PGT Course Detail


Atypical Child Development (MSc)

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Key Programme Information

Entry Year


Programme length *

1 year(s)

Places available

20+ (Deadline for applications: June 2017)


Full-Time, Part-Time


Engineering and Physical Sciences



* 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time


This programme provides advanced study of topics in developmental psychology, with a specific focus on patterns of atypical development and childhood development disorders such as autism, dyslexia, ADHD and genetic disorders.

The programme addresses questions such as:

  • What is the relationship between typical and atypical development?
  • How do we know that a child's development is atypical and what criteria can we use to assess this?
  • How can we best explain the causes of atypical development and understand the effects on children's lives?
  • What programmes and interventions can help atypically developing children and how can they be best designed and implemented?


Why Queen's?

The School of Psychology is well placed to offer a programme which deals with these issues. It has a long-standing reputation for research and practice in developmental psychology and currently offers two professional Doctorates in applied areas of psychology (clinical and educational).


One bursary of £2,000 is available for students to apply for once they are accepted onto the programme. Please contact Professor Teresa McCormack directly for more information about the bursary application process.

Republic of Ireland students please see For fees and funding information please see the University's Graduate School website:

Did you know?

A Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Atypical Child Development is also available. Contact Professor Teresa McCormack for more information.

Course Details

The programme consists of seven compulsory modules and a dissertation. Modules cover theoretical approaches to developmental psychology, an introduction to developmental disorders (including autism, dyslexia, SLI and dyscalculia), and descriptions of how such disorders are diagnosed and treated.

In addition, students complete modules on research skills and quantitative and qualitative data analysis in order to prepare them for conducting the research that will form the basis of their MSc dissertation. For their dissertation, students are encouraged to conduct their research with children who show atypical patterns of development or on relevant issues with typically developing children.

Students complete three modules per semester in addition to their dissertation. Each taught module involves a mixture of classes and seminars. The quantitative statistics module is lab-based. Student also see their tutor regularly for individual supervision on their research dissertation. Students are expected to spend at least an equivalent amount of time on private study and/or data collection each week as they do in teaching sessions.

Modules include:

Assessment and Intervention (20 credits)
Atypical Patterns of Child Development (20 credits)
Perspectives on Child Development (20 credits)
Principles of Qualitative Research Methods and Data Analyses (20 credits)
Quantitative Data Analyses (20 credits)
Research Methods in Developmental Psychology (10 credits)
Research Skills (10 credits)

The dissertation is a further 60 credits.

Assessment & Feedback

Assessment will consist of a dissertation, coursework assignments and class tests.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching takes place in the morning and afternoon. Lectures and seminars are blocked into two full days for full time students and one full day for part time students. 

Entry Requirements

A 2.1 Honours degree or above in Psychology or another closely related discipline, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.

If the programme is oversubscribed, applications will be ranked based on quality of academic performance, references and relevant experience.


For information on international qualification equivalents please select Your Country from the list on our International Students website.


International students (for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their studies. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required.
*taken within the last 2 years

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this programme, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this programme.

Please click the links below for more information:

  • English for University Study - an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level.
  • Pre-sessional English - a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

How To Apply

Applicants for Postgraduate programmes are strongly advised to carefully read the important information and follow the steps set out here before submitting their application via the Postgraduate Direct Applications Portal.

If you have queries on course content please contact the school representative below.

Deadline for applications: June 2017

Professor Teresa McCormack
School of Psychology
Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 4174

How To Apply

Queen’s University Belfast Terms and Conditions 2017 Entry
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.

Career Prospects

The programme is designed to prepare graduate students for more advanced research in developmental psychology, for professional training in psychology or related disciplines, and/or for employment in children's voluntary or statutory services. It will also provide graduates with the research skills and knowledge to carry out a PhD in developmental psychology and/or in childhood developmental disorders, and to subsequently pursue an academic career.

Note: the programme is not designed as a training in professional psychology and graduates will not be able to offer psychological services or to practise as professional psychologists.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

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Fees & Funding

There is a range of funding and scholarship options available to those considering study at Queen's.

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For tuition fee information see

Postgraduate loans
From the academic year 2017/18, the Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,280 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.


One bursary of £2,000 is available for students to apply for once they are accepted onto the programme. Please contact Professor Teresa McCormack directly for more information about the bursary application process.

Republic of Ireland students please see For fees and funding information please see the University's Graduate School website:


Queen's Direct Applications Portal
Steps to Postgraduate Study Guidance (HEFCE)
Queen's Postgraduate Admissions Policy

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