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Clinical and Abnormal Psychology (MSc)

Course Description

The Masters in Clinical and Abnormal Psychology offers a comprehensive grounding in aspects of psychopathology and abnormal behaviour.

As well as modules that will develop knowledge of the aetiology and treatment of a range of psychological disorders and abnormal behaviours, this programme includes a substantial research element.

You will receive extensive training in research methods via a postgraduate statistics module and will complete a postgraduate dissertation in a related topic. Links with a number of agencies and the University of South Wales’ Psychology Clinic means that suitable students should have the opportunity for access to client groups in order to complete an applied dissertation.

We aim to provide students with access to clinical populations to collect psychological data in order to complete an applied dissertation. This is possible through our links with local NHS trusts and local healthcare providers. In addition, the University of South Wales has recently invested in a new psychology clinic which provides clinical and therapeutic services. Suitable students will be able to benefit from in-house research opportunities and supervised voluntary experience.

The MSc Clinical and Abnormal Psychology draws on the research and applied expertise of psychologists in the fields of developmental, clinical, health, sports and forensic psychology. You will learn about a wide range of developmental disorders including autism and conduct disorder, as well as dependence issues such as alcohol addiction and eating disorders. You will also explore interventions such as pharmacological and behavioural treatments, as well as research on depression, anxiety and personality disorders.

See the website http://courses.southwales.ac.uk/courses/836-msc-clinical-and-abnormal-psychology

What you will study

You will study 180 credits comprising of the following modules:
- Research Methods in Health Psychology: Measurement & Professional Issues (40 credits)
- Psychopathology Through the Lifespan (20 credits)
- Interventions (20 credits)
- Addiction, Dependence and Deviance (20 credits)
- Current and Historical Perspectives on Psychopathology (20 credits)
- Dissertation (60 credits)

Learning and teaching methods

The MSc Clinical and Abnormal Psychology is delivered through a variety of lectures, seminars and workshops. Some of these sessions will be led by members of the teaching team and some by external experts in clinical psychology practice. There will also be student-led sessions and some elements will be delivered online.

Work Experience and Employment Prospects

While completion of this programme will not qualify you to practice as a Clinical Psychologist in the UK, nor guarantee acceptance onto a DClinPsy course; the skills that you will develop should enhance your applications for professional training programmes, Assistant Psychologist posts, or Research Assistant posts in clinical settings.

Career options:
Graduates of this masters programme will possess a diversity of skills that will enhance their applications for a range of popular training, employment, and research opportunities. These may include:

Clinical psychology doctorate programmes: These are extremely popular and competitive training courses and successful applicants are likely to have work experience in an appropriate setting as well as suitable qualifications. Applied research experience including the collection of psychological data in a clinical setting should be a useful addition to an application for further training. The extensive research training and applied dissertation completed in this MSc programme should contribute to more robust applications to Clinical doctorate programmes.

Assistant Psychologist posts: These are sought after positions with many applicants for every post; not least because experience as an Assistant Psychologist can help support an application to clinical doctorate training programmes. Successful completion of this MSc programme will suggest a commitment to a career in clinical psychology as well as the development of skills and knowledge that are more advanced than those gained during an undergraduate degree. This may help to help enhance applications for Assistant Psychologist posts.

Research Assistant posts: Excellent psychological research is extremely important in the field of clinical psychology. The extensive research focus and the dissertation completed in this programme will provide graduates with a range of research skills including the ability to critically evaluate literature, research, and applications in the field of clinical psychology, as well as experience in designing, conducting, writing up and disseminating good quality psychological research. These are transferable skills that should be valued in a range of Research Assistant posts.

Assessment methods

A range of assessment methods will be used, including examinations, essays, a systematic literature review, research reports, and case study analysis. You will also complete a dissertation of 15,000- 20,000 words. The range of teaching and assessment methods used will foster a range of skills that are transferable to the workplace and/or further professional training.


As a student in the School of Psychology, you’ll have access to the latest learning technologies, facilities and equipment, including excellent designated facilities.

These include observation and interview rooms equipped with two-way mirror, CCTV and audio and allow research and interview practice sessions to be conducted and recorded onto DVD. We also have a custom-built air-conditioned PC laboratory which provides access to specialist software for running psychology experiments and conducting careers guidance interviews. More specialist equipment is also available in our cognitive suite and more details about this are given below.

- Cognitive suite
The cognitive psychology suite houses specialist psychology equipment. This includes eye tracking equipment which is capable of studying the eye movements of individuals whilst they complete cognitive tasks. The suite includes EEG (electroencephalogram) and ECG (electrocardiogram) facilities for recording electrical activity in the heart and scalp. There is also a driving simulator which is currently being used by postgraduate students to complete a study which examines the effects of stressors on driving performance.

- Psychology clinic facility (PAWB Wales)
As well as our excellent dedicated teaching facilities, the School of Psychology offers a wide range of psychological services to the general public. These are offered through our new PAWB Wales clinic facility and include play therapy, behaviour analysis, health and sport psychology interventions. The clinic activities support our wide range of postgraduate opportunities and undergraduate students can also get involved in some of the clinic’s work.

Visit the Clinical and Abnormal Psychology (MSc) page on the University of South Wales website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A minimum 2:2 Honours degree in Psychology or another appropriate discipline. A Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check and/or a Research Passport may be required for completion of the dissertation element of this course. Assistance will be given by the University for CRB checks and applications for Research Passports.The course welcomes international applicants with appropriate undergraduate qualifications and requires an English level of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

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