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Developmental Clinical Neuroscience


NB Language of instruction is English

Admission requirements



Social and behavioral development of children is highly dependent upon neuro-anatomical, neurobiological and environmental factors. These factors may exert their influence directly or indirectly, via, for example, cognitive development. It is important to learn in more detail about the mechanisms through which social and behavioral problems might develop, as they might also provide tools for prevention and intervention schemes, regardless of whether these are pharmacological or behavioral in nature.
The main aim of this course is to elucidate genotype-endophenotype-phenotype pathways to developmental psychopathology. Attention will be given to several genetic disorders, medical and psychiatric illnesses that become evident in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood (Neurofibromatosis Type 1, Phenylketonuria, X-chromosomal disorders, Substance Abuse, Perinatal Risk Factors, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Psychosis, Aggression and Antisocial Behavior).

Course objectives

The following objectives apply with regard to the content of the program:

  • A thorough understanding of the methodological approaches which are commonly used in brain-behavior research;

  • The capacity to identify a theoretical framework suitable for addressing relevant problems and issues in brain-behavior research;

  • Advanced, up to date knowledge of research findings in selected neurodevelopmental diseases and disorders;

  • The ability to critically select, study and analyze literature relevant to the issues and problems presented by the curriculum and the connected research programs;

  • The capacity to report independently about relevant research which is carried out according to current academic standards;

  • The ability to present in English and write scientific reports in English.

Achievement levels Masterstudents:

Achievement levels Research Masterstudents:



Mode of instruction

2-hour seminars (weekly). Each course meeting will address a particular topic (generally a disorder or disease). Literature comprises several international journal articles provided by the instructors (with further literature added by the students). Instructors will start each meeting with a brief overview (5-10 minutes) of their own work regarding the meeting’s topic. Students will participate actively in the seminar, by presenting an overview of the literature on one of the topics. More specifically, two or three students will be assigned a presentation slot: they divide among themselves the following three topics to present about (for each disorder or disease): 1) Theoretical Frameworks & Role of Cognition; 2) Neuro-imaging & Neurobiology; 3) Treatment & Intervention. Active participation in the discussion following the presentations is required. Students will conclude the course by writing a paper on one disorder or disease, including summaries of the same three aspects emphasized in the presentations and focusing on future research directions for the chosen disease/disorder. Paper and presentation are on different disorders.

All presentations should be placed on Blackboard on the day of the presentation at the latest. It is allowed to miss one class without repercussions. When 2 classes are missed, the assignment is to write a summary (2-3 pages) on one of the two missed classes (which may not be the presentation- or the paper-topic of the student). Students can use the presentations and literature on Blackboard for this purpose. When >2 classes are missed, students can no longer achieve a “pass”-mark for the course.

Assessment method

  • Seminars (presentations, approximately 20 minutes pp, plus 5-10 minutes question time after each presentation and discussion after all the session’s presentations): 30% for Research Masters; 40% for ANECS-masters. The presentation will be judged by the session’s instructor, who uses a standard form supplemented by a grading system A) excellent (grade = 9), B) good (grade = 8), C) OK (grade = 7), D) average (grade = 6), E) poor (grade = 5). Especially noticeable active participation (as judged by the sessions’ instructors) can result in 1 point added to the participant’s presentation grade. Especially noticeable inactive participation (as judged by the sessions’ instructors) can result in 1 point deducted from the participant’s presentation grade.

  • Paper (6 to 8 pages, line intervals 1.5): 60%. The deadline for the papers is 4/11/2015. Please note that there is no opportunity to rewrite the paper unless the course coordinator grades it as poor (≤ 5.5). If a new version is required the paper cannot be graded higher than average (grade = 6). In order to get the opportunity to rewrite the paper (if necessary), a first version of the paper is required by 4/11/2015.

  • Research masters will get an additional assignment (10%) on the topic of their presentation (i.e. write a 2-page “mini” research agenda).

  • In general, the standards of assessment are stricter for Research Masters, especially with respect to scientific underpinning of arguments.


During this course Blackboard is used.

Reading list

Articles are provided by the instructors. Students have to find two additional articles for their presentations and papers.


Please note that separate uSis registration is mandatory for lectures, seminars, exams and re-exams. Student who do not register, cannot attend courses or take exams.


  • Registration for the lectures of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first lecture at the latest;

  • Registration for the seminars of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first seminar at the latest.


Student must register for each exam through uSis. This is only possible until 10 calendar days before the exam. More information on exam registration.

Contact information

Co-ordinator of this course is Dr. S.C.J. Huijbregts.