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Developmental Psychology and Clinical Practice - MSc

Course Description

This MSc aims to encourage an integrated understanding of child development and a range of childhood disorders, and to give students an opportunity to apply this understanding in a clinical setting through a supervised placement in the second year within a mental health service.

Degree information

The programme draws together theory, research and therapeutic thinking from a range of perspectives, including clinical and cognitive psychology, systemic thinking, psychoanalysis and neuroscience. In a workshop setting, students develop competencies in engagement, assessment and evaluation, and practical skills necessary for therapeutic work with children and families. These are then put into practice during the clinical placement.

This two-year MSc has a total value of 300 credits. Each year students complete modules to the value of 150 credits.

Year One: taught modules (150 credits). Year Two: clinical skills modules (35 credits), a clinical practice in context module (15 credits) and the research dissertation (100 credits).

Year One core modules
-Multiple Perspectives on Development Psychopathology I
-Multiple Perspectives on Development Psychopathology II
-Development Psychopathology: Development Disorders from Multiple Perspectives
-Research Methods I (formative)
-Research Methods II: Introduction to Statistical Analysis
-Research Methods III: Introduction to Qualitative Research (formative)
-Evaluating Clinical Interventions
-An Introduction to Psychoanalytic Theory
-The Clinical Theory of Psychoanalysis
-Building and Maintaining Therapeutic Relationships
-Assessment and Planning Clinical Interventions
-Parent-Infant Observation

Year Two core modules
-Clinical Practice in Context
-Clinical Skills I
-Clinical Skills II
-Research Dissertation
-Research Workshop

Dissertation/research project
All MSc students undertake a research portfolio which may include both a developmental and a clinical focus, such as the evaluation and understanding of clinical and therapeutic services for children and young people. This culminates in a dissertation made up of an 8,000-word journal paper, a poster and oral exam.

Teaching and learning
In year one students attend weekly lectures complemented by small group seminars. Modules focusing on clinical skills are classroom based. In year two, as well as taking further modules, students move into a 2-3 days per week placement in a child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) setting, supervised by an experienced clinician. Assessment is by a mixture of course work, examinations and the dissertation.


Since the MSc was established in 2011 graduates have gone on to work with children and families in various therapeutic settings, or to undertake further doctoral-level clinical training, such as clinical psychology, child psychotherapy, or counselling psychology. Some of our graduates also pursue research careers, including PhD study.

Completing this MSc will help you develop several core clinical competencies and provide direct supervised experience of work in a child and adolescent mental health service, placing you in a very strong position to proceed to a full clinical training, such as in clinical psychology or child psychotherapy.

Why study this degree at UCL?

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. Distinctive features include teaching by highly experienced clinicians and researchers working in the field of child mental health; the opportunity to develop clinical skills for working with children; practical training in conducting research in clinical settings.

You will also gain exposure to clinical work within NHS and/or voluntary sector organisations involving children, adolescents and families, under the supervision of an experienced clinician.

Visit the Developmental Psychology and Clinical Practice - MSc page on the University College London website for more details!

Student Profiles

UCL Graduate Support Bursary - 20+ Awards

UCL is making 93 individual bursary awards available. Each bursary will cover the full tuition fee cost for the programme and provide £10,000 in maintenance funding per year.

Value of Scholarship(s)



The scheme is aimed at supporting traditionally under-represented groups to progress on to graduate study at UCL. All applicants will be required to demonstrate that their annual household income is currently under £42,611. This scheme is open to prospective students domiciled in the UK (that is, UK is your country of "ordinary residence”) who have "Home" tuition fee status.

Application Procedure

This initiative is funded through the HEFCE Postgraduate Support Scheme. The UCL Graduate Support Bursary scheme forms part of UCL’s wider initiative to support graduate Master’s students.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university in Psychology, or in another relevant social, clinical or life science discipline, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. It is highly desirable that students have obtained relevant experience working with children or adolescents prior to application.

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