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Psychology of Programming


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


This course centers around the question whether different programming languages affect how we program and how we think about programming. If programming languages are languages, could we (and should we) use methods from linguistics or psychology to perform research on them? This course explains the basics of psychology needed to reason about programming language design and the basics of associated research methods. The course has weekly (ungraded) homework assignments, a research proposal which students present in class, and is closed with a written exam.

Course objectives

  • Learning a broad range of different programming languages and their components;

  • Understanding the role programming languages play in thinking about programming;

  • Being able to apply a broad range of research methods including: controlled experiments, surveys, cognitive dimensions studies, grounded theory.


The most recent timetable can be found on the students' website.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, research proposal and exam.

Course Load

Hours of study: 168 hrs. (= 6 EC)
Lectures: 26 hrs.
Lecture preparation/weekly homework: 72 hrs.
Research proposal: 30 hrs.
Presentation preparation: 10 hrs.
Exam preparation: 30 hrs.

Assessment method

Final grade is determined by a written exam.

The teacher will inform the students how the inspection of and follow-up discussion of the exams will take place.

Reading list

  • All reading material will be shared through BrightSpace


  • You have to sign up for courses and exams (including retakes) in uSis. Check this link for information about how to register for courses.

  • Due to limited capacity, external students can only register after consultation with the programme coordinator/study advisor (


Lecturer: F.F.J. Hermans.