Developmental Psychology (research) (MSc)
The research master's specialisation Developmental Psychology consists of five main parts: the general courses, the specialisation-specific courses, the elective courses, a research internship and a thesis.
Here you can see the schedule for this two-year research master track. Click on the programme to view it at full-screen.
In some cases of psychopathology, genetic disturbances play a more significant role in explaining the disorder than environmental stressors, as is the case in single-gene neurodevelopmental disorders. In most psychopathologies, however, disorders are the result from a complex interplay between susceptibility genes (G) and environmental (E) stressors. This course will focus on this interplay. A key objective in various scientific disciplines is to delineate these specific G x E factors in order to develop pharmacological and behavioral intervention programs that aim at preventing the disorder or alleviate symptoms in individuals with the disorder.
Emotional competence is an important factor in children’s daily functioning which affects all other aspects in their development. For example, children with a good understanding of other people’s emotions, or who are well skilled in expressing their own emotions, without being offensive, develop better peer-relationships and are more popular within their peer-group. On the other hand, children who suffer from depression or other internalizing disorders tend to have poor coping skills and worry more, which negatively affects their academic performances. Children may follow different pathways in their emotional development for numerous reasons. Variation in developmental patterns can occur as a result of cognitive difficulties, neurological problems, physical impairments, and so on, which often result in limited developmental experiences and also affect children’s emotional development. Conversely, impairments in the emotional domain will influence other aspects of children’s functioning or mental health.
The focus of this module – typical and atypical emotional development – will be approached in two ways. First, this course aims to provide an advanced analysis of the nature of two disorders (Autism and Deafness) with respect to its effect on these children’s emotional functioning (Theory of Mind, emotion awareness, emotion expression, coping, empathy). Secondly, we will also examine how a qualitatively different emotional development may contribute to or protect from co-morbidity (e.g. depression, anxiety, aggression) in these two groups. This will provide an understanding of these special groups on the one hand, but studying these atypical groups also increases our knowledge about typical emotional development; for example, it reveals protective and risk factors.
Developmental cognitive neuroscience investigates the relations between brain development and cognitive, affective and social development. This course will cover the biological bases of cognitive and affective functioning from a developmental perspective, focusing on childhood and adolescence. Fundamental questions that will be covered include: How does brain development, including changes in function, morphology, and connectivity, relate to typical and atypical development of cognitive and affective functions, such as learning, memory, motivation and decision-making?
For more information about the general courses or the specialisation-specific courses, check out the e-Prospectus.
During this master's specialisation, at least 20 EC must consist of elective courses, of level 500. A full list of electives can be found here.