Are you fascinated by the relationship between the brain and behaviour? Would you love to learn more about neuropsychiatric disorders like attention deficits, schizophrenia and dementia? Are you curious about how certain drugs can influence the processing of information in our brain? Then you should consider specialising in Neuropsychology. The programme focuses on normal and deviant behaviour in relation to brain structure and function. You'll study congenital, acquired or degenerative brain dysfunctions; related neuropsychiatric disorders; and the neuropharmacological mechanisms that underlie behaviour. After you’ve finished your master’s, you'll be a versatile and skilled researcher capable of pursuing a successful career at a university, research institute, hospital, rehabilitation centre or pharmaceutical company.
Why this programme?
If you choose to specialise in Neuropsychology, you'll study normal and deviant behaviour in relation to brain structure and function. You'll particularly focus on congenital, acquired and degenerative brain dysfunctions, and their related neuropsychiatric disorders. The neuropharmacological mechanisms that underlie behaviour in health and disease will also be highlighted in the programme. By combining in-depth courses that provide theoretical knowledge with courses on advanced methodological and diagnostic skills, you'll obtain all the training you need to pursue a clinical or scientific career in this highly challenging domain.
The programme has four compulsory courses that cover the basic neurobiological and cognitive affective mechanisms underlying the behaviour of healthy subjects and patients with neurological or psychiatric diseases:
- Brain damage: focuses on patients with brain damage whose condition can provide us with insights into how the brain works in relation to behaviour.
- Behavioural disorders: focuses on cognitive dysfunction in neuropsychiatric conditions and explores neuropsychological mechanisms and treatment strategies.
- Arousal and attention: introduces key theories about arousal and attention and integrates these with knowledge from psychopharmacology to understand related diseases, such as insomnia and ADHD.
- Aging: focuses on basic theories and neurobiological processes of age-related cognitive decline that is often found in dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
- In addition to the core courses, you'll also get practical training focused on neuropsychological diagnostic skills and you'll be familiarised with psychological research methods. You'll receive training in designing and applying diagnostic and experimental instruments as well as in assessment procedures for analysing, interpreting and reporting on the data (obtained, for example, from simulation patients or experiments). During the second semester, you'll complete a research or clinical internship and write your master’s thesis.
Is it right for me?
The specialisation in Neuropsychology is a good fit for you if you're interested in studying normal and abnormal behaviour from a cognitive-neuropsychological (brain-behaviour) perspective.
Linking up with ongoing research
The themes of the Neuropsychology specialisation are closely linked to research of our staff. They include:
- Cognitive-behavioural dysfunction: looking at the assessment and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders such as attention deficits, functional deficits, neurotrauma, schizophrenia and dementia.
- Cognitive-behavioural effects of drugs and related psychoactive substances: examining the effects of drugs of abuse on brain toxicity and cognitive impairment; the effects of various nutrients and foods on brain neurotransmission and cognitive-affective behaviour such as depression and stress; and the effects of drugs and medicines on driving performance.
- Neurodegenerative or age-related cognitive affective changes: exploring cognitive aging, testing models of neurodegenerative diseases and markers for neurocognitive dysfunction.
- Genes, stress and behaviour: investigating genetic brain vulnerability for stress and stress-related cognitive-affective disorders.
This close link between education and research offers you many opportunities to participate in ongoing research. You will also have access to various instruments to measure behaviour (observational environments, questionnaires and neuropsychological tests) as well as brain imaging techniques (EEG/ERP and fMRI). This provides you with the opportunity to develop both clinically and scientifically relevant skills.
Internship & thesis
The research internship gives you the opportunity to participate in the ongoing research of the faculty’s academic staff or to work with external academic or clinical institutions. You will design and pursue your own research question, which will be the foundation of your master's thesis.
You can choose the subject of your research internship from a wide variety of topics that fit within your chosen specialisation. The internship can be done in the Netherlands or abroad.
Clinical internship (addition to standard programme)
You also have the option to do a clinical internship in addition to the normal programme, which will give you the clinical experience needed to meet the requirements for a professional clinical training programme in the Netherlands (obtainment of BAPD).
As with many Maastricht University programmes, Neuropsychology is taught using Problem-Based Learning (PBL). In small tutorial groups of up to 13 students, you'll seek solutions to ‘problems’ taken from real-world situations. Instructors act as facilitators, giving help as it’s needed. This allows you to build independence and develop problem-solving skills that you’ll need in the field. This active, dynamic and collaborative learning method has one of the highest knowledge retention rates of any instructional method.
From day one of the programme, you’ll be challenged with differing viewpoints and experiences as you interact with staff and students from all over Europe and the world. Your preconceptions and worldview will be enhanced by this interaction, bringing you closer to the programme’s goal of teaching students not only facts and concepts but also international accessibility and understanding. Roughly 49% of the students in this master’s programme come from outside the Netherlands. Such diversity creates an international atmosphere that is strengthened by the international orientation of the programme.
Double Degree master's programme
Double Degree in Cognitive Sciences and Psychology with the University of Milan, Italy
Students who have been admitted to the one-year master’s in Work and Organisational Psychology (WOP)/Health and Social Psychology (HSP)/Neuropsychology (NP) at FPN have the opportunity to participate in this two-year Double Degree master's programme. You’ll follow the one-year master’s in WOP/HSP/NP at FPN prior to the second year of the two-year master’s programme Cognitive Sciences and Decision Making in Milan. The selection takes place in the first semester of the master’s programme at FPN.
PREMIUM honours programme
Want to gain that extra edge by getting real-world experience during your studies? The PREMIUM honours programme will help you gain the experience and develop the skills employers are looking for. As part of a team of students and under the guidance of our academic staff, you’ll spend about three months working on a real-world assignment for a company, NGO or educational institution. You'll also work on a personal development plan, receive intensive individual coaching and attend master classes and workshops. All of this will take about 250 hours, but it will give you a lifetime of benefits.
See website www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/fpn/masters
Program taught in: