This programme is aimed at students who are seeking to build on their undergraduate qualifications to develop a career in research or related disciplines while building their project management skills and knowledge of developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience. In addition, the programme is aimed at those from closely related science backgrounds to build up a knowledge and practical experience of developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience before embarking on a psychology related career. Students on this course typically go on to pursue careers in research or in clinical psychology.
The programme is aimed at providing advanced research training for students interested in pursuing careers in the fields of research, child development and child health, brain function and cognitive neuroscience methodologies. The Department of Psychology at Durham University has particular strengths in these areas, with teaching reflecting the breadth of knowledge within the department.
Teaching is generally organised into a number of 10 week course units involving 2 to 3 hours of lectures, seminars and practicals per week. Each 10 week unit is assessed by means of one formative assignment and one summative assessment. The summative assessment counts towards the final degree. For the programme as a whole, this assessment is divided (with small variations across programmes) in equal proportions between examinations (33.3%), written assignments (33.3%) and dissertation (33.3%).
Research Practice (15 credits) Critical Analysis (15 credits) Applied Statistics (30 credits) Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (30 credits) Dissertation (60 credits) Choose one module from: Current Issues in Developmental Psychology & Psychopathology (30 credits) Current Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience(30 credits) Choose additional modules to the value of 30 credits.
Learning and Teaching
The programme is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars and practical classes. Lectures provide key information on a particular topic, such as developmental cognitive neuroscience. Seminars are held in order that small group teaching can take place, with focused discussion on specific topics. Finally, practical classes allow students to gain direct experience, particularly in Applied Statistics and in how to use statistical tools.
The balance of these types of activities varies as a function of the module. This is a year long course, with students also having a summer term during which time work is typically carried out on dissertation related activities. Students typically attend 12 hours a week comprising lectures, tutorials and seminars. Outside timetabled contact hours, students are also expected to undertake their own independent study to prepare for their classes and broaden their subject knowledge. Independent study is a key element to the course, with complex factors raised in lectures that do assume some prior knowledge of the topic area.
The programme is divided into three parts. One third, comprising four modules, is of subject specific topics related to developmental psychology, psychopathology and cognitive neuroscience. Students may select one of the two modules (Current Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience or Current issues in Developmental Psychology and Psychopathology) to suit their areas of interest. Each module is delivered via a two to three hours lecture during one term or via seminars. A further three modules focus on research skills such as critical abilities, and statistical knowledge that are necessary to understand developmental psychology and psychopathology and cognitive neuroscience. The final third of the programme is the dissertation module, which reflects the culmination of learning and practical endeavours from throughout the course via the production of an independent and original body of research material. This is performed under one to one supervision with a member of staff, with meetings varying in duration and frequency throughout the year as a function of the needs of the research project.