Ruud van der Horst studied Social Pedagogical Aid at the Hanzehogeschool Groningen and Sociology at the University of Groningen. Afterwards he worked as a researcher at FPC Dr. S. Van Mesdag. Since 2010, Van der Horst has worked as a researcher (in the field of forensic care) at the Scientific Research and Documentation Centre of the Ministry of Justice and Security.
Van der Horst currently combines the position of Professor with his position as scientific advisor at the Expertise Centre Forensic Psychiatry (EFP). Here he has been connected to the EFP for a long time (and responsible for the content) for the programme Quality Forensic Care (KFZ). More recently, he has been focusing on craftsmanship and increasing the expertise of professionals in the Forensic Care field. He was one of the founders of the Forensic Learning Line and he is closely involved in the development of a Professionalism programme within the forensic care sector.
Ruud van der Horst received his PhD in 2011 from the University Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS), Groningen University (RuG) on the relationship between social interaction of forensic detainees and offender behaviour/risk of recidivism.