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Durham University, Full Time Masters 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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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. Read more
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.

Course Structure

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%).

Core Modules

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.

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The aim of the MSc Developmental Psychopathology is to provide advanced research training for students interested in pursuing careers in the field of research, child development and clinical or educational psychology. Read more
The aim of the MSc Developmental Psychopathology is to provide advanced research training for students interested in pursuing careers in the field of research, child development and clinical or educational psychology. The subject-specific and generic postgraduate training provided by the course enables students to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding required of a professional conducting research in clinical, child development or other fields.

Research training forms a key focus of the MSc programme. In addition to providing training in basic research, the course aims to integrate research perspectives from clinical and educational psychology. This distinctive emphasis is reflected in the learning outcomes, structure and assessment of the course.

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
-Advanced Developmental Psychopathology Review (15 credits)
-Research Practice (15 credits)
-Critical Analysis (15 credits)
-Research Design in Child and Clinical Psychology (15 credits)
-Current Issues in Developmental Psychology & Psychopathology (30 credits)
-Applied Statistics (30 credits)
-Dissertation (60 credits)

Learning and Teaching

The programme is delivered predominantly through a mixture of lectures, seminars and workshop classes. Lectures provide key information on a particular topic, such as ‘autism spectrum disorder’ or ‘developing interventions’. Seminars are held in order that smaller group teaching can take place, with focused discussion on specific topics. Finally, practical 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 a summer term to work on their 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 completing 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 (with a specific focus on neurodevelopmental disorders). A further three modules focus on research skills such as critical thinking abilities and statistical knowledge that are necessary to understand developmental psychology and developmental psychopathology. 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 the 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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The MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience is aimed at home and international students who are seeking to build on their undergraduate qualifications to develop their project management skills and theoretical knowledge for a career in research or related disciplines. Read more
The MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience is aimed at home and international students who are seeking to build on their undergraduate qualifications to develop their project management skills and theoretical knowledge for a career in research or related disciplines. In addition, the programme is aimed at those from closely related science backgrounds to build up a knowledge and practical experience of cognitive neuroscience and psychology before embarking on a psychology related career. As the theoretical background to, and techniques of, cognitive neuroscience are rarely available to students at undergraduate level, the main objective of this MSc is to provide students with detailed historical, philosophical, theoretical and practical knowledge of a broad range of cognitive neuroscience techniques. This wide-ranging knowledge will make students extremely strong candidates for future research positions, and provide them with an ability to develop broad research programmes, utilising a range of techniques, as independent researchers.

Course Structure

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 formative and summative assessments.

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%).

Core Modules:
-Current Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience (30 credits)
-Techniques in Cognitive Neuroscience (30 credits)
-Research Practice (15 credits)
-Critical Analysis (15 credits)
-Applied Statistics (30 credits)
-Dissertation (60 credits)

Learning and Teaching

The MSc Cognitive Neuroscience is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, practical sessions, workshops and lab placements. Lectures provide key theoretical information on general topics such as cognition, emotion and neuropsychology and in depth knowledge of a range of techniques used in cognitive neuroscience research (focusing on their strengths and weaknesses). This core knowledge is then enriched by seminars, workshop, practical sessions and lab placements.

While seminars and workshops allow student-led discussions with the aim of developing their critical thinking, their oral communications and their writing skills, practical sessions provide students with in-depth and hands-on knowledge of selected research techniques as well as programming skills (i.e. Matlab included in the Techniques in Cognitive Neuroscience module) - most wanted key abilities in cognitive neuroscience research. Importantly, practicals also include the application of a range of widely-used statistical tests and a critical understanding of research design, project management and data presentation. All skills that are easily transferable to any future career the students might decide to pursue.

Lab placements are a crowning point of the MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience. They allow students to experience directly the “laboratory life” by observing and helping members of staff calibrating lab equipment, recruiting participants and collecting/analysing data. This is a unique opportunity for the students to witness leading experts at work in their own laboratory.

Finally, the dissertation module will give students the opportunity to apply the knowledge of theoretical principles, research skills and statistical techniques during the complete life cycle of a research project, by undertaking a detailed study of a particular area resulting in a significant piece of independent research. Outside timetabled contact hours, students are also expected to undertake their own independent study to prepare for their classes and broaden their subject knowledge.

Altogether, the program is focused on supplying students with broad theoretical knowledge and hands-on practical experience on cutting-edge research in cognitive neuroscience and psychology before embarking on a psychology related career.

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