Educational Science

The master’s specialisation in Educational Science focuses on the development of children and adolescents in educational settings.

Educational Science is one of the eight specialisations of the Master’s programme in Education and Child Studies that you can choose at Leiden University.

The courses of the master specialisation in Educational Science cover the development and learning processes of children and adolescents in regular education, both in the context of typical development and in the context of possible problems that children may experience in acquiring academic skills. Throughout, particular attention is paid to individual differences.

The aims of research and teaching within the Educational Science programme are to understand in how individuals develop and learn and to optimize education for all individuals.

Educational Science addresses questions such as:

  • How do children learn to read and do arithmetic?
  • What is the relation between cognitive development, brain development, and learning?
  • How do children learn in the classroom and what challenges may they encounter?
  • What knowledge do teachers need to be able to help their students develop in an optimal manner?
  • How can teachers be supported and stimulated to foster their pupils’ learning?
  • How can we best facilitate gifted children?
  • What is the role of motivation in learning?
  • How can we incorporate computers and internet in education in an optimal manner?
  • When are children ready to learn independently?

Why choose this specialisation at Leiden University?

This master specialisation is designed for you if you who wish to become an expert in the field of learning processes and development in educational settings.

You will learn to think critically about the development of children and adolescents on the basis of recent theoretical knowledge and empirical research. Upon completion of the programme you will be able to conduct educationally relevant research and to design teaching methods based on evidence and scientifically sound arguments.

What makes this specialisation also interesting is its interdisciplinary approach: you will study the learning processes of children and adolescents from a cognitive-psychological and neuroscientific perspective.

Upon completion of this programme you will be able to conduct educationally relevant research and to design teaching methods based on evidence and scientifically sound arguments.

Master details

  • This is a specialisation of: Education and Child Studies
  • Degree Master of Science in Education and Child Studies
  • Mode of study Full-time and part-time. Part-time study is not possible for students requiring a visa or residence permit.
  • Duration 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
  • Start date September, February
  • Language of instruction English
  • Location Leiden
  • Croho/isat code 60396

Prof. Paul van den Broek

“It’s crucial to be able to read properly if you want to function normally in today’s knowledge-based society”

“The ability to read and comprehend a text is absolutely crucial if you want to participate normally in today’s society. That’s not only evident in education, but also in other aspects of daily life. We need to understand how learning actually works to ensure that even those people and children who struggle with reading or with basic mathematics can fully participate in educational programmes. What happens in the brain whenever we read something or make calculations? What can go wrong in that process and how can we minimise the likelihood of something going wrong? These are the questions I’m trying to answer in my research. My research on learning to read, for instance, showed that the ability to read actually consists of two separate skills: (1) basic language skills such as transforming letters and words into meaning and (2) comprehension skills such as understanding texts in their entirety. Unlike previously thought, the development of both starts at a very early age; before you’re even four years old. Both, independently of each other, also predict success in reading in primary school years later. That’s an important fact that could influence the curriculum of preschools and of the first years at primary schools.
Through behavioural tests and hi-tech equipment such as eye trackers and neuro-imaging devices we can study how children and adults read, and find out where things go wrong for them. This knowledge will enable education specialists to develop new programmes and courses that perfectly align to what children and adults can and can’t do.”

Marije Huijsmans focuses on a masters in Leiden

‘I like the fact that the master’s in Education and Child Studies has so many different specialisations. I don’t know Leiden very well yet, but you can feel it’s got a good atmosphere, particularly here in this building. And you are right at the heart of the Randstad, so job prospects are good.’

Find your master's at Leiden University