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Study, understand and influence human behaviour

Do you want to know what moves people and how you can help improve their well-being? During the master's programme in Psychology at VU Amsterdam, you will immerse yourself in psychological questions.

In the English-taught master Work and Organisational Psychology, you will focus on the effectiveness and wellbeing of employees within organisations and work situations. You will look at leadership, the effects of personality in the workplace, power dynamics in teams, selection, assessment, and (strategic) HR you will investigate how to improve organisations.

This track of the master's programme in Psychology takes one year and consists of lectures, seminars, and practical skills sessions. It is an intensive and well-organized programme in which you can choose from a number of specialized courses in which you will learn interactively in small groups. Courses differ in the extent to which they focus on theoretical, methodological, and practical organisational issues, but in all courses the connection between theory and practice will continuously be made.

Most of the teachers have practical experience and are professionals in their field. They are therefore able to provide you with excellent guidance for your career.

The start date of this programme is September 1st. There is no additional start date for this programme in February.

First year

What’s more, this one-year programme prepares you to put what you’ve learned into practice: you’ll gain insights into individual characteristics and social processes that shape organisations. You’ll not only understand the theories behind problems you’ll encounter in the workplace – you’ll also learn to apply these theories to everyday work-related situations. Your courses are all taught by people who have experience both in research and in the field and you’ll get real-life practical experience through your internship.

All this means you’ll have a headstart on the labour market as an organisational psychologist once you’ve graduated. You may find work in HR departments for large companies – including in positions like HR manager, trainer, teacher, selection psychologist or internal management consultant. You could also work for a management consultancy as a coach or external management consultant. Selection firms, educational institutions or research institutions are also potential employers. Plus, work and organisational psychologists are much sought after for general management positions.

Additional admission requirements
This specialisation has specific admission requirements. Look under 'Admissions' to see which specific admission requirements .

The research activities of the Organizational Psychology group are combined under the Amsterdam Leadership Lab in collaboration with the Institute for Brain and Behaviour Amsterdam (IBBA). As a Master’s student, you’ll benefit from the expertise and knowledge within the group, while having the opportunity to make your own contribution to both research and practice during your Master’s thesis.

The group is highly international, and cooperates with a wide variety of departments and institutions within VU Amsterdam (the School of Business and Economics, NSCR, Zijlstra Centre), as well as several international universities (Oxford, Singapore, UCLA, Michigan State, Queensland, UWA). The department also has strong contacts with major public and private organisations in the Netherlands, Europe, and beyond.

Leadership, personality and team dynamics are themes that are central to our departmental research programme. Our research looks at questions like:

  • What role do personality and leadership play in social interaction?
  • How do we optimize selection in organizations?
  • Which skills should you possess to stay in control of your feelings, and can self-control be accomplished through training?
  • How do you optimize HR and reward systems in the organisations?

Internship and master’s thesis

During your master's programme, you will conduct a practice- or research-oriented internship. This will give you a good idea of your future profession. Through the programme's extensive internship network, you will establish contacts that are important for your future career as a psychologist. You will gain new experiences and get even more out of your studies.

VU Amsterdam offers you the opportunity to do your internship (and possibly your thesis) abroad. However, there are specific criteria for clinical internships and the number of places abroad is limited.

You will round off the  programme with your master’s thesis. You will write about research that you have conducted independently into a subject within your field of expertise. You can also combine your internship and master’s thesis.

The master's programme in Psychology thoroughly prepares you for your career as a psychologist.

Franziska Linn, who in the previous academic year was Dr. Marvin Neumann’s student, received the main award, and €2000, in the major thesis competition in Work and Organizational Psychology in the Netherlands: David van Lennep scriptieprijs by Nederlandse Stichting voor Psychotechniek (NSvP).

The title of Franziska’s thesis was: “Retaining the Hiring Professional in Employee Selection through a Mechanical Synthesis Approach”.  

Change your future with the Psychology programme

Change your future with the Psychology programme

As a psychologist, you can work in emergency services, hospitals, mental health institutions or nursing homes. You can also work as an HR manager or organisational consultant in the business world. Where you are going to work and what you are going to do depends on the track you choose.   

Explore your future prospects