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Psychology (research): Social and Economic Psychology


Students who choose to take the Research Master’s track Social and Economic Psychology acquire in-depth knowledge of a broad range of theories and research domains in this area, all concerning the way people’s social environment influences thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. This programme focuses specifically on processes within and between groups. Examples of theory development and research in each of these areas are conflict management, leadership, social dilemmas, diversity, stereotyping and prejudice, individual and group decision making. Relevant fields for application are organisation and management in particular, but also economic behaviour and environmental issues. This track is the ideal start for a PhD programme in social and organizational psychology. Master’s programme – Track Social and Economic Psychology.


General coursework

Eight obligatory general courses (40 EC) are taken by students of all four tracks. These courses cover the research skills needed in the empirical cycle. Students learn how to design an empirical study, how to collect data, how to analyse data with advanced statistical techniques, and how to report and present their findings.

Track coursework

In four advanced-level courses (20 EC), students acquire in-depth knowledge and understanding of a range of theories, issues and research domains in social and organisational psychology


Students can further specialize in their area of interest by choosing 20 EC from a wide range of relevant courses offered in the other three tracks of the Research Master’s program and/or from courses offered in the one-year MSc in Psychology. Research master students have access to all extensive courses offered in the one-year MSc program, and to intensive courses on the condition that there are places available for additional students. Students who wish to take electives outside the Institute of Psychology (or outside Leiden University) are required to ask approval from the Board of Examiners of the Institute of Psychology. Students are responsible for verifying whether an elective course fits into their schedule of obligatory coursework.

Internship and master thesis

In their second year, students acquire hands-on research experience. In their Research Internship (20 EC), they become acquainted with various research designs and/or methods of data collection and analysis. In addition, they carry out a relatively independent project to gain experience with all phases of empirical research in psychology, including the writing of a Master Thesis (20 EC) in the form of a research article. Students are encouraged to conduct the research for their Research Internship and/or Master Thesis at a research institute abroad.

First year

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Compulsory coursework

Scientific Writing 5
Evaluating an Empirical Study 5
Experimentation I: Programming Psychological Experiments 5
Experimentation II: Neuroscientific Research Methods 5
Applied Multivariate Data Analysis (fall and spring) 10 (2 x 5)

Track-specific compulsory coursework

Social Judgment and Decision Making 5
Behavioural Economic Insights 5
Improving Intergroup Perceptions 5
Neuro-economics of Conflict and Cooperation 5

Relevant track-specific electives

Overview of all electives from the 1-year-MSc programme in Psychology and the profile Brain and Cognition

The Psychology of Economic Behaviour 5
Motivation, Power and Leadership 5
Environmental Psychology 5

Relevant general elective

Research Apprenticeship Psychology 5

Second year

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Compulsory coursework

Responsible Research in Practice 5
Presenting Your Research 5
Master Thesis in Research Master Psychology 20
Research Internship Psychology (RMSc) 20

More info

Additional information



Dr. Gert-Jan Lelieveld

Student representative

Find your student representative in the overview of programme committee members: Student representative

Career Perspective

A master's degree in Psychology at Leiden University combines theoretical knowledge with academic and professional skills, making you an attractive candidate for many employers.

You can specialize in the topic of your preference in your choice of assignments and electives, which can also be taken from other programmes. During your training in advanced academic and research skills you will be actively involved in an ongoing research program. Your (international) internship and master’s thesis will enable you to gain hands-on experience and learn from established scholars, under close supervision in research tutorials.

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