Research Master in Psychology, specialisation Developmental Psychology

On this page you will find a general description of the Research Master in Psychology, specialisation Developmental Psychology as well as a list of FAQs. The information provided on this page is for both Dutch and international students.

General description

The Research Master programme in Psychology is a two-year programme that is focused on acquiring research skills in a particular field of psychology. Students can focus on one of the specialisations within the Master’s programme. One of these specialisations is in Developmental Psychology, which allows you to study psychological processes from a developmental perspective. If you decide to apply for the Developmental Psychology specialisation, you can expect to get enrolled in a research programme with enthusiastic academics from different backgrounds: cognitive developmental psychology, social-emotional developmental psychology, and atypical development (e.g., autism, impulse control disorders, juvenile delinquency, speech and social anxiety). All these research areas are approached from different perspectives, using different methodologies, ranging from class room observations to brain development research.

The two-year programme partly consists of general courses that are offered to all students from different specialisations simultaneously. These courses deal with advanced methodological topics that apply especially to research in psychology, but they also teach you the essentials of academic writing and presentation of your studies.

Additionally, there are courses that are offered by the four different research programmes that exist within our unit of Developmental Psychology. During your first year, there are four specialised courses that focus on different aspects of developmental psychology. These four courses consist of small-scale discussion groups and one-on-one guidance by the research leaders. In your second year, you enroll in the research programme of your choice. This second year is fully focused on your own research thesis and internship, complemented by general courses which will guide you in the different phases of your research (writing, presenting, etc.).

Read more information about our research conducted by the unit Developmental and Educational Psychology.
Follow this link to read more about the Developmental Psychology Research Master's programme.


Frequently Asked Questions relevant for all students!

What can I expect of a Research Master programme?

Because only a limited number of students can enrol each year, the group of students is small. This makes it possible to offer students personal supervision and guidance during these two years. The contact with the supervisor and other members of the research program is interactive and intensive. It is common to present our work to our colleagues, and this will also be expected from the Research Master students. This, and other experiences, will prepare the student in the best possible way for an academic career.

What are the requirements to enrol into the Research Master?

  • BA or BSc in Psychology with a third year course (or 400 level) on the topic of the specialisation;
  • Superior grade for Bachelor thesis and project;
  • A high average grade for coursework;
  • Letter of motivation by applicant;
  • Two positive reference letters by members of academic staff.

What are the deadlines?

For Dutch students:

  • June 15 if you want to start in September
  • December 1 if you want to start in February

    (See the paragraph "Additional information for International students" below, for the deadlines for international students.)

How do I register for the Research Master?

Online application via

When should I apply for the Research Master?

The admission form must be returned to the Student Information Centre before June 15 (if you want to start in September) or before December 1 (if you want to start in February). You will receive further information about the admission and/or possible selection within 4-6 weeks.

Can I still apply for further clinical training or work in a clinical environment with a Research Master degree?

Yes, you can! In the Research Master programme, you are entitled to 20 credits worth of free electives. You can use these free electives for the practical skills courses that are offered in the Professional Master programme. With an additional internship when you have finished your two-year Research Master, you will meet all the requirements you need to apply for the GZ program (Dutch postacademic psychologist training). 

Please note that internships are only available for Dutch-speaking students.

What kind of diploma will I get upon graduation?

Upon completion of the Research Master, you will be granted the title Master of Science (MSc). For the sake of international compatibility, you will also receive certificates that show you have successfully completed our Research Master programme.

Will I receive two diplomas when I follow a Research Master and a one-year master’s programme simultaneously?

You only receive two diplomas if your Resarch Master specilisation is unrelated to your one-year master’s specialisation. As these are two separate programmes, a second admission procedure is required, unless the student holds a Leiden bachelor’s diploma in Psychology. If you wish to take subjects from a related specialisation, you will not receive an additional diploma, but will receive a certificate specifying the subjects passed (for more information see Additional Rules en Regulations).  

I have a question that is not in this FAQ, what should I do?

If you would like more information about the Research Master at Leiden University, or if you would like to speak to someone about this Master programme, please do not hesitate to contact us! (See below for contact details.)

Additional Information for International Students

In addition to the information above, please be advised that International students should meet the following additional requirements:

  • have proof of thorough proficiency in written and spoken English, e.g. by means of an IELTS score of 7,5 or a TOEFL score of 107/263/625 or equivalent (for non-native speakers of English).

And the deadlines for International students are: 
  •  April 1 if you want to start in September;
  • October 15 if you want to start in February.

Please also note that internships are only available for Dutch-speaking students.

Contact details

Prof. dr. C. Rieffe, mentor research master students.
Room 3B47a; Phone 071-527 3674; Email:  

Testimonials from two of our Research Master Students

Evelien Broekhof:
"During the first years of my Bachelor in psychology I was convinced that I wanted to do field work, but while writing my bachelor thesis I became enthusiastic about doing research. Therefore I decided to pursue the developmental psychology specialisation of the research master. In the research master every course is aimed at acquiring a skill necessary to conduct research. For example you learn about different research methods, different types of data analyses, writing an article, and how to critically review articles. So there is a lot of variety in the courses and I really liked it that all classes, especially track-specific ones, are personal and you can benefit from the expertise of professionals. The research master is challenging and it convinced me that conducting research is what I really want to do."

Aafke Snelting:
"After receiving my bachelors in psychology I decided I wanted to apply for the professional masters in child and adolescent psychology. Having a solid background in statistics, but not so much in developmental psychology, Leiden University issued me a 1-year premaster containing several core subjects and a bachelor thesis project. Initially I wasn't too happy about having to write another thesis - since I had already finished a bachelors thesis shortly before - but being part of a research group, gathering the data, analyzing it and incorporating it into my very own research report sparked my interest and I decided I wanted to pursue the 2-year research master track instead. The courses on offer were challenging, but in my eyes also extremely valuable for a future in research or the field. The obligatory RM curriculum leaves you with enough freedom to choose electives to your liking, so you can shape your own education. Up to today, choosing the RM trajectory has been one of the best decisions I've made."

Last Modified: 03-04-2014