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Course content

The Developmental and Therapeutic Play course aims to consider the developmental, educational and therapeutic potential of play at an advanced academic level through the combination of demanding intellectual work and sophisticated practical reflection.

Key Features of Developmental and Therapeutic Play

Teaching and Employability:

  • taught by well published academics and specialist practitioners
  • access to a multi-disciplinary team with strong links to similar university departments in Europe and around the world
  • hands on practical workshops as well as lectures and seminars
  • good record of graduate employment
  • employability supported by the university-wide careers service as well as the teaching team
  • numerous links with local businesses to increase prospects for work experience
  • fieldwork experience included as part of the programme
  • excellent teaching and learning experiences and cross-cultural insights developed through an international cohort
  • opportunity to pursue a PhD supervised by a well-qualified member of the team

Developmental and Therapeutic Play examines how children’s play develops and how children develop as they play. It explores evidence based play practice across a range of professional contexts. Play is an important element of provision across all Children’s Services in the UK and beyond. Graduate employment prospects are wide ranging and past Developmental and Therapeutic Play students have secured a range of interesting posts.

The Developmental and Therapeutic Play course offers the perfect opportunity to study children’s play at an advanced academic level, combining theoretical work with fieldwork experience and high-level reflection. It is taught by internationally recognised and well published academics in the field.

The course aims to deepen students’ understanding of the developmental and therapeutic potential of play. This includes how the environment and social interactions support children’s growing repertoire of play skills, with a particular emphasis on the inherent value of children’s self-directed play experiences.

The developmental, educational and therapeutic potential of play across multiple contexts are also considered i.e. inclusive play practice, observation, assessment and being able to identify when further professional assistance may be required.


Modules on the Developmental and Therapeutic Play course may include:

  • Play Theory and Practice
  • Researching Childhood
  • Perspectives on Play
  • Understanding and Observing Child Development
  • Therapeutic Work with Children

Developmental and Therapeutic Play Course Structure

The Developmental and Therapeutic Play is a modular postgraduate programme consisting of 180 credits at level M.

The course is offered on a part-time basis with completion typically within three years.


Students are assessed throughout their coursework (e.g. written assignments such as research projects, child observations and essays and seminar presentations) and a dissertation of approximately 20,000 words. 

Who should apply?

The Developmental and Therapeutic Play course is suitable for:

  • anyone with an interest in developmental and therapeutic play
  • with degree and/ or extensive experience in a related discipline e.g. childhood studies, education, psychology, sociology, mental health
  • those working in a clinical, hospital or social care setting with children, where understanding play would enrich their practice
  • teachers or learning assistants facilitating educational play whose practice and career prospects would benefit from specialist Master’s level training
  • Social workers, counsellors or therapists who would like to develop essential play skills for working with younger clients
  • playworkers or play development officers who would like to extend their expertise or seek promotion
  • practitioners working within the Welsh Foundation Phase, English Foundation Stage or other International Early Years provision. It is also relevant to other children’s workforce professionals such as primary school counsellors, playworkers, social workers, child and adolescent mental healthcare professionals, paediatric nurses and health visitors, psychiatrists and psychologists.
  • those looking to pursue a career in child counselling or play therapy, but do not yet meet the age or work experience requirements for clinical training.

Work Experience and Volunteering

The College of Human and Health Sciences has links with a number of local children’s services who may be prepared to offer volunteering or work experience opportunities. 

Gaining experience is vital to building a strong CV and increasing employability on graduation.

Careers and Employability

The Developmental and Therapeutic Play course is highly regarded resulting in specialist positions in education, international aid, counselling and pastoral care, social work, hospital/healthcare and playwork.

Graduates have secured posts in domestic violence teams, the prison service, hospitals and schools. Some have also set up their own businesses or have gone on to pursue further training in play therapy, counselling, psychotherapy or clinical psychology.

The College also offers supervision for students who wish to continue their studies in this field at PhD level. 

Voluntary work throughout the course is encouraged.

The College also provides career information and relevant job advertisements as well as career tutorials. Past graduates are involved in future teaching and publication of student research is encouraged.

Staff Expertise

Team members are active researchers and their work is well published. Many past students have published their research or presented their findings at seminars and conferences. This is encouraged and supported by the academic team and demonstrates the high quality of work being produced.

Postgraduate Community

The College of Human and Health Sciences has a vibrant postgraduate community with students drawn from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities. The College is known for its friendly, welcoming and supportive environment, which combined with its extensive facilities, state-of-the-art technology and superb beachside location, helps to ensure that students benefit from an exceptional student experience. 


In addition, students have access to a wide range of excellent facilities and equipment for realistic workplace experiences.

Visit the Developmental and Therapeutic Play MA/PGDip/PGCert page on the Swansea University website for more details!





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