About This Masters Degree
The master’s specialisation in Work and Organisational Psychology combines theoretical knowledge about the cognitive aspects of work behaviour, personnel and organizational psychology with practical applications in organisations. The following questions illustrate some of the issues studied in this specialisation.
Which working conditions prevent mental fatigue?
What motivates people? How can we motivate people?
What determines the effectiveness of a team?
What is leadership?
How would you develop a satisfactory selection system for, say, air traffic controllers?
Which factors improve the quality of working life in the elderly?
How would you stimulate innovation?
The programme’s focus is on how people behave in organisations and why they do so. Students completing the programme know about the major areas of work and organizational psychology. You understand the theoretical aspects and know how to apply job and task analysis techniques. You know how to determine standards of effectiveness and how to measure and evaluate human performance. You know how to design and evaluate employee selection tests, training programmes, and organizational interventions. You have acquired skills in data selection and analysis required for conducting applied psychological research.
During the first semester, several courses and skills labs familiarise you with the field of work and organisational psychology and particularly the cognitive issues of the domain. The course on ‘Work Psychology’ presents individual and organisational outcomes of work behaviour and highlights job design, and health and safety issues. The ‘Human Resources’ course addresses problems related to employee recruitment, selection, and career development. The course ‘Organisation and Cognition’ focuses on strategy, leadership, Innovation, team cognition, negotiation, change management and cultural diversity. In the ‘Human Performance’ course the key question is ‘how do people process information during the performance of tasks’. In the second semester, you will continue to develop professional skills, complete a research project and write your master’s thesis.
Over an eight-week period starting in January a series of assignments and workshops will stimulate further development of the primary competences of work and organistional psychologists. Needs analysis, goal setting, assessment, intervention design, and communication skills will be addressed. You may work on the assignments in either a simulated or a real-life organisational setting. Afterwards, you will complete an activity report in which you will reflect on your professional development.
Current research programmes focus on work, health and well-being, work and technology, knowledge management and expertise development, decision making under uncertainty, intervention development, innovation and human resources. Research in this domain has two complementary aspects: basic research focussed on building new models that help to explain human behaviour at work; and research aimed at improving and changing organisations. For basic research we have a laboratory that enables us to simulate realistic work settings and thus study phenomena (e.g. being interrupted at work) that are difficult to study in real-life settings.
You can choose from a broad range of applicable topics, the data for which are usually collected through an organisation or a research institute, mostly consultancy and testing agencies. However, the internship can also be performed at the research departments of companies such as Vodafone and Philips or research institutes such as TNO or the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR).
Master’s graduates can expect to find employment in various settings, such as policy development, research and development, and also in the field of assessment and training, and human resource management, consultancy as well as in private industry, governmental agencies, universities, and non-profit organisations.
Is this programme right for me?
This specialisation helps you understand human behaviour at work, so it would be helpful if you already had some work experience and know what it is like to be part of a working organisation. Good communication skills and perseverance are key features.