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Course structure and placements

The overall aim of our programme is to enable trainee educational psychologists to effectively integrate theory and practice and become skilled and accountable professional practitioners, eligible for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council and Chartered status with the British Psychological Society. The programme is structured to achieve this aim as follows.

Year 1

Knowledge and skill development in Problem Based Learning (PBL), seminar and workshop sessions at UCL (2-3 days/week)

Independent study (1-2 days/week).

Group placement with UCL tutor (1-2 days/week).

Year 2

Skill and Knowledge sessions at UCL (Block of 3 days per month).

Research and independent study/ICT enabled individual and small group tutorials (5 days/month).

Placement with LA (12 days/month).

Year 3

Skill and Knowledge sessions at UCL (2 blocks of 3 days per term).

Research and independent study/ICT enabled individual and small group tutorials (6 days/month).

Placement with LA (12 days/month).

Click here to download a course reading list: Further course structure information is available below


Teaching/learning methods and strategies

Knowledge and understanding are developed through a guided problem/practice based learning (PBL) approach designed to:

 Promote application to professional practice

 Encourage an independent, self-directed approach to professional learning and continuing professional development

 Utilise collaborative team work in developing professionally relevant interpersonal communication skills.

In the first year, PBL units are studied in small groups guided by tutors who are HCPC Registered and BPS Chartered Educational Psychologists. The practice issues on which the units are focused are drawn from frequently encountered and important scenarios in professional work. These are designed to ensure spiral coverage of the required learning outcomes and key proficiencies in building competence across the year. Each Unit involves tutor-facilitated small group sessions, self-directed individual study, student-facilitated small-group meetings and in-line conferencing. Tutor led whole cohort sessions provide overviews of terminology, concepts, issues and opportunities for course members to present outcomes of their work.

The tutor facilitated small group sessions in PBL are particularly focused on the development of skills of professional problem solving, reasoning, critically appraising sources of information and developing arguments. Tutors model and encourage students to engage in activities such as questioning assumptions, generating hypotheses and identifying ways in which they could be tested. Skills are developed in critical evaluation, synthesising available information, articulating well reasoned arguments and considering interpretations and implications.

A set of authentic and motivating learning resources is provided for each unit (booklet and Web-based) which include the programme objectives and curriculum components to be addressed in the unit; the case study material that forms the focus for the small group work, together with links to key source material for preparatory work and independent study. Topics covered during the first year include: The profession of educational psychology, Practice contexts: schools and multi-agency teams, Managing professional development and ethical issues in practice, Raising achievement: intervening with schools as organisations, Reducing social exclusion: community and whole school focus, Promoting inclusion of children who have SEN, Cognition, memory and intelligence, Language and literacy learning and bilingual language development, Social, emotional and behavioural difficulties in childhood and adolescence, Autistic spectrum disorders, Dyslexia and ADHD: neuropsychology and educational practice, effective school based and individually focused interventions.

During the second year extension PBL units, studied over one month blocks build upon core proficiencies and develop those required for more advanced and specialist aspects of practice. Topics covered during the second year include: Profound and multiple learning difficulties and challenging behaviour, Physical and sensory difficulties, Effective family and community interventions, Tackling disadvantage through effective prevention and early intervention, Tribunal and court work. During the third year, tutors facilitate small group support for learning on further units, individually tailored to respond to students' learning needs and special interests and to LA service needs and placement learning opportunities.


Practical skills are developed across the 3 years of the programme through a series of Workshops in College and professional placement experiences. Workshop series include: Diversity: Developing awareness, sensitivity and culturally competent practice, Effective interpersonal and communication skills, Strategies for working with groups, Consultation skills with teachers and other professionals, Interviewing skills with parents and pupils, Training and presentation skills, Psychological testing, Interactive and context-based assessment approaches (observation, dynamic assessment, functional analysis), Cognitive behavioural therapy and Video Interactive Guidance skills.

A range of teaching and learning strategies are used including:

 Video taped and live demonstration by tutors and placement supervisors;

 Role plays, simulations and individually tutored micro skills and supervision sessions using video analysis and building on student analysis, peer and tutor feedback and self reflection;

Peer, tutor and placement supervisor observation of placement work using structured proformas to guide the analysis of performance and maximise the value of the feedback. Collaborative team work in developing professionally relevant interpersonal communication skills.

During Year 3 you will be helped to successfully secure your first position as a qualified EP in a number of ways:

 Taught sessions will prepare you to complete application forms effectively, deliver presentations and perform at interview,

 Tutors will provide feedback on written applications and presentations,

 Mock interviews will be arranged with tutors who are Senior EP Service Managers.


Placement experience in Year 1 is organised in services holding ‘Training Service’ status and responsibility for supervision rests with a UCL tutor who is seconded from the service. These services are located in inner and outer London, both north and south. A small group of course members will be placed in each service. Allocation of course members to services will seek to minimise travel time.

In Years 2 and 3 your placement experiences will be undertaken in Services in London and the South East. Allocations of trainees to Services will be made towards the end of Year 1 by a placement panel of Principal Educational Psychologists, taking account of criteria including trainee travel time. Please click here for further information regarding year 2 and 3 placement allocations and expectations.

As soon as you have obtained a bursaried placement your UCL tutor will work with your placement service to establish a close and mutually beneficial partnership to ensure that service delivery, service development and placement learning are all well met in the planned programme for Years 2 and 3 and that research requirements are considered and built in where possible. You will have a named supervisor in the placement LA responsible for coordinating all aspects of your learning there. They will be expected to join the UCL supervisor’s training programme and will be offered a two year appointment as an honorary lecturer at UCL. You will be involved in termly placement review meetings with your LA supervisor and UCL tutor across the 2 years, so that your progress and the quality of learning experiences can be effectively monitored.


Research skills are developed through engagement in a significant piece of original, professionally relevant research and a service related research project commissioned by your placement Educational Psychology Service. Both pieces of research will normally be carried out in Years 2 and 3 in the placement LA, although the thesis research may sometimes be undertaken elsewhere. The placement service managers will often be closely involved with you and your UCL thesis tutor in decisions about the questions to be investigated and proposed research strategies. It is hoped to form research consortia, involving principal psychologists and leading researchers from UCL so that a number of course members can collaborate in researching, across services, topics of generally agreed importance to the development of the knowledge base and practice of educational psychology.

At each point in the research process information, options and guidelines are available you through the Web-based Educational Psychology Research Methods course which forms the basis of a taught workshop series. Small groups of students working in related areas will be encouraged to debate options and present proposals to tutors for formative feedback in clarifying and developing their ideas, plans of action, interpretations and conclusions.

Site last modified 2nd February 2017
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News, Downloads and Useful Links

2017 Applications appnews

September 2017 entry for UK funded and self-funded candidates, via the EPFT application website, closed on 5th December 2016 and we are currently shortlisting for interview. Applicants are advised to check the AEP website for further information, in addition to our application webpage

Overseas application for September 2017 entry on the programme is now open with a deadline of 21 April 2017 for applications - please see our overseas applications page for further details if you are a potential EU or overseas candidate interested in applying for 2017 entry.

AEP Hosted Funded Application Page AEP Logo

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