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Applied Child Psychology - MSc *

Want to study child psychology at Master’s level? Our MSc Applied Child Psychology is a postgraduate degree course offering specific, in-depth study of child psychology across a range of contexts and settings.

Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses.  Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.  

 

Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time/Part Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Social Sciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences

Overview

Want to study child psychology at Master’s level? Our MSc Applied Child Psychology is a postgraduate degree course offering specific, in-depth study of child psychology across a range of contexts and settings.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Modules will allow you to explore and develop knowledge of cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and neurological development, as well as research methods in child psychology, and consider the implications for policy and practice across a range of applied contexts such as educational and clinical psychology. You will also explore typical and atypical development and consider issues and approaches regarding inclusivity and diversity as well as professional issues and standards such as anti-discriminatory practice.

The MSc Applied Child Psychology aims to enhance your knowledge and experience in applied areas of child psychology and equip you with the expertise and academic skills necessary to support graduate employment. The course aims are:

  • To equip you with a range of specific applied and transferable skills, enhancing your opportunities for professional and career development in a variety of disciplines within the field of child psychology.
  • To allow you to develop specialist theoretical and practical knowledge that will underpin your work with children and consider applications of this knowledge to professional contexts and situations, e.g., supporting children with diverse developmental, neurological, and psychological needs.
  • To allow you to develop your critical thinking, problem solving and reasoning skills, and the ability to plan and conduct high-quality research with applications to applied settings and professional practice.

The course has been designed to provide knowledge, training, and employability skills relevant to many careers in the field of child psychology. This includes childcare professions, education, child and adolescent mental health, pastoral care, special educational needs (SEN), supporting children with a range of disabilities, coaching and mentoring young people, and careers involving research with children.

In addition, if you already have an undergraduate degree in psychology which is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), successful completion of the MSc Applied Child Psychology could help you work towards a career as an Educational or Clinical Psychologist.

Professional Placement option

For our MSc Applied Child Psychology degree, you will have the opportunity to take the Professional Placement version of the course, which is offered as an alternative to the standard version of the course.

This will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability and transferable skills. The placement experience will allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market.

You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study, with support from our Careers+ team as well as advice and guidance from your School.

Please note that placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course.

For full details, please click here.

Why Choose Us?

  • Our diverse academic team are active researchers with first-hand experience of working and conducting research with children in developmental, educational, and clinical contexts. Their involvement in leading-edge research allows direct application of contemporary research findings into our teaching material.
  • Staff contact hours provide an opportunity to engage in face-to-face group learning, whilst remote learning tasks and independent study provide an opportunity to engage in wider reading and private study.
  • Although the course is not part of a chartered route into psychology or a prerequisite for entry into Educational or Clinical Psychology training, the MSc Applied Child Psychology provides an MSc level qualification alongside employability coaching and the option of completing a relevant work placement. Students who already have a BPS accredited undergraduate degree in psychology can use successful completion of the course to significantly enhance their prospects of applying for doctoral training in these highly competitive fields.
  • The course is also open to applicants with non-psychology backgrounds. As this course is not part of a specific chartered route into psychology, it provides a wide range of opportunities for enhancing and specialising your knowledge of child psychology, relevant to work in a wide variety of other child-related working environments and professions. This includes childcare professions, education, child and adolescent mental health, pastoral care, special educational needs (SEN), supporting children with a range of disabilities, coaching and mentoring young people, and careers involving research with children.
  • This course also enhances your future employment and promotion prospects if you are already in relevant work, for example, teachers or teaching assistants who want to re-focus or concentrate on aspects of child psychology that can aid re-specialisation as SENCOs, mental health leads or in progressing to more senior roles.
  • The option to study full-time or part-time means that you can fit your studies around your work and personal commitments.
  • The course includes the opportunity to complete a Practitioner Reflection and Development module, if you are already working in a relevant field, or the Applying Skills to Working with Children module, if you are at an earlier stage of your career. The optional modules allow you to enhance your employability and shape your learning to suit your current work status, experience level, and plans for the future.
  • The course emphasises the importance of ethical and professional issues that are integral to working with children, adolescents and vulnerable individuals in a range of contexts, including acknowledgement of inclusivity, diversity, and sensitivity.
  • Our Psychology department has a wide range of psychology testing labs to suit all needs, including our BPS computer lab, which consists of more than thirty networked computers with Psychology-specific software such as SPSS, NVivo and others such as OpenSesame.

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements
Typical Offers (UK Students)

Applicants must have a minimum 2:2 honours degree in Psychology or another relevant discipline (Education, Health and Social Care, Sociology, Childcare, etc.), and GCSE English Language and Mathematics at Grade C or above

As this course is not a BPS accredited route into chartered psychology, this course does not require applicants to have a BPS accredited undergraduate degree or to have completed a Psychology conversion course.

Applicants with undergraduate degrees in less relevant disciplines or alternative level-six qualifications will be considered on a case-by-case basis if they are able to demonstrate a substantial amount of relevant work-based experience.

An enhanced DBS check will be required prior to enrolment.

Relevant experience of working with children and experience and skills in research methods is desirable.

Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

Applications from international applicants with equivalent qualifications are welcome. Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In additional to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

English language requirements 2020/21
IELTS

6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

Other accepted qualifications Visit our English language page

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Tuition fees shown are for the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation based on the Retail Prices Index and the additional costs we incur each year to deliver our courses, maintain and develop our infrastructure and provide a range of support services, or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 Year
  • £9,000 per year
  • Part Time
  • 2 Years
  • TBC

International students

Tuition fees shown are for the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation based on the Retail Prices Index and the additional costs we incur each year to deliver our courses, maintain and develop our infrastructure and provide a range of support services, or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 Year
  • £16,300 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

Modules

In order to complete the Master’s in Applied Child Psychology, a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 160 credits):

This module will examine development from birth through childhood and adolescence, focussing on changes to biological, cognitive, social and emotional elements of psychological functioning. It will provide you with an understanding of the general principles and concepts, different theoretical perspectives, research methodologies, contemporary debates and areas of application of child psychology to the real world. The role of social and cultural context of development is also explored.

Through engagement with the module and the assessment you will think about child and adolescent development from different theoretical perspectives and from an applied perspective as well. You will be encouraged to consider how your knowledge gained from the lectures, in class activities and the additional reading can inform our understanding of real life events and help explain the behaviour observed around us. You will be engaged in class discussions and peer conversations alongside learning and teaching activities which will further contribute to exploring different perspectives.

There are direct links to career paths in psychology such as Educational Psychology, Clinical Psychology and counselling. There are also a number of transferable skills such as communication, group working, critical reading and analysis of literature, concise academic writing, ability to link theory to the real world and time management which are embedded into this module.

This module will enable you to develop a critical awareness of the issues and debates relating to neurodiversity in childhood and adolescence. The module will examine psychological, social, cultural and biological influences in the causation of developmental disorders and intellectual disabilities. We will focus in-depth on some specific diagnoses that may be received during childhood and adolescence. In doing so, we will examine diagnostic criteria and approaches taken towards assessment, the cognitive and social development of neurodiverse groups, effective methods of intervention, and the overlap between neurodiversity and mental health. The module will also examine the role of social and cultural factors in the diagnosis, interpretation, and treatment of these conditions.

By engaging with the module and completing the assessments you will demonstrate an advanced knowledge of etiology, diagnosis, intervention, and comorbidity in relation to different developmental disorders and intellectual disabilities. The module will involve class discussion and a focus on providing support in educational and family contexts in order to give a strong applied focus to your learning.

As well as a core understanding of neurodiversity in childhood and adolescence, you will also develop transferrable skills in communicating complex and sensitive information to different audiences and making practical recommendations on the basis of theory and a critical evaluation of relevant research evidence. Completing this module will help to prepare you for job roles in clinical or educational settings and for careers in Clinical Psychology or Educational Psychology.

This module will equip you with the core knowledge and practical skills required to conduct research with children and adolescents and to address practical issues and questions using empirical data. You will learn how to formulate testable research questions, design different types of research study and understand their strengths and limitations, and how to collect, analyse, interpret, and report quantitative and qualitative data.

Learning on this module will take a ‘hands-on’ approach and during weekly practical sessions you will work collaboratively with your peers to develop your confidence and expertise in research design and data analysis. Feedback, tutor support, and formative activities will also be provided to help you monitor your learning as your progress through the different topics.

These skills are foundational for your learning elsewhere on the course. For example, they will enhance your ability to engage with and understand empirical evidence in child psychology, to critically evaluate research evidence, and to conduct your own piece of original research while completing your Empirical Research Project in Applied Child Psychology. In addition to this, these skills are essential for practice in education, counselling, and other applied contexts where it is important to make evidence based decisions and demonstrate research informed practice. Research Methods and Statistics is also a core area of competency required to practice psychology, e.g., as an Educational Psychologist or Clinical Psychologist.

You will also acquire additional transferable skills in the areas of numeracy, IT literacy, data visualisation, and research communication and dissemination through competing this module. These skills are applicable in a broad range of contexts and will be particularly useful if you hope to pursue a career as a researcher or as a practicing psychologist.

This module will enable you to develop a critical awareness of the issues and debates relating to mental health in childhood and adolescence. The module will examine psychological, social, cultural and biological influences in the development of different mental health conditions. We will focus in-depth on some of the more prevalent mental health conditions observed in childhood and adolescence, e.g., anxiety. In doing so, we will examine diagnostic criteria and approaches taken towards assessment, the impact of different mental health conditions on cognitive and social development, effective methods of intervention, and strategies for preventing mental health difficulties, fostering resilience, and supporting good mental wellbeing. The module will also examine the role of social and cultural factors in the diagnosis, interpretation, and treatment of these conditions.

By engaging with the module and completing the assessments you will demonstrate an advanced knowledge of etiology, diagnosis, intervention, and prevention in relation to different mental health conditions. The module will involve class discussion and the application of knowledge gained from lectures and seminars to individual case studies in order to give a strong applied focus to your learning.

As well as a core understanding of mental health in childhood and adolescence, you will also develop transferrable skills in listening, communicating complex and sensitive information to different audiences, and critical evaluation of research evidence. Completing this module will help to prepare you for job roles in clinical or educational settings and for careers in Clinical Psychology or Educational Psychology.

This module aims to equip you with core knowledge and skills relevant to the practice of Educational Psychology. We will discuss the structure and principles underlying the different educational systems and explore the ways in which psychological research and theory can contribute to best practice in different educational settings.

You will learn about different psychological perspectives on learning and education as well as the ways in which Educational Psychologists may assess and support the learning of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The module will also help you to appreciate the inter-relationships between different theoretical perspectives in developmental and cognitive psychology and specialised areas of applied work within the education sector. Cultural differences in education will also be considered alongside an appreciation of the role of multiculturalism in schools.

The module will involve class discussion and the application of knowledge gained from lectures and seminars to individual case studies in order to give a strong applied focus to your learning. You will also develop transferrable skills in communicating complex and sensitive information to different audiences and the critical evaluation of research evidence. Completing this module will help to prepare you for job roles in educational settings and for further postgraduate training and careers in Educational Psychology.

Understanding the research process and possessing advanced research skills is essential for psychologists operating in academic and applied evidence-based contexts. In engaging with this module and completing the assessments you will plan and execute an original piece of research in the field of child psychology and disseminate this to both academic and practitioner audiences. As an integral part of this process, you will learn about research ethics and, prior to commencing your project, you will apply this knowledge to obtain approval for your research from the Psychology Departmental Research Ethics Committee.

You will be allocated an academic supervisor with whom you should meet on a regular basis to discuss and receive feedback on your plans and ideas and provide updates on the progress of your project. The majority of the teaching for this module comes in the form of this collaborative interaction with your academic supervisor. Supervision is supplemented by lectures and drop-in sessions offering support with data analysis.

This module builds upon and applies the learning achieved in other modules and draws in particular upon skills acquired in the Research Skills and Methods in Child Psychology module. The assessments allow you to demonstrate both advanced topic knowledge and empirical research skills.

As well as demonstrating these key competencies, you will also acquire the transferable skills that are associated with delivering a large project, such as organisation and planning, time and resources management, communication, and presentation skills. These skills are all highly relevant to future careers as a practicing psychologist, educator, researcher, or academic.

In order to complete the Master’s in Applied Child Psychology, a student must also successfully complete 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

This optional module has been designed for students who already have a substantial amount of professional experience, past or present, in a field relevant to child psychology. The module will introduce you to influential models and theories of critical reflection and support you as you reflect on your progress to date as a learner and apply this learning to your professional experiences. These reflections will inform the creation of your personal action plan for your continued personal and professional development.

Teaching on this module is student-led and you will be allocated to an Action Learning Set. Each week you will attend a meeting with your Action Learning Set where you will discuss and apply relevant principles of critical reflection. The module team will also provide weekly readings.

Critical reflection is now widely acknowledged as a fundamental skill for practitioners working in many areas of health, social care, and education. Good critical reflection skills will enhance your current and future performance as an educator or psychological practitioner. More broadly, developing strong critical reflection skills will allow you to honestly appraise your performance in many areas, recognise your strengths and development needs, and use your personal and professional experiences to improve performance and work towards your long-term goals and aspirations.

This optional module has been designed for students who do not yet have a substantial amount of professional experience in a field relevant to child psychology. The module will introduce you to influential models and theories of critical reflection and support you as you reflect on your progress to date as a learner, your current skills, and your development needs. These reflections will inform the creation of your personal action plan for your continued personal and professional development.

Teaching on this module is student-led and you will be allocated to an Action Learning Set. Each week you will attend a meeting with your Action Learning Set where you will discuss and apply relevant principles of critical reflection. The module team will also provide weekly readings.

Critical reflection is now widely acknowledged as a fundamental skill for practitioners working in many areas of health, social care, and education. Good critical reflection skills will enhance your future performance as an educator or psychological practitioner. More broadly, developing strong critical reflection skills will allow you to honestly appraise your performance in many areas, recognise your strengths and development needs, and use your personal and professional experiences to improve performance and work towards your long-term goals and aspirations.  

All core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Employability

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

International

Welcome to the School of Social Sciences, home to students from all around the world!

All of our undergraduate and postgraduate social sciences courses are open to international students, and our courses have been tailored to take a global approach to learning. We frequently welcome international students through the Erasmus scheme, from countries including Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Facilities & Staff

Curzon facilities eatery
Curzon facilities staircase
Curzon facilities student hub

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities.

The Curzon Building

This course is based at our City Centre Campus – and specifically The Curzon Building, alongside other social sciences, law, business and English students.

The £63m building offers students a unique social learning space, including a dedicated student hub incorporating student support services, in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development.

Realistic, simulated environments include two mock court rooms, a Magistrates' and Crown Court, and an interviewing suite. We’re also exploring the use of virtual environments as a way to develop case study analysis.

For those studying on the BA (Hons) Policing or BA (Hons) Criminology, Policing and Investigation degrees, you’ll experience simulations of police interviewing environments for both suspects and witnesses, with access to tape recording and video playback analysis.

Crime investigation files are prepared using computer-based technology, and the crime data analysis requirements of the degree are supported by appropriate statistical and analytical software.

Psychology students can look forward to using state-of-the-art equipment as well, including the latest in eye-tracking software, and our new EEG machine, all geared towards giving you true hands-on experience with tools you’ll be using in your later career. You will also benefit from facilities across the wider campus including the Parkside and Millennium Point buildings.

The Curzon Building also features:

  • An impressive new library with access to over 65 million full text items and stunning views of Eastside City Park
  • Your Students’ Union which is located in a beautifully restored 19th century pub, The Eagle and Ball
  • A modern 300-seat food court with space to study and socialise
  • Brand new, accessible IT facilities with full Office365 for all students for free

Our staff

Dr Ian Mundy

Lecturer in Psychology

Dr Ian Mundy is a cognitive developmental psychologist with particular interests in language processing and literacy ability. Ian completed his MSc and PhD at the University of Warwick.

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Dr Emily Harrison

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Dr Emily Harrison completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology in 2011 and went on to complete a PhD in reading development in early 2015. Her research has largely focused on children’s reading development, more specifically to do with the role of rhythmic awareness in the development of early literacy skills.

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Dr Emma Tecwyn

Lecturer in Psychology

After studying and researching Animal Behavior, Dr Emma Tecwyn became curious about animal minds, and subsequently human minds, which led to her move into Psychology.

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