This programme, run in conjunction with, and based at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, provides a unique foundation for individuals interested in pursuing a psychotherapy training or an academic career in childhood development. The programme combines psychoanalytic theory of development and inter-family relationships with a year-long observation of infants in a family setting, and a research project.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2018/19)
- £9,570 (FT) £4,785 (PT)
- £24,420 (FT) £12,150 (PT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
Normally a minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
About this degree
Students develop a theoretical grounding in psychoanalysis as related to child development and clinical practice. Observations of parents and children allow students to witness some of these theoretical constructs in real world contexts and help students develop the observational skills essential in clinical work. The research teaching covers qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and gives students the tools necessary for conducting reliable, valid and ethical research.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits, with the research dissertation accounting for 60 of these credits.
The programme consists of seven core modules (105 credits), one elective module (15 credits), and a research disseration( 60 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) is also offered on both a full-time and part-time basis.
- Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Child Development I: Infancy
- Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Child Development II: Toddlerhood and Early Childhood
- Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Child Development III: Latency and Adolescence
- An Introduction to Psychoanalytic Theory
- The Clinical Theory of Psychoanalysis
- Research Methods II: Introduction to Statistical Analysis
- Observation I: Parent Infant
Students choose one of the following:
- Observation II: Observation of a Young Child - a second observation of young children, their parent/carer/staff/clinician within a nursery school, playgroup or toddler group setting.
- Parenting: Theory, Research and Clinical Interventions
- Evaluating Clinical Interventions
- Multiple Perspectives on Developmental Psychopathology
All MSc students undertake an independent research project, supported by a supervisor, which culminates in a dissertation of a maximum of 12,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, workshops, and theory and observation seminars. Seminar groups are small, often led by clinicians and allow plenty of opportunity for discussion and reflection. Research work is supported by an individual supervisor and by workshops throughout the year. Assessments include a variety of essays, examinations, observation papers and a research dissertation. Assessment occurs throughout the programme (usually at the end of the relevant module).
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Students who successfully complete the MSc can apply their degree in a variety of settings. Our graduates have found work as psychology assistants or child mental health workers, taken up posts as research assistants and have been admitted to psychotherapy trainings in both adult and child programmes and to PhD positions.
Recent career destinations for this degree
- Assistant Psychologist, Royal Free Hospital (NHS)
- DClinPsy in Clinical Psychology, UCL
- PhD Epidemiology, University College London (UCL)
- Educator, Ready, Steady, Go Nursery
- Research Assistant, UCL/University of Cambridge
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why study this degree at UCL?
Teaching on the programme is based at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in London, a world-renowned centre for research, training and clinical practice in the field of child mental health.
Please note: during the course of the academic year 2018/19, the centre will relocate from Hampstead to a new, purpose-built campus near Kings Cross Station.
The MSc is based within UCL's Division of Psychology & Language Sciences, one of the world’s leading integrated departments of research and teaching in mind, behaviour, and language.
Testimonials from previous students are available on the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families website.
Department: Division of Psychology & Language Sciences
Student / staff numbers
› 181 staff
including 173 postdocs
› 780 taught students
› 440 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Division of Psychology & Language Sciences
83% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
Application fee: There is an application processing fee for this programme of £75 for online applications and £100 for paper applications. More details about the application fee can be found at www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
Usually, prospective students have an undergraduate degree in psychology or another relevant social, clinical or life science discipline and have obtained some prior experience of related research. However, we also welcome applicants from other academic backgrounds and mature students already working with children or families. Some experience of working with children is also desirable if possible.
- All applicants
- 27 July 2018
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology at graduate level
- why you want to study Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to this programme
- how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this rigorous programme
- where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.