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School Psychology


Entry requirements

  • All 60 ec of the first-year in Psychology have been obtained.

  • Students are strongly encouraged to have completed the Developmental Psychopathology course.


School psychologists are becoming increasingly important in a wide variety of settings, not only in schools. Through their unique expertise in mental health, learning, behaviour and education they help children and youth succeed academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviourally. School psychologists work closely with families, teachers, school teams and other professionals to support the students´ ability to learn and to advise teachers on how to create a safe and supportive learning environment.

In this specialisation course, students will study the development of scholastic abilities and cognition such as reading, math, reasoning, problem-solving, memory, creativity and executive functions. Students also study motivation and intelligence and how this affects school performance. This course focuses on typical cognitive development of children and adolescents within a school context. However, important socio-emotional developmental aspects that influence school performance will be taken into account. Also, important preschool developments (e.g., conceptual development) will be considered. Furthermore, the course touches on subjects such as learning disabilities and the developing brain, to set the stage for a successful entry to several courses within the Master’s programme in School Psychology, such as Educational Neuroscience.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will:

  • Have a clear understanding of key concepts regarding the development of learning and cognition within a school context;

  • Be able to inform, convince, and give written as well as oral recommendations to teachers, school boards, parents, policy makers, etc. concerning topics on cognitive, and socio-emotional development in the school context based on a critical interpretation of the scientific literature in the form of an essay and knowledge clip; and

  • Be able to critically read, discuss, and reflect on the recent scientific developmental literature as well as on the work of peers.


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable

This course is offered twice a year. Students follow the course in one block (Block 2 or 4)



Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register up to 5 days prior to the start of the course.


You must register for each exam in My Studymap at least 10 days before the exam date. Don’t forget! For more information, see the enrolment procedure.
You cannot take an exam without a valid registration in My Studymap.

Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Students who take this course as part of a LDE minor or a premaster programme, exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current registration procedure.

Mode of instruction

7 2-hour lectures and 7 2-hour work group sessions.

Attendance at the work group sessions is mandatory. See Brightspace for more information.

During the work group sessions students will discuss several case studies in which different profiles of primary and secondary school students with various problems within a school setting are given. Students will assess the problem and it’s underlying mechanisms based on course materials. Students will write a group essay taking the role of a School Psychologist to make recommendations to a relevant audience (e.g. teachers, parents, school boards, policy makers etc.) based on scientific insights.

As such, during the work group sessions, students will complete complete one major assignment consisting of two components/parts:
1. Students are required to explore and critically reflect on a topic relevant to the school context and write a group essay/report. This essay should be suitable for a relevant audience (e.g., teachers, parents, school boards, policy makers, etc.). Students are also asked to review the essay from peer from another group.
2. In their group students are required to create a summary of their essay/report in the form of a knowledge clip. Groups will defend their report in front of the work group instructor and their peers, who will act as the relevant audience, during the last work group session.

During every work group session students will also, in groups, prepare discussion questions pertaining to the lecture materials of the week and are encouraged to experiment with different presentation styles. This set-up prepares you to think as a School Psychologist as to how information can best be shared to advance learning in an academic setting. Also, different case studies will be discussed, in which you will take the role of a School Psychologist (e.g. forming hypotheses, and thinking of ways to help a child).

Lectures and work group sessions take up to a total of 110 hours, including the research and preparation of the assignments and lectures. In addition, students are expected to spend 170 hours preparing for the examination.

Language of instruction
Lectures are in English. Work group sessions are in Dutch or English (IBP). Work group assignments can be completed by students in Dutch or English (IBP) according to placement in the workgroups. The questions on the examination are in English; however, students are allowed to answer in Dutch and/or English.

Assessment method

The final grade for School Psychology will be based on the following:

  • Grade for the examination (70%): The examination consists of a maximum of 7 open-ended essay questions based on the literature and lectures.

  • Grade for work group assignment (30%): participation during group discussions; scientific essay/report; knowledge clip and final presentation.

A two and a half-hour post-examination consultation will be held within 30 days after the examination date. During this time students receive the opportunity to view their exam. The date and time of the post-exam consultation will be announced through Brightspace soon after the exam has taken place.

The Institute of Psychology uses fixed rules for grade calculation. It also follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. All students are required to take and pass the Scientific Integrity Test with a score of 100% in order to learn about the practice of integrity in scientific writing. Students are given access to the quiz via a module on Brightspace. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of these two policies.

Reading list

  • Peer-reviewed articles (provided on Brightspace) and book chapters on cognitive development. The exact chapters can be found on Brightspace.

  • Goswami, U. (2020). Cognitive Development and Cognitive Neuroscience. The Learning Brain. Routledge. [ISBN:978-1-138-92391-1]

  • Lecture slides

  • Knowledge clips related to lecture material

Contact information