Applied Cognitive Psychology (MSc)
About the programme
The master’s specialisation Applied Cognitive Psychology prepares students for translating theory into practice. You develop all the practical and intellectual skills necessary to apply psychological knowledge to real-life problems in working environments and organisations. The aim of this master’s specialisation is to provide you with a maximum of hands-on experience in the field of cognitive enhancement and cognitive ergonomics.
We offer a very diverse programme that takes you through all the indispensable elements of Applied Cognitive Psychology. You can find a short summary below; for a detailed overview of the Master, please read our e-prospectus.
In the master's specialisation Applied Cognitive Psychology you will take five mandatory courses. Please read more information about the specialisation structure.
Students need to do an internship of 10 or 20 ECTS. A 10-ECTS internship has to be supplemented by two elective courses. In the mandatory internship, students gain hands-on practical experience or research experience in an area of their own interest within the domain of their master’s specialisation. As one of the final parts of their training to become a ‘scientist - practitioner’, students have to familiarize themselves with the professional activities of a psychologist, either by focusing on applying scientific insights in the field or by focusing on conducting applied or fundamental research. You can find more information about the internship in the e-Prospectus.
Your master's thesis will be the crown on your university education. Your thesis will enable you to go in depth on an cognition related topic and you may get the opportunity to obtain experience with all the phases of empirical research. Alternatively, some staff members have access to large and rich datasets, which will enable you to write a thesis without collecting new data. Staff members will offer research topics related to their own research interests, for which students can sign up. The exact topics and the participating staff varies from year to year.
Youp van Veen
Former Applied Cognitive Psychology student
The focus of the Master lies on applying theoretical knowledge to real life cases. This gave me the necessary skills to start my career. It is fascinating to see the teachers’ enthusiasm and involvement, which also allow them to equip the students with such a strong groundwork.
Already some months before my graduation I joined the dedicated usability research team at MetrixLab. Together with 4 other specialists we study users’ evaluations of websites and apps, which are not only finished products. They can range from a mere concept/idea to highly interactive prototypes. This makes it an interesting job but at times also a challenging one. It requires different approaches and techniques, some of which are still new to me. However, the strong practical component of the Master’s programme Applied Cognitive Psychology helped me prepare for it well. With its focus on applying theoretical knowledge to real life cases it gave me the necessary skills to start my career. It is fascinating to see the teachers’ enthusiasm and involvement, which also allow them to equip the students with such a strong groundwork. The main challenge during the programme was my thesis project. I had the chance to setup a study in cooperation with Exact, a large supplier of software. Albeit such company’s interests differ greatly from the university’s interests, my teacher helped me in satisfying both sides. It not only led to the successful completion of the project, but also showed me how to navigate between different worlds and how to translate psychology to non-psychologists.
We use various modes of instruction to augment the learning experience:
- In the lectures the literature you have read will be applied to real life, by examples, to enhance your knowledge of the subject at hand.
- In the small (10 to 24 students, depending on your specialisation) work group sessions you'll delve deeper into the course material. There is room for discussion. Work groups sessions require active participation and attendance is therefore mandatory.
- In practical sessions you'll work on your skills. You'll gain, for example, skills in interviewing, observation and using statistical computer programmes (depending on your specialisation). Attendance is also mandatory in these practical sessions.
In the online course environment students review their peers’ assignments and prepare for examinations with online mock exams and recorded lectures.
Student support services
Perhaps you have questions about your master’s, or could use some extra help, or maybe you’d like some support of a more personal nature? At Leiden University we have people and departments who will be glad to help in any and all of these areas.
Your study adviser is an expert on all aspects of your study programme, for example exam regulations, planning, academic issues, study delay etc. With the study adviser you discuss problems of any kind relating to the studies or any personal circumstances which might trouble your study.