychiatric investigations.
  • Maarten Derksen has written about the relationship between psychology and common sense, about the history of clinical psychology, and about evolutionary psychology. In general, he is interested in differences and boundaries in and around psychology. His current research concerns the history of the engineering ideal in psychology and social science: the dream of effective and efficient control over human behavior.
  • Jeremy Trevelyan Burman's main interest is in the popularization of Piaget, and thus how ideas about development have been understood (and also what has been missed). But he is interested more generally in the movement of scientific meaning: over time, across disciplines, between languages, and internationally. Burman’s most popular piece, in this connection, is a historical critique of the popularization of “memes” that was published by Perspectives on Science in 2012. More recently, he has also been pushing for the advancement of methods drawn from the Digital Humanities as a way to formalize discussions of meaning change in the History of Psychology.
  • Markus Eronen studies conceptual and theoretical issues arising from psychological research, mainly from the perspective of philosophy of science. He has worked on topics such as reductionism, levels of explanation, consciousness, mechanistic explanation and the nature of mental disorders. His current research is focused on the limits and possibilities of finding causal explanations in psychology.
Last updated Jul 2020

About the School

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astr ... Read More

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Central Bank. Geographically, the University is rooted in the Northern part of the Netherlands, a region very close to its heart. Read less
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