15 March 2018

Keuzegids Masters 2018, how did the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience do?

The Keuzegids Masters 2018 has been published, and this year 5 Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience (FPN) programmes (or to which FPN contributes) have been reviewed: Master in Psychology, Research Master in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, Master in Forensic Psychology, Master Mental Health, and Master in Human Decision Science. Three of these programmes have been rewarded the title of “Top Rated Programme”.

I sat down with Prof. dr. Rob Ruiter, Vice-Dean of Education to discuss the results.

Was 2017 an outlier?  

Yes, what caused that we can’t say for sure. That’s part of the relative nature of these rankings: who is filling in the questionnaire, how big is the response rate. If the response rate is lower, you’re always susceptible to fluctuations.

What does this lower ranking mean?

If you look at the ranking, we’re still doing well. A number of programmes above us are very specialised. After that we’re behind Enschede, and we’re doing well when you look at the regular masters in psychology. But it also goes for this programme that we’re working on revisions. The commission “Master Plan” is looking critically at the structure, and content, of the programme.

What are the topics that the commission is reviewing?

One such topic is that the theoretical part of the programme ends at Christmas, after that there is a course “Professional/Academic Skills”, and then a long period of research internships starts. This is very research oriented, something that makes us special, but it’s important to see if there is room for another course that focusses more on employability. This way we can better prepare students for the labour market, because not everyone wants to become a PhD student.

Currently there are 6 specialisations, are these still the right ones, should we add more, should some be eliminated? These are some of the questions we’re asking.

Is this commission a reaction to the recently published rankings?

No, from the moment that the new Board was in place (about 1,5 years ago) we’ve started this process. It was an initiative from the Board, we’re continuously working on improving education. We are constantly looking at the programmes and asking the question: how can we improve this educational programme? These rankings now confirm the commission’s right to exist. It’s an extra incentive, “each disadvantage has its advantage” as the late, great football player Cruijff would say.

We’re happy with the results as a faculty, we’re doing well. And we agree on the topics of improvement that are mentioned, like examination. And are working to implement changes that will improve the quality of our programmes. The students have filled in the “National Student Survey” again this year, the response rate for the masters was good, a little less for the bachelors. The more student that respond, the more reliable that the result will be. So, we’d like to ask the students: keep evaluating!

By: Thom Frijns