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Master Thesis in Research Master Psychology


Admission requirements

Open to students in the MSc in Psychology (research).


The student expresses his or her preference for a research topic offered by one of the members of the staff of the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University (i.e., the first examiner ), who guides the student during his or her research , will monitor the feasibility of the intended research in the context of the thesis, and will advise the student in the case of difficulties or delays in the progress of the research. Students may also express a preference for a research topic and supervisor outside the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University. In such a case, one of the members of the staff at the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University serves as a supervisor at a distance, but also as the first examiner.

First, students work on the development of a research question and research design, and write a research proposal on the basis of the relevant literature. During the second phase they will focus on data collection and data analysis, and during the third phase they will prepare a written research report (master thesis).

In the exceptional case that a student wishes to analyse and write a thesis about an existing dataset, the student and his or her mentor make sure that the student gains plenty of experience with data collection during their Research Internship.

Detailed information about the research master thesis (guidelines for the research proposal; criteria for reviewing; assessment procedure followed by the first and a second examiner) is provided on Brightspace.

Course objectives

Students obtain experience with empirical research in psychology and with applying some of the basic knowledge and skills acquired in previously completed course work. On the completion of the thesis, students:

  • can communicate the core of their own research in writing to colleagues and to the general public;

  • can integrate and discuss literature resulting from a literature search in a state-of-the-art overview in an overarching / transcending manner;

  • can formulate a clear research question which is based on previous literature and psychological theory;

  • can substantiate the relevance of the research question;

  • can report the methods used clearly and completely so that replication is possible;

  • can adequately report the results of statistical analyses;

  • are able to interpret the results in a correct and nuanced manner, both theoretically and methodologically (within the framework of the applied research paradigm), findings are integrated and seemingly conflicting elements with reference to previous research are thoroughly discussed;

  • show a good understanding of the strengths and limitations of the applied research paradigm; if applicable, a comparison to alternative approaches is provided;

  • are able to describe the implications of their research;

  • can write scientifically, with the (academic) adience in mind;

  • can properly organize their thesis and format it according to APA rules; and

  • show an adequate work attitude during all phases of their thesis project, including adherence to university guidelines on data management.


Individual supervision sessions.


Registration with the thesis coordinator of the specialisation of the student.

Mode of instruction

Individual supervision sessions.

Assessment method

Written research report and, if applicable, proof of fulfilling the additional requirements of the master specialisation, see Brightspace for detailed information.

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. All students are required to take and pass the Scientific Integrity Test with a score of 100% in order to learn about the practice of integrity in scientific writing. Students are given access to the quiz via a module on Brightspace. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Reading list

Relevant literature on the topic of the research.

Contact information

The master thesis coordinator of the master specialisation.