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Biological Underpinnings of Psychopathology


Entry requirements

Open to MSc Psychology (research) students.


This course consists of eight small-group interactive seminars. For each seminar, one expert speaker will provide an in depth lecture on their field of expertise. These topics relate to psychological and biological mechanisms of different psychiatric disorders.

For each seminar, students prepare by reading one or more papers. For each meeting, one or two students will present a brief summary of the preparation paper(s).

The provided literature and lectures will aid students in writing their own research proposal, which consist of a critical review of the literature relevant to the assigned topic, and a proposal for future research. A first draft of the research proposal will need to be written half-way through the course (on one of the seminar topics). After this, students will participate in peer review of a proposal, and of course will receive peer feedback as well to improve the proposal in a final version.

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course, you will have:

  • In-depth knowledge about timely theoretical and experimental frameworks related to psychopathology from a neurobiological perspective

  • Experience with writing a research proposal on a timely research topic related to biological underpinnings

  • Experience with reviewing research proposals from peers and providing feedback


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable


NOTE As of the academic year 2021-2022, you must register for all courses in uSis.
You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2.
Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from early August. Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from December. The exact date on which the registration starts will be published on the website of the Student Service Center (SSC)

By registering for a course you are also automatically registered for the Brightspace module. Anyone who is not registered for a course therefore does not have access to the Brightspace module and cannot participate in the first sit of the exam of that course.
Also read the complete registration procedure

Reading list

  • Reviews/book chapters provided by lecturers (used for preparation and presentation)

  • Empirical papers provided by lecturers (used for written commentary)

  • Course information and presentation slides on blackboard

  • Peer review on your practice commentary

Assessment method

The research proposal and the peer review will be graded by the teaching staff.

  • Participation and presentation during the seminars (A: 1-10)

  • Peer reviewing (B: 1-10)

  • Final assignment: Final research proposal (C: 1-10) (1A + 3B + 6*C)/10

The Institute of Psychology follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Contact information

Prof. dr. Jan Dirk Blom
Dr. Peter Putman
Prof. dr. Ellen de Bruijn