• For Entry: September
  • Duration: 12 months
  • School: Social Sciences
  • Study Mode: Full Time+Part Time

This course offers advanced training in understanding social, emotional and cognitive development appropriate for careers in research and professional practice.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

You’ll receive individual support from our academic staff

Psychology staff and student


With a focus on infant and child development, the course addresses a comprehensive range of topics surrounding typical and atypical development. Different theoretical approaches to development will be explored together with consideration of comparative and cross-cultural approaches. You will be taught by academic staff at the forefront of psychological research and conduct a dissertation under their supervision.

A distinctive feature of our course is the opportunity to participate in ongoing research that the University is conducting in partnership with local Education Services for the Research in Practice module. This provides practical experience of conducting psychological research with young children. It also provides the chance to experience psychological work in 'real world' settings and in collaboration with multi-disciplinary teams of professionals.

At Dundee, we have specialised equipment, dedicated laboratories and world-class research facilities. These include EEG labs, a variety of eye tracking technologies, 2D and 3D movement tracking systems and offsite fMRI access via the Clinical Research Centre at Ninewells Teaching Hospital. Learn more about our research facilities.

We are a small, friendly department which offers focused teaching and research in psychology. This means that we get to know our students and can provide them with the individual support they need throughout their studies. This is evidenced by our ranking in the top 10% of Psychology departments in the UK for student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2016).

Our MSc students have their own dedicated social and study areas within the Psychology building. There is an active student Psychology society, which organizes social events. As Psychology is situated in the School of Social Sciences, it is easy to meet students from other disciplines (e.g. architecture and urban planning, business, geography, law, politics and economics) and to attend seminars outside psychology. This will allow you to situate your learning in a broader social context, as well as to make contact with other students who have come from across the world to study in Dundee. 

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Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

The practicum offered the unique opportunity to observe child development over an extended period of time.  I was grateful for the opportunity to meet with and shadow an educational psychologist and a speech and language therapist. The dissertation allowed me to pursue my interests in cognitive development in bilingual and monolingual children. Supervision was excellent and I was guided and supported along every step of the process.I feel that the MSc in Developmental Psychology has given me a theoretical understanding of child development and valuable practical experience that will help me in my future career.

Current student

How you will be taught

  • Lectures and seminars
  • In-class group work
  • Workshops
  • Research seminars by invited speakers
  • Training and developmental opportunities (e.g. careers, CVs, presentation/interview skills)

You'll also take part in a research practicum based either in a lab in Psychology or in a ‘real world’ educational setting, providing a unique opportunity to work directly with both children and practitioners.

How you will be assessed

All our assessments are 100% coursework-based, including:

  • essays
  • small seminar-style presentations
  • statistics exercises and quizzes
  • research proposals/reports
  • poster presentation
  • research dissertation

What you will study

Core Modules

This is a research assistantship, learning about the design, running and analysis of an experiment. You participate in ongoing research in a Psychology lab or a real-world setting (e.g. travelling to Fife nurseries to work with early year practitioners, educational psychologists and speech therapists in assessing children’s language skills). 

This module provides a firm foundation to the practical aspects of conducting modern psychological research. By the end of the module, you should be able: to survey, review, and critique the literature; understand ethical issues in research; generate research ideas and evaluate them. 

This module will introduce approaches to collecting and analysing qualitative data, including: interviewing (open, semi-structured or structured), ethnographic methods, single and multiple case studies, action research, discourse analysis, conversation analysis, textual analysis, content analysis, focus groups, and analysis of audio and video recordings.

A substantial individual research project with a supervisor of your choice. Supervision, on a one-to-one basis, will guide you through a literature review, conception and design of an experiment, data collection and analysis. The dissertation will be written up in the form of a scientific article (8000-10,000 words). 

This module will provide you with an understanding of advanced statistical analyses used in psychological research. Depending on student’s prior knowledge, topics covered include: simple regression, multiple regression (standard and hierarchical regressions), ANOVA, ANCOVA, MANOVA, mediation and moderation analysis, power analysis and factor analysis. 

Advanced Modules

You will also select two advanced modules, usually from the following:

This module provides an in-depth look at research concerning the early development and experience of self-awareness. Discussion of a variety of methodological perspectives (social, cognitive, comparative, cross-cultural) will allow you to develop critical thinking skills concerning research methodology.

Topics usually include:

  • agency
  • objective self-recognition
  • the self in time
  • self-conscious emotion
  • social self-regulation
  • comparative self-awareness

You will learn to analyse reading development from a biological, cognitive and behavioural point of view, and to consider the implications of this research for practical educational questions concerning the definition, assessment and treatment of reading difficulties.

Topics usually include:

  • reading theories
  • definitions of dyslexia
  • brain areas involved in reading
  • interventions
  • learning to read different languages
  • visual attention and reading

Studying atypical development serves to understand and help children with additional needs but also provides an 'experiment in nature', a window for further understanding of typical developmental processes.

Topics usually include:

  • assessment of psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders
  • reactive attachment disorder
  • eating and sleeping problems
  • failure to thrive
  • autism
  • eating disorders
  • ADHD
  • syndromes with genetic aetiologies

This module provides a broad understanding of classic and current research on social, emotional and moral development in children and adolescents. The course will develop your awareness of a variety of methodologies and experimental techniques.

Topics usually include:

  • expression of emotions in infants
  • social referencing
  • attachment
  • social interaction
  • theory of mind
  • peer relationships
  • prosocial and antisocial behaviour
  • morality

You will be introduced to cognitive development in human infants. You will gain an understanding of: (1) a broad range of current research on infant cognitive development, (2) alternative theories of infant cognitive development, (3) key experimental methods.

Topics usually include:

  • premature birth
  • cognitive effects of nutrition and teratogens
  • memory development
  • infant number concepts
  • graded-representations hypothesis
  • causal knowledge
  • intention attribution

Students from this course have used the qualification to improve their chances of getting on to educational and clinical psychology courses. Others use the research training as a stepping stone to PhD research.

Several students have taken the course to move into jobs as support workers, Assistant Psychologists or have gone on to train as Speech & Language therapists. The higher degree generally improves job prospects when competing against Psychology graduates in other fields of business. 

You should hold, or expect to hold a first or second class honours degree in Psychology, normally conferring eligibility for Graduate Membership of the British Psychological Society.

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.5
Listening 6.0
Reading 6.0
Writing 6.0
Speaking 6.0

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fee statusFees for students starting 2017/18
Scottish and EU students £5,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Rest of UK students £5,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Overseas students (non-EU) £14,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for international applicants

You apply for this course via the UCAS Postgraduate (UKPASS) website which is free of charge. You can check the progress of your application online and you can also make multiple applications.

You'll need to upload relevant documents as part of your application. Please read the How to Apply page before you apply to find out about what you'll need.

  Degree Course Code
Apply NowDevelopmental Psychology MScP043570

Course Contact

Dr Lynne Duncan
Social Sciences
+44 (0)1382 384630

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