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Education and Child Studies: Parenting and child development

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

This master’s specialisation focuses on the development of children within their families and in day-care centres. This is a topic of great social importance. All kinds of minor and major problems can occur in child-rearing which Parenting and Child Development experts can help prevent or resolve.

Children’s development is the result of a complex interplay of factors: the children’s genetic predisposition and the characteristics of their parents or other care-givers, and the environment in which children grow up. In this programme, students learn to unravel and analyse these factors.

Questions that occupy the minds of a Parenting and Child Development expert include:

  • Which early experiences in child-rearing carry the risk of young children developing behavioural problems?

  • Do the childhood experiences of parents impact the way in which they raise their own children?

  • What circumstances are important for the development of adopted and foster children?

  • What is the role of genetic factors and the interaction between genetic predisposition and environment?

  • How does day-care influence the emotional development of children and their attachment relations with their parents?

  • What are the causes and consequences of child abuse?

  • How can child-rearing interventions contribute to the prevention and solving of learning problems occurring in child-rearing?

  • In what way do neurobiological processes influence the behaviour of parents and children?

This master’s specialisation is aimed at students who wish to become experts in the field of children’s development within the family and in day-care centres. Students learn how attachment relations between children and parents or care-givers influence the children’s development, and what the influence is of child-rearing practices (for instance comforting, playing and setting boundaries) within the family and day-care facilities.


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. The exact date on which the registration starts will be published on the website of the Student Service Center (SSC)

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 Parenting and Child Development 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
Prevention and intervention programs in families: development and implementation 5
Digital media in the family: opportunities and challenges 5
Child care, experts, and parents: historical trends 5
Attachment, parenting and development: research and clinical implications 5
Internship Parenting and Child Development 15
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.