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Education and Child Studies: Educational science

Welcome to the specialisation Educational Science, which is part of the Master’s Degree Programme in Education and Child Studies. Language of instruction in this specialisation is English.

The Master’s specialisation in Educational Science offers students cutting-edge insights into the learning and developing child in education. Furthermore, students practice translating the implications of this knowledge to educational practices such as instruction and social interaction. Because learning and teaching are not ‘one-size-fits-all’ phenomena, individual differences between children receive ample attention.

This specialization offers a unique multidisciplinary approach: you will study children’s learning processes from a cognitive-psychological, social-emotional, and neurodevelopmental perspective. In addition to this multidisciplinary focus on the learning and developing child, the programme addresses the impact that the social and educational environment have. At the core of the programme as a whole is the idea that the Master’s student develops a critical attitude towards research and practices in the field of learning and education, as well as the skills needed to bridge the gap between theory, research, and educational practice.

Educational Science addresses questions such as:

  • What is the relation between brain development, cognitive development, and learning?

  • How do children learn to understand what they read?

  • How does contemporary mathematics education impact children’s arithmetic strategies?

  • How can teachers foster children’s motivation for school by supporting their needs?

  • How can teachers adapt their teaching to the needs of children with different sociocultural backgrounds?

  • How can teachers build effective individualized programs based on ongoing progress monitoring data?

  • What are the promises and challenges of digital educational applications?

  • What are the backgrounds, meanings, and consequences of current educational innovations?

The programme includes a master’s project in which students carry out their own research and prepare a written report of their research project: their master’s thesis. Furthermore, students have to conduct an internship in which they learn to apply their knowledge and skills in the work field of educational professionals. For instance, students develop educational materials (textbooks, web applications), refine and evaluate interventions implemented at schools, or give advice on how to implement formative assessment in the classroom or on how to improve the school quality control system.

By the end of the programme students have become experts in the field of learning and education and are empowered to work in a broad range of settings in which educational expertise is required, such as schools, museums, governance, educational publishers, and educational advice services.

Language of instruction in this specialisation is English. If preferred, students can answer exam questions and write assignments, papers, and their master’s thesis in Dutch.


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.

For Dutch students

De Leidse Masterspecialisatie Educational Science voldoet, in combinatie met de Leidse Bacheloropleiding Pedagogische Wetenschappen, aan alle eisen die gesteld worden door de Nederlandse Vereniging van Pedagogen en Onderwijskundigen (NVO) voor de registratie Basis-Pedagoog. Studenten die elders een universitaire Bacheloropleiding Pedagogische Wetenschappen hebben behaald kunnen, soms na het behalen van één of enkele extra vakken, ook in aanmerking komen voor de NVO-registratie Basis-Pedagoog. Lees de Brochure Beroepsregistraties voor alle informatie.

NB Voor personen die via het Pre-master programma Pedagogische Wetenschappen in de Master instromen geldt een aparte regeling waarmee men zich kan kwalificeren voor de registratie Basis-Pedagoog.

Year 1

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Practice of empirical research 5
Learning, cognition and the brain 5

In bloc 2 you choose one of the two courses below

Learning and ongoing evaluation of learning 5
Digital thinking skills in education 5
Internship Educational Science 15
Learning and Instruction 5
Educational innovations 5
Master's project 20


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.