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History of Psychology


Entry requirements



History of Psychology focuses on the changeability and fallibility of knowledge in general and psychological knowledge in particular. In addition, the course aims to make clear how internal and external scientific factors have contributed to the development of psychology as a discipline, and how the academic discipline of psychology continues to be indebted to the more general development of science and the history of philosophy.

In addition to the history of psychology from 1600 until the early days of the cognitive movement in psychology in the 20th century, the course also covers the following:

  • An introduction to the theory and history of psychology

  • An introduction to philosophical terminology

  • An introduction, or re-introduction, to social history.

Course objectives

Students will:
1. Learn about the main historical conceptions of psychology from 1600 to the early days of the cognitive movement in psychology, and the basic philosophical concepts of knowledge and the world;
2. Learn that ideas on psychology as a scientific discipline and on the psychological functioning of individuals change over time, and that ideas on what constitutes a scientific approach are also determined by developments in society; and
3. Learn to write a presentation of arguments and prepare for and execute a verbal presentation. This ability prepares for a professional career, in which written and verbal presentations and argumentation are of crucial importance.


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable


NOTE As of the academic year 2021-2022, you must register for all courses in uSis. You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2.
Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from July. Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from December.
The exact date on which the registration starts will be published on the website of the Student Service Center (SSC). First year Bachelor students as well as premaster students will be registered by the Student Service Center; they do not need to register themselves.

The registration period for all courses closes five calendar days before the start of the course.
Also read the complete registration procedure

Mode of instruction

There are 8 lectures of two hours each and 4 work group sessions of two hours also. A work group consists of 1 instructor and a maximum of 24 students (2 tutorial groups combined). Attendance of the work groups is mandatory.

The work groups provide ample opportunity to practice and develop argumentation and discussion skills, within the context of the big issues of contemporary psychology and its history.

Assessment method

The work group grade is included in the calculation of the final grade. Assignments are used to check knowledge and understanding of the materials in the course book chapters under study. Instructors assess each assignment with a 10-point grading scheme. An overall grade is awarded for participation and assignments. For information on how this grade is calculated, please the course workbook. The examination consists of 40 multiple-choice questions (MC), which test course objectives 1 and 2. The material for the MC exam is based on the literature (reading list) and lecture material (if and as indicated by the lecturer). Course objective 3 is tested with the assignments in the practice sessions. There are assignments for each of the work group sessions. The grade for the work group sessions is included in the calculation of the final grade, with 70% weight for the MC exam and 30% weight for the final result of the practice sessions. The method for calculation of the final grade of the practice sessions is described in the workbook. However, for each (MC exam and final result of practice course) a minimum result of a 5 must be obtained.

The Institute of Psychology uses fixed rules for grade calculation and compulsory attendance. 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.

Reading list

Prof. F. van der Velde. Chapters on History of Psychology.
Available on Brightspace.

Contact information