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COVID-19 update: This course will start online and continue on campus later. Read more

What will I learn?

Most children grow up with their biological families, but some are brought up in adoptive families, in foster care or in institutions. Children’s experiences with their primary caregivers have a profound influence on their development. If you are interested in how parental and professional caregivers shape children’s lives, the master’s specialisation in Parenting and Child Development is the ideal choice for you.

Parenting and Child Development is one of the nine specialisations of the master’s programme in Education and Child Studies that you can choose at Leiden University.

The master specialisation Parenting and Child Development focuses on child development in the context of different caregiving circumstances. The courses cover both normative and problematic caregiving, ranging from sensitive and warm parenting to abuse and neglect, and from stable family circumstances to divorce and temporary foster care.

An important part of the curriculum is the study of evidence based prevention and intervention programmes to improve caregiving qualities of parents and professional caregivers.

You will study key questions that address the most important processes in caregiving, parenting and child development. Questions that are central to Parenting and Child Development include:

  • Which early experiences increase the risk of developing behavioral problems?
  • Do parents’ childhood experiences affect the way they raise their children?
  • What circumstances are important for the development of adopted and foster children?
  • How do neurobiological processes influence the behavior of parents and children?
  • What is the role of genetic factors and the interaction between genetic predisposition and environment in child development and in parenting behavior?
  • How do day care experiences relate to child development?
  • What are the prevalence, causes and consequences of child abuse and neglect?
  • How can interventions contribute to the improvement of parenting qualities?
  • How do new and alternative family types relate to child development?
  • How does culture play a role in parenting and child development?

Why choose this specialisation?

Everyone will agree that it is highly important to promote optimal child development from the very start of life. Parents and professional caregivers have a profound influence on the socioemotional and cognitive development of children through their e master specialization Parenting and Child Development focuses on understanding the exact nature of this influence and on preventing child and family problems by fostering optimal caregiving. By focusing on prevention, it differs from the clinically oriented master specializations that concentrate on how to reduce problems in children and caregiving after the problems have developed. Focusing on prevention is extremely relevant and beneficial in today’s society where waiting lists for treatment as well as health care costs continue to grow. If you want to take a pro-active approach towards child and family problems by promoting a healthy caregiving environment, the master’s specialization Parenting and Child Development is the ideal choice for you.

Job prospects

With the knowledge, tools and experience you will have obtained as a graduate of the Parenting and Child Development Master specialization, you will be able to effectively contribute to promoting optimal caregiving and child development. You will have the skills to

  • analyze and answer questions about parenting, caregiving and child development in an academic way, and
  • apply and/or develop programs that aim to optimize caregiving of parents’ and professional caregivers, tailored to the needs of the child.

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Study options

Full Time (1 year)

Tuition fees
€17,716.00 (14,47,386) per year
Non-EEA/non-Swiss/non-Surinam: Full-time & Part-time: €18800. Part-time for EU/EEA/Surinam applicants: €2168.
Application deadline

Expected October 2022

More details

Start date

Expected September 2022


Leiden University

Rapenburg 70,



2311, Netherlands

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants need a BA or BSc degree (or equivalent) to be admitted to any of Leiden University’s master’s programmes. English-language proficiency: IELTS - 6.0; Toefl (internet based): 80 (component score: 20); Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE), or C1 Advanced (CAE): Cambridge component score of 169.

For international students

  • A copy of a valid passport or ID card
  • A copy of a Dutch residence permit (if applicable)
  • CV (résumé)
  • Language proficiency (if applicable)
  • Copies of diplomas and transcripts
  • Letter of motivation

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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