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The Netherlands

If you are interested in studying forensic psychology, either as a graduate or post-graduate student, this resource will be perfect for you! This article was written by the EAPL-S representatives for the Netherlands: Ann-Kathrin Kramer and Enide Maegherman.

Studying Legal Psychology in the Netherlands

Although you have probably heard many things about the Netherlands, you might not know that it
is also a great country to pursue your interest in Legal Psychology. The word Dutch refers to the
people, the language, and everything that belongs to this country. The Dutch are friendly, open-
minded and internationally oriented. A great place to study and live!

The higher education system in the Netherlands has a worldwide reputation and stands for high
quality and an international study environment. Several universities offer bachelor programs in
psychology. For instance, both the VU University in Amsterdam and Maastricht University offer a
psychology bachelor course in English. It might be worth checking one of the many other
universities in the Netherlands to see whether they offer the course you want to do in English.
Another alternative would be to have a look at the University Colleges. University Colleges are
characterised by an open curriculum, which gives students the option to combine their interests
from different fields. This means you could combine your interest in psychology with your interest
in law at an early stage!

There are also several master programmes available that are focused on legal or forensic
psychology. Maastricht University has two masters at the psychology faculty: Legal Psychology and
Forensic Psychology. Legal Psychology is a 1-year master, and Forensic Psychology is a 2-year
master. For more information about each of these, please follow the links at the bottom of the
page. Maastricht University also offers a relevant master program at the Law Faculty: Forensics,
Criminology, and Law. This master program includes a course on legal psychology and a course on
forensic psychopathology, as well as courses on criminology and criminalistics. This 1-year master
program therefore offers a great interdisciplinary curriculum. A new legal psychology master
program has also been announced by Tilburg University, which is expected to be available in 2020.
Tilburg also already has a 1-year master in clinical forensic psychology, although this is only
available in Dutch. Other Dutch master programs that might be of interest include the Forensic
Criminology master in Leiden, and the Opsporingscriminologie master at the VU University in

If you are unsure about which program interests you most, we recommend visiting the master’s
open days that are organised by the universities (check the dates online). You get to talk to
students and alumni, attend lectures covering topics related to the master track, and experience
the student life of the city.

If you are interested in doing a PhD in legal psychology, the Netherlands might also be the place
for you! In the Netherlands, when doing a PhD you are usually employed as a member of staff
rather than enrolled as a student. The requirements and possibilities for PhDs tend to vary
between universities, funding agencies, and areas of research. For vacancies, it’s worth checking
www.academictransfer.nl or to check with the specific universities.

Some important people in Legal Psychology in the Netherlands:

  • Corinne de Ruiter (Maastricht University)
  • Robert Horselenberg (Maastricht University)
  • Marko Jelicic (Maastricht University)
  • Jan de Keijser (Leiden University)
  • Peter van Koppen (VU University, Maastricht University)
  • Harald Merckelbach (Maastricht University)
  • Henry Otgaar (Maastricht University)
  • Bruno Verschuere (University of Amsterdam)
  • Eric Rassin (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
  • Melanie Sauerland (Maastricht University)
  • Annelies Vredeveldt (VU University)

And many more! If you are looking for someone with a particular research interest, maybe we can
help you. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions at all about studying legal psychology
in the Netherlands! We hope to have given you an overview of the possible options. Despite being
a relatively small country, the Netherlands has a lot to offer for your personal and professional


Enide and Ann-Kathrin


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