Child Psychology MSc

Why choose this course?

Our course looks at research in child psychology, focusing on the advanced study of psychological development in children and the implications of psychological theory and research for policy and practice.

Areas of expertise include: psychosocial issues concerning living with facial disfigurement and impairment in childhood and adolescence; children's expertise in describing and recalling faces; reading development in blind children; phonological awareness and letter knowledge in reading development; bullying; the development of biological at-risk children (very pre-term); children's regulatory problems (crying, feeding, sleeping) and ADHD; autism, face processing and ‘Theory of Mind'; anxiety disorders; learning and the role of cognitions in fears and anxiety; language development in typical development and developmental disorders; pre-verbal infant cognitive, social and emotional development; and development of numerical abilities.

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2020
Part time 2 years September 2020
Location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Facilities include an observation/test room, monitoring room, and eye-tracking technology.
  • You can gain relevant work experience. Students have had placements in nurseries, schools, mental health services, play therapy, and charities for people with disabilities.
  • Kingston has links with local schools and external organisations for conducting applied research.

Will this course suit me?

This course is ideal if you would like to start or promote a career working with children in areas such as education and social work. It also provides an excellent foundation for pursuing a research career in child or developmental psychology. The course also attracts professionals (e.g. educators or clinicians) already working with children and adolescents.

Find out more about this course

What you will study

Taught by researchers active in the field of child psychology, this MSc has a strong research focus, and you will be encouraged to approach empirical research critically.

You will be introduced to the theories of child psychology, considering them in relation to the real world, and will cover the empirical research and theories of developmental psychology, focusing on implications for policy and practice. You will also study the application of developmental psychology to social policy, such as social issues, education and school issues and health, and the factors influencing the development of children's relationships. You will consider both typical and atypical development, including a range of developmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders, dyslexia, etc.

The dissertation gives you the chance to study an area of interest in greater depth and gain valuable research skills. For example, past students have studied social communication difficulties in children and adolescents with autism.

Full time - 1 year

Part-time - 2 years

You will study four, year-long, 30 credit modules, including three core modules and one option module, plus a 60 credit dissertation.

Core modules

Psychology Dissertation

60 credits

The dissertation project will be based on a critical literature review addressing complex and contradictory evidence and will usually require carrying out an empirical study using one or more methodologies of data collection such as experiments, observation, psychometric testing, surveys and questionnaires, interviews and field studies. In all cases, the dissertation will involve the analysis of quantitative and/or qualitative data, as well as the presentation and critical evaluation of research findings. Through independent study and meetings with a project supervisor, the dissertation project will allow you to better understand the role of research methodologies, theoretical considerations and ethical issues in psychological research.

Methods and Statistics

30 credits

This module is a core module in the MSc Child Psychology and MSc Psychology fields. The module introduces you to the essentials of psychological experimentation and to a range of analysis techniques making use of basic and more advanced (eg. multivariate) methods. Both experimental and correlational methods are considered along with appropriate techniques of data analysis (eg. analysis of variance and multiple regression). Both theoretical and practical aspects of experimentation are discussed. The laboratory workshops combine formal teaching with sessions involving hands-on activities. Core factual material is provided via Canvas with workshops being used to explain key concepts and techniques. The module provides an essential introduction to practical work in psychology, in particular for the MSc dissertation project.

Cognitive and Social Development

30 credits

This core module will introduce students to a broad range of cognitive and social topics and theories in child psychology. The content of the module will examine key cognitive and developmental theories in child psychology and the current applications of these theories in core areas of research in cognitive and social development. This module will allow students to examine the practical applications of a developmental theory and research through the development of a research proposal and to develop their critical evaluation skills in an essay.

Development in Typical and Atypical Populations

30 credits

The content of the module will examine a broad range of key theories and empirical research in relation to development in both typical and atypical populations. This module will also allow you to examine a range of methodologies employed in studies of typical and atypical populations.

Applications of Psychological Research

30 credits

This module provides you with the opportunity to identify and address real-world issues that can benefit from research input by psychologists. You will gain an appreciation of the challenges of conducting research in professional settings. You will gain 50 hours of work experience working in a placement to identify and/or applying psychological research findings in a chosen context under the supervision of a workplace supervisor. In addition, 10 seminars will be held at the University where case studies and examples from current placements will be used to compliment the learning objectives. You will be required to contribute and draw examples of your experiences in their work place and how this informs research in their specific placements. 

It is expected that you will arrange your own work placements, the suitability of which will be discussed and agreed upon with the module leader and/or the course director. In the absence of an external placement, you will be offered a work placement in the Department of Psychology where you will contribute to a current programme of research relevant to their studies.

The nature of the work will usually be determined in part by the focus of the postgraduate programme that you are following. For example, students of child/developmental psychology may choose to collect data or implement research-led practice in local nurseries and schools; students of clinical psychology may evaluate the efficacy of procedures adopted by local rehabilitation services; and students on the Masters in Behavioural Decision Making are likely to choose a placement in organisation that monitors behavioural change.

Please note that were appropriate, you will be required to ensure that you have CRB checks in place and if collecting data in the workplace, then the appropriate ethical approvals are in place prior to collecting data.

The workplace activity is intended to extend your independent research skills in relevant contexts as well as enhance future employability.

Part-time students will take three core, 30 credit, modules in the first year. In the second year you will take one 30 credit module plus a Psychology Dissertation, worth 60 credits.

Year 1

Methods and Statistics

30 credits

This module is a core module in the MSc Child Psychology and MSc Psychology fields. The module introduces you to the essentials of psychological experimentation and to a range of analysis techniques making use of basic and more advanced (eg. multivariate) methods. Both experimental and correlational methods are considered along with appropriate techniques of data analysis (eg. analysis of variance and multiple regression). Both theoretical and practical aspects of experimentation are discussed. The laboratory workshops combine formal teaching with sessions involving hands-on activities. Core factual material is provided via Canvas with workshops being used to explain key concepts and techniques. The module provides an essential introduction to practical work in psychology, in particular for the MSc dissertation project.

Cognitive and Social Development

30 credits

This core module will introduce students to a broad range of cognitive and social topics and theories in child psychology. The content of the module will examine key cognitive and developmental theories in child psychology and the current applications of these theories in core areas of research in cognitive and social development. This module will allow students to examine the practical applications of a developmental theory and research through the development of a research proposal and to develop their critical evaluation skills in an essay.

Development in Typical and Atypical Populations

30 credits

The content of the module will examine a broad range of key theories and empirical research in relation to development in both typical and atypical populations. This module will also allow you to examine a range of methodologies employed in studies of typical and atypical populations.

Year 2

Psychology Dissertation

60 credits

The dissertation project will be based on a critical literature review addressing complex and contradictory evidence and will usually require carrying out an empirical study using one or more methodologies of data collection such as experiments, observation, psychometric testing, surveys and questionnaires, interviews and field studies. In all cases, the dissertation will involve the analysis of quantitative and/or qualitative data, as well as the presentation and critical evaluation of research findings. Through independent study and meetings with a project supervisor, the dissertation project will allow you to better understand the role of research methodologies, theoretical considerations and ethical issues in psychological research.

Applications of Psychological Research

30 credits

This module provides you with the opportunity to identify and address real-world issues that can benefit from research input by psychologists. You will gain an appreciation of the challenges of conducting research in professional settings. You will gain 50 hours of work experience working in a placement to identify and/or applying psychological research findings in a chosen context under the supervision of a workplace supervisor. In addition, 10 seminars will be held at the University where case studies and examples from current placements will be used to compliment the learning objectives. You will be required to contribute and draw examples of your experiences in their work place and how this informs research in their specific placements. 

It is expected that you will arrange your own work placements, the suitability of which will be discussed and agreed upon with the module leader and/or the course director. In the absence of an external placement, you will be offered a work placement in the Department of Psychology where you will contribute to a current programme of research relevant to their studies.

The nature of the work will usually be determined in part by the focus of the postgraduate programme that you are following. For example, students of child/developmental psychology may choose to collect data or implement research-led practice in local nurseries and schools; students of clinical psychology may evaluate the efficacy of procedures adopted by local rehabilitation services; and students on the Masters in Behavioural Decision Making are likely to choose a placement in organisation that monitors behavioural change.

Please note that were appropriate, you will be required to ensure that you have CRB checks in place and if collecting data in the workplace, then the appropriate ethical approvals are in place prior to collecting data.

The workplace activity is intended to extend your independent research skills in relevant contexts as well as enhance future employability.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

  • Normally a 2:1 honours degree or above in psychology or a closely related discipline.
  • Students must also be able to demonstrate mathematical competency equivalent to grade C or above at GCSE level.

Prior learning - AP(E)L

Applicants with prior qualifications and learning may be exempt from appropriate parts of a course in accordance with the University's policy for the assessment of prior learning and prior experiential learning. Contact the faculty office for further information.

International

Please note: most students from countries outside the European Union/European Economic Area and classified as overseas fee paying, are not eligible to apply for part-time courses due to UK student visa regulations. For information on exceptions please visit the UKCISA website or email our CAS and Visa Compliance team.

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 7.0 overall with 7.0 in writing and at least 5.5 in all other elements. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

12% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 202 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1548 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of teaching and learning

Type of teaching and learning
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 202 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1548 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises of coursework (e.g., essays, lab reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation) as well as exams and inclass tests. The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows:

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 84%
  • Exams: 10%
  • Practical: 6%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Your timetables

Each student receives a personalised timetable. This is usually available after you have completed your online enrolment, which is typically accessible one month before the start of your course.

Class sizes

You will be part of an intimate cohort of students which supports dedicated academic guidance and advice and the opportunity to build a life-long network of colleagues. Some modules are common across other postgraduate programmes therefore you will be taught alongside students who are on these courses within the School.

Who teaches this course?

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on this course. The team includes senior academics and professional practitioners with industry experience. The following group of staff members are currently involved in the delivery of different elements of this course. This pool is subject to change at any time within the academic year.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MSc full time £9,200
  • MSc part time £5,060

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MSc full time £14,900
  • MSc part time £8,195

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni: