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Developmental and Therapeutic Play MA/PGDip/PGCert

Course Description

Take advantage of one of our 100 Master’s Scholarships to study Developmental and Therapeutic Play at Swansea University, the Times Good University Guide’s Welsh University of the Year 2017. Postgraduate loans are also available to English and Welsh domiciled students. For more information on fees and funding please visit our website.

This popular Master's programme in Developmental and Therapeutic Play offers an exciting opportunity to examine how children’s play develops and how children develop as they play. It considers the developmental, educational and therapeutic potential of play at an advanced academic level, combining demanding intellectual work with sophisticated reflection on practice.

Play is an important aspect of provision across all Children’s Services in the UK and beyond. This scheme offers an exciting opportunity to study children’s play at an advanced academic level, combining demanding theoretical work with fieldwork experience and sophisticated reflection.

The aim of this course is to deepen students understanding about the developmental and therapeutic potential of play. The programme considers 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.

We consider the developmental, educational and therapeutic potential of play across multiple contexts. Inclusive play practice, observation, assessment and being able to identify when further professional assistance may be required are also considered.

Whilst employment opportunities in full play therapy are not extensive, knowledge about developmental and therapeutic play is relevant to professionals working with children in recreational, health, clinical, educational and social care settings.

Our focus is on ensuring that environments and interactions maximise the inherent developmental and therapeutic potential of play, and on being able to identify when further professional assistance may be required.

The course will:
• Introduce students to an extensive range of contemporary international literature and research in the field of play and learning
• Extend students’ understanding of the developmental and therapeutic role of play through engaging in detailed analysis of theoretical perspectives
• Provide students with a range of skills they might utilise in their play practice
• Provide students with the opportunity to develop key skills in reflection and evaluation necessary for professional practice and personal development.

Developmental and Therapeutic Play students are taught by published academics and practitioners specialising in the field and the multidisciplinary team have strong links with similar university departments in Europe and around the world. Such is the quality of teaching and supervision on the programme, that student work has resulted in journal articles and conference presentations.

Practical work is built into the course and assessments. Students are encouraged to maximise their employability, supported by the university-wide careers service as well as the Developmental and Therapeutic Play team. The programme also has lots of links with local businesses for getting experience.

The teaching team are research active and well published.

Our international student cohorts leads to an excellent learning experience and cross cultural views.

Students may have the opportunity to continue studies to pursue a PhD supervised by a well-qualified member of the team.

Modules on the Developmental and Therapeutic Play programme typically include:

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

Careers and Employability

Careers extending from this highly regarded programme might include specialist positions in education, international aid, counselling and pastoral care, social work, hospital/health care and play work. 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. We are also able to offer supervision for students who wish to continue their studies in this field at PhD level.

We encourage voluntary work throughout the programme and have established links to facilitate this. We disseminate career information and relevant job advertisements, we hold career tutorials, we involve past graduates in our teaching, and we encourage publication of student research.

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

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Student Profiles

100 Swansea University Master's Scholarships - 20+ Awards

Swansea University is offering 100 Master’s Scholarships, each worth £3000 towards tuition fees for UK/EU students starting eligible master’s courses in September 2017.Eligible courses include:All LLM programmes (including LLM by Research)All MA programmes (including MA by Research)All MRes programmesAll MSc programmes (including MSc by Research)Please note that MPhil, GDL/CPE and LPC programmes are not eligible for the Swansea University Master’s Scholarship scheme.

Value of Scholarship(s)



You must have, or expect to achieve, a minimum 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent).You must hold an offer to study on an eligible master’s course at Swansea University from September 2017. Programmes commencing in January, April and July 2017 are not eligible.

Application Procedure

Please visit our website for more details on how to apply.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

The normal entry requirement of the Developmental and Therapeutic Play scheme is a 2.2 (or above) degree in a related discipline (for example childhood studies, education, psychology, sociology, mental health). Applicants unsure as to the suitability of their qualifications should contact the admissions tutor. Applicants who do not have an undergraduate degree, must instead have significant relevant work experience. In these cases the admissions tutor will assess the appropriateness of this experience in relation to the programme. English language requirements are a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in all domains, or a University approved equivalent.

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