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MSc|Postgraduate Taught

Applied Developmental Psychology

Entry year
Entry requirements
1 year (Full-time)
2 years (Part-time)
Places available
TBC (Full Time)
TBC (Part Time)
This course is now closed to applications for September 2021. If you are interested in September 2022 entry, please register your interest.

Applied developmental psychology is the application of basic developmental science in applied contexts. The School of Psychology has expertise in development in adverse contexts and atypical development in an educational context and the teaching on the course, as well as the topics offered for dissertations, will reflect this expertise. The school also has expertise in basic developmental science which will be an important element of the course. The topics covered in the MSc include: quantitative and qualitative research methods, atypical development in the classroom, childhood adversity: from basic science to improving outcomes, and theoretical perspectives on child and adolescent development.

This MSc aims to provide graduate students with an opportunity for advanced study in specialist topics in the field of applied developmental psychology and to prepare graduate students for more advanced research in applied developmental psychology, professional training in psychology or other discipline-related professional training.

It also aims to provide graduate students with an opportunity for advanced study in specialist topics in the field of applied developmental psychology.


Applications for this course received after 30th June 2024 may not be accepted. In addition, a deposit will be required to secure a place.

Applications for this course received after 30th June 2024 may not be accepted. In addition, a deposit will be required to secure a place.

Applied Developmental Psychology highlights

Student Experience

The programme’s focus on development in the context of adversity and atypicality distinguishes it from other programmes in the UK.

Internationally Renowned Experts

The School has a longstanding reputation for research and practice in developmental psychology

Career Development

The programme's subject matter is relevant to careers in Educational and Clinical Psychology. It is also relevant to those students, who may decide to pursue a PhD in Psychology.

Student Testimonials

Course Structure

This MSc is one-third research methods and analysis, one-third applied developmental psychology content and one-third dissertation

Atypical Development in an Educational Context - core (20 CATS)

This module bridges the gap between developmental psychology, educational psychology, and clinical child and adolescent psychology to provide a rounded insight into the challenges that neurodevelopmental disorders pose in educational contexts. Over the course of the module, students will learn about the atypical development of language, literacy and communication skills, and mathematical cognition, and discuss the impact of deficits in core areas of cognition, such as working memory and executive function. The students will also develop a range of skills through individual and group work which will support their long-term personal and professional development.

Childhood Adversity: From basic science to improving outcomes - core (20 CATS)

The module will introduce leading theories and research in developmental psychopathology and develop students critical understanding of the relationships between childhood adversity, mental health, educational outcomes and behavioural outcomes throughout development. Content will include research into both familial and socioeconomic indices of adversity, and how different aspects of adversity interact to produce outcomes. Mediators and moderators of outcomes will also be explored.

Dissertation - core (60 CATS)

This module provides students with the opportunity to conduct independent and original research into a topic appropriate for the MSc in Applied Developmental Psychology. This involves:

• Discussing with their supervisors in order to identify a viable research issue or question pertinent to the domains of applied and developmental psychology;
• Designing a research plan for investigation in order to address the research question and/or hypotheses which can be logically defended and is in accordance with the School of Psychology at QUB and BPS ethical guidelines;
• Conducting appropriate statistical analyses that address the hypotheses and/or applying other qualitative analytic methods as appropriate to the research question;
• Interpreting findings - whether numerical/statistical or in the form of verbatim transcripts, with reference to relevant theory and/or previous research, in an informed and defendable way acknowledging their own role in the analytic process;
• Coherently articulate the benefits and limitations of the research;
• Identifying the implications for future research and, where appropriate, also the practical implications with due recognition of the scope and boundaries of these implications.

Introduction to Therapeutic Skills - optional (10 CATS)

Students will receive an introduction to therapeutic skills relevant to a variety of clinical and other applied contexts. The course will involve role plays and skills practice sessions. Indicative topics include applying basic clinical skills, ACT, CBT, systemic therapy, and motivational interviewing. The course will help students to draw links between underlying theory and clinical practice.

This module cannot be taken along with the Placement: Childhood Adversity in Applied Contexts.

Placement: Childhood Adversity in Applied Contexts - optional (10 CATS)

The placement module will give you the opportunity to apply your psychological knowledge and develop your skills in a real-world setting. Working with an experienced placement provider, you will have the opportunity to research and identify an evidence-based intervention and adapt it to meet the needs of the children or young people, to support their learning, growth or development. You may also co-deliver an existing intervention and evaluate its effectiveness in order to improve the approaches of the organisation. Some examples of projects that may be carried out whilst on placement:
1. Engage young people with ADHD in a learning environment.
2. Support emotional reasoning in a learning environment.
3. Develop social skills to support peer group learning.
4. Engage the senses to help calm and focus individuals for learning.
5. Raise awareness of and reduce anger management issues.
The Placement team within the school will source the placements on your behalf and you will apply to the ones that best fit your skills and areas of interest.

This module cannot be taken along with the Introduction to Therapeutic Skills module.

Principles of Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology 1 - core (10 CATS)

This module provides students with the necessary knowledge and skills to conduct independent qualitative research. The aim of this module is to equip students with knowledge to understand, design, conduct and critically appraise qualitative research. It contains teaching on philosophical assumptions underpinning qualitative research and a practical understanding of the full range of qualitative research methods in Psychology.

Principles of Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology 2 - optional (10 CATS)

PSY7064: This module will deepen students’ understanding of four approaches to qualitative research: grounded theory, discourse analysis, narrative analysis and interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). It will include discussion of the epistemological and ontological considerations that underpin these approaches, as well the opportunity to gain hands on experience of analysing qualitative data using each of them.

Psychological Methods in Developmental Research - core (10 CATS)

This module focuses on a range of psychological methods used in developmental research. The course will cover specific design considerations when conducting research with typically/ atypically developing children and introduce students to commonly used tests in developmental research. Issues concerning the more applied aspects of working with children in different experimental and naturalistic settings will be explored with a spotlight focus on children who develop atypically.

Quantitative Data Analyses 1 - core (10 CATS)

This module offers a refresher session on inferential statistics and discusses the underlying assumptions, the use and conduct of a range of statistical techniques including ANOVA models, multiple and logistic regression. There will be demonstrations of how to do these statistical techniques using both SPSS or R.

Quantitative Data Analysis 2 - optional (10 CATS)

PSY7066: This module offers an introduction to the use and conduct of a range of statistical techniques including factor analyses, structural equation modelling, mediation and moderation analyses. It also discusses validity and reliability issues in test construction.

Research Skills - core (10 CATS)

This module covers different skills relevant to doing research, ranging from using the literature to conceive hypotheses to designing and planning experiments to analysing and writing up the results. Lectures will cover topics such as literature searching, rights and responsibilities, the replication crisis, academic writing, plagiarism, research design, research ethics, diversity in research, and managing safety.

Theoretical Perspectives in Child and Adolescent Development - core (10 CATS)

The main aim of this module is to equip students with the current understanding of the key theories of child and adolescent development from psychosocial and psychobiological perspectives. The module will begin with an overview of developmental theories before more focussed discussion of different aspects of development. The introduction to these key issues will set the stage for understanding atypical development, which will be covered in the latter part of the module.

People teaching you

Course Director


Teaching Times

Teaching will take place on two days each week. Timetabling will be finalised each September.

Learning and Teaching

Lecturers on the course are experts in development in adverse contexts, in atypical development and have active research programmes in various areas of developmental psychology. Thus, teaching on the programme is research-led.

We operate a proactive system of student support. The Postgraduate Advisor of Studies will guide and support you through your time with us, supported by the School’s knowledgeable and friendly administrative staff. Good communication between staff and students is central and we operate a Student-Staff Consultative Committee specifically for taught MSc programmes. Membership of this committee includes elected representatives from each of the taught postgraduate programmes, the Director of Postgraduate Taught Education, programme directors and the School Manager. This Committee allows students to quickly raise matters of concern to them and enables the School to keep students appraised of matters affecting the School and wider University.

The School of Psychology at Queen’s has a distinguished history in educating undergraduate and postgraduate students. The School operates a single honours undergraduate degree on which around 500 students are enrolled, three taught MSc degrees, professional doctorates in Clinical Psychology and Educational, Child and Adolescent Psychology, and a highly active research PhD programme. Many of the members of staff teaching on our programmes have international reputations in their field. All are committed teachers and researchers.

Our aim as a School is to recruit the best students locally and internationally. We aim to build a supportive learning environment that stimulates students to do their best work.

We provide students with a range of opportunities to learn and have included some further information on these below.

  • Excellent supervision

    Students are assigned a dissertation supervisor early in the course, with whom they develop a project, obtain ethical approval, analyse and interpret data and write the final report. We encourage students to be ambitious for their project and it is not unusual for MSc dissertation data to be of publishable quality.

  • Interaction in Roles Plays

    Students will have the option to engage in interaction in roles plays, and skills practice sessions, alongside lectures outlining the theory guiding therapeutic practice, in order to gain skills such as: creating a basic case conceptualisation, selecting therapy methods to change behaviour, applying foundational therapy skills and self-reflection.

  • Lectures

    Lectures serve a number of purposes: they provide information about a topic and the basis for further self-directed study. They also provide an opportunity for class discussion, questions and feedback. In many cases lectures are followed by student-led seminars.

  • Self-guided study

    Self-guided study is an essential part of any taught MSc course when private reading and research, preparation for assignments and reflection on feedback is carried out.


We will assess your performance in a variety of different ways

  • Coursework essays
  • Literature reviews
  • Posters
  • Proposals
  • Portfolios
  • Presentations
  • Dissertation
  • Policy briefings




The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

    Research Skills (10 credits)

    Optional Modules

Entrance requirements


Normally a 2.1 Honours degree or above in Psychology or an acceptable related discipline, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.

Applicants with work experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy provides guidance on the assessment of experiential learning (RPEL).

Intercalating medical and dental students within QUB will be considered if they have successfully completed the 3rd/4th year of their course at first attempt and achieved at least an upper second class Honours standard. Intercalating applicants should also ensure they have permission to intercalate from either the Director for Medical Education or Dentistry as appropriate.

An external medical or dental student wishing to intercalate must have successfully completed all assessments at first attempt for the year in which they are applying. External intercalating applicants should also ensure they have the permission of the Head of Undergraduate Medical/Dental Education or equivalent from their home University.

The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2024.  However, we encourage applicants to apply as early as possible.  In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline.  Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

Please note: a deposit will be required to secure a place.

International Students

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

English Language Requirements

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 with the last 2 years).

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

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 degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: 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.



Career Prospects

Professional Opportunities

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.

Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £7,300
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £7,300
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250
EU Other 3 £25,800
International £25,800

1EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Additional course costs

Terms and Conditions for Postgraduate applications:

1.1  Due to high demand, there is a deadline for applications. 
1.2  You will be required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the course.
1.3  This condition of offer is in addition to any academic or English language requirements.

Read the full terms and conditions at the link below:

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

How do I fund my study?

The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £6,500 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 £11,836 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

More information on funding options and financial assistance - please check this link regularly, even after you have submitted an application, as new scholarships may become available to you.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at



How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Apply now

When to Apply

The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

Terms and Conditions

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

Download a prospectus