nl en

Biological Underpinnings of Psychopathology


Entry requirements

Open to MSc Psychology (research) students.


This course consists of eight small-group interactive seminars. For each seminar, one expert speaker will provide an in depth lecture on their field of expertise. These topics relate to psychological and biological mechanisms of different psychiatric disorders.

For each seminar, all students prepare the expert presentation by reading one or more papers. One week later, one or two students will present a novel research proposal as an extension of the research field discussed by the previous week’s expert speaker’s lecture. These research proposal will be discussed for their strengths and point of improvement by students, expert speakers and staff.

The provided literature and lectures will aid students in writing their own individual research proposal on one of the weekly topics, which consist of a critical review of the literature relevant to the assigned topic, and a proposal for future research. A brief pre-proposal will need to be written ~ half-way through the course. The full proposal will be handed in by the end of the course and its evaluation makes up most of the total course grade, along with the students’ presentation.

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course, you will have:

  • In-depth knowledge about timely theoretical and experimental frameworks related to psychopathology from a neurobiological perspective

  • Experience with writing a research proposal on a timely research topic related to biological underpinnings


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable



Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register up to 5 days prior to the start of the course.


It is mandatory for all students to register for each exam and to confirm registration for each exam in My Studymap. This is possible up to and including 10 calendar days prior to the examination. You cannot take an exam without a valid pre-registration and confirmation in My Studymap. Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current registration procedure.

Reading list

  • Research papers or book chapters provided by lecturers (used for preparation and presentation)

  • Research papers or book chapters on the topic of the presentation and on the topic of the individual research proposal, selected by the students themselves.

  • Course information and presentation slides on blackboard

Assessment method

The research proposal and the peer review will be graded by the teaching staff.

  • Participation and presentation during the seminars)

  • Final individual research proposal assignment

The Institute of Psychology 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 this fraud policy.

Contact information

Dr. Peter Putman
Prof. dr. Jan Dirk Blom
Prof. dr. Ellen de Bruijn