About This Masters Degree
The specialisation in Developmental Psychology has a special focus on understanding how the development of certain behavior and cognitive functions relates to a person’s psychological and biological constitution and the development of the brain. This cognitive-biological orientation is still unique in Europe. The specialisation is an excellent preparation for the Dutch postgraduate Programme ‘GZ-opleiding kinder en jeugdpsychologie’ to become a professionally recognized therapist for children and adolescents.
The programme comprises four compulsory courses:
‘Infancy’, giving an overview of the development of cognitive and social-emotional functions during the first two years of life
‘Perception, Attention, and Motor Development’, dealing with typical and atypical (ADHD, Tourette’s syndrome) development of these functions in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood
‘Development of Cognition and Language’, providing an overview of typical and atypical (dyscalculia, dyslexia) life-long development of higher cognitive functions, such as short and long term memory, arithmetic, and language
‘Social and Emotional Development’, dealing with biological, personality, and environmental factors underlying social-emotional and moral development.
Practical courses focus on learning skills important for pursuing a career as a psychologist in applied settings, for example, learning to apply and design instruments measuring cognitive function (like IQ) in infants and children. You also learn scientifi c skills such as how to design a developmental experiment, and how to measure EEG/ERPs (the latter is optional). In the second semester, you complete a research internship and, write your thesis. , and may also obtain the clinical experience needed to meet the requirements of a clinical career.
The themes of the specialisation Developmental Psychology are closely linked to research lines of the staff, including:
‘The healthy and atypical (ADHD, autism) development of executive control, attention, memory, and number processing
Cognitive training in typical and atypical development
‘Life-span social-emotional development in healthy people and in autism’.
This close link between education and research offers you many opportunities to participate in ongoing research. The research in the section makes use of several instruments to measure behaviour (observational, questionnaires and neuropsychological tests) but also uses brain imaging techniques (EEG/ERP). This provides you with the opportunity to develop both clinically and scientifically relevant skills. The group has access to excellent lab facilities (eye movement equipment, EEG, fMRI) and uses mobile EEG equipment for measurements at schools and institutions.
You can choose the subject of your research internship from a broad variety of topics. You have the opportunity to participate in the ongoing research of the department’s scientific staff (see above) .You can also perform your internship at external academic or clinical institutions. See also page 6.
The specialisation Developmental Psychology provides an excellent basis for several career paths. Most students end up working as psychologists in applied or medical settings (e.g. mental health or educational institutions), working with children, adults, or elderly people. Some also become researcher (PhD) in academic or clinical settings.
Is this programme right for me?
We aim to attract students who aspire to a career in an applied or a scientific setting and are interested in learning about the psychological and biological (genetic, brain, and psychopharmacological) factors that play a role in healthy or atypical cognitive development across the lifespan. You will be familiarised with the most recent developmental theories and research findings and will learn to apply various diagnostic and research tools relevant to the clinical field and developmental research.
You learn what is needed, both biologically and environmentally, to develop normal audition, vision, memory, attention, language, emotion, social perception and motor skills from infancy to old age. Besides healthy development, several developmental disorders will be studied (e.g. ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, Tourette’s syndrome and Williams syndrome).