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The award
MSc

How long you will study
12

Domestic course fees
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How you will study
full-time, part-time

Course starts
September

International course fees
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All study options

About Developmental Psychology at University of Kent

Developmental Psychology MSc develops your understanding of the psychological processes that underlie an individual's social, emotional and cognitive development throughout their life.

Overview

To understandany psychological phenomenon fully it is necessary to understand how itdevelops. The Master's programme at Kent gives you a deep understanding of theadvanced methods, analytical techniques, and theoretical and practicalapproaches to developmental psychology and developmental psychopathology

You focus on questionssuch as: What psychological changes occur during infancy, childhood, andadolescence? What psychological processes drive the development of children?What can psychologists do to promote healthy development in neurotypicalindividuals and support development among individuals with developmentaldisorders?

The MSc in DevelopmentalPsychology at Kent is taught by academics andprofessionals such as educational psychologists, clinical psychologists, childtherapists, and speech and language therapists.

The programme draws on thestrengths of academic staff and researchers working in the field ofdevelopmental psychology, with expertise including language development,representational ability and early social-cognitive understanding of others,singing, infant face processing, the development of prejudice and socialexclusion, and developmental psychopathology. MSc students also have theopportunity to use the Kent ChildDevelopment Unit (KCDU), a resource including child-friendly labspace and a register of 3,000 potential child participants.

Watch an additional video about Taught MSc Degrees in the School of Psychology and find out about the excellent support we give to our students. You can also read what our students have to say on our testimonials page. 

About the School of Psychology

As a student within the School of Psychology at Kent, you benefit from our supportive, dynamic and diverse environment for creative research and learning.

All of our taught Master's (MSc) programmes have been recognised by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as meeting the nationally recognised criteria for preparation training for PhD research.

Conducting both basic and applied research in several areas, Psychology at Kent is highly regarded as a leading European centre for postgraduate research. Our cutting-edge, internationally recognised research in developmental, cognitive, social, and forensic psychology underlies our reputation for research excellence across these areas. We attract excellent visiting scholars and postgraduate students from both within the UK and overseas.

Some of our PhD students are self-funded, and others are funded by grants or awards either from the School, UK or their countries of origin. Some are also paid to undertake part-time teaching within the School. We have a strong track record of attracting ESRC research studentship funding, which involves partnerships with external organisations such as Age UK and the Equality and Human Rights Commission and collaborative studentships with partners such as People United.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Psychology was ranked 11th in the UK for research intensity.

An impressive 95% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 97% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School's environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.

Careers

Our Developmental Psychology MSc graduates commonly go into the fields of health, teaching or further education. Many of our graduates take up roles as assistant psychologists in the NHS with a view to becoming a professional clinical psychologist, or pursue doctoral study and academic careers at higher education institutions.  Because the MSc Developmental Psychology programme is taught by academics and professionals, it offers students wide opportunities to pursue a variety of careers. 

The programmes we offer help you to develop general critical, analytic, and problem-solving skills that can be applied in a wide range of settings.  For example, last year's graduates have taken up full-time salaried/funded positions as assistant psychologists, as PhD trainees, as healthcare advisers/workers in the private sector and in Childhood and Adolescent Mental Health Services, and as specialist charity workers.

Professional recognition

All of our taught Master's (MSc) programmes have been recognised by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as meeting the nationally recognised criteria for preparation training for PhD research.

Research areas

Research themes

The School of Psychology is highly regarded as a leading European centre for postgraduate research, with an international reputation for excellence in social psychology (including group processes and intergroup relations); cognition and neuroscience; developmental psychology; and forensic psychology. We have staff who can supervise research degrees in all of these areas. The research environment is designed to sustain a strong, vibrant research culture, encourage collaboration, and unite staff and students with shared research interests. Our themes ensure critical mass and create a highly energetic and stimulating intellectual climate.

Research activity is supported by:

  • centrally co-ordinated provision and use of laboratories and technical support
  • selection of speakers for our weekly departmental research colloquia
  • weekly research meetings within each theme
  • developing, reporting and analysing research, and hosting our many visiting scholars
  • several monthly small meeting series on specific areas of cross-cutting research (such as forensic, social development, emotion, social cognition and health).

Developmental Psychology

Much of the research conducted by members of the Developmental Psychology group is conducted with neurotypical infants, children, and adolescents.  However, we also take a lifespan approach to the study of development and conduct research with older adults.  Moreover, a key focus of our research is on neuro-developmental disorders.  Central research topics include:

Social development

Developmental group members are particularly interested in the expression and control of ethnic and gender prejudice, social ostracism and inclusion, conversational norms and group identity in children.  We also conduct research on social aspects of older adulthood, in particular self-stereotyping and prejudice against elderly people.

Cognitive development

Cognitive development is a major focus of many of our developmental psychologists.  In particular, members of the Developmental Psychology group actively research topics such as the development of social cognition and theory of mind, language, information and sensory processing, and conversation and pragmatic skills.

Forensic research

Our developmental research also focuses on adolescence, as well as infancy, childhood and older adulthood.  In particular, we are interested in the emergence of gang activity and antisocial behaviour during this period of development.

Developmental psychopathology

We also conduct cutting-edge research into neuro-developmental disorders, such as autism and language impairment, with a view to understanding the nature and basis of, and best ways to treat, these disorders.  

Social Psychology

Much of our social psychology research is co-ordinated through the Centre for the Study of Group Processes (CSGP), the largest research group in this area in Europe. CSGP attracts a stream of major international social psychology researchers, who are officially affiliated to it and visit regularly to work with our staff. The Social Psychology group also includes the co-editor of Group Processes and Intergroup Relations (Abrams).

Social psychology research at Kent is funded by a variety of British and international sources, currently and recently including ESRC, British Academy, Leverhulme, Age Concern, European Commission, European Science Foundation, Home Office, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Nuffield, and Joseph Rowntree Foundation, as well as government departments such as the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Social Psychology group includes the following themes:

Prejudice, intergroup contact and social categorisation

This research is carried out in our social psychology laboratories, at schools and in business organisations. For example, research within this topic focuses on questions such as: how contact between members of different social groups is represented psychologically, how intergroup contact affects prejudice, when outgroups are seen as less human, when and why children show prejudice, and why organisational mergers sometimes fail.

Social inequality and cohesion

Research on this topic combines theory-driven research and engagement with policy. It is conducted in real-life settings such as the workplace, and involves national and international surveys. For example, the research focuses on the well-being of elderly people in Britain, work participation and motherhood, and discrimination against different groups in society.

Group dynamics and social influence

Laboratory studies and community-based research are conducted on this topic. For example, research focuses on co-operation in small groups, group decision-making, perception and influence of leaders, social communication and language, subjective group dynamics in adults and children, the dynamics of prison gang activity, and the impact of alcohol on group processes.

Personality and social motivation

Much of this research is carried out in laboratories, through surveys and in clinical or other applied settings. For example, research has examined aggression, the adaptive functions of perfectionism, and consequences of mortality salience.

Cognition and Neuroscience

Research under this theme has an international reputation in the topic areas of Visual Cognition, Attention and Memory, and Language and Communication. Some of this research activity occurs in the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems, a strategic partnership between the Schools of Psychology and Computing.

Visual cognition, attention and memory

Research on this topic focuses primarily on the role of vision and visual perception in human performance. The fundamental aim of this work is to identify the cognitive processes and neurological mechanisms underlying various visual tasks. Studies involving neurologically healthy volunteers examine issues such as face recognition and identification, eyewitness testimony, person detection, emotion processing, episodic memory and pattern and motion recognition.

Language and communication

Research in this group examines various aspects of semantic, pragmatic and syntactic understanding. Research questions on healthy populations include the role of executive functions in successful language use and communication, how language influences attentional processes and perspective taking, anomaly detection, and the effect of interruptions on reading. Work on developmental populations examines issues such as how children learn to understand and produce sentences in their own language, and how they learn conversational conventions and self-repair. Research also examines developmental disorders of communication, including autism spectrum disorders and dyslexia. This research group has links with researchers in the School of European Culture and Languages, as part of the Centre for Language and Linguistic Studies.

Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology research at Kent and all forensic-related teaching operates through our newly constituted Centre of Research and Education in Forensic Psychology (CORE-FP). Current research is focused on bullying in prisons, prison gang behaviour, jury decision-making, child sexual offending, rape, rape proclivity, female sexual offending, theories of offender rehabilitation, firesetting, sexual harassment, violence, aggression and alcohol, and the infrahumanisation of offenders. Other areas of research include social cognition, social and moral emotion, and group process theory, all of which are applied to the study of offending behaviour or court process issues.

Forensic psychology research at Kent is funded by various national and international sources, which include: The British Academy, Economic and Social Research Council, Home Office, Leverhulme, Ministry of Justice and the Nuffield Foundation.

Research may be carried out with staff or offenders/ex-offenders in a variety of settings, including prisons, youth offender institutions, secure mental health units and probation offices. Alternatively, research may take place with students or members of the community in our newly equipped laboratories.

Research centres

The School of Psychology currently includes three formally constituted research centres, representing areas of concentration and excellence in research.

Centre for the Study of Group Processes

The Centre for the Study of Group Processes (CSGP) was set up in 1990 to consolidate the School

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a 2.1 at undergraduate level and a Merit at Master's level in a relevant discipline, from a UK or other approved university and/or equivalent. You must submit a research proposal of approximately 1,500 words on your intended topic.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

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