Psychology of Childhood Adversity (MSc)

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Key Programme Information

Entry Year


Programme length *

1 year(s)

Places available

TBC (Deadline for applications: 30th June 2017)


Full-Time, Part-Time


Engineering and Physical Sciences



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


The programme provides advanced study of topics in developmental psychology, with a specific focus on development in the context of adversity.

Childhood adversity refers to factors extrinsic to the child such as growing up in contexts of parental psychopathology, economic deprivation and community conflict. Psychological, educational and behavioural outcomes of adversity will be explored as well as the predictors, mediators and moderators of outcome.

The MSc will also focus on international contexts of childhood adversity and will address the impact of war and conflict, sexual violence and exploitation and the challenges faced by children who live in and work on the streets. It will examine the cultural sensitivities that researchers and humanitarian workers need to keep in mind when working in non-Western settings and explore both mental health and psychosocial interventions that seek to help children and young people affected by humanitarian disasters.

Students will additionally have the opportunity to study interdisciplinary approaches to tackling childhood adversity, with compulsory and optional modules in Children's Rights, Youth Justice and Caring for Children with Complex Health Needs.

The study of the psychology of childhood adversity will address questions such as:

  • What aspects of childhood adversity impact of child and adolescent development? 
  • How do intrinsic (eg child's personality) and extrinsic (eg parenting) factors interact to moderate outcomes of adversity? 
  • What programmes and interventions can help children growing up in adversity and how can they be best designed and implemented?


Why Queen's?

The School 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 Dr Teresa Rushe 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 PG Diploma in Psychology of Childhood Adversity is also available. Contact Dr Teresa Rushe for more information.

Course Details

The programme consists of compulsory and optional modules and a dissertation (MSc route only). Students take half the taught modules in semester 1 and half in semester 2. Teaching time is usually over 2 days (Tuesday/Wednesday).

Modules include:

  • Childhood Adversity (10 credits)
  • Improving Outcomes with Evidence Based Interventions (10 credits)
  • Principles of Qualitative Research Methods and Data Analyses (10 credits)
  • Quantitative Data Analysis 1 (10 credits) and 2 (10 credits)
  • Research Design and Professional Skills (10 credits)
  • Theoretical Perspectives on Child and Adolescent Development (20 credits)
  • Quantitative Data Analyses 1 (10 credits) and 2 (10 credits)
  • Psychological Methods in Developmental Research (10 credits)     
  • Children in International Contexts of Adversity (10 credits)
  • Dissertation (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, usually over 2 days (Tuesday/Wednesday). The course may include additional workshops outside normal teaching hours.

Entry Requirements

MSc: Normally a 2.1 Honours degree or above in Psychology or a related honours subject or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Applicants with relevant work experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

PG Diploma (and PG Certificate(): Normally a high 2.2 Honours degree (57%) or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a relevant subject.


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: 30th June 2017

Dr Teresa Rushe
Programme Director
School of Psychology
Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 4336

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 studies, and to pursue an academic career.

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.

Find out more

Fees & Funding

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

Find out more

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 Dr Teresa Rushe 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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