Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year, Part-time: 2 years

UK/EU fee

£875 per 20 credits* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,700 for the full programme (2020/21)

Course level




Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

Practical, inspirational and challenging, this MSc will open up exciting new directions for your career and research pursuits as a psychologist.

Our innovative new MSc gives you the chance to seize the many career and research opportunities emerging from the dynamic and evolving discipline of developmental psychology. 

100%of our students are satisfied with the overall quality of the course**Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2019
100%of our students agreed that the course is intellectually stimulating**Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2019
100%of our students agreed that staff are enthusiastic about what they teach**Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2019

Exploring new frontiers

Increasing emphasis is being placed on the scientific study of how human beings develop and change over the lifespan. Developmental psychology is therefore growing in importance with policy-makers, practitioners, business and the general public alike.

It is a high-profile subject area which brings together experts from a broad range of disciplines who can contribute to our understanding of human development across the lifespan. Leading professional bodies are now promoting the need for more research into developmental psychology and, in particular, high standards in the way this scientific knowledge is applied to real-world settings.

Strong global perspectives are shaping the discipline too, spearheaded by organisations such as the European Association of Developmental Psychology.

Applying theory to practice

The focus of our MSc is on how developmental psychology can be harnessed in education, health, clinical and other related real world environments. It creates an important bridge between academic and professional psychology in ways which are relevant to a wide range of careers and employment contexts.

You’ll develop an in-depth and up-to-date understanding of the subject as well as cross-disciplinary knowledge (psychology and health care professions) and interdisciplinary knowledge (cognitive psychology). You’ll also learn how developmental theory, research and methodology can be integrated into organisational practice and policy. 

With its strong combination of contemporary and applied study, the course will equip you with the knowledge and skills to consider a wide range of career opportunities in the UK and overseas.

Pursue your specialist interests

We give you the chance to focus on those areas of applied developmental psychology which most reflect your personal interests and career aspirations.

The course includes an empirical research project where you can apply your knowledge and skills to a context of your choice. There is also a negotiated module which offers opportunities for you to undertake a placement in a specialist setting. 

An inspiring teaching team

You’ll be taught by experts in applied developmental psychology whose research underpins and enriches this course. They are conducting studies into far-reaching subjects such as maternity, parenting and new-born development; language and literacy skills; children’s experiences of art in the classroom; the role of emotion in recognising words; and cognitive changes in elderly people.

Our staff have close links with professional bodies such as the British Psychological Society and share their research findings in leading journals and at international conferences.

As part of our thriving academic community, we also have a  which advances our studies in everything from wellbeing, health and weight loss to anxiety and compassion. It offers a range of consultancy services and runs research seminars featuring influential guest speakers.

The impact of having a premature baby

Dr Christopher Barnes, MSc Applied Developmental Psychology Programme Leader, discusses the impact of having a baby born prematurely on parents and their babies, and the support offered during hospitalisation.

Read Christopher's blogRead Christopher's blog

Sophisticated facilities

Our facilities include high specification computing labs and a variety of psychological recording equipment such as an EEG.

The dedicated psychological laboratory has multiple PCs with the latest software for designing experiments and analysing data. Our facilities also include eye tracking equipment and an observation suite equipped with video recording and one-way mirrors. In addition we provide project rooms where you can concentrate on your research.

What you will study

You'll study modules such as:

  • Contemporary Developmental Assessment Methods – This practical module will give you the opportunity to learn through live and pre-recorded demonstrations of developmental assessment methods such as The Neurobehavioural Assessment of the Preterm Infant (NAPI) and the Brazelton method
  • Advanced Psychological Research Methods in Context – This module will provide you with a critical understanding of a range of quantitative (including advanced statistical procedures) and qualitative research methods
  • Negotiated Module – This module allows you to focus on the area of applied developmental psychology that interests you most, with the possibility of undertaking a placement in a specialist setting
  • Empirical Research Project – In this module students will be able to apply psychological knowledge and skills to a context of their choice.  Although this module will include taught elements delivered face-to-face the module will also be heavily based upon establishing cohesive supervisory or mentor relationships delivered through structured meetings at the University campus
  • Introduction to Developmental Psychology and Research Methods – This module is only for those who do not hold an undergraduate degree in psychology – the content has been designed to cover the core areas of developmental psychology and research methods in order to quickly establish knowledge and understanding to the required standard
  • The Psychology of Health and Wellbeing – This module is only for those who hold a degree in psychology – this module provides additional coverage of lifespan development issues in the context of health
  • Theories and Models of Development – The aim of this module is to provide students with an understanding of the broad range of factors known to produce developmental change and the advanced theories and/or models which attempt to explain them
  • Applied Developmental Psychology in Context – This module aims to widen student’s understanding of developmental psychology and demonstrate how it is applied to real world contexts. The module focuses on core domains such as health, education and clinical settings in order to exhibit the application of developmental theory and/or practice across the lifespan

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

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Postgraduate Live Online Events

While we’re not able to welcome you in person to our campuses at the moment, we’re not going to let that stop us showing you all the great things about studying at Derby.

We’re currently planning our autumn Open Events to bring you the best possible online and on-campus experience.

Book your Live Online EventBook your Live Online Event

How you will learn

Learning and teaching methods will vary between modules. The course is delivered face-to-face and learning materials will be accessed online. Specialist resources such as computer labs, the observational suite, EEG, eye-tracking equipment and Psychology Laboratories, and teaching facilities will be used where appropriate across the provision. Outside of class students will be expected to engage in directed learning activities as-well as self-directed study which may inform both formative and summative assessments.

An expert teaching team


This course is 100% coursework based.  Examples of assessment methods will include, essays, reports, poster presentations, and assessment of practice based skills.

Who will teach you

Dr Christopher Barnes
Programme leader

Dr Barnes is a chartered psychologist conducting and supervising doctoral research in the areas of parenting, child development and nature connection. He works with a diverse range of populations, such as with babies born prematurely, typically developing children and those with a developmental disorder.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for UK students: Applicants from Psychology backgrounds will usually be required to have at least a 2:1 Honours degree in Psychology, which is recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and have Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) with the BPS. A 2:2 honours degree in Psychology may be accepted if the applicant has relevant work experience or can demonstrate an ability to study at Level 7 through the completion of other post-graduate study. Applicants with a Joint Honours degree in Psychology or with an undergraduate degree that contains at least 60 credits of Psychology may also be considered.

Applicants from non-Psychology backgrounds will be required to have a 2:1 or above honours degree in an area allied to Psychology or an equivalent qualification. In addition, those applicants with non-GBC qualifications, with lower academic qualifications (e.g. a 2:2 classification) and experience, or those with non-Psychology qualifications in an area allied to Psychology entry will normally be invited to an interview with the programme leader, or nominated representative, to establish suitability for and commitment to the programme. For overseas students this will be conducted over the telephone or by Skype if possible.

Entry requirements for EU/international students: Applicants with overseas qualifications are strongly advised to establish the UK equivalence of their qualifications. Within this requirement, it will be important to ascertain the ability to speak and write using the English language. Due to the demands of postgraduate study a minimum International English Language Test System (IELTS) score of 6.0 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each component) is required for entry to the programme for non-native English speakers.  Before applying students may seek confirmation of equivalency by contacting the National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) on 0870 9904088, and writing to Oriel House, Oriel Road, Cheltenham, Glos. GL50 1XP. Evidence of equivalence (written verification) will be required on application for entry on this programme. A fee is payable for the NARIC service.

Applicants who may intend to conduct work in real world contexts (eg schools) will need to ensure that they have an up-to-date Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate.  

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees (August 2020 - July 2021)


£875 per 20 credits*

£875 per 20 credits*


£14,700 for the full programme


*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

Additional costs and optional extras

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International student scholarship

We're offering a £2,000 scholarship for all eligible international students studying a full-time postgraduate taught programme (PGT). Terms and conditions apply.

Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship

How to apply


Postgraduate education extends your knowledge, skills and confidence in ways which enhance your employability and open doors to new career prospects.

With its focus on psychological theory, research and methodology – as well as vital transferable skills – this MSc may provide graduates with potential employment opportunities within health, child care, mental health services, teaching, consultancy and many more organisations that support the development of individuals across the lifespan.

In addition, it provides students who have Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society with a helpful stepping stone to further professional training and registered routes into counselling, clinical or educational psychology.

If you have an existing career in a profession other than psychology, the MSc offers CPD and lifelong learning opportunities to help you become a more psychologically aware practitioner.

Should you want to pursue further research, you could apply for a funded studentship to complete a doctoral programme of study such as a PhD or you could progress to employment as a research assistant on major projects.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.

Included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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