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Neuroeconomics (MSc Business Economics)
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The study programme

In the study programme of the track Neuroeconomics focus will be on the neurobiological basis of economic and social decision-making.

Advance your career in human behaviour analysis

Understanding social and economic decision-making is important on the neurobiological, psychological and economics level. The information is very valuable for careers in consulting, marketing, management and research. The curriculum of the Neuroeconomics track consists of courses that fit the need for this information. It will provide you with a broad range of skills, in-depth knowledge and the international expertise which you will need to advance your career.

The programme

Neuroeconomics is one of the tracks of the MSc Business Economics. During your Master's you will follow 5 general courses and 4 track-specific courses. You will finish with a thesis.

  • Compulsory courses

    Applied Econometrics

    In this course you learn about regression analysis. In applied economics this is a powerful tool to analyse empirical relationships. Particular attention will be paid to the statistical assumptions underlying the basic model. We will cover the analysis of: (1) experimental data, (2) panel data and (3) time series.

    Games and Strategy

    In this course we use game theory to analyse optimal strategies for firms. After discussing the main concepts of game theory we apply these concepts to business strategy. We distinguish between the internal context and the external context of the firm.

    Behavioural Economics

    Classic economics assume agents to be rational and selfish. Behavioural economics challenge both assumptions. You will study individual choice: bounded rationality concepts in decisions under uncertainty, information processing, judgement, time preferences and heuristic decision-making. Also you will explore strategic interaction, especially social preferences and reciprocity.

    Experimental Economics

    In this course you will learn the basic methodology of experimental economics: how to design a simple experiment, including writing instructions. You will practice both with laboratory and field experimentation evolving around industrial organisation, labour economics, behavioural economics and individual and group decision making.

    Research Seminar

    Formulating a good research question for your thesis can be challenging. This course helps you find one, by discussing your ideas with faculty members and fellow students.

  • Track-specific courses

    Brain Organisation and Cognition for Behavioural Scientists

    Each week an expert from the field will teach you about a specific topic related to the cognitive and affective neuroscience field. All topics covered are highly relevant as they contribute fundamental cognitive and emotional processes in decision-making. You will learn about topics such as: neurons and synapses, brain anatomy, attention, memory, learning, emotions, and decision-making.


    In this course you will become familiar with neuroeconomics: a relatively new field of research. You will learn to understand its relevance for understanding economic behaviour. Topics you will cover are: (1) the mechanics of the brain and the techniques and methods used by neuroeconomists, (2) the value systems determining behaviour: goal-directed, habitual, and Pavlovian and (3) the interaction between emotion and cognition. Expect firing discussions on (potential) applications and ethical issues.

    Neuroeconomic Methods for Behavioural Scientists

    This course introduces you to neuroscientific methods commonly used in neuroeconomics, social neuroscience and related disciplines. Focus is on functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), the most common research method in the field. You will learn about the physiological basis of the BOLD signal and how to use fMRI to identify the processes involved in decision-making. In tutorials you will gain hands-on experience with pre-processing and analysing fMRI data with the software package SPM 12. 

    Introduction to MATLAB Programming for Behavioural Scientists

    The course will comprise a basic introduction to MATLAB, designed to be suitable for students with little or no prior programming knowledge. The programme will be based on introductory lectures and hands-on assignments, with the help and supervision of expert programmers. During the 1st part of the course, students will learn to apply basic functions and code in MATLAB. Building on the acquired knowledge, students will then be guided to program different tasks to acquire actual behavioural data.

  • Thesis

    The academic programme culminates in a thesis, which allows you to engage with state-of-the-art data analysis and statistical techniques. The Master’s thesis is the final requirement for your graduation. It is your chance to dive deep into a topic in your field of choice (track) that you are enthusiastic about, and allows you to do an independent research project. A professor of your track will supervise and support you in writing your thesis.

  • Honours programme

    If you are a student of the Business Economics MSc and you have a record of academic excellence, a critical mind and an enthusiasm for applied research, then our Business Economics Honours programme is a great opportunity for you.

Check more detailed information about the specific courses in the course catalogue
Real-life case: we love our cell phones. Really?

A newspaper headline stated that brain scans reveal that we literally love our iPhones. However, this is a clear misrepresentation of scientific results. Unfortunately such overstatements are relatively common in the public press. As a student in the Neuroeconomics track, you will learn to correctly employ scientific methods in research settings and critically evaluate scientific findings.

Contemporary issues

Examples of relevant issues that could be discussed in your classroom.

  • Does Neuroeconomics enable us to read others’ minds?
  • How does the brain respond to social media?
  • Can we change our habits by rewiring our brain?
  • What is the neural circuitry involved in financial and social decision-making?
Copyright: FEB
I got to learn from the best of the best Matthew White - track Neuroeconomics Read about Matthew's experiences with this Master's
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