Psychology department too large?

According to vice dean of the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences (FBSS) Greetje van der Werf, the Board of the University is worried about the psychology bachelor. Confidential documents suggest the programme should downsize.

The concerns about the psychology bachelor have existed for a while, according to the confidential documents from the faculty board of BSS. The programme is supposedly too big, which could endanger the quality of education.

The faculty is also suffering from a surplus of temporary lecturers. Although several factions in the faculty board fear reorganisation, vice dean Van der Werf says there is no basis for that fear. Spokesperson Gernant Deekens confirms that the RUG board has no plans to reorganise the programme.


But the Board of the University has requested several scenarios outlining the future of the programme, says Van der Werf. The Board of Directors already made several suggestions, the confidential documents show.

For instance, the RUG board wants the faculty to find a way to further decrease the influx of students, to be stricter in their selective admissions, and to intensify education. Several classes are double – in English and in Dutch. This should be avoided as much as possible.

But spokesperson Deekens denies that the Board of the University is aiming to downsize: ‘They are first and foremost looking at the desired scale of the programme. Only then will conclusions be drawn. The faculty has the lead.’

Students’ complaints

The confidential faculty documents also contain criticisms from psychology students. In conversations with faculty employees, students voiced their complaints about one-sided tests, the massiveness of the programme, and the increase in students dropping out in comparison to last year.

It was announced in late January that the psychology bachelor would abolish numerus fixus because new enrolments were fewer than the maximum amount of bachelor students the programme can handle. Van der Werf does not expect that this will increase the amount of enrolments. ‘The number of new bachelor students has been in decline for two years’, says the vice dean.