Course overview

Develop your understanding of a wide variety of conditions, including autism, intellectual disability, 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.
  • A team of researchers at the UK and Malaysia campuses are translating, adapting and validating psychological assessment tools for use in psychology practice in Malaysia.

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


Why choose this course?

Top 10

The School of Psychology is ranked in the top 10 in the UK for research power

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Award-winning research

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

Autism Professionals Awards 2020

More than £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 the opportunity to develop and undertake your own self-directed training plan focusing on identified personal training needs.

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

The module will provide you with knowledge about a range of neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g. ADHD, communication disorders, developmental coordination disorder, preterm birth). 

You will also cover contemporary issues in the field such as early diagnostic markers, co-occurring conditions, and developmental differences in underexplored groups.

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, fNIRS, systematic reviews). 

Childhood Clinical and Behavioural Disorders

This module will examine:

  • Conduct disorder
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Childhood onset schizophrenia
  • Therapies for young people
  • Risk, resiliency, prevention and infant mental health
Research Project

You will carry out an individual research project with an empirical component on a topic relevant to developmental differences.

The method used for this practical work depends on the topic chosen. You will work with an academic staff member 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 Thursday 27 July 2023.

Due to timetabling availability, there may be restrictions on some module combinations.

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 project.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 (or international equivalent) in a BPS accredited psychology degree. Applicants with a non-BPS accredited full Bachelors in Psychology may be offered a place, provided that you have Psychology Research Methods and Statistics modules within your transcript.


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

How to apply


Qualification MSc
Home / UK £11,850
International £28,600

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

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. You are welcome to purchase print credits if you wish to.


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

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

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.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

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.

Job roles of our graduates have included:

  • Assistant psychologist in Autism Intervention and Assessment service
  • Early years SEN specialist teacher
  • Research Assistant (NHS)
  • Therapeutic careworker, Great Ormond Street Hospital
  • Healthcare support worker

Career progression

78.9% of postgraduate taught students from the School of Psychology secured graduate level employment or further graduate study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £23,016.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on data from graduates who completed a full-time postgraduate degree with home fee status and are working full-time within the UK.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" 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. 2020 winner of 'most impactful researcher' by the National Autistic Society for her work to prevent suicide, developed in partnership with people diagnosed with autism.

Related courses

This content was last updated on Thursday 27 July 2023. 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.