Psychopharmacology [EL029]

Course highlights

EC points


Start date


End date


Course days

Monday to Friday


Reinoud de Jongh, PhD and others

Course fee

€ 945


Erasmus MC, Rotterdam NL




An introductory level knowledge of the functioning of the human brain (basic knowledge and understanding of brain anatomy and the action of neurotransmitters).


  • Medical Psychology


How to apply

Detailed information about this course:


More than one billion people worldwide are living with a mental or addictive disorder, making them both leading causes of disability and a significant risk factor for premature mortality (Arias et al. (2022) eClinicalMedicine). Treatment of mental disorders usually involves drug therapy, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Psychopharmacology, the topic of this course, is the scientific study of the effects drugs have on mood, sensation, thinking, and behavior. In this crash course on psychopharmacology, we will look at drug treatment for psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety and ADHD. How do these (psychoactive) drugs work? How and why do they invariably lead to side-effects? And how do these side-effect affect adherence?

To answer these questions, we should strive to become a ‘neurobiologically empowered psychopharmacologist’, according to the renowned psychopharmacologist Dr. Stephen Stahl. In this course we therefore aim to give you at least a basic understanding of the underlying neurobiology of anxiety, depression, ADHD, addiction and cognition.

As a final topic, to explain how the most effective drug dose for one person can be either ineffective or dangerous for somebody else, we will also cover both pharmacokinetics (how our bodies interact with the drugs we take) and pharmacogenetics, the study of the effect of genomic variations on drug response.

See 'how to apply' for the course registration period.


At the end of this course, students:
1. Understand the four processes that encompass the pharmacokinetics of a drug (ADME), and can apply these principles to explain the response to (psychoactive) drugs in clinical case studies;
2. Understand the principles of pharmacogenetics, and can apply these principles to explain the response to psychoactive drugs in clinical case studies;
3. Have a basic understanding of the underlying neurobiology of anxiety, depression, ADHD, addiction and cognition;
4. Have a basic understanding of how psychoactive drugs work, how and why drugs invariably lead to side-effects, and how these side-effects affect adherence;
5. Are able to analyze a clinical case study, find and critically evaluate relevant scientific studies, and recommend an evidence-based plan for pharmacotherapeutic treatment.

Participant profile

Students with an interest in psychopharmacology, who are relatively new to the field.


Assignment(s), Attendance

Reduction on fees

PLEASE NOTE: This does not apply to the fee of the research master programmes (120 EC points)

No fees are charged for  Erasmus MC PhD candidates, provided they have an account in Hora Finita, the Erasmus University PhD registration system. When submitting the application, you can state that someone else pays your tuition fee.

In case of cancellation or no show, the cancellation policy applies based on the full course fee.


25% reduction for all (international) PhD candidates without formal appointment at Erasmus MC

Upon receipt of your application you will receive a request to upload proof of enrollment as a PhD candidate.