University of Primorska Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies
SI | EN

Biopsychology

print
Early experience shapes the structure and function of the brain. This reveals the fundamental way in which gene expression is determined by experience .

Daniel J. Siegel, The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are

General information

Name of the programme: Biopsychology
Type of programme: Master's, 2nd Bologna cycle
Degree awarded: “magister biopsihologije” equiv. to a Master’s degree in Biopsychology
Duration: 2 years (4 semesters)
ECTS-credits:  120
Programme structure: 14 courses (84 ECTS), practical training (15 ECTS), Master’s Thesis (21 ECTS)
Mode of study: full-time
Language of study: Slovene

Programme coordinatortop

Vesna Jug, PhD

For information regarding application, enrolment and other administrative procedures please contact Student Services.

About the programmetop

The Master's degree programme in Biopsychology is the next step after the first-cycle Bachelor’s degree programme in Biopsychology offered by UP FAMNIT. Biopsychology is the branch of psychology that studies the intertwining of biological and psychological factors in human beings. It is an interdisciplinary subject that draws from various scientific fields and applied sciences with a view to a comprehensive understanding of the human psyche.

The programme includes theoretical and applied topics in psychology that are aimed at understanding individuals, groups and society at large. Utilizing the methodology of psychological research, the programme also equips students with an in-depth knowledge of topics in the natural sciences. The emphasis on cognitive neurological topics is of particular importance to those who intend to seek employment in the health care field. The ability to understand the functioning of the brain, the nervous system and the associated pharmacology, along with the knowledge of cutting-edge diagnostic procedures, will provide graduates with a comprehensive understanding of psychological and social phenomena.

The study programme also covers basic topics in health and clinical psychology, and is focused on the acquisition of practical skills in the wider field of mental health. Graduates will be able to engage in promoting healthy and productive lifestyles and work habits, encouraging better mental and physical health, and preventing mental health problems inherent in the modern age. The knowledge gained through this degree programme will also allow students to undertake research activities and to transfer their acquired knowledge into psychological practice.

Educational and professional goals  top

The aim of the programme is to produce experts in biopsychology whose knowledge, skills and competencies will enable them to carry out independent work in fields that require both an understanding of the complex determination of individual and group behaviours, and the ability to apply their findings in solving contemporary problems in society.

The main objectives of the programme are:

  • To provide graduates with an in-depth knowledge and the necessary skills for the fields of psychology, neurology and health care.
  • To equip students with practical knowledge in the fields of psychological counselling and psychological support. The second-cycle degree programme in Biopsychology covers a number of compulsory courses that are essential in this field, namely Health Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Clinical and Psychological Interview, Psychotherapeutic Approaches and Psychotherapy, and Psychological Counselling. Elective courses also worth mentioning in this context are Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy and Public Health Interventions: Selected Topics.
  • To provide graduates with the knowledge, skills and competencies that will enable them to engage in interdisciplinary planning for rehabilitation of various at-risk groups.
  • To produce experts familiar with findings from the newly emerging fields of neuropsychology and behavioural genetics, who will be able to further develop their knowledge in the wider European and global research environment and to directly engage in the current multi-and inter-disciplinary debates related to the interpretation and prediction of individual and group behaviours. This is precisely the objective that ensures the comparative advantage of the programme and is the reason for its appeal to students of psychology, health care and related disciplines.
  • To develop in graduates the basic knowledge, skills and competencies that will facilitate lifelong learning, critical thinking and the use of a problem-based approach in dealing with various issues related to social sciences and interdisciplinary problems.
  • To equip graduates with specialized knowledge in the field of psychology, related directly or indirectly to state-of-the-art methods and approaches in research in the natural sciences. The programme follows and includes the guidelines and premises of the latest scientific findings from the United States, as well as, in part, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy. As the study programme pays particular attention to explicating and complementing the "conventional" methods of work and research, its specificity and added value offer both an opportunity and a challenge to national and international students of psychology.
  • To prepare the holders of the Master’s degree in Biopsychology for doctoral studies in interdisciplinary fields which connect the natural sciences and social studies in an effort to explain the determinants of behaviour and the development of individuals and groups.

Course structure top

During their studies, students must take a total of 14 courses (11 compulsory and 3 electives) and practical training. They must also prepare and defend their Master’s Thesis.

Short descriptions of courses are available HERE.

The table below outlines the structure of the study programme and its compulsory, compulsory-elective and internal elective courses.

Structure of the study programme
Year of study  Study obligation Število  ECTS-credits (ECTS)
ECTS ECTS/Year of study
1. Compulsory Course 9 54 60
Internal / External Elective course 1 6
2. Compulsory Course 2 12 60
Internal / External Elective course 2 12
Training in the Workplace 1 15
Master's Thesis 1 21
 
1st YEAR OF STUDY (60 ECTS-credits)
No. Course ECTS Form of contact hour
L T SE LW Total
1. Clinical Psychology 6 60 30 - - 90
2. Research Design and Statistical Data Analysis 6 60 30 - - 90
3. Interaction and User Experience 6 60 30 - - 90
4. Biopsychology 6 60 30 - - 90
5. Learning and Memory 6 60 30 - - 90
6. Psychotherapeutic Approaches and Psychotherapy 6 60 30 - - 90
7. Behavioural Genetics 6 60 30 - - 90
8. Advance Modeling in Psychology 6 60 30 - - 90
9. Health Psychology 6 60 30 - - 90
10. Elective Course - Internal / External 1 6 60 30 - - 90
 
2nd YEAR OF STUDY (60 ECTS-credits)
No. Course ECTS Form of contact hour
L T SE LW Total
1. Research Methods in Neuroscience 6 60 30 - - 90
2. Advanced Statistical Methods in Psychology 6 60 30 - - 90
3. Elective Course - Internal / External 2 6 60 30 - - 90
4. Elective Course - Internal 2 / External 3 6 60 30 - - 90
5. Training in the Workplace 15 60 30 - - 90
6. Master's Thesis 21 60 30 - - 90
 
ELECTIVE COURSES
No. Course ECTS Form of contact hour
L T SE LW Total
1. Selected Topics in Neuroscience 6 60 30 - - 90
2. Neuroscience and  Art 6 60 30 - - 90
3. Molecular Basis of Neurodegeneration 6 60 30 - - 90
4. Psychopharmacology of Mental Disorders 6 60 30 - - 90
5. Neurobiology of Physical/Sports Activity 2 6 60 30 - - 90
6. Molecular Method of Processing Biological Samples 6 60 30 - - 90
7. Molecular Basis of Central Nervous System Disorders 6 60 30 - - 90
8. Ethology 6 60 30 - - 90
9. Neuropsychology 6 60 30 - - 90
10. Nutrition and the Brain 6 60 30 - - 90
11. Restorative Environments for Healthy Occupaint 6 60 30 - - 90
12. Statistical Modelling in Social and Behavioral Sciences * 6 60 30 - - 90
* For students of social sciences and humanities only.
** Students can choose elective courses from the Master's study programme Applied Psychology.

 

Course structure and programme information for student enrolled from 2013/14 - 2017/18

In the past year changes occurred in the course plan. In the beginning of this section you can find the course plan for students enrolled from the academic year 2018/19. Here you can find information regarding course structure, compulsory and elective courses, and also short description of courses for students enrolled for the first time in the academic years 2013/14 - 2017/18 (PBP-13):

Practical training in the workplacetop

In the 2nd year of studies, students are required to complete compulsory practical training in the workplace (traineeship), which is assigned a total of 15 ECTS credits and comprises 200 hours of work (typically 5 weeks of 40 hours, or less if conducted over a longer period of time).

The purpose of the traineeship is to transfer theoretical knowledge into practice, which the student carries out in the workplace or in organizations such as institutions of public education, social and health services, primary health care institutions, non-governmental organizations, private companies or other educational and research institutions.

Within the chosen institution, each student is assigned a mentor responsible for the supervision and direction of the practical training. The mentor must be involved in the work of the organization in which the student performs practical training. The mentor may perform, inter alia, clinical, educational, school counselling practice, practice related to human resources or research. These conditions must be met in order for the student to perform practical training under adequate supervision.

Students should contact their preferred organization and arrange their practical training individually. If students wish to perform their practical training in an organization with which UP FAMNIT has not yet signed an agreement, they must make inquiries as to whether the organization is willing to cooperate. If the institution agrees to the cooperation, the student informs the Programme Coordinator about this fact.

Forms for practical training:

Admission requirements  top

Admission to the 1st year shall be granted to applicants who:

  • have completed the first-cycle study programme in the study field of biopsychology or psychology;
  • have completed a first-cycle study programme in other study fields, provided that they have also completed the academic requirements (of up to 60 ECTS credits) deemed essential for continuing their studies. Candidates can complete these additional requirements during their undergraduate studies, in training programmes, or by passing the exams prior to their enrolment in the Master's degree programme. Individual applications shall be considered by the Committee of Academic and Student Affairs of UP FAMNIT;
  • have completed an equivalent training abroad and have been, in the process of recognition of their qualification and  in line with the Recognition and Evaluation of Education Act, granted the right to continue their studies in the Master’s degree programme in Biopsychology.

In the case of enrolment limitations, applicants shall be selected on the basis of the average grade obtained in the undergraduate studies (one of their academic requirements is also the Final Project Paper completed during their undegraduate studies).

Continuation of studies according to the transfer criteriatop

Transfers between study programmes are possible on the basis of the Higher Education Act, Criteria for Transferring between Study Programmes and in accordance with other regulations of this field.

The transition between study programmes is the enrolment in the higher year of the study programme, in case of leaving the education at the initial study programme and continuing the study process at another study program of the same degree. The transition takes into account the comparability of the study programmes and the completed study obligations of the candidate in the initial study program.

Access to Year 2 of the Master’s programme of Biopsychology on the basis of the Criteria for Transferring between Study Programmes is granted to candidates, provided that the following conditions have been met:

  • the candidate fulfils the requirements for admission to the study programme of Biopsychology;
  • completion of the first study programme which the candidate is transferring from ensures the acquisition of comparable competencies as those envisaged by the study programme of Biopsychology; and
  • other conditions in accordance with the Criteria for Transferring between Study Programmes have also been met (a comparable course structure, course requirements completed).

Individual applications for transfer shall be considered by the relevant committee of UP FAMNIT. Apart from comparability between both fields of study, the committee shall also consider comparability between the study programmes, in accordance with the Criteria for Transferring between Study Programmes. The applicant may also be required to complete differential exams as defined by the relevant Faculty committee.

Enrolment on the basis of the Criteria for Transferring between Study Programmes is also open to candidates of a related study programme abroad who have been, in the process of recognition of their studies abroad, legally granted the right to continue their educational training in the study programme of Biopsychology.

In the case of limited enrolment, applicants shall be selected on the basis of the average grade obtained during the study programme they are transferring from.

Advancement requirements  top

Advancement Requirements: For enrolment in the next study year it is necessary to collect at least 48 ECTS-credits from courses and exams in the current study year.

The Study Committee of the Faculty may permit a student who has not fulfilled all study obligations for the particular year to enrol to the next year. The student is obliged to submit a formal written request to the Study Committee. The progress may be approved if a student could not fulfil the obligations for justifiable reasons.

Students may repeat a year only once during the study period.

To obtain a Master’s degree, students must successfully complete all the required elements of the programme and defend their Master’s thesis. For the registration of the master's thesis the student has to fulfil all study obligations of the 1st year. The student must fulfil other study obligations until he submits the Master's thesis. Students write their Master’s thesis under the guidance of their supervisor (thesis advisor). The thesis must demonstrate expertise in their chosen field, a critical understanding of the related theories and specialized concepts and principles, as well as originality and creativity in the application of knowledge and an ability to tackle a specific problem and to propose appropriate solutions.

Students are required to publicly present the topic of their Master’s thesis at a seminar and then write their thesis and defend it publicly.

Graduates' competenciestop

General competencies

  • Eagerness for continuous professional training and self-reflection;
  • The ability to integrate research and professional findings of the field with those of related disciplines;
  • The skills of abstract reasoning, critical thinking, developing theoretical concepts and the ability to transfer these into practice;
  • Interest in interdisciplinary research;
  • Development and evaluation of interventions targeted at the individual, group or society;
  • The ability to apply the acquired knowledge in practical situations;
  • The ability to use the acquired knowledge and skills in research and professional work;
  • The ability to develop a personal professional strategy for addressing a problem;
  • The ability to use a problem-based approach in addressing various problems;
  • The skills of conducting a quality literature search and of selecting relevant published sources;
  • The ability to search, select, develop or adjust the relevant methods, techniques and instruments;
  • The ability to produce written assignments: situation analysis, interventions planning and research reports;
  • The ability to present research findings;
  • Communication skills;
  • Concern for continuous personal professional development;
  • The capacity of evaluating one’s own knowledge of the topics studied with regard to meeting the set objectives;
  • Development of ethical responsibility in the field of counselling for individuals and groups;
  • The ability to identify the needs and define the objectives of biopsychological treatment;
  • To analyse, identify, and assess the relevant characteristics of individuals and groups;
  • The development of appropriate interventions based on theoretical findings;
  • Preparation and implementation of interventions;
  • Evaluation of the interventions carried out in practice and provision of relevant recommendations based on this evaluation;
  • Ethical principles.

Subject-specific competencies

  • Familiarity with various quantitative and qualitative research design and data collection methods;
  • A firm understanding of the purpose and application of the research methods used in natural and social sciences, with a focus on the scientific disciplines of neuroscience, psychology, ethology, genetics and behavioural genetics;
  • The ability to practise interdisciplinary integration of various scientific disciplines (psychology, mental health, psycho- and sociopathology, neuroscience, etc.);
  • A sound understanding of the theory based on examples of use;
  • The ability to transfer the methodological knowledge and apply it in independent research;
  • The ability to analyse and compare various research plans and methods according to the specific research problem;
  • Creativity in planning research procedures and the ability to effectively combine various research methods;
  • Awareness of the limitations imposed by individual research methods and ethical dilemmas, and the capacity for critical reflection on bio-psychological research;
  • An in-depth knowledge of basic (univariate and bivariate descriptive and inferential) statistics and knowledge of advanced multivariate statistics;
  • Understanding of the purpose and application of the various techniques of multivariate statistical analysis;
  • The ability to independently conduct a (multivariate) statistical analysis using one of the established computer programs for statistical analysis;
  • The ability to compare various techniques used in multivariate analysis and to select the most appropriate one for solving a specific research problem;
  • A sound understanding of the practical significance of the relationship between the influence of genetics and the environment on patterns of behaviour;
  • A good knowledge and understanding of the techniques and strategies used for determining the genetic basis of behaviour in humans and animals;
  • The ability to define certain behavioural disorders and diseases, and the ability to assign them to the activity of a particular gene or set of genes, while at the same time determining the degree of environmental impact;
  • An understanding of the transmission of genetic information in diseases and disorders for the interpretation of behavioural responses;
  • Knowledge and understanding of the causes and development of central nervous system disorders;
  • Knowledge of the basic methods of treatment and research in the field of study of diseases of the central nervous system;
  • The knowledge and skills necessary to perform a diagnostic assessment of central nervous system disorders and for the detection of biomarkers;
  • A sound understanding of the basic theoretical models in clinical psychology;
  • Knowledge and differentiation of the main characteristics of various types of mental disorders;
  • Practical understanding of the ethical principles in clinical psychology and in the wider field of psychology;
  • The skill of empathic listening and understanding, the ability to conduct a psychological interview;
  • Familiarity with the basic models of psychological counselling;
  • Familiarity with the different types of interviews with particular emphasis on the psychological interview;
  • Understanding and critical analysis of the performed interview in accordance with the needs of the client and the purposes of psychological treatment;
  • The ability to define the objectives of the interview and set the criteria for the evaluation of performance in relation to the objectives of the interview;
  • The ability to plan activities and interventions on the basis of the information obtained in the course of the interview;
  • The ability to build a counselling relationship and the ability to define its objectives;
  • Qualification for the application of the basic skills of psychological counselling;
  • The ability to assess the adequacy of the planned interventions (design, measurement and analysis, validity, reliability);
  • The ability to critically assess and analyse the scientific and professional knowledge in the field of health psychology;
  • The ability to apply theoretical knowledge in the implementation of interventions in the actual environment / on the ground;
  • The ability to plan therapeutic activities and interventions;
  • A critical understanding of various aspects of different approaches to the implementation of interventions performed so as to assist individuals and groups;
  • The ability to integrate the theoretical contents of the study programme with the practical specificities in the work environment;
  • The ability to collaborate with one’s professional peers/colleagues in the actual work environment.

Graduate employment opportunities  top

A Master’s degree in Biopsychology offers a wide range of career options, e.g. in governmental bodies, in the service sector, in business, and in NGOs, as well as in research and development activities. The study programme is designed to be comparable to similar programmes abroad and anticipates the national and international employability of its graduates. It enables its students to advance and expand their knowledge and understanding of the basic psychological principles, brain function, and the principles of human behaviour. Over the course of the programme, students will develop the competencies that are essential for a confident entry into the labour market.

The content of the programme enables graduates to seek employment in the fields of health care and social care, where the skills associated with psychological counselling, understanding of mental health and the prevention of mental disorders are particularly desirable. Graduates may also opt for employment in various non-governmental organizations dealing with the promotion and strengthening of mental health and providing counselling and assistance to various at-risk groups.

In addition to these career paths, graduates’ specialized knowledge of the influence of biological factors on the human psyche will also enable them to explore more specific employment routes. They will be able to find employment in sports, in wellness centres and in related sectors that integrate people’s physical and mental activities, in the pharmaceutical industry (in the development of new medicines), in the field of integration of nutritional sciences and psychology, and in the NGO sector, e.g. in associations that address specific target groups (such as those with diabetes, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis).

In-depth knowledge of physical processes will enable graduates in Biopsychology to assist in advising companies and other business structures in which employees experience physical strain or which, in addition to a knowledge of personality and mental-health characteristics of their employees, also require knowledge of their other physical traits.

Graduates will be able to continue their training, principally to extend their specific field of expertise, through enrolment into a third-cycle doctoral study programme in Slovenia or abroad that offers a similar or contiguous study, professional training and research.

The Master’s degree programme in Biopsychology also equips its students with the basic knowledge and skills necessary for further specialist training in psychotherapy.