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Psychology: Cultural Psychology (track)

Programme outline

The 12-month programme will consist of four compulsory courses (24 EC), an internship (18 EC), and a thesis (18 EC). Below we provide a brief description of the content of each course.

Course 1: Advanced Cultural Psychology 

Cultural differences not only reside in people’s clothing styles (showing belly fat = attractive?), family organization (5-year old = carrying sibling?) or cultural practices (showing respect = bowing?); They are also omnipresent in the ways in which people think, feel, and act upon daily situations. The central theme throughout this course is the intertwining between ‘culture in the world’ – i.e., people’s engagement in a particular socio-cultural context  – and their ‘culture in the head’ – i.e., their psychological tendencies. We will discuss the empirical literature on i) the varied contents of both forms of culture, and ii) the processes that instigate and maintain their mutual constitution. Throughout the course, students will acquire a cultural psychological perspective on the mind, the world and their interaction. This perspective will be i) sharpened as well as questioned by critically engaging with the psychological literature and ii) practiced by making weekly assignments and writing a paper.

Course 2: Psychology of Intercultural Contact and Acculturation

Migration goes hand in hand with change. Moving from one country to another requires the migrant to adapt to the new cultural context, as well as members of the mainstream society have to get used to newcomers. This course discusses the psychological changes migration can trigger at the individual, intragroup and intergroup level of analysis. At the end of the course, you will have in-depth knowledge of the benefits and challenges of intercultural contact and topics such as ethnic identity formation and negotiation, migration and health, intercultural competences, diversity and creativity and intergroup relations in culturally diverse societies. You will furthermore be able to evaluate acculturation research and design your own study. The course consists out of weekly lectures and tutorials in which we will analyze, evaluate and integrate empirical findings and apply them to current societal issues and ongoing debates. As part of the assessment you will interview a migrant on a freely chosen, theoretically grounded topic. The report of the interview as well as an essay exam form the assessment of the course.

Course 3: Applying Research Methods

Applying Research Methods (ARM) focuses on a broad range of quantitative and qualitative methods and their application in cultural psychological research designs. In this course, you will learn to evaluate different methods and be able to make an informed decision about which method is best suited to answer your research question. In a series of seven lectures, ARM will cover experimental and quasi-experimental designs, survey and questionnaire design, cross-cultural research design, big data, and qualitative research methods. The lectures are accompanied by tutorials, in which we will apply the knowledge gained in the lectures and work toward a research proposal. The exam consists of weekly tests. At the end of the course, you will be familiar with a broad range of research methods used in social and cultural psychology.

Course 4: Applied Cultural Psychology

If cultural contexts and psychological functioning are intertwined, we should think twice when applying psychology to the real world. For example, as psychological distress takes on different shapes across cultures, the routes towards mental health may differ as well; and, as power and agency are executed in culturally different ways, different leadership and negotiation styles may be successful. In this course we will, therefore, i) disseminate cultural psychological research in four applied settings: mental health, education, work, and security/forensic psychology; and ii) discuss real-world challenges and opportunities associated with cultural diversity in these settings, ranging from stereotype threat at school to creativity in organizations. Furthermore, we will train students in using a sound methodological approach to i) critically evaluate existing interventions and ii) design a culturally-sensitive intervention in the domain of their choice. At the end of the course, students will be challenged to prove the societal relevance and feasibility of their proposed intervention in a mini-symposium.

Additional options

The Cultural Psychology Master’s programme has a strong international orientation. Our staff members have an extensive international network and cooperate with researchers across the world. Students may make use of this network and follow a course or conduct research abroad (e.g., for their thesis or internship), for example at our partner university in Ghana. 

In order to provide students with first-hand intercultural experiences, students have the opportunity to join the annual study trip organized by the student fraction and get to know a non-Western culture such as Ghana.