Akvilė from Lithuania studied Educational Sciences: Learning in Interaction
"I came to the Netherlands as an international student from Lithuania to do a Bachelor’s in Psychology in Groningen. During the last year there, I worked as a teaching assistant for a first year course. I enjoyed it so much that I figured a career in education might suit me! When I started looking into Master’s programmes in the Netherlands, Educational Sciences: Learning in Interaction immediately captured my attention.
From the beginning I was very impressed by this programme, particularly because the lecturers took the students so seriously. For example, in one of my first courses at UU I wrote a paper about a particular learning theory that was not very well-explored in the literature. When I told my lecturer that I still had some questions about it, he said he could give me the contact details of the American professor whose work I was studying so that I could e-mail him my questions myself. That was a huge ‘wow’-moment to me.
I also liked that there are a lot of social initiatives at UU in which students can participate. During my first year I joined the interdisciplinary honours programme Young Innovators and worked on a societal project, which was a really enriching experience. During my second year I became a volunteer and a student assistant at Incluusion, a project at UU which gives refugee students the opportunity to attend academic courses together with other students – it is a beautiful initiative and I loved being part of it.
I would definitely recommend this Master’s to students who want to deepen their knowledge of various educational debates, learn to approach a problem scientifically, and work hard with successful researchers in this field on high-quality papers and studies. This programme especially prepares you well for a career in academia, and after the Master’s I felt ready for a new and exciting challenge: I got a PhD position at VU Amsterdam at the School of Business and Economics. In my current position I do research, but I also spend quite some time in front of the class. I still find teaching a crucial and enriching part of my work!"
Alex studied Educational Sciences: Learning in Interaction
"After finishing my Bachelor's in Sport Studies at a university of applied sciences (hbo), I wanted to learn more about social research. Based on the UU Master’s Evening, I had a good feeling about Educational Sciences: Learning in Interaction, and both the pre-Master’s and Master’s curriculum looked interesting to me.
I also found out that a research group at Utrecht University was doing work related to my own research interest: the problem that processes of transition from secondary to tertiary education are often challenging for young people. During the Master’s I actually ended up doing an internship in that same research group, assisting in the inTin research project. I also did a research internship in a different UU team, were I assisted in the analytical coding phase of a literature review.
My thesis was about how students (who are about to graduate) identify themselves with multiple considered future directions, and how they experience certainty regarding these directions. I enjoyed the process and learned a lot from it, even-though time-wise it was a big challenge. In order to graduate on time I had to make compromises in the quality of the thesis-manuscript (and analyses) I handed in. Fortunately I now have the luxury to invest the needed time and attention in this study, because after I graduated I joined the inTin team as a PhD-student!
For me almost every part of the programme was challenging, not only because I come from a different (more applied) context but also because the Master’s has a relatively one-sided focus on quantitative methods. But if you are prepared to reflectively engage with the programme, you will have a good opportunity to develop your own perspective on contemporary educational research and the most pressing challenges involved."
Rutmer studied Educational Sciences: Learning in Interaction
"As a student in this programme, you get a lot of freedom to choose your own path: you can decide what topics you’d like to research in your own projects and internships. I chose Educational Sciences: Learning in Interaction because of my interest in primary education, but you can also focus on different aspects of education: vocational education or learning in big corporations, for instance. During my internship, I worked with a PhD student at the Freudenthal Institute for Science and Mathematics Education. I was able to help her in all the different stages of conducting research: designing the experiments, collecting data with eye trackers and analysing the data we collected. We also collaborated in writing a paper that actually got published, which is very cool, it was my first publication!
All EDSCI students from my year graduated together in July. We were a small group and we really were in this together. We shared the nice parts, but also the challenging parts. Some weeks the work load is very high. The programme asks a lot, because they know you can do it, and in return you will learn a great deal. Studying can be quite lonely if you’re doing it by yourself. Sharing the experience with a group of people makes it a lot easier. It certainly helped me to put in the extra hours.
I will continue to work in research: I’ve obtained a PhD position at the University of Amsterdam where will be studying self-regulated learning in primary education. Educational Sciences: Learning in Interaction turned out to be a great preparation for a career in research, but there are many other options outside academia. For instance, a fellow student from the Master's is doing work for Cito, the institute that makes national tests, and others work at the Ministry of Education."
Oana from Romania studied Educational Sciences: Learning in Interaction
"Before I enrolled in Educational Sciences, I studied Linguistics. I first did a Bachelor’s in Düsseldorf and then a Master’s in Utrecht. As a linguistics student, I got interested in learning processes, and when I asked the Educational Sciences programme coordinator if he thought I was eligible for the programme, he actually said it would be really interesting to have someone with my background.
Educational Sciences: Learning in Interaction provided me with excellent research skills. During my Master’s, I did a research internship at the Institute of Education at the University of Zürich. The people there were very impressed with my knowledge of research techniques, they thought I was already at PhD level. For this reason, they were very happy to continue the collaboration with me and co-supervise my Master’s thesis.
What fascinated me, was how easy it is to communicate with the lecturers during the programme. If you have a question, you can literally just knock on their door. They treated us like we are PhD students already, as if we are their colleagues.
I would absolutely recommend this programme to anyone who is interested in researching educational theories. It is important to realise that you will not spend a lot of time studying theory: you will be trained to use theories to come up with a research plan. If you’re interested in translating your research into something more applied, you can choose to do an internship as your electives, like I did.
After my internship at the University of Zürich, my supervisor asked me if I wanted to come back and work with them again, so I now work there as a Research Assistant. In the future, I would love to combine that with a PhD position. I am confident that this Master’s was an excellent preparation for a career in academia."