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  • In the Research Excellence Framework 2014, the leading national assessment of quality, 100% of the research we submitted was rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” for its impact.
  • The course is unique in offering students the opportunity to study a comprehensive range of validated attachment procedures at university level.
  • The programme combines theory, practice and research in the field of child and adult attachment in troubled populations.
  • The programme equips students with evaluation skills that will help them mount comprehensive assessments of attachment and family functioning.


This pioneering programme is tailored to the learning needs of busy health and social care professionals including three main course offerings:

  • MSc Attachment Studies (180 credits) full-time or part-time
  • Postgraduate Certificate in DMM Attachment Based Family Assessment & Intervention: (60 credits) Designed for either individual applicants or for employers to deliver training in the workplace (minium of ten students).
  • Professional Development Courses: Choose from a range of Attachment Studies Short Courses.

The MSc Attachment Studies course provides students with a specific qualification in the assessment of child and adult attachment, parenting and family functioning. Designed for health and social care professionals, our aim is to prepare you to be at the forefront of the next generation of attachment scholars and practitioners.

This course is best suited for professionals who are interested in broadening their skills in assessing attachment, improving the outcome of interventions with their clients and conducting small or large scale research projects. Central to the programme is the Patricia Crittenden’s Dynamic Maturational Model of attachment combined with a culturally sensitive approach uniquely applicable to alleviate the suffering of distressed and traumatised people.

A unique feature of this programme is the opportunity to learn how to apply and conduct a wide range of assessments and procedures for forensic, clinical or research purposes. All students are required to learn to code at least one procedure where you will be able to achieve clinical or research levels of reliability in analysing the results. You can also learn to give and to analyse bio-physiological measures such as cortisol levels, EEG and heart rate variability.

Although this course does not offer therapeutic training, you will be taught by experts in the field to gain the necessary knowledge to formulate intervention plans and select therapeutic approaches that will benefit your clients.

You will gain a comprehensive understanding of attachment theory including the latest developments in the neuroscience of attachment relationships and parenting. Our systemic approach broadens the study of attachment from mothers and infants to the attachment of older children, adults, family systems and the wider social and community networks.

The interdisciplinary focus on both practice and research is invaluable for students interested in a research career in the field of attachment studies. Examples of recent and current PhD students’ research include the development of the Meaning of the Child to the Parent Interview, the physiology of developmental trauma (PTSD) in children, the effectiveness of play therapy with traumatised children, and attachment in chimpanzees reared by humans.


In this course, you will gain a variety of skillsets and knowledge through a substantial coverage of the underpinning attachment theory and research. This includes an understanding of the latest development in the neuroscience of attachment and trauma. You will study core concepts of attachment and Dynamic Maturational Model theory, family systems and object relations theory and primatology.

You will also gain a comprehensive knowledge in learning how to administer a wide range of validated attachment and family assessments applicable for use with adults and children of all ages. Examples of these procedures are:

  • The Strange Situation Procedure
  • Pre-school Assessment of Attachment
  • Narrative Story Stems using the Child Attachment and Play Assessment
  • The School Age Assessment of Attachment
  • The DMM-Adult Attachment Interview 
  • The Meaning of the Child to the Parent (a central part of parenting assessments)

This programme offers innovative modules such as the infant mental health module, research methods and the formulation of intervention plans. The infant mental health module is designed to deepen your knowledge of early years development and includes an introduction to the Infant CARE-Index. You will also observe a young child in a natural setting. Besides observing a traditional mother-child relationship, this assessment module also includes observations of older children, adults, family and wider systems.

The research methods module prepares you to design and carry out single case study or small sample empirical research. You will also be able to learn how to administer and analyse bio-physical assessments such as heart rate variability, cortisol and EGG and eye tracking.

The formulation module teaches you to interpret the results of attachment assessments and select the intervention most likely to succeed with a particular client or family. We also offer a forensic model of assessment designed for use with courts and other decision-making forums.


Full-time mode (1 year)

Compulsory modules

  • Attachment Theory and Research
  • Research Methods
  • Infant Mental Health
  • Application of Assessments to Clinical and Practice Settings
  • Formulation of Treatment and Intervention Plans
  • Coding and Forensic Application of Assessments 

Compulsory modules (MSc students only)

  • Dissertation

Part-time mode (2 years)

Year 1

  • Attachment Theory and Research
  • Research Methods
  • Infant Mental Health
  • Application of Assessments to Clinical Practice Settings
  • Coding and Forensic Application of Assessments

Compulsory module (MSc students only)

  • Dissertation

Stand-alone Postgraduate Certificate

  • Certificate in DMM Attachment Based Family Assessment and Intervention
  • Attachment Theory and Research
  • Application of Assessments to Clinical and Practice Settings
  • Formulation of Treatment and Intervention Plans

Compulsory and Required modules

Compulsory and/or required modules may change when we review and update programmes. Above is a list of modules offered this academic year.

Optional modules

Optional modules, when offered as part of a programme, may vary from year to year and are subject to viability.

Career options

Our graduates go on to careers in health and social care, or undertake further study in fields such as Clinical Psychology. Students who already have a professional psychology background have been able to launch independent consultancies in social work and psychology.

Visit the Attachment Studies - MSc/PGCert page on the University of Roehampton website for more details!




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