Human Movement Sciences: Research Master

Searching for scientific answers to practical questions

Searching for scientific answers to practical questions

Are you fascinated by human movement and do you want to contribute to our understanding of its secrets? Do you want to advance your insights and skills to provide scientific answers to practical questions? Are you interested in a scientific career in this field of research? Then the Research Master’s in Human Movement Sciences is the ideal programme for you!

The Research Master’s Human Movement Sciences: Sport, Exercise & Health (research) is a two-year full-time programme that aimed at integrating fundamental scientific research with relevant questions from clinical and sports practice. Grounded in the core themes of the Amsterdam Movement Sciences, this Research Master’s programme focuses on sport, rehabilitation, and regenerative medicine, with course topics stretching from molecular biology and exercise immunology to cognitive neuroscience and human motor behaviour. Apart from becoming well versed in these research domains, you will be trained in state-of-the-art research methods and advanced statistics. 

A career in science 
After completing the Research Master’s, you will be all set to pursue a scientific career, typically starting with a PhD position. However, you will also be well equipped for other research-related positions. 

The programme 
The first year is dedicated to preparation for scientific research. The programme provides ample room for personalizing your own track, as we offer a variety of optional courses focusing on, for instance, sport psychology, biomechanics, (clinical) exercise physiology, muscle physiology, coordination dynamics, electromyography or time-series analysis. In this way, you may specialize in sports or clinical issues, or on more basic, fundamental aspects of human movement. Your second year is reserved for a research internship of your own choice, in which you gain hands-on experience in all aspects of scientific research. 

Admisssion 
The Research Master's is a selective master's programme, with a maximum of thirty students per year. Admission is tied to strict criteria such as your average grade (for either BSc-, or premaster programme), the quality of the bachelor/premaster research project, motivation, and proficiency in English. Relevant Bachelor's degrees include Human Movement Sciences, Kinesiology, Sport Sciences, Health Sciences, Medical Biology, Biophysics, Biotechnical Engineering, and Biomedical Enineering. Depending on your previous education, it may be necessary to complete a premaster's programme before you can be admitted. (Please note that the latter holds for Bachelors in Physiotherapy). 


Teaching qualification programme for students Human Movement Sciences
In addition to these tracks, the Master’s programme offers a limited number of students (15-20 each year) the opportunity to acquire an accreditation for Teaching in Higher Education. This additional programme is taught in Dutch and amounts to 30 credits that can be partially incorporated into the regular Master’s programme. More information (in Dutch).

The Research Master's is a two-year full-time programme that comprises a variety of obligatory and elective courses, as well as a considerable research internship. You can customize your own profile by focusing on sport, health, or more basic fundamental aspects of human movement. This not only applies to the courses you select, but also to the topic of your research internship. 

Sport 
Your possibilities to specialize in sport science range from courses in exercise and muscle physiology to biomechanics and sport psychology. This includes training in modelling human endurance performance and in biomechanical analyses of technical sports. But you can also focus on the psychological factors that determine sport performance, or on the way in which muscle activation and muscle properties determine maximal neuromuscular output. 

Health 
With a focus on health, you learn about the restoration of motor function within the context of rehabilitation, as well as the effects of aging on mobility. To appreciate the influences of various aspects of the movement system, these issues are addressed from a number of perspectives, including coordination dynamics, muscle physiology, and clinical exercise physiology. You will gain profound insight into the clinical problems associated with neurological diseases as well as degenerative diseases of the skeletal system, and into new possibilities for treatment. 

Advanced fundamentals
In addition, you may choose to solidify your scientific basis by selecting a less applied pallet of courses. State-of-the-art knowledge about neurosciences, molecular biology, mechanobiology, intermuscular load sharing, or the coupling between perception and action provide a solid background for further specialization in your Research Internship and in your future scientific career. The same goes for our advanced methodological courses, such as time-series analysis, electromyography, and 3D kinematics. 

Internship
Extensive experience in high-quality research is indispensable for a scientific career. A full year is therefore reserved for your Research Internship. We aim for first-class projects that result in scientific publications and we will help you find a project that fits your interests. This may be at VU Amsterdam or in collaboration with another institute anywhere in the world. 

Structure of the programme
The Research Master's is a two-year programme. Each year comprises 60 EC. Click here to view a schematic of the general programme. The study load of most courses is 3 EC (deviations are indicated between brackets). The first year is dedicated to preparation for research. The programme comprises obligatory as well as optional courses. In addition, there are some possibilities to further attune the programme to your individual interests, for instance by including external courses. The second year is fully dedicated to a research internship of your own choice.
For more details on the programme and courses: see the Study guide.

FURTHER SPECIALIZATION

Teaching in higher education
If you are considering a future academic position, you might want to enhance your teaching skills as well. Each year, the faculty of Human Movement Sciences offers a limited number of students the opportunity to acquire an accreditation for teaching in Higher Education. This additional programme amounts to 30 EC that can be partially incorporated into your Research Master’s programme. For more information click here.

Human Movement Sciences: Sport, Exercise & Health (research) courses in the study guide.

After completing the Research Master’s, you will be all set to pursue a scientific career, typically starting with a PhD position. Indeed, about 80% of our alumni have taken up research positions. Of course, you will also be well equipped for other research-related positions, or a career as embedded scientist or knowledge broker in the fields of sports or health. 

Students who decide not to embark on a scientific career after graduating, have good career prospects as well. For instance in ICT, movement-related technology, teaching in higher education, or research-related coordination and management.

Small scale
As a student of Human Movement Sciences, you join a select department that values personal attention. Each year a maximum of 30 students are admitted to the Research Master’s programme. Although some of the optional courses involve larger groups, there is still plenty of room for in-depth discussions and lots of personal attention. A natural environment for inspiring interactions with lecturers and researchers. The active students’ club further enhances the warm and welcoming social climate. 

Inspiring
With 40 years of experience, the Department of Human Movement Sciences has produced ground-breaking ideas and innovations, such as the ‘clap skate’ that revolutionized speed skating and the ‘C-mill’, an instrumented treadmill for training and evaluating gait patterns in rehabilitation. We offer a natural environment for inspiring interaction with lecturers and researchers.
For more information on current research see Research Institute MOVE.

A focus on scientific research
The Research Master's in Human Movement Sciences digs deep to prepare you for top-level scientific research. The programme stretches from molecular biology and tissue engineering to neurosciences and human motor behaviour. You will become acquainted with the latest theoretical developments and learn to apply advanced research methods. Teaching and research go hand in hand, as most lecturers are researchers associated with the MOVE Research Institute.

Research internship
A full year is reserved for your Research Internship, in which you will apply your newly acquired knowledge and skills in a scientific research project. Because the research topic strongly characterizes your profile, we will help you find a project that fits your interests, either at our department or with another leading institute anywhere in the world.

Enjoy your time in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is an inspirational and vibrant city that provides plenty of opportunities for relaxing, making friends, and expanding your horizons. Living in this charming city will give an extra boost to your experiences as an international student.

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Bart van Trigt

Student

BartvTrigt

"To me the combination of fundamental and applied science is essential. Not only do I learn how things work, but also how to apply these insights in concrete situations."

Overview Human Movement Sciences: Research Master

Language of instruction

English

Duration

2 years

Application deadline

15 July/ For International students who apply after April 1 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam can not guarantee that accommodation will be available for them.

Start date

September 1, 2017

Study type

Full-time

Field of Interest

Health and Movement

Read about the experiences of some of our students and alumni. How did they experience the Research Master's programme, and how did it help them to pursue their goals?

If you are a foreign student, the story of Starr Brown may be partlicularly interesting for you. Click here to read about her experiences as an American studying in Amsterdam, and see below for her opinion about the Research Master's programme.

Experience the thrilling aspects of scientific research

FotoNickKluftAfter completion of the pre-master program of Human Movement Sciences, I decided that I wanted to extend my knowledge of the nature of the human movement by doing my own research. In my opinion the research master's programme of Human Movement Sciences would give me the right ‘tools’ to pursue my goal of being a proper researcher. In the first year of the programme I was exposed to a broad spectrum of research areas matching the research themes of the MOVE research institute. This gave me the opportunity to make a well-informed choice for my activities in the next year. In the second year of the programme, you are challenged to design and conduct your own research on a topic of your own choice, in the form of a research internship.

In particular, I became interested in the mechanics and control of human gait and the use of advanced data analyses in this regard. For this reason, I chose to investigate brain activity (i.e. electroencephalography) during walking. During my internship I encountered various pitfalls of doing research, but with high quality tutoring of my supervisors I was able to accomplish the goals of the internship and to develop the skills I needed to conduct my own research. I enjoyed this process very much, and was still keen on doing scientific research and gaining more knowledge. Therefore I was happy that my response to a vacancy to become a PhD student was successful, as this implied that I will be working on my own PhD project (regarding ‘the effect of over- and underestimation of abilities on gait and fall risk in elderly’) for the next four years. Now that I am a PhD student, I am convinced the research master is the perfect programme for students who want to experience the thrilling aspects of becoming a researcher.

Nick Kluft

Excellent basis for my current PhD project

EstherThanks to the Research Master’s in Human Movement Sciences, I was well prepared for my current position as a PhD student at the Child Development and Exercise Centre at the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital in Utrecht. My current studies integrate fundamental scientific research with relevant questions from clinical practice, which was in fact also a central theme in the Research Master programme. The courses in the first year of the Research Master allowed me to get acquainted with a broad range of interesting subjects in Human Movement Sciences. This helps me now to look at and understand problems from different levels (from molecular to whole body) and sites (from muscle physiology to immunology). Because the courses were taught by experts in those fields and in small groups, I experienced the lectures as very inspiring and personal. The one year Research Internship in the second year of the programme made it possible for me to gain experience in all aspects of scientific research. Together, these two years gave me an excellent basis for starting a scientific career.

Esther Habers

Research internship in SydneyChiel

My name is Chiel and very soon I will receive my research master’s degree in Human Movement Sciences, after 2 years and a bit. I've chosen for this research master’s because of the combination of specialized courses and a full year (60 ECs) of research, which is unique to our faculty. The broad range of courses in the first year allows you to largely create your own curriculum in preparation of the research of your interest. To me, the subsequent full year internship provided a perfect opportunity to spend some time abroad, to work on my international research skills and to broaden my perspective.

I've chosen to spend my time in Sydney, Australia, to analyze and write about the experiment I conducted in Amsterdam, involving cortico-spinal interactions (more specifically: the synchronization between brain and muscle activity). In Sydney I was supervised by one of the members of the MOVE research institute. I got involved in his project via one of the lecturers of the research master’s Neurosciences course. Of course I had an amazing time there, made lots of new friends and travelled around after writing up my thesis, before returning to the Netherlands to finish my master’s.

Given my experiences I can only be very enthusiastic about research master’s curriculum and the interesting field of human movement sciences!

Cheers!
Chiel van de Steeg

Well-prepared for scientific research

Starr-portraitAs an American student, I chose to study at VU Amsterdam to be introduced to a scientific perspective outside of my own culture and I was impressed with the comprehensive list of courses offered within the Research Master’s programme in Human Movement Sciences. During my first year I took many courses that integrated fundamental scientific understanding with practical human movement related questions. Courses such as Tissue Engineering, Neurosciences and Treating Locomotor Disease offered a multidisciplinary application of HMS studies., whereas other courses focused on data analysis and modeling. The instruction style allowed ample opportunities to ask questions or have further discussion either during class, dropping by the instructor’s office, or in lab sessions.

Now completing my second year, I notice that this Research Master’s programme has prepared me well in terms of critical analysis, objectiveness, and measurement skills. I am completing my own research project in which I am investigating the criteria by which the central nervous system controls the amount of body sway during upright standing. Through all phases of the research, I have applied knowledge and approaches learned during my first year. Going forward, as I apply for research positions, I feel confident that my education from VU Amsterdam makes me a strong candidate.

Starr Brown

Rehabilitation research in Glasgow

DymphyIn the first year of the Research Masters, emphasis is placed on learning how to conduct quality research and critiquing previously published studies. Key research fields taught within medical science lectures, such as neurology, cell biology, rehabilitation and sports sciences, provide a solid base for subsequent practical skill acquisition, during the second year research internship. Experiencing a variety of disciplines really helped me in choosing the most interesting area for me (rehabilitation) in which I want to conduct future research. This brought me to the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, United Kingdom which in rehabilitation research conducted within the faculty of Bioengineering.

At Strathclyde I work with a VICON motion analysis system to perform gait analysis on people with lower limb prosthesis. Participants walk on a treadmill while six VICON camera’s monitor and record their movements, enabling me to calculate offline; step length, how far their trunk moves forward per step and how far they place their front foot relative to the trunk per step. This allows detailed analyses of their gait symmetry which can aid in developing rehabilitation programs and/or prosthetic components, aiming at a more symmetrical walk which makes it easier for amputees to walk more naturally and decreases the risk of developing back pain.

Dymphy van der Wilk

I enjoyed conducting research for a full year 
 
Robert Jan BoodBefore starting the Research Master I had followed the Bachelor program of Human Movement Science. For me, the most interesting part of that programme was the research project at the end of the third year. Therefore I decided that I wanted to learn more about conducting research in this interesting field and I signed up for the Research Master’s.
 
To me the best aspect of the first year of the Research Master’s programme was that the courses provide a great overview of the research that is conducted within the field of human movement science and the MOVE institute. This was extremely helpful when I had to choose my own research internship topic. The variation in the programme kept me very motivated. At one moment you are learning about state-of-the-art neuro-imaging techniques (Neurosciences) or your immune system during exercise (Exercise immunology), while at another instance you are studying how visual information is used when coordinating your steps during walking (practical Coordination dynamics).
 
In the second year I enjoyed the freedom of conducting my own research and learned a lot. I worked independently but received advice and technical support whenever needed. One year of research may seem long, but you actually need that much time to deal with all aspects of research, also those that you did not anticipate. After graduating, my supervisor appointed me as part-time research assistant at the Faculty of Human Movement Sciences. Since January 2013, my appointment has been upgraded to ‘junior researcher’ with the focus of my work being on validation and later implementation of a technical innovation for measuring gait adaptability.
 
Robert Jan Bood

Lian Stadhouders

Student

LianStadhouders

"This programme is exactly what I was looking for: I am challenged intellectually, and thanks to the variety of courses in the first year I was able to select a research topic that really interests me. It is great to work on this topic for a full year!"

Dutch students

The general requirements for admission to the Research Master's programme are: 

  • A relevant Bachelor's degree, including a bachelor research project.
  • Highly motivated.
  • Strong interest in and aptitude for research, demonstrated during your Bachelor’s.
  • Proficiency in English.

Please read the specifications of the admission requirements. If you are not directly admissible, you can apply for the premaster’s programme. If you are admitted to this programme, the Admission board will determine its content, based on your previous education.  

Who does not have to follow a premaster's programme? 
Students who meet all admission criteria do not have to follow a premaster's programme. These include students with the following WO Bachelor's degrees:

  • Human Movement Sciences (VU Amsterdam)
  • Human Movement Sciences (RUG) 

 

See the VU website for the complete application procedure. When you have applied for the Research Master's programme Human Movement Sciences, you will receive an email from the Department of Human Movement Sciences, asking for the following documents:

  • List of courses of your completed Bachelor’s programme, including grades and credits (ECTS)
  • Description of courses that are relevant for Human Movement Sciences. Please use this form
  • Letter of Motivation (Please use this form
  • Letter of recommendation (max 1 page). 

After you have applied, the Department will contact you to check your particulars and to schedule an interview with the Admission board board of the Department of Human Movement Sciences. After the interview the Admission board will decide whether you can be admitted to the research master's programme. If you are not directly admissible, you can apply for the premaster’s programme. If you are admitted to this programme, the Admission board will determine its content, based on your previous education.  

Students with a Bachelor’s degree other than Human Movement Sciences usually have to follow a premaster’s programme before they can be admitted to the Master’s programme. This programme comprises courses from the Bachelor’s programme HMS, which are taught in Dutch. The programme usually sums up to 30 EC, but note that the actual programma may vary over students to accommodate differences in educational background.

Further information about this programme

Follow premaster's courses in advance!

Within several HBO bachelor's programmes it is possible to complete the first 5 topics of the standard premaster's programme as part of your HBO bachelor's programme.

Further information about this programme

Information on study related issues as courses, study programme and study choice:
Heleen Bosch
Academic advisor 
studieadvies.fgb@vu.nl

Information on specifics of the content of the programme:
Prof. dr. A. Daffertshofer
Coordinator of the Research Master's programme
a.daffertshofer@vu.nl  

Information on the content of the premaster’s programme:
Jerwin Wieser
Coordinator Premaster’s Programme
schakelprogramma.fgb@vu.nl

Information days 
7 December: VU Master's Evening

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International students

The general requirements for admission to the Research Master's programme are:

  • A relevant Bachelor's degree, including a Bachelor research project.
  • Highly motivated.
  • Strong interest in and aptitude for research, demonstrated during your Bachelor’s.
  • Proficiency in English
Please read the specifications of the admission requirements.

What if you do not meet all admission criteria?
If you do not meet the admission criteria, the Admission board may decide that you are admissible after you have eliminated your deficiencies. These deficiencies depend on your educational background. Please contact us a.s.a.p. to find out whether this is the case for you, and which options you have to become admissible before the start of the new term.

Tuition fee 
Please consult the VU website for more information.

Application deadlines 

  • April 1: Non-EU/EEA students with an international degree who need services from the International Office (housing [optional) and visa procedures).
  • April 1: EU and EEA students with an international degree who need services from the International Office (housing).
  • July 15: EU and EEA students with an international degree who do not need services from the International Office.

Application 
If you have a Bachelor’s degree and meet all the admission criteria, you can send your information to the Admission board of the Department of Human Movement Sciences, who will decide whether you are indeed admissible to the Research Master's programme. You will receive a letter from the Admission board with their decision on your admission within 8 weeks.

To apply for the Research Master's programme Human Movement Sciences, you have to fill out the appropriate forms and submit them together with the required documents. Please consult the VU website for the complete admission procedure. 

The following documents are required (to be submitted in English):

  • Copy of your valid passport
  • Letter of Motivation. Please use this form
  • Diploma(s)
  • Transcript of records from your Bachelor's programme, including grades and credits (ECTS)
  • Description of courses (and associated literature) that are relevant for Human Movement Sciences. Please use this form
  • A Bachelor of Master thesis (in English). Or if you have not finished your thesis yet, a sample of an academic writing in English (about ten pages in length). We will check your sample for plagiarism as one of the first steps of the evaluation procedure
  • English language test results

VU Amsterdam requires all applicants who have not completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia to take an English language test and to submit their score as part of their application. An exception is made for students who have obtained an International or European Baccalaureate diploma. Please register for a recognized English language test: IELTS, TOEFL or Cambridge Certificates CPE and CAE as soon as possible. Other other tests are not accepted. Read more about language proficiency requirements. 

Information on fellowships
Information on practical matters, such as accommodation

Under Admission Requirements you find the admission criteria for the Research Master's programme. If you cannot be admitted directly, the admission board may ask you to take additional courses to delete some deficiencies. Because the two-year Research Master's programme is a selective master, your results from the bachelor and the deficiencies courses will be taken into account by the Admission board in deciding whether you can be admitted to the Research Master's programme afterwards. If you cannot be admitted to the Research Master's programme, or if you prefer the one-year Master's instead, acceptance for the one-year Master's programme Human Movement Sciences is guaranteed.

Content of the premaster's programme
The actual programme varies over students, depending on their educational background, and may involve a additional Bachelor's courses to compensate for deficiencies (Psychology, Anatomy, and/or Physiology) on top of the standard programme listed below. Alternatively, exemptions may be granted for specific courses in research methods, mathematics and/or statistics. The standard premaster's programme comprises courses on research methods that are commonly used in the field of Human Movement Sciences, like mathematics, programming, biomechanics and a course on measuring movement.

  • The premaster's courses are delivered in Dutch, but for international students they are partly available as an online distance learning programme in English. You also may take comparable courses at another institution. In the latter case, please make sure that those courses are acceptable to the Admission board. 
  • Deficiencies that cannot be addressed by means of our English online distance learning programme, should be eliminated by taking comparable courses at another institution. Please make sure that those courses are acceptable to the Admission board.

Information for international students on practical matters (application & registration procedure, admission requirements, scholarships, etc.):
Wytske Siegersma
Academic advisor
Admissionsfhms@vu.nl

Information on study related issues as courses, study programme and study choice:
Heleen Bosch
Academic advisor
studieadvies.fgb@vu.nl

Information on specifics of the content of the programme:
Prof. dr. A. Daffertshofer
Coordinator of the Research Master's programme
a.daffertshofer@vu.nl  

Information on the content of the premaster’s programme:
Jerwin Wieser
Coordinator Premaster’s Programme
schakelprogramma.fgb@vu.nl

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