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Course content

This programme, run in conjunction with, and based at The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, provides a unique foundation for individuals interested in pursuing a psychotherapy training or an academic career in childhood development. The programme combines psychoanalytic theory of development and inter-family relationships with year-long observations of infants and children and a research project.

Degree information

Students develop a theoretical grounding in psychoanalytic theories as related to child development and clinical practice. Observations of infants, parents and children allow students to witness some of these theoretical constructs in real world contexts and help students develop the observational skills essential in clinical work. The research teaching covers qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and gives students the tools necessary for conducting reliable, valid and ethical research.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits, with the research dissertation accounting for 60 of these credits. A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) is also offered on both a full-time and part-time basis.

Core modules
-Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Child Development I: Infancy
-Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Child Development II: Toddlerhood and Early Childhood
-Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Child Development III: Latency and Adolescence
-An Introduction to Psychoanalytic Theory
-The Clinical Theory of Psychoanalysis
-Research Methods II: Introduction to Statistical Analysis
-Observation I: Parent Infant

Optional modules
-Observation II: Toddler Observation
-Observation III: Observation of a Nursery-School Aged Child

All MSc students undertake an independent research project, supported by a supervisor, which culminates in a dissertation of a maximum of 12,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, workshops, and theory and observation seminars. Seminar groups are small, often led by clinicians and allow plenty of opportunity for discussion and reflection. Research work is supported by an individual supervisor and by workshops throughout the year. Assessments include a variety of essays, examinations, observation papers and a research dissertation and assessment occurs throughout the programme (usually at the end of the relevant module).


Some graduates of this programme go on to psychoanalytic/psychotherapy, doctoral-level trainings and PhD programmes, whilst others progress into work as child mental health workers, psychology or teaching assistants.

Students who successfully complete the MSc can apply their degree in a variety of settings. Our graduates have found work as psychology assistants or child mental health workers, taken up posts as research assistants and have been admitted to psychotherapy trainings in both adult and child programmes.

Why study this degree at UCL?

Teaching on the programme is based at The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in London, a world-renowned centre for research, training and clinical practice in the field of child mental health.

The MSc is based within UCL's Division of Psychology & Language Sciences. This is one of the world’s leading integrated departments of research and teaching in mind, behaviour, and language.

Visit the Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology - MSc/PGDip page on the University College London website for more details!





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