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Important Note

  • All Semester II bachelor and master psychology courses and examinations (2020-2021) will be offered in an on-line format.

  • If it is safe and possible to do so, supplementary course meetings may be planned on-campus. However, attendance at these meetings will not be required to successfully complete Semester II courses.

  • All obligatory work groups and examinations will be offered on-line during Central European Time, which is local time in the Netherlands.

  • Information on the mode of instruction and the assessment method per course will be offered in Brightspace, considering the possibilities that are available at that moment. The information in Brightspace is leading during the Corona crisis, even if this does not match the information in the Prospectus.

Entry requirements



Consciousness is one of the most intriguing concepts in science. This course will provide an overview of contemporary theories and scientific research on consciousness. Topics that will be addressed are for instance: is free will an illusion, do animals have consciousness, do we have a mind that can exist independent from our body and what happens in our brain during altered states of consciousness, e.g., as triggered through meditation or psychedelic drugs? The topics covered in the work group sessions relate to aspects, sub-functions or applications of consciousness, and focus on controversies that students then discuss in an academic paper (work group assignments). The purpose of the work group sessions is to guide students through the written assignment..

The student will acquire a broad understanding of theories and research on consciousness and a deeper understanding of how theoretical concepts and hypotheses in this area can be applied in empirical research and clinical practice.

The student will learn to write and review an academic paper, as well as how to implement peer-feedback to improve a paper. The student will be trained in (English) academic writing, searching scientific literature, analysis, reasoning / argumentation, reporting, and evaluating and providing professional feedback on the work of peers.

Course objectives

The student will be able to explain and differentiate between key concepts and theories of consciousness and which methodologies are used for studying consciousness.

Application of knowledge and understanding (academic skills): The student will be able to analyze and paraphrase a selection of theoretical and practical problems about human consciousness and related cognitive processes, and formulate an empirically-based argumentation to address controversies in the field.

General professional skills: The student will learn how to write a scientific report, evaluate a literature review, apply stylistic rules (APA) and use ICT. Furthermore, the student will also learn how to communicate and report to both scientific colleagues and the broader public.


For the timetables of your lectures, work group sessions, and exams, see the timetables page of your study programme. You will also find the enrolment codes here. Psychology timetables



Students need to register for lectures, workgroups and exams. Instructions for registration in courses for the 2nd and 3rd year


Elective students have to enroll for each course separately. For admission requirements contact your exchange coordinator.


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date; students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination. Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

8 2-hour lectures (online): Lectures will be made available online.
3 mandatory work group sessions in Dutch or English. In the context of Corona-related regulations instructions will be offered online, some of which will be live, and some of which will be pre-recorded. Details and possible updates will be announced on Brightspace.

Students choose 1 topic within a given theme, that relates to applications, fundamental questions or key phenomena of consciousness. The first work group session is plenary per theme, and the second and third in small groups (15-20 students). During a homework assignment after the first session, students will do preparatory work for their paper. In the second and third sessions, students will discuss and work on their specific subtopic with their teacher and other students to gain more in-depth knowledge. They are instructed on how to write and review papers. The first version of the paper is due approx. 1 week after the third session, after which peers will review the paper. In a fourth optional writing workshop (a few days before the final deadline for the paper), the lecturers offer the students individual help with writing their paper. The specific deadlines for the papers and reviews will be published on Brightspace.

Assessment method

The course is evaluated with an exam and a paper assignment, including a peer-review task. The exam covers the literature from the book (all chapters). Details and possible updates on online or in-person assessment will be announced on Brightspace.

The marks for the exam and the paper are weighted 75:25 respectively, in the final mark for the course. Students who do not (entirely) complete their peer review tasks or their paper writing assignment, will have to perform these steps during the retake for the paper assignment, in order for their grade to become valid.

The Institute of Psychology uses fixed rules for grade calculation and compulsory attendance. Thus, for this course it means that 3 out of 4 (3 workgroup sessions + 1 writing workshop) meetings should be attended, otherwise the workgroup part has to be redone the year after.

It also follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of these three policies.

The date, time and location of the review of the exam and retake are disclosed during the course.

Reading list

Blackmore, S. & Troscianko, E. (2018). Consciousness: An Introduction. 3rd edition. Routledge.

Contact information

Dr. Z. Sjoerds (Coordinator workgroups) and Dr. M. van Elk can be reached via