Theory and History of Psychology

Theory and History of Psychology (formerly “Reflecting on Psychology”) studies psychology as a science, a discipline, and a profession. It's the only programme of its kind in Europe
Our aim is to understand why psychology became the way it is, how it has been understood, how it negotiates its boundaries with other allied sciences, and how it could be improved. We focus on the social, methodological, philosophical, and conceptual issues that underlie contemporary psychology. For this reason, our programme will appeal particularly to students who wonder why things are the way they are, dare to question established truths, and dream about how they could be different.

This is a programme for those who want to explore beyond statistical analyses of quantitative data and to learn about the various historical, cultural, and qualitative alternatives to the standard set of approaches in contemporary scientific psychology. Gaining access to a broader range of concepts, literature, and research methods will help you to identify and ask the most exciting and urgent questions and discover new ways to consider their answers by looking at history, philosophy, public understanding, and sociology of science.

Together with faculty and fellow students, you will set to work by reading deeply in both primary and secondary sources, examining popularizations, writing your own texts, presenting your own ideas, reconsidering your reasoning, and debating the consequences. This active learning process will help you to think flexibly and well in various different contexts, conduct independent research unconstrained by current fashion, and communicate in an understandable and attractive way about ideas that have not yet been popularized elsewhere. 
 

Student testimonials
Name
Kees van Genuchten
Photo
Image
Groningen T H
Testimonial
By taking a step back and reflecting on the field as a whole and on the methods that we use within psychology specifically, we can determine where improvements can be made and look at how our area of expertise intersects with others, including sociology and economics. We then also study the relationship between the field of psychology and society. The courses cover a wide range of areas. For your papers, you can pick just about any topic you like as long as it’s related to the field. These assignments have helped me to improve my writing on a plethora of interesting topics.
Paid course type
Overview

Theory and History of Psychology studies psychology as a science, a discipline, and a profession. It's the only programme of its kind in Europe

Our aim is to understand why psychology became the way it is, how it has been understood, how it negotiates its boundaries with other allied sciences, and how it could be improved. We focus on the social, methodological, philosophical, and conceptual issues that underlie contemporary psychology. For this reason, our programme will appeal particularly to students who wonder why things are the way they are, dare to question established truths, and dream about how they could be different.
 

Course details

Programme

Our one-year programme consists of course units worth 30 ECTS credits, and a 30-credit Master's thesis project, which includes an internship of 10 credits.

Our compulsory course units are Conceptual Issues in Psychology, dealing with classic and theoretical readings we find essential to this Master's programme; and Brain, Consciousness and Society, in which you deal with findings from psychological, psychiatric and neurological research and their reception.

In our elective course unit Boundaries of Psychology, you will explore the boundaries of psychology as a scientific discipline.

During our course unit in Qualitative Research Methods, you will learn various research methods, for example in-depth interviewing, participant observation and ethnographic methods.

For most course units, you will do assignments, prepare a presentation and write essays. Writing is an important part of our degree programme, which is why we offer a course unit in Writing Skills. The course is scheduled in the first three blocks and will help you with your writing process and with finding your voice in various inspiring ways.

All course units are given in the first three blocks, the last block no courses are scheduled so you can focus on finishing your Master's thesis.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • In addition to the general requirements, some tracks have specific admission requirements. This means that it depends on your previous education and the track you have chosen whether you are eligible for admission or whether you need to do something extra. If you have a regular bachelor’s degree in Psychology from a Dutch university, you will meet the admission requirements for most tracks (depending on the courses you took). With a Bachelor's degree other than Psychology from a Dutch university, a Psychology Bachelor's degree from an academic foreign university, or a Bachelor's degree in Applied Psychology from a Dutch HBO institution, you might also meet the requirements.
  • Proof of English proficiency
Career outcomes

Job examples

  • Historian of science
  • Government advisor
  • Academic
  • Science communicator
  • Qualitative researcher
  • Teacher
Qualification
Master of Science
Duration
12
Duration period
Months
Study mode
Study level
Attendance
Start Dates
City
Groningen
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