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Course overview

Virtual open day, Wednesday 16 December, 2pm - 4pm.

Find out more about this course. You can also ask any questions to the Course Director. Book your place by visiting the event page.

Develop your understanding of a wide variety of conditions, including autism, learning difficulties, and childhood mental illness. Through engagement with advanced-level theory and practical work, you will learn about:

  • research methods
  • diagnosis and assessment
  • therapeutic and educational interventions

Our research is award-winning and has real-world impact. For example:

  • Dr Sarah Cassidy was named ‘Most Impactful Researcher’ by the National Autistic Society for her work on suicide prevention
  • We are working with Nottinghamshire Police to assist them with better treatment of autistic victims, witnesses and perpetrators
  • We helped create resources for teachers to help them with greater support for pupils affected by preterm birth

You will get to develop your own research project, giving you an opportunity to explore your interests in-depth.

You will have the opportunity to apply for the British Psychological Society qualification of Test User, Educational (CCET), following completion of the Psychological Assessment module.

Why choose this course?

Top 10

in the UK for research power

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Award-winning research

Dr Sarah Cassidy was named Most Impactful Researcher for her work on suicide prevention

Autism Professionals Awards 2020

£1 million

annual research income

from research councils, the EU, Government, charities and companies.

Excellent facilities

including eye tracking and EEG suite, medical imaging equipment, and a dedicated toddler lab

Research project

in a wide range of fascinating topics


Core modules

Professional Skills - Developmental Disorders MSc

This module covers general research skills and personal development skills. It contains a number of workshops examining areas such as presentation and writing skills, careers, understanding the wider context of research, consultancy, and practical and ethical issues, along with appropriate Graduate School courses.

Developmental Disorders in Context

This module will require you to critically engage with front line material on major contemporary topics in developmental psychology covering the broad spectrum of research, covering social, emotional, biological and cognitive development. The module will also introduce you to the wider context of developmental disorders such as diversity, inclusion, cultural issues, and theoretical perspectives on development.

Neurodevelopmental Disorders

This module will examine:

  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Developmental Coordination Disorder
  • Intellectual disability
  • Communication disorders
  • Specific Learning Disorder
  • Preterm birth
Psychological Assessment

This module will provide you with the knowledge to be able to select, administer, score, interpret, and provide feedback on educational tests of the kind used when assessing individuals with learning difficulties. You will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of different types of assessment and how to make decisions about test selection for assessments. You will gain an understanding of test theory including the concepts of reliability, validity and the standardization of tests.

The module will provide a skill set that will be useful in completing your chosen project, in which you may have to administer psychometric tests. It will also be useful if you wish to pursue a career in education or educational psychology.

Advanced Methods in Psychology

The module provides an insight into some more advanced or specialised techniques of data collection, organisation and analysis in psychological research (eg eye-tracking, EEG, fMRI, TMS, computational modeling, diary methodologies and workshops). Lectures will include implementation of analytical procedures in, for example, specialised data management and statistical packages and on specialised data-gathering equipment and software.

Childhood Clinical and Behavioural Disorders

This module will examine:

  • Conduct disorder
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Childhood onset schizophrenia
  • Therapies for young people
  • Pharmacological interventions
  • Comorbidity of mental health problems and developmental disorders
Research Project

You will carry out an individual research project with an empirical component. 

The method used for this practical work depends on the topic chosen. You will work with an active-researcher who will be your supervisor.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 25 November 2020.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • Seminars
  • Supervision

You will study a total of 180 credits.

Teaching is provided by academic staff within the relevant School with additional support in small group and practical classes from PhD students and post-doctoral researchers. We also have occasional guest lectures from people working in the field.

We expect that class sizes will be around 15-25 students.

How you will be assessed

  • Presentation
  • Practical demonstrations
  • Coursework
  • Exams
  • Research project

Modules are assessed using a variety of individual assessment types which are weighted to calculate your final mark for each module. Typically taught modules are assessed via coursework.

You will need an average mark of 50% to pass the MSc overall – you won't get a qualification if you don't achieve this this. You will be given a copy of our marking criteria when you start the course and will receive regular feedback from your tutors.

Contact time and study hours

As a guide, one credit is equal to approximately 10 hours of work. During the taught semesters you will have around 9-12 contact hours per week.

During the summer semester, you will mostly be doing self-study for your research projects.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 (or international equivalent) in a BPS accredited psychology degree. Other related courses may be considered.


Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply


Qualification MSc
Home / UK £10,500
International £25,000

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

We do not anticipate any extra significant costs, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies which you would need to factor into your budget. Personal laptops are not compulsory as we have computer labs that are open 24 hours a day but you may want to consider one if you wish to work at home.

Due to our commitment to sustainability, we don’t print lecture notes. It costs 4p to print one black and white page. You will be given £5 worth of printer credits a year. You are welcome to buy more credits if you need them.


There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

The University also offers masters scholarships for international and EU students. Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about funding postgraduate study.

Postgraduate funding


We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

Graduate destinations

The skills and knowledge you will learn on this course are great preparation for further study. This could be a PhD, or a clinical or educational psychology doctorate. Alternatively, you may choose to work in education or healthcare services.

Career progression

80.0% of undergraduates from the School of Psychology secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £32,000.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" In 2020, Dr Sarah Cassidy was named 'most impactful researcher' by the National Autistic Society for her work to prevent suicide, developed in partnership with people diagnosed with autism. 'Together we have raised awareness of the high risk of suicide in autistic people, influenced clinical guidelines, and increased research, funding and attention from policy makers to tackle this urgent issue.' "
Dr Sarah Cassidy, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning (2017/18). Our teaching is of the highest quality found in the UK.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a national grading system, introduced by the government in England. It assesses the quality of teaching at universities and how well they ensure excellent outcomes for their students in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.

This content was last updated on Wednesday 25 November 2020. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.