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Reduce personal suffering of patients with mental disorders

Clinical and Developmental Psychopathology (research master)

The two-year Research Master’s in Clinical and Developmental Psychopathology provides you with the best possible preparation for a PhD research position. 

Ultimately, the research at VU Amsterdam aims to further the development and innovation of preventive and treatment methods, in order to reduce the personal suffering of patients with mental disorders. This Research Master’s gives you the opportunity to contribute to that fascinating and important goal. This Research Master does not offer preparation for postdoctoral clinical training, the emphasis of this program is on scientific research. If you aim to pursue clinical postdoctoral training, you will need to do an independent clinical master.

Excellent education
You’ll be taught by scientists who have all made unique contributions to the areas of research featured in the programme. They enjoy international recognition as prominent researchers in diverse fields of developmental and clinical psychology and associated disciplines. All members of the teaching staff receive consistently excellent evaluations.  

Education takes place on a small scale and is of the highest quality, with personal monitoring and mentoring. You’re assigned an individual mentor who will provide you with personal guidance and supervision. You’ll work on theoretical and practical problems through a series of seminars, practicals, research projects, presentations and lectures – in individual, group, and tutored settings. By choosing your own elective courses and research projects, you’ll define your own direction or approach. Your tutor, who is a scientific leader in their research area, will introduce you to their research group, and give you the feedback needed to become a successful scientist.

Internationally oriented
The programme also has a strong international orientation. It is taught entirely in English, with the staff including highly respected international researchers, and you’ll be able to work on research projects with a strong international focus. Plus, you’ll learn how to conduct scientific and translational research on an international level and in an international context.

Specific information about the courses can be found in the Study Guide.

The start date of this programme is September 1st.

First year

In your first year, your courses will focus on the integration of clinical and developmental perspectives of psychopathology. You’ll gain a thorough theoretical understanding of the developmental origins of mental health and the clinical presentation of disorders.

Research methodologies and statistics are also a crucial part of this programme. You’ll learn basic skills in conducting epidemiological research. And you’ll get the chance to critically analyse intervention rationales, judge empirical support, and apply theory in designing interventions for specific problems.

You’ll finish your first year by developing a research proposal for your project, integrating and using all the skills and knowledge gained during your first year.

Specific information about the courses can be found in the Study Guide.


  • Epidemiological Research in Clinical and Developmental Psychopathology
  • Psychopathology
  • Theory of Therapeutic and Preventive Intervention
  • Randomized Controlled Trials of Psychological Interventions
  • Scientific Writing and Presenting (CDP)
  • Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses of Psychological Interventions
  • Research Project

Second year

In your second year, you’ll deepen your knowledge of mental health even further. The first two courses focus on clinical research skills and the application of research in applied and basic neuroscience. The neuroscientific approach to mental health focuses on the relationship between brain and behaviour.

In parallel, you’ll learn how to prepare data for research projects, and you’ll gain the information and skills needed to follow the process for an academic clinical study.

Last but not least, you’ll round out the programme by writing your Master’s thesis. The thesis allows you to integrate the knowledge and skills acquired during the programme, and to apply these to your own area of research.

Specific information about the courses can be found in the Study Guide.


  • Advanced Research Training, elective
  • Introduction to R for Behavioural Sciences


All Master’s degree programmes of VU Amsterdam are accredited by NVAO (Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie), the accreditation organisation of The Netherlands and Flanders.

NVAO is entrusted by law to accredit all existing bachelor’s and master’s degree courses and to validate new study programmes at government-funded higher education institutions as well as institutions approved (but not funded) by the Dutch government. 

Change your future with the Clinical and Developmental Psychopathology Research Master’s programme

Change your future with the Clinical and Developmental Psychopathology Research Master’s programme

As a graduate from the Clinical and Developmental Psychopathology Research Master’s programme, you’ll be perfectly prepared to continue your academic career with a PhD candidacy. There are also plenty of opportunities to work as a researcher at universities and research institutes.

Explore your future prospects