Programme description

The 1-year full-time masterspecialisation "Applied Cognitive Psychology" teaches you how human cognitive performance can be optimized, by enhancing mental capacities and smoothing the interaction of humans with machines, software and occupational requirements.    

Programme description

In the master specialisation "Applied Cognitive Psychology", you are taught how human performance can be optimized by 1) enhancing the cognitive capacity and 2) facilitating human interaction with machines, software, and the circumstances.

Students can specialize in one or both profiles: cognitive enhancement or cognitive ergonomics.

Leiden University is one of the few universities in the Netherlands offering a master specialisation "Applied Cognitive Psychology", focusing on how knowledge of attention, learning and decision making can be used to remedy real-world problems. Fields of application include life-long learning, occupational productivity, safety in industry, traffic and health care, accurate judicial judgment, public health awareness, effective interface communication, sports and creativity.


  • The art of applying cognitive psychology (5 ECTS)

  • Human Potential: Theory (5 ECTS)

  • Human Potential: Practice (5 ECTS)

  • Human Error (5 ECTS)

  • Human-Computer Interaction (5 ECTS)

  • Decision Making (5 ECTS)

  • Internship (10 ECTS)

  • Thesis (20 ECTS)

Career opportunities

Skills acquired in this programme provide a solid basis for careers in a wide range of academic, governmental, industrial, and organizational settings where improvement of human functioning in a complex technological environment is at issue, but also for research assistantships and PhD projects in applied areas.

Examples of career opportunities are:

  • Safety and accident-prevention manager in traffic and road safety design (e.g. governmental agencies), in aviation and transport (e.g. KLM/AirFrance) and in oil and offshore industries (e.g. SHELL).

  • Policymaker and policy adviser (e.g. governmental organizations, education, police departments).

  • Medical and judicial decision making expert (e.g. hospitals, insurance companies, forensic and penitentiary institutions).

  • IT systems and software consultant (e.g. Oracle and other IT companies).

  • Security adviser (e.g. government, traffic, financial institutions).

  • Cognitive engineer in industry (e.g. product design and control of operating environments in production, process, food and advertisement industries).

  • Cognitive engineer in health care and care of the elderly (e.g. hospitals, geriatric and rehabilitation centres).

  • Applied cognitive researcher (e.g. universities, TNO, space, aviation and traffic research centres).


Entry Requirements

BA or BSc in Psychology with a third year course in cognitive psychology and a level of knowledge of statistics equivalent to the courses within the BSc in Psychology at Leiden University.

Exceptionally, access can be provided for other BA or BSc degrees.

For detailed entry requirements see


Admission procedure for students with Dutch nationality and a Dutch bachelor’s degree

Students can file their application form at the Student information centre. Forms and addresses can be obtained from .

Application deadlines are 15 June to start in September; 1 November to start in February.


Admission procedure for international students and/or students with an international diploma

International students can apply online at .

Application deadlines are 1 April to start in September; 15 October to start in February. Students who do not need visa and housing can observe more generous deadlines: 15 June and 1 November.


More Information

For more information on the master’s programme and the specializations, courses, structure, admission requirements, application procedures and tuition fees, please check our website:


For academic information on course content

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Institute of Psychology

Wassenaarseweg 52

P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden

+31 (0)71 527 38 34 (Dutch students) (international students)


For general and application information

Study InfoLine

P.O. Box 9500

2300 RA Leiden

The Netherlands

+31 (0)71 527 11 11  (for Dutch students)  (for international students)

Last Modified: 07-01-2015