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.
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.
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.