Postgraduate study
Gain advanced knowledge of the psychological aspects of developmental disorders, preparing you for further study in clinical or educational psychology, or a career in research.
MSc Developmental Disorders
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
Applicants should normally hold a 2:1 in a BPS accredited psychology degree (other related courses may be considered)
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in each element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£7,695 - Terms apply
International fees
£19,935 - Terms apply
University Park Campus




The University of Nottingham is home to pioneering research in the area of developmental disorders. Our research-engaged teaching ensures you are taught by the experts. Start your journey with us today.

Knowledge will be acquired through engagement with advanced-level theory and from practical work that will enable you to develop expertise in cutting-edge research methods.

The course also provides practical knowledge of aspects of diagnosis and assessment, and therapeutic or educational interventions for developmental disorders.  

Psychology postgraduate event

Find out more about our courses and talk to staff and students at our open afternoon on Wednesday 12 June 2–4pm.


Meet your Course Director

Peter Mitchell
Peter Mitchell
Course Director

I am Professor of Psychology at the University of Nottingham, where I have served as the Head of School (2005-2009 UK campus, 2009-2012 Malaysia campus) and Dean of Science (2010-2014 Malaysia Campus). I have served as Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Psychology (2007-2012) and I currently serve as Chair of the Developmental Section of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Chair of ESRC Grant Assessment Panel A. I am a Fellow of the BPS and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. I have published more than 100 scientific articles and seven books.  

 My research investigates aspects of person perception, specifically our ability to read signals in other people’s behaviour to infer their traits and their inner states (and events that caused those states). I investigate individual differences in the ability to make these kinds of inferences, particularly how such inferences are affected by having a developmental disorder like autism. I also investigate individual differences in the quality of signal one emits. It seems autistic people emit signals that others are liable to misinterpret, which impacts negatively on social interactions involving autistic people.


Full course details


Individual research project

This course is closely linked the school’s research group Human Development and Learning. Researchers in this group have expertise in autism and in development over the primary school years. For your individual research project, you may choose a topic that is supervised by a member of this group.

 Example areas of research include:

  • Poor mental health and suicide in people with autism
  • Using neuroscience tools to illuminate cortical processes and how they are different in autistic people
  • Helping the police and legal authorities deal with autistic victims, witnesses and perpetrators

The research project is a highlight of the course for many students. It will provide you with an opportunity to explore in depth an area of your interest. There may be opportunities to gain experience in working with people with developmental disorders.


The School of Psychology has a range of facilities for students to use for their projects. These include:

  • eye moving recording suite
  • EEG suites
  • driving simulator
  • medical imaging equipment at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre

Teaching and assessment

You will study a total of 180 credits. Teaching is a mix of:

  • lectures
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • individual supervision

Assessment can vary on the module being studied but you can typically expect:

  • oral presentations
  • practical demonstrations
  • written assignments
  • examinations
  • a research project report


Neurodevelopmental Disorders (20 credits)

This module introduces and discusses a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders including:

  • autism
  • ADHD
  • movement disorders
  • intellectual disability
  • communication disorders
  • preterm birth

Psychological Assessment (20 credits)
The module provides students 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.

Developmental Disorders in Context (20 credits)
This module covers major contemporary topics in developmental psychology, as well as aspects of the wider context of developmental disorders, such as diversity, inclusion and cultural issues.

Childhood Clinical and Behavioural Disorders (20 credits)

The module examines a variety of behavioural and clinical disorders, with a focus on how they develop in childhood and adolescence including: 

  • conduct disorder
  • oppositional defiant disorder
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • childhood onset schizophrenia

Relationships between clinical and behavioural disorders and neurodevelopmental disorders will also be discussed.


Advanced Methods in Psychology (20 credits)

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 modelling, diary methodologies).

Teaching willl include implementation of analytical procedures in specialised data management and statistical packages.


Professional Skills (20 credits)

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.


Research Project (60 credits)

In this module, students will carry out a research project with an empirical component. 

The method used for this practical work depends on the topic chosen and students work under the supervision of a research adviser.


The above is a sample of the typical modules that 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide. Further information is available on the school website.

As a student on this course, 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.

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.


Careers and professional development

Two graduating students walking in front of the Nottingham sign on University Park

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

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2017, 94.7% of postgraduates in the school who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £28,000 with the highest being £40,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career prospects and employability

University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers – ranked in the top 10 in The Graduate Market 2013-2019, High Fliers Research.

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.


Related courses and downloads


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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School of Psychology
The University of Nottingham
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