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Education and Child Studies: Learning problems and impairments (International track)

Welcome to the specialisation Learning Problems and Impairments (international track),which is part of the Master’s Degree Programme in Education and Child Studies. Language of instruction in this specialisation is English.

A wide spectrum of causes can underlie problems with learning at school. The causes may lie in the student, his/her environment or the interaction between these factors. For example, if education is of insufficient quality, this has adverse consequences for all students, but especially for students who grow up in vulnerable families or for children with cognitive and/or behavioral problems. Experts who work with these children must be aware of the way in which children learn and their sometimes, special educational needs, what can go wrong and what interventions are evidence-based.

The Master’s specialisation in Learning Problems and Impairments offers a combination of theoretical insights, diagnostic and treatment strategies. Students learn to recognise common learning problems such as dyslexia, hyperlexia and discalculia, as well as learning problems caused by ADHD, ADD or speech and language disorders. In the course of the programme they acquire the knowledge and skills required to work in research and teaching positions.

During the specialisation in Learning Problems and Impairments you will:

  • acquire in-depth knowledge of a socially crucial topic: not only do school drop-out and low literacy have economic consequences, learning problems also cause much personal suffering.

  • acquire knowledge of the way in which pupils between the ages of 3 and 18 learn, and what can go wrong in this process.

  • learn to recognise whether you are dealing with specific learning problems (dyslexia or discalculia) or learning problems caused by something else (for instance, weak cognitive control, attention disorders or stress-related problems).

  • learn to design and test action plans.

  • be able to participate intensively in designing and testing interventions in order to close the gap between high-achievers and low-achievers at an early stage.


For the timetable of all courses please refer to MyTimetable


NOTE Registration for all courses in My Studymap is mandatory.

You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2.

Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from July. Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from December. The exact date on which the registration starts will be published on the website of the Student Service Center (SSC)

The registration period for all courses closes five calendar days before the start of the course.

By registering for a course you are also automatically registered for the Brightspace module and for the first sit of the exam of that course. Anyone who is not registered for a course therefore does not have access to the Brightspace module of that course.

Also read the complete registration procedure

More information

For more information you can contact our study advisers.

Year 1

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Practice of empirical research 5
Learning, cognition and the brain 5
Learning disabilities: a neuro-behavioural approach 5
Learning and ongoing evaluation of learning 5
Learning and Instruction 5
Internship Learning problems and impairments (international track) 15
Master's project 20

Career Perspective

In addition to offering you a solid academic education, Leiden University also aims to prepare you for the labour market, and in doing so contribute to the development of your employability. In this way, it will become easier for you to make the transition to the labour market.

'Employability' consists of the following aspects:

1. Discipline-specific knowledge and skills
Knowledge and skills specific to your study programme.

2. Transferable skills
These are skills relevant to every student and that you can use in all kinds of jobs irrespective of your study programme, for example: scientific research, analysing, project-based working, generating solutions, digital skills, collaborating, oral communication, written communication, presenting, societal awareness, independent learning, resilience.

But also think of job application skills: preparing a CV, formulating a cover letter, compiling a LinkedIn profile, networking, practising job interviews, preparing and holding a pitch.

3. Self-reflection
This involves reflecting on your own (study) career (choices), reflecting on your own profile and your personal and professional development. Gaining insight into, among other things, your competences and personality, your (work) values and motives. what can you do with your knowledge and skills on the labour market?
Who are you, what can you do well, what do you find interesting, what suits you, what do you find important, what do you want to do?

4. Practical experience
Gaining practical experience through practical and social internships and work placements, external research internships and projects, practical assignments, which are integrated into an elective, minor or graduation assignment, business challenges etc.

5. Labour market orientation
Gaining insight into the labour market, fields of work, jobs and career paths through, for example, guest speakers from the work field, alumni presentations and experiences, career events within the study programme, the use of the alumni mentor network, interviewing people from the work field, and shadowing/visiting companies in the context of a particular subject.

Employability in the Master's programme Education and Child Studies

In all programmes provided by the Institute of Education and Child Studies, the connection with the professional field in which our graduates will work is central. How can the results of the research we do be used to prevent and solve problems in the development of children? How can children in families, at school and in care benefit from the knowledge we gain from our research?

That is the question that all programmes and courses of the Institute of Education and Child Studies revolve around. After all, every child deserves the opportunity to develop optimally. This means that in many courses you learn both scientific knowledge and get to know professionals from the field who give guest lectures on the application of scientific knowledge. And the internship, a large part of your Master's programme, is devoted to an extensive introduction to the work that you will soon be doing after your graduation. This is an excellent preparation for the [labour market] (

Activities to prepare for the labour market outside the curriculum of the Master's programme Education and Child Studies

Every year, various activities take place, within, alongside and outside of your study programme, which contribute to your preparation for the labour market, especially where it concerns orientation towards the work field/the labour market, (career) skills and self-reflection. These may be information meetings on choices within your programme, but also career workshops and events organised by your own programme, the Faculty Career Service or your study association.
For example:

Career Service, LU Career Zone and career workshops calendar

Faculty Career Service
The Career Service of your faculty offers information and advice on study (re)orientation and Master's choice, (study) career planning, orientation on the labour market and job applications.

Leiden University Career Zone Leiden University Career Zone is the website for students and alumni of Leiden University to support their (study) career. You can find advice, information, (career) tests and tools in the area of (study) career planning, career possibilities with your study, job market orientation, job applications, the Alumni Mentor network, job portal, workshops and events and career services.

Workshops and events
On the course calendar you will find an overview of career and application workshops, organised by the Career services.