Professor Jaap Denissen

Prof. dr. Jaap Denissen

Prof. dr. Jaap Denissen

Program Director Research Master in Individual Differences and Assessment (IDA)
Professor Developmental Psychology


Welcome to the new two-year Research Master Program Individual Differences and Assessment (IDA). The master is offered by Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (TSB).

IDA offers you a new perspective on a central field of knowledge in psychology and beyond: differences in the way human beings think, behave, and feel. Individual differences predict the ability of people to finish education, function in different types of work, cope with stress and disease, relate to others etc. IDA is focused on differences in personality, motivation and intelligence, and on the impact of these differences on various aspects of life. In the Research Master these aspects and the measurement of these aspects are studied in an interdisciplinary, international, high-quality research environment.


The perspective of Individual Differences and Assessment is fundamental in social science. It is part of a strong history that include luminaries like Eysenck, Allport, Murray, Spearman, and Thurstone. The IDA program is the only Dutch research master that is systematically focused on the field of individual differences. Compared to international masters that are focused on individual differences, the Tilburg master is unique with its tightly interwoven, two-year full-time curriculum that includes fundamental, applied, and statistical courses.


The two-year program consists of five content-related courses on theoretical models, biological and physiological correlates and dynamics of individual differences, and on advanced applications of the research on individual differences in the fields of health and work. These content-related courses are accompanied by courses in methodology and statistics, such as multivariate analysis, psychometrics, programming, and structural equation modeling and analysis of longitudinal data.

The program offers ample opportunity for internal and international traineeships and pays attention to ethics and datamanagement. At the end of the first year students write a first-year paper and the Research Master is finished with an individual Master’s Thesis following the requirements of a journal article.


IDA-staff members are well-known researchers in various fields of psychology (such as Developmental Psychology, Medical and Clinal Psychology, Statistics and Methodology and Human Resource Studies). Teaching takes place in English in small-scale lectures, practicals and seminars, and workshops. The educational climate is highly interactive and multidisciplinary and geared towards acquiring critical thinking and research skills. This is facilitated by the selection of bright and motivated students, who are willing to go the extra mile when they are challenged and competently supervised.


Alumni from Research Master programs such as IDA have excellent career prospects. They are highly desirable candidates for scientific vacancies as PhD students (if seeking a research career), of which Tilburg University has a lot to offer. They are also desirable candidates for positions as an applied researcher of individual differences in the field of personality and health, or in the field of individual differences and work. The Research Master is also an excellent preparation for students looking for an international career.

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