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Mental Health and Illness


Admission requirements

Required courses:

  • Introduction to Psychology


Mental Health and Psychopathology provides an introduction to the study of psychological dysfunction and psychiatric disorders. The course is designed to introduce students to various clinical presentations of psychopathology that may occur throughout human development. The course focuses on the definition, phenomenology, etiology, and treatment of the major syndromes. We will critically review theories of the causes and mechanisms of mental illness, ranging from social to neurobiological approaches. In the context of disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, eating disorders, personality disorders and anxiety disorders, we will look at how genetic, neurobiological and social factors contribute to the development of mental illness, as well as how social and cultural factors mediate the severity of or may even prevent the development of mental illness. Current empirically based psychological and biological interventions will also be reviewed.

Course Objectives

After this course, students will:

  • Be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of major psychiatric syndromes

  • Know how to interpret signs and symptoms in classification and diagnoses, and understand the strengths and limitations of current diagnostic systems

  • Know the relevance of genetic, psychological and social factors in the development of psychiatric disorders.

  • Be able to process recent research findings relative to the development and description of maladaptive behavior

  • Know the rationale and evidence concerning psychological and biological treatments of psychopathology.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2022-2023 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction


Assessment Method

Students are expected to attend class meetings, read assigned literature and/or prepare homework assignments prior to class and participate in class discussions and in discussion boards at Brightspace.

  • Participation (15%):
    Participation will be determined by attendance and participation in class discussions. Assessment of participation will also be based on participation in discussion boards on Brightspace.

  • Book Review (50%):
    Students will be required to write a scholarly review of a novel that can be related to psychopathology and to the course literature. Details are below.

  • Student presentations during meetings (20%).

  • Peer review (15%):
    Students will write feedback on a paper by one of the other students.

  • Self-assessment (0%):
    There will be no exam but we will provide you with a large number of multiple choice questions to self-test your knowledge. Please keep testing until you get more than 80% correct.

Reading list

  • Susan Nolen-Hoeksema. Abnormal Psychology. 7th Edition, 2016. McGraw-Hill Internation Edition. ISBN 978-1-259-25460-4 / Ebook ISBN 978-1-526-82170-6.

The 6th (2014) and 8th (2020) edition of this book may also be used. Page numbers may be different in these editions.

  • Selected articles, that will be provided via Brightspace


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Prof.dr. A.J.W. van der Does,