The programme focuses on providing in-depth knowledge of major fields in social psychology by emphasising general principles underlying social behaviour.If you choose to study Social Psychology at VU Amsterdam, you’ll take a truly interdisciplinary, integrative approach. While social psychology is the main focus, the programme actively bridges the field of social psychology with knowledge and insights from adjacent disciplines.
Social Psychology RM - 2nd year
Social Psychology RM - 2nd year programme
Bridging Social Psychology
This is a course based on a book that I edited and published in 2006. Back then, I felt for some years that for understanding basic issues and major societal issues, social psychology needs information and tools from other disciplines as well. At the same time, I felt that social psychology is central, right in between micro-level approaches (e.g., biology) and macro-level approaches (e.g., anthropology). Those feelings at the same time have become strong beliefs in the meantime – by myself, and several colleagues. The course is exciting for me (and you, I hope) because it allows me the reach out to other disciplines in science, as well as to professionals in society. So, it is a course that involves a variety of guest-speakers, such as editors, journalists, alumni, and professionals working at (applied) research institutes. I truly enjoy having several hours to discuss with you career-relevant questions. Last but not least: You can select a topic for your essay out of six or more topics, from psychological solutions to climate change to why we gossip so much. One popular one has been: What are the similarities between fish and humans? No joke.
Teacher: Prof. Paul Van Lange.
This course especially focuses on close relationships. What makes an individual attractive as a potential mate? How do relationships form? What are the ingredients of a healthy relationships? Can we predict the fate of a relationship? We will review theories and we will discuss findings on these, and other, fascinating questions. Students will be asked to read, present, and discuss cutting-edge research articles and to make a proposal on a new research question. At the end of the class, we will also have a debate on some big controversies in this field.
Teacher: Dr. Francesca Righetti.
Introduction to R for Behavioral Sciences (Optional)
Do you want to make great plots of your data, automatize repetitive tasks that would take hours in Excel, use the latest statistical methods, and never worry about SPSS licences? Learn R! R is super flexible free statistical programming language that allows you to do basically anything with data. And as a bonus, you will learn the basics of general programming. In this course, you will get a gentle, hands-on introduction to R. The course includes plenty of exercises and tutorials, and opportunities to collaborate with your classmates. I learned R as a graduate student more than 10 years ago, and this was definitely one of the best investments of time and effort I have ever made.
Teacher: Dr. Björn Lindström
Expert Workshop 2
The Expert Workshops are the “cherry on the cake” of our program. In fact, we have excellent international guest teachers (often external to the university) that are invited to teach on their topic of expertise. The first module is often on the topic of Ostracism taught by Prof. Kip Williams from Purdue University, the second module is often on the topic of Social Neuroscience (this year taught by Chad Forbes from Florida Atlantic University). The teachers of the Expert Workshop may change on a yearly basis but we keep the main topics (e.g., social neuroscience).
Although our program is very interesting, we are also aware that you may be interested in some specific topics that we are not able to cover. That’s why we are giving you the opportunity to follow a course from another program/university. With this elective you can choose to either follow an external course that will grant you 6 EC or to perform an ART (Advanced Research Training) project (which will also grant you 6EC). If you decide to follow the ART project you will conduct a research project under the guidance of a supervisor to further improve your practical research skills and acquire greater knowledge on some topics and methodologies.
RM Thesis in Social Psychology
This is the final part of the program where your research skills will shine! You will conduct an original research project on a topic of your interest. You can choose to work with a staff member or with an external leading expert in the field. The outcome will be your Master Thesis in the style of a journal article and will culminate with a presentation at a Research Master Symposium. At the Symposium you get to present your findings to your fellow students, to the faculty members, and, if you wish, to a select group of your friends and/or family members. After finalizing this program you will be a more confident young scientist who is able to advance through the entire empirical cycle and to convey scientific research to other scientist and to a lay audience.