Psychology students can soon intern at their own company

Entrepreneurial Education

The Master's programme in Social, Health and Organisational Psychology is working on an internship programme that will enable students to learn by doing by starting their own business. Together with the Utrecht University Centre for Entrepreneurship, an e-learning is being developed to prepare Master's students for entrepreneurship.

Lack of suitable internships

The reason for the new course was the lack of suitable internships for international students. Fréderique Purnot, Psychology lecturer: "Our students have to gain a lot of practical experience. For our international students, internships are always hard to find. The biggest obstacle: the Dutch language. Too few companies in the Netherlands are open or suitable for working with English-speaking students. That is why students often leave the Netherlands to find an internship in their home country. And that's a shame."

"Within the Social, Health and Organisational Psychology Master's programme, we have been about possible ways to solve this problem. One suggested solution was to offer students the opportunity to set up their own business as an internship. Internationalisation and a rapidly changing world require flexible companies that can respond to a broad and diverse target group. So let students create their own organisations, focused on the international market."

E-learning Entrepreneurship

Starting a business requires certain knowledge and skills. In her search for entrepreneurship programmes aimed at students and young professionals, Purnot contacted the Utrecht University Centre for Entrepreneurship (UtrechtCE). Because the existing programmes are mostly aimed at Dutch-speaking students and there is a broader need within Utrecht University to teach students about entrepreneurship, the idea was born for a series of online modules. For its development, a faculty application from the Utrecht Education Incentive Fund was granted.

Rianne Poot, programme director of UtrechtCE: "I am pleased that the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is working on entrepreneurship in this way. This e-learning will be an accessible means for students to see if entrepreneurship is something they would like to pursue. For students who are already sure they want to set up a company, the e-learning will guide them through the process from idea to startup. Subsequently, they can start their own company as part of their internship requirements."

Ambition: an e-learning for all Master's students

"The startup internship will be further developed in the coming years. The e-learning will be designed next year," says Purnot. The ambition is to eventually make the e-learning available for all faculties and programmes of Utrecht University, so students can also enter into collaborations beyond the borders of their own programme. Purnot: "This is how we prepare our students for a future in a constantly changing world, where entrepeneurial skills can always be useful."

Why do we need entrepreneurial education?

The world we live in is full of unsolved problems. Problems that require an interdisciplinary and innovative approach to solving them. Utrecht University wants to prepare her students to help solve (part of) these problems, either through excellent research, through creating innovative solutions in their working environment or through starting their own business. Entrepreneurial education helps our students to not stop at just finding a solution, but really making this solution happen.

The Utrecht University Centre for Entrepreneurship (UtrechtCE) helps teachers with their course design and development, provides guest lectures and facilitates an active teaching community on entrepreneurial learning.

UtrechtCE's services for teachers