Biological Psychology studies the biological and genetic basis of human behavior. Theoretical knowledge of (molecular) genetics, neurophysiology and neuroanatomy is coupled to empirical research in population samples and in neurological and psychiatric patient groups. This yields an understanding of normal as well as abnormal brain function and behavior.
A substantial part of your training is devoted to practical skills with the techniques of genetic and psychophysiological research. Our courses in behavioral genetics are unique in the Netherlands. During these courses you learn to examine the role of genetic and environmental factors on individual differences in personality, lifestyle, and mental and physical health.
In the fields of behavior genetics and psychophysiology our department has a strong track record in training highly qualified scientific researchers. Job opportunities in these fields have been, and remain, very good.
Bachelor Biological Psychology
In the Bachelor program you will be extensively trained in three different research areas:
- Cognitive Neuroscience: here you study the genetic architecture, in children, adolescents and adults of cognitive abilities, attention and memory processes. You learn how to assess intermediate phenotypes or "endophenotypes" such as electrophysiological indices of brain development, brain structure and function as assessed with MRI and neuropsychological testing.
- Stress & Health: in this block you learn to assess cardiovascular functioning under laboratory and real life situations. The focus is on the sensitivity of the cardiovascular system to psychosocial stress, lifestyle (e.g. exercise) and genetic predisposition. You are trained to study behavioural and psychosocial risk factors, for instance smoking behaviour, physical exercise, work stress, and the hostility/depression cluster.
- Genes & Behavior: in this block you study the genetics of variation in anxiety and depression and comorbid phenotypes in adults and the development of behavioural and emotional problems (e.g. attention problems, aggression and anxiety) in children. Large-size longitudinal survey studies focus on the development of psychopathology and on the genetic influences across the life-span in children and adults. You are trained to estimate the contribution of genetic variance to individual differences in these traits and to assess the etiology of comorbidity.
Master of Neurosciences
The Neurosciences Master's program at the VU is a joint initiative by the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, the Faculty of Psychology and Education and the VU University Medical Center.
Information on admission criteria, the application procedure, and deadlines
The programme is embedded in the Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam and thereby offers you the chance to integrate the full range of neuroscience disciplines. The advantage of this Master's programme is that you always have access to experts within your chosen field, whichever specialization you opt for. These experts form part of national and international cooperative networks, so your studies need not be restricted to the VU.
Schedule and program of the Master