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Psychology×

Durham University, Full Time MA Degrees in Psychology

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The MA in Research Methods (Developmental Psychology) is designed for students who plan to continue their graduate studies at PhD level in an area of developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, or social psychology. Read more
The MA in Research Methods (Developmental Psychology) is designed for students who plan to continue their graduate studies at PhD level in an area of developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, or social psychology. It is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as providing suitable training for this purpose, and the course is one of the named routes on the MA in Research Methods. It is a Social Sciences faculty degree that involves other departments within the University.

Students intending to have a career as a research psychologist need to acquire a high level of research skills at postgraduate level. Research methods training therefore forms a central part of the MA programme, including both quantitative and qualitative research methods. One third of the course is also devoted to the dissertation which may be carried out in any area of psychology related to development. The taught course modules include both generic and subject level components, providing an introduction to broad issues and methodological approaches in developmental psychology and the social sciences.

Course Structure

Teaching is generally organised into a number of 10 week course units involving 2 to 3 hours of lectures, seminars and workshops. Each 10 week unit is assessed by means of formative and summative assessments. The summative assessments count towards the final degree outcome. For the programme as a whole, the assessments include examinations, written assignments, oral presentations and the dissertation.

Core Modules:
-Applied Statistics (30 credits)
-Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits)
-Qualitative Methods on Social Science (15 credits)
-Advanced Developmental Psychopathology Review (15 credits)
-Research Design in Child and Clinical Psychology (15 credits)
-Current Issues in Developmental Psychology and Psychopathology (30 credits)
-Dissertation (60 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 social and emotional development. Seminars are held in order that smaller group teaching can take place, with focused discussion on specific topics. Finally, practical and workshop classes allow students to gain direct experience, particularly in Applied Statistics and in how to use statistical tools.

The balance of this type of activity varies as a function of the module. This is a one year course, with students having the summer term to work on dissertation related activities. Students typically attend approximately 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, as well as conduct their dissertation. 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 three modules, is of subject specific topics related to developmental psychology and developmental psychopathology, including issues relevant to clinical work throughout development. Across these modules the material is delivered via a combination of lectures, seminars, practical workshops and discussions. A further three modules focus on placing psychology in the larger framework of social science research and providing generic research skills. For example, skills such as qualitative and quantitative methodologies. 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 and student.

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The Department of Psychology provides a world-class research environment for postgraduate students in Biological, Cognitive, Social or Developmental Psychology along with more applied aspects such as Educational Psychology, Forensic/Criminological Psychology, Neuroscience (including Neurorehabilitation) and Health Psychology. Read more
The Department of Psychology provides a world-class research environment for postgraduate students in Biological, Cognitive, Social or Developmental Psychology along with more applied aspects such as Educational Psychology, Forensic/Criminological Psychology, Neuroscience (including Neurorehabilitation) and Health Psychology. Much of our research is interdisciplinary both within the department and outside of the department.

When you apply to study for a degree by research you will be asked to submit an outline research proposal. It is strongly advised that you approach a potential supervisor before completing this, in order to ensure that they are willing and able to supervise your studies, and that your proposed research is a suitable fit with their research interests. Research students normally have both a primary and additional research supervisor, or two primary co-supervisors, as their supervisory team. We offer a high level of support to our research postgraduates and students are expected to meet with their supervisors at least once per fortnight, and the regularity of meetings is monitored by the Director of Research Students as well as your progression tutor (a departmental academic who is not a supervisor).

For students we offer the following:

Access to a postgraduate bursary fund (up to £350/year for full-time students not in receipt of external funding) for training, research or conference expenses.
Opportunities to undertake paid teaching work in the department.
Provision of workspace in the department, with dedicated desk and computer.
Access to a psychology postgraduate common room.

The Postgraduate Team

Director of Postgraduate Studies - Dr Markus Hausmann ()

Postgraduate Co-ordinator - Mrs Norma Twomey ()
Postgraduate Support Secretary - Mrs Julia Warbrick ()

Director of Postgraduate Research - Professor Charles Heywood
Course Director (MSc Cognitive Neuroscience) - Dr Cristiana Cavina-Pratesi
Course Director (MSc Developmental Psychopathology, MA Research Methods) - Dr Deborah Riby
Course Director (MSc Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience) Dr Cristiana Cavina-Pratesi & Dr Deborah Riby

For more information please contact us.

How to apply

When you apply to study for a degree by research you will be asked to submit an outline research proposal. It is strongly advised that you approach a potential supervisor before completing this, in order to ensure that they are willing and able to supervise your studies, and that your proposed research is a suitable fit with their research interests. Please describe your proposed research. If possible you should include the questions or hypotheses to be addressed, the background to the proposed study, the methods to be used and a brief timetable covering the field of study. The research proposal should be no longer than one side of A4, excluding references.

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