Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology
Our three year, full-time doctoral programme is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) for the professional training of educational psychologists. The overall aim of the programme is to enable trainee educational psychologists to integrate theory, research and practice effectively and to become competent, creative and accountable professional practitioners.
We have a long standing reputation for innovation and excellence in professional training in Educational Psychology. Some key features of our programme are:
- A reflective, Problem Based Learning (PBL) approach paired with innovative teaching and learning in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Video Interactive Guidance (VIG), and more
- A ‘Connected Curriculum’ integrating academic knowledge, research and professional practice
- A range of learner resources including the provision of laptops for trainees, an in-house psychological testing library and a self-contained teaching suite
- A first rate setting within the 83% REF research rated ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ UCL Division of Psychology & Language Sciences, offering access to all UCL libraries, facilities and vibrant, central London campus
- Delivery and support from a committed and diverse tutor team, in addition to a range of high profile external speakers
- Opportunities for inter-professional training and cross-professional learning – for example workshops with Clinical Psychology trainees and Speech and Language Therapy trainees
- Key Features of the Programme
The programme seeks to integrate at all levels the three key elements of academic knowledge, research ability and professional practice. In particular, as a doctoral research degree programme and in line with UCL’s ‘Connected Curriculum’, research permeates all aspects.
Academic knowledge in educational psychology at UCL is developed primarily via Problem Based Learning (PBL), an approach where practice problems are used as the starting point for learning. They are tackled by tutor-supported teams of learners who actively and purposefully seek out relevant information needed to address the problem scenario from library research and other sources. There is a strong emphasis from the outset on developing skills for conducting literature searches, critiquing primary sources and producing coherent syntheses.
In addition, seminars are provided by members of the programme team and leading experts to offer overviews of areas of relevance to the problem scenario and to provide trainees with opportunities to discuss developing thinking and check understanding of important concepts.
Research training on the programme utilises the web-based Educational Psychology Research Methods course and accompanying series of workshops. All of the examples used are drawn from professional practice in educational psychology, where possible from published studies. Research skills are also developed through engagement in a significant piece of original, professionally relevant research together with a Service Related Research Project commissioned by the Educational Psychology Service employing the trainee for their professional placement in Years 2 and 3 of the programme. Small support groups of trainees working in related areas are encouraged to debate options and present proposals to tutors for formative feedback in clarifying and developing their ideas, plans of action, interpretations and conclusions.
Professional placement core consultation and assessment work utilises a Problem Analysis framework which is based on the development and testing of hypotheses in defining an accountable rationale for action at each stage of work with clients. Skills in using a full range of assessment and intervention techniques are taught in a series of workshop sessions across the first year of the programme. In identifying appropriate interventions there is emphasis both on appraising the available evidence base and on designing an evaluation of individual progress.
The principal means for supporting and evaluating the trainee’s conceptual understanding of the integration of all three elements of their doctoral studies is the Professional Development (PD) File. This is formally monitored at termly Progress Review Meetings and submitted as part of formally at the end of years 1, 2 and 3, but is mainly used formatively across the 3 years of the programme. A strong tutorial system offers structured opportunities for professional development and monitoring of progression in relation to programme requirements.
Curriculum Outlines, Year 1-3
Click here to access the DECPsy curriculum overview across all three years of the programme.
The majority of teaching on the programme is carried out by members of the core staff team, listed below. In addition, seminars and workshops on specialist topics are provided by a range of high profile educational psychologists and other professionals working for Local Authorities, social services departments, the NHS and voluntary organisations. We also benefit from input from tutors on the part-time DEdPsy programme and academic staff at UCL.
Prof Sandra Dunsmuir - Professor of Educational and Child Psychology and Director, UCL Educational Psychology Group
Dr Susan Birch - Deputy Programme Director (Academic) and Senior Educational Psychologist, Buckinghamshire
Dr Jessica Dewey - Deputy Programme Director (Placements) and Senior Educational Psychologist, Harrow
Academic and Professional Tutors
Dr Shama Ali - Senior Educational Psychologist, Merton
Dr Jessamine Chiappella - Educational Psychologist, Oxfordshire
Dr Sara Freitag - Senior Educational Psychologist, Achieving for Children
Beverley Graham - Senior Educational Psychologist, Hackney
Dr Ben Hayes - Senior Educational Psychologist, Kent
Dr Leanna Lopez - Educational Psychologist, Tower Hamlets
Dr Izzy McDonald - Educational Psychologist, Lambeth
Dr Gavin Morgan - Senior Educational Psychologist, Northamptonshire
Dr Sinead Neal - Educational Psychologist, Greenwich
Dr Gurdip Theara - Educational Psychologist, Triborough
Dr Simon Ungar - Educational Psychologist, Wandsworth
Dr Rebecca Williamson - Acting Deputy Principal Educational Psychologist, Kingston and Richmond
Stephanie Barclay - Educational Psychologist, Enfield
Dr Emma Goldstone - Educational Psychologist, Camden
Dr Ravi Das - Lecturer, Research Methods Prof K.V. Petrides - Professor of Psychology and Psychometrics
Click here to access information about key elements of the curriculum, from PBL to CBT to Research.
Year 1 Placements
For all trainees, the first year of training is primarily based within the University, with placements provided in linked Local Authorities and supervised by UCL Practice Tutors. These Educational Psychology Services are located in inner and outer London, both north and south. A small group of trainees will be placed in each service, with placements allocated in order to minimise travel time as far as possible.
Year 1 Bursaries for Funded Trainees
For government funded trainees at course centres in London, a bursary amount of £16,390 is payable in year 1. Costs of travel to and from placement must be met by trainees.
Year 2 and 3 Bursaried Placements – UK Funded and Self-Funded Students
For all UK funded and self-funded students, in Years 2 and 3 placement experiences will be undertaken in Services in the South East, Eastern region and London (SEEL). Allocations of trainees to Services are made towards the end of Year 1 by a placement panel of Principal Educational Psychologists, taking into account criteria including trainee travel time. Each trainee undertaking a bursaried placement in years 2 and 3 will receive a bursary of £17,000 per annum, which includes a contribution towards travel/books, usually of £500, but with some additional funds being available to support trainees who incur particular travel costs associated with home to placement travel. 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, ensuring 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 Authority responsible for coordinating all aspects of your learning there. They will join UCL supervisor’s training programme and be given a two year appointment as an honorary lecturer at UCL. You will be involved in termly placement review meetings with your Local Authority supervisor and UCL tutor across the 2 years, so that your progress and the quality of learning experiences can be effectively monitored.
Year 2 and 3 Placement Arrangements for EU/Overseas Students*In exceptional circumstances, overseas/EU trainees organise a placement of 260 days (approximately 3 days per week) for years 2 and 3 in their home country. The placement will need to be arranged with a supervisor who is eligible for Chartered Educational Psychology status with the British Psychological Society (or equivalent with the Psychological Society of your home country).
In years 2 and 3 the majority of overseas or EU trainee undertake an unpaid placement in a UK Educational Psychology Service, supervised by one of the UCL course tutors.*
Listen to one of our Senior Placement tutors, Beverley Graham, speak about the programme's placement arrangements below:
The programme is designed to develop academic knowledge, research ability and professional competence during the course of training. In addition to undertaking a range of learning activities at the university, trainees are required to undertake at least 300 days of professional placement work under supervision and attain a satisfactory standard in the following assessments:
- Two 3 hour written Examinations (one in year 1 and one in year 2), using problem-solving questions and PBL case scenarios to test the application of knowledge and understanding to professional practice.
- A research thesis of 25,000-40,000 words which makes a distinct contribution to the knowledge of the subject and offers evidence of originality shown in the discovery of new facts and/or the exercise of independent critical power. The thesis is presented in three parts, the first two in the form of papers that could be submitted for publication in a peer reviewed journal. The third part is not intended for publication but to give you a forum to reflect on the learning that has occurred in carrying out the major research project. The first paper will systematically review and critique the literature relevant to the research topic, while the second paper will report on the research you have carried out.
- Four 4,000 word Case Studies and one 4,000 word Service Related Research Report. These integrate theory and practice, demonstrate developing professional competence across a range of different types of work and show reflection on the inter-related influences of psychological, professional and ethical considerations on practice. The focus of four of these reports is:
- A Problem Analysis for an Individual Child or Young Person
- A Service-Related Research Report
- An Evidence-Based Practice Review Report
- An account of the use of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy with a child/young person
The focus of the remaining report may be selected by you, subject to approval by the Programme Tutors, to form the basis of an individualised PBL unit in Year 3.
- Three Portfolios of professionally relevant work (one per year). These comprise:
- The Placement File, collating placement experiences, self-evaluations of developing competencies in relation to the programme objectives for the placement, key pieces of supporting evidence and appraisals/observation records completed by the Placement Supervisor and UCL Tutors in relation to the Health and Care Professions Council's Statements of Proficiency for Educational Psychologists.
- The cumulative Professional Development File collating the evidence across all assessments of Standard of Proficiency achievement, including self evaluation, peer and tutor evaluation carried out at the end of each PBL unit.
For research by our graduates and tutors click here.
- Trainee Reviews of Evidence Based Practice
Below you can access reviews of interventions written by our UCL Year 1 Trainee Educational Psychologists and submitted as a formally assessed piece of coursework on the programme. The trainees in each cohort collaborated in selecting different interventions so that they could also produce a resource of value both to their group and to Educational Psychology Services.
Three sets of reports are currently available:
- School Based Interventions for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs (SEN) - produced by the 2017-20 cohort of trainees
- Interventions Implemented by Parents - produced by the 2018-21 cohort of trainees
- School/ Setting Based Interventions for Learning - produced by the 2019-22 cohort of trainees
1. School Based Interventions for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs (SEN) - produced by the 2017-20 cohort of trainees
Trainee Name and Cohort Title of Evidence Based Practice Review
Trainee Name and Cohort Title of Evidence Based Practice Review
Is Reciprocal Teaching an effective intervention for developing the reading comprehension abilities of Secondary, Sixth Form and Further Education learners of English as an additional language (EAL) in the UK?
- Objective Structured Professional Assessments
- Therapeutic Resources Website
Click here to visit our Therapeutic Resources website. The website hosts a collection of multi-media resources to support trainee practice in delivering Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and other evidence–based therapies. Note that to access the website you will need a username and password which trainees, course members and UCL tutors can obtain by contacting the Educational Psychology admin team.
- Term Dates
Term Dates for 2021-22 are as follows:
Autumn Term 2021
Start: Monday 1st September 2021
End: Friday 10th December 2021
Study/Available for booking leave: 13th December 2021 – 3rd January 2021
Spring Term 2022
Start: Tuesday 4th January 2022
End: Friday 1st April 2021
Study/Available for booking leave: 2nd April – 18th April 2021
Summer Term 2022
Start: Tuesday 19th April 2021
End: Wednesday 6th July 2021
Study/Available for booking leave: 7th July – 31st August 2022
Fees for the 2021-2024 intake will be:
Successful UK applicants who secure funded training places will have their university fee paid from the Department for Education for all three years.
Fees for September 2021 will be £17,795 for the first year of the course for UK funded applicants, and £8,897 in years two and three of the course.
The fee for overseas students in year 1 is £26,268.
In years 2 and 3 the fee will be:
- £22,511 per annum for UK placement
- Apply - UK candidates
Click here to visit our applications page.
- Apply - International (EU & Overseas) Candidates
Click here to visit our international information and applications page.
You can see a range of DECPsy graduate profiles by visiting our DECPsy alumni page.
- New Starters
If you have secured a place on the DECPsy programme visit our New Starters webpage for a range of information, including course documentation and useful links.
- DECPsy Year 2 and 3 Placements (SEEL Bursary Placements 2021)
To access our SEEL Bursary Placements 2021 webpage, please click here.
Hear recent alumni and current students speak about their experiences on the programme:
Hear our tutors talking about the Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology at UCL:
We take student support very seriously on the Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology programme. Below, Year 1 Co-ordinator and Professional Development (PD) Tutor Dr Gavin Morgan describes the support available to students on the programme: