Universiteit van Amsterdam
Educational Sciences (research)
The research master's programme in Educational Sciences integrates pedagogical research -and part of educational research. Both disciplines are characterized by empirical research into learning and development processes in various settings, that is carried out with advanced quantitative and qualitative techniques.
The programme aims primarily at students with a bachelor's degree in Pedagogical or in Educational Sciences, but is also accessible for students with an adjacent bachelor's degree (Psychology, Sociology, Languages) who want to specialize in this specific field of research. Both Dutch students and students from abroad can apply.
The programme takes two full years of study and has a study load of 120 credits (EC; European Credits). In the curriculum we distinguish between:
- disciplinary courses
- courses in methods and statistics
- research projects.
All students begin with the introductory course Bio-ecological models: State-of-the-art (2 credits) and additionally they choose five out of seven disciplinary courses (6 credits each). The bio-ecological model serves as an organising principle of all research that is covered by the disciplinary courses.
The first four disciplinary courses are so-called ?domain courses?, as they give an overview of all research that is carried out by the four research groups that participate in the Educational Sciences programme (short titles):
- Childhood education and family support,
- Learning and social-emotional disorders,
- Developmental and rearing problems,
- Distal and proximal processes at school.
The other disciplinary courses concern specific research topics:
- Micro-processes at school,
- Criminal behaviour of juveniles, and
There are four courses in methods and statistics, covering the statistical techniques that are most commonly used in educational research. Multivariate statistics are treated in
1. Methods and statistics in educational research (10 credits), which covers the best known generalised linear models, and
2. Structural equation modelling in educational research (10 credits), which covers path models, factor models, and their extensions.
The other two courses go more deeply into the analysis of data that are typical of educational research:
3. Multilevel data analysis (6 credits) and
4. Longitudinal data analysis (6 credits).
See the information brochure for course descriptions. Be aware that it is not only statistical theory that is taught in these courses. In each of the four courses, through practical assignments, students learn how to use statistical software, and to apply the statistical techniques to real data sets from educational research. Moreover, articles from academic journals are used to illustrate how the statistical techniques are applied and described in published educational research. In this way, and through writing assignments, students also learn how to report and interpret statistical results.
3. Skills (4 credits)
In the supporting course Skills students are trained in writing and presenting. They learn how to report research in accordance with the American Psychological Association (APA) publication manual, and they learn how to present research results in professional meetings. See the information brochure for the course description.
Students carry out two research projects, resulting in Thesis 1 (20 credits) in the first year and Thesis 2 (32 credits) in the second year.
Halfway the first year each student chooses the subject of the first thesis. Supervised by the associated staff member, the student participates in the research group of the staff member, and contributes to ongoing research of the research group, by carrying out part of the research, and writing a research report (Thesis 1).
Preparations for the second research project may begin as early as the outset of the second study year. The student chooses the subject of research and a supervising staff member, and writes a research proposal. The proposed research project can be carried out within one of the research groups of the department, but it can also be carried out outside the department, possibly at another university. The full research project may be described in an internal research report, but the student must also present the research results in a paper that can be submitted to an international, peer-reviewed academic journal. Both research report and journal article may qualify as Thesis 2.
Each student proposes his or her personal programme to the programme director, dr. F.J. Oort. After checking whether the personal programme complies with the research master criteria (i.e., quality and coherence) and consulting staff members, the programme director establishes the personal programme and sends it to the Examination Board for approval.
The personal programme may deviate from the general programme described above. In the near future, the number of elective disciplinary courses will increase, when courses in, for example, Micro-processes in the family, Educable mental retardation, and Philosophy of education will be developed. The number of courses in methods and statistics will also increase, when the already planned courses Test theory and Test construction will be established, so that the student has a choice between these courses and the two data analysis courses. Moreover, students are allowed to replace a limited number of courses of the general programme with so-called ?outside courses?, that is, courses that are offered by other departments of the Universiteit van Amsterdam, or by other universities.
The following scheme shows the programming over the four semesters.
First year (60 EC)
- first semester
- Disciplinary courses (20 EC: 2 EC + 3x6 EC)
- Methods and Statistics (10 EC)
- second semester
- Skills (how to write and present) (4 EC)
- Multilevel Data Analysis (6 EC)
- Research project (Thesis 1) (20 EC)
Second year (60 EC)
- first semester
- Disciplinary courses (12 EC: 2x6 EC)
- Structural Equation Modelling (10 EC)
- Longitudinal Data Analysis (6 EC)
- second semester
- Research project (Thesis 2) (32 EC)*
* The preparation of the research project starts in the first semester
The research MSc in Educational Sciences is selective and restricts the enrolment to a maximum of 15 students per year. The following criteria are set for admission:
- A bachelor degree in pedagogics or educational science or equivalent with marks in the top segment of graduation. More specifically, the judgement will depend on the results for methods and statistics courses and for the research practical and the thesis;
- an active interest for research, indicated by the results in the bachelor and the research output produced;
- a letter of motivation with an indication of the own personal ambitions and objectives;
- a convincing assessment of adequacy and motivation in the intake;
- an adequate command of the English language in writing and speaking, to be based amongst other things on a paper in English by the candidate.
In formulating the criteria for admission to the programme, the curricula of the bachelor programmes in Pedagogics and Educational Science at the UvA have been taken as a frame of reference. Within these programmes an adequate foundation has been laid for research methodology and statistics. A national comparison (i.e. the national assessment of curricula by Qanu) has shown that there are no major differences between the various curricula in this respect.
The Admission Committee, consisting of the programme director, and at least one other member of the teaching staff, interviews the candidates and decides on the admission of students. In addition to the above mentioned criteria, the content of the preparatory programme is explicitly taken into account. In case of doubt, in particular with respect to research methodology and statistics, or to the command of the English language, the Admission Committee will opt to apply relevant tests.
The research master's programme aims at delivering students, who are able to autonomously design, carry out and report high quality research in the field of pedagogical and educational sciences. The programme is developed for excellent students with a proven motivation for carrying out research and with the ambition to qualify for an academic research career in educational sciences.
Upon successful completion of the programme you will receive a master's degree in Educational Sciences and the title Master of Science (MSc).