Research Master student year 2009-2011
"Last week I said to my father on the phone "this really feels like my first job". I was talking about the Research Master of Social and Behavioral Sciences in which I have been a student since September 2009. There are several reasons that I said this to my father. One of the reasons, but certainly not the most important one, was the amount of work I have to do. The research master program is intense, that's certainly true, and I think you could actually compare the amount of work with a full time job. However, this was not so much what I was referring to. I was talking about the internal traineeships when saying this, which in my opinion form the core of the research master. In these internal traineeships you get the chance to really get involved in a research project and - as mainly is the case with internships - experience already how your life after graduation might look like. My own first internal traineeship was a research project about sport organizations, in which I performed a literature review. Because I am a very sport-minded person, this was a perfect chance for me to combine hobby and work. For the reason that you are very free in choosing your internships, you can choose a topic which fits your personal research interests. In this way the amount of work becomes less of a problem, because working hard on something you really like is not that bad.
After being a research master student for somewhat more than a half year I can now say that I really like doing research and that I really start to feel like a researcher already. All the other courses that I follow - for example statistics and oral & writing skills - are very useful to become a better researcher. That I have learned a lot already during this first semester became pretty clear to me when I read my bachelor's thesis again some weeks ago. Although my thesis was certainly not bad, I realized that I would have done it differently with the knowledge I have now. In a year from now I will very likely also say this about my current work, because the research master is above all a program in which you learn very much. If you are also a person who is very eager to learn, who always asks questions and likes to find the answers to those questions, and who is not afraid of working hard, then I think the research master is the right choice for you. To conclude I would like to react on those people who always say that doing research is boring; doing research certainly can be boring, but it's totally up to you how interesting you make it for yourself!"
Research Master student year 2008-2010
"I discovered that I really enjoyed doing research during my bachelor thesis: I thought it was very interesting to read literature and come up with your own hypotheses and then to create an experiment to test these hypotheses, so that's why I enrolled in the programme. The program is very flexible, you can choose your own research topics and there is more discussion and the study material is more in-depth. Furthermore you are no longer anonymous, since the groups are smaller (on average 10-15 people) than during the bachelor. Now, everybody knows who you are! Since we are a small group of students, you also get acquainted with each other real easy.
In general I am quite busy, on average I study 40 hours a week. This includes the intern traineeships, which you have to do four in two years. So far I've done many different things for my traineeships and learned a lot!"
"In my first year I sometimes had some troubles trying to come up with new ideas for studies. Now, I have better insight in what should be changed in a design of an experiment. I became a lot more critical when I read articles and can often now point out the problems within an article or design. In short: I now know how to conduct research and where to begin. Also, my English has improved and I became a lot better in writing English texts.
After graduation this summer I want to become a PhD student in The Netherlands. I am now looking for vacancies and checking if there are subjects that I'm interested in."
Daniel van der Palm PhD Methodology and Statistics
Research Master student year 2007-2009
"It has been almost 7 months since I graduated, and looking back I am very happy I made the choice to follow the research master. Right from the start, the courses were much more challenging and interesting to me than I was used to. Before actually starting with the study, I was a bit worried that I would have to put in a very large number of hours each week to get through the literature and assignments but that wasn't the case at all, it was manageable. As a research master student, I no longer purely felt like I was a student, being one out of hundreds. Because of the small number of students that follow the research master every year, you get the opportunity to communicate with the teachers much more directly; they know who you are, and that created a pleasant personal atmosphere.
Because of the various intern traineeships, I got to experience the actual scientific research that was done in the methodology and statistics department which makes it so much easier to decide whether you want to continue doing research or not. Towards the end of the research master, I was offered the opportunity to follow a PhD-project that concerns the problem of missing data. I already knew the department quite well and the project really interested me, so I gladly accepted. The research master in general and especially the writing of the master thesis turned out to be an excellent preparation for the PhD-project.
Half a year has passed now since I began my PhD-project, and the transition from the research master was very smooth. The title of my PhD-project is 'Multiple imputation using mixture models' and the goal is to write and publish four articles. I started out with reading advanced books and articles on the multiple imputation of missing data, and I have written a substantial part of the first article. In addition, I have regular meetings with my supervisors to discuss my progress or to ask questions if I get stuck on something. I think that if you enjoyed the research master, a PhD-project may very well be an excellent and interesting next step."
PhD Tilburg University
Research Master Student year 2007-2009
"During the bachelor program I realized that I was interested in performing scientific research. I enjoyed the course ‘Research in Human Resource Studies’ and writing my bachelor thesis and wanted to gain more knowledge on doing research. Therefore I applied for the Research Master. I collaborated in research projects of members of the department of HRS for my intern traineeships, and I have written my first year paper and master thesis in the area of HRS.
Currently I am working as a PhD student at the department of Human Resource Studies. Having completed the Research Master is a real advantage as a PhD student. Especially the methodology courses (linear structural models, and multilevel and longitudinal data analysis) are very helpful in my current work. In addition, I learned a lot from the intensive supervision during the process of writing my first-year paper and master’s thesis. The research master also helped me to decide whether or not to become a PhD student since it provides the opportunity to get in touch with PhD students and see what they are doing on a daily basis. In sum, I think the research master is a great master for students interested in research and looking for a challenge!"
Researcher at Politieacademie
Research Master Student year 2006-2008
I finished my Research Master in 2008. Before I actually received my diploma, I got a job at IVA Beleidsonderzoek en Advies: an institute for social research. My Research Master helped a lot with this fast transition from student to employee.
Although a PHD-track is a sensible step after the Research Master, I quickly found out that this was not my preference. However, I did not have a clear picture on alternative job perspectives at that time. Therefore I was glad to find out that the work that IVA does, much better matched my interests.
Since September 2008 I have worked on a lot of different projects on different kinds of topics, been on a lot of different places and talked to many different people. That is what I like most about my job: it's diversity. Though many topics I worked on where new to me when I started my job, and I still learn every day, I have benefitted from many skills I developed during the Research Master. One of those skills is to keep an open mind but still be critical. Secondly, I realized during my job that my statistical skills are very well developed compared to the skills of most of my colleagues. Finally, I think that having experience in making research designs and analyzing data during the Research Master is useful in my work today.
Taken together, I think that, during a Research Master, you develop a lot of skills that could be beneficial in your future career. This is true even if an academic career is not your ambition."
PhD Social Psychology
Research Master Student year 2005-2007
"The ReMa is an interesting master for everyone who is curious and who wants
to get to the bottom of things! The program is really interesting and
challenges you to think critically. What especially appealed to me in this
master were the internships. In this part of the program we as students got
a chance to do our own research. The internships give you a good idea what
it is like to work as a researcher. They provide the opportunity to 'have a
look behind the scenes' in the scientific department. Doing research in the
department makes you are a real member of the team and can create good
prospects for the future.
I finished my master thesis in 2007. My supervisors liked the research we
were doing so I could start my job as a PhD-student in 2008! The ReMa really
helped preparing me for my current job. Besides the internships, the extra
academic skills courses, like presentations skills and writing, really serve
their purpose in my current position when I am writing up my results or when
I am preparing a talk for a conference."