This MSc aims to encourage an integrated understanding of child development and a range of childhood disorders, and to give students an opportunity to apply this understanding in a clinical setting through a supervised placement in the second year within a mental health service.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2020/21)
- £10,750 (FT)
- £26,890 (FT)
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 Students website.
Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university in Psychology, or in another relevant social, clinical or life science discipline, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. It is highly desirable that students have obtained relevant experience working with children or adolescents prior to application.
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.
The MSc in Developmental Psychology and Clinical Practice is a two-year, full-time programme offered by UCL, based at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. The aim of the programme is to provide a framework for developing an integrated understanding of childhood disorders, and to offer an opportunity to develop practical skills for working with children and families in a clinical setting.
This programme draws together theory, research and therapeutic thinking from a range of perspectives, including clinical and cognitive psychology, systemic theory, psychoanalysis and neuroscience. Theoretical learning is complemented by workshop-based seminars where students learn core clinical skills; and in the second year of the programme they have a one-year placement in a child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS), under the supervision of an experienced clinician. Students also complete a research dissertation in the field of child mental health and/or service delivery.
In year one most modules are taught 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. Students attend weekly lectures complemented by small group seminars in a friendly and supportive environment. The teaching is organised into three 'families' of modules: Child Development, Disorders and the Developing Mind; Research Skills; and Clinical Skills. Modules focusing on clinical skills during Year 1 are classroom based, with recorded role-play and video feedback offering students a context within which to develop and reflect upon practical skills.
In year two, as well as taking further modules at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and UCL, and continuing work on your research dissertation, students move into a 2-3 days per week placement in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in London. During this placement students have the opportunity to develop core clinical skills relevant to working with children and families, under the supervision of an experienced clinician.
Objectives and Outcomes
Through a combination of lectures, workshops and supervised clinical placements, the programme offers students an opportunity to develop an understanding of developmental psychopathology, whilst developing core clinical skills for working with children and families in a mental health setting. The teaching draws on thinking from a range of perspectives, including clinical and cognitive psychology, systemic thinking, psychoanalysis and neuroscience. The objective of the programme is to give students the chance to develop a set of 'core competencies' in child development, research and clinical practice, essential to those wanting to work clinically or academically in the field of child and adolescent mental health.
Why Study at UCL?
Teaching on the programme is mostly 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.
The MSc is based within UCL's Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology. This is one of the world’s leading integrated departments of applied psychology, focussing on the implementation of ground-breaking research to improve development, education, and mental and physical wellbeing in individuals and social groups. The Department has an exceptional track record of influencing national and international policy in the delivery of health, education and social care.
Who is the programme for?
This MSc provides a solid foundation for those wishing to go on to further clinical training or post-doctoral research, or to apply for employment with the children's workforce. The programme is highly selective and takes a maximum of 15 per year, so students with relevant experience prior to application will be at an advantage.
This two year MSc has a total value of 270 credits. 135 credits of taught modules are taken in Year One and 135 in Year Two. The programme consists of eleven core modules (185 credits) and a research project (85 credits).
Teaching and Assessment
The programme is delivered through lectures, small-group seminars, skills-based workshops and practical classes. Assessment is through essays, exams and practical assignments (such as role-plays of clinical work with child actors, or a presentation about the development of a clinical service), as well as a research project which is submitted at the end of the second year.
During the second year of the programme, all students undertake a one-year placement in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) team, supervised by an experienced member of the CAMHS team. All placements are in London, and are arranged as part of the programme. Placements currently include: Great Ormond Street Hospital; Islington CAMHS; Barnet and Enfield CAMHS; Southwark CAMHS; the Royal Free Hospital; and the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families' own clinical services. The placement is usually for 2-3 days per week during the second year of the programme, and a work discussion group and on-going teaching in clinical skills, continuing throughout the second year, are designed to support the placement.
All students undertake an independent research project, under supervision, which culminates in a dissertation-portfolio made up of an 8,000 word journal article and a research poster. Students will have the opportunity to undertake research related to child and adolescent mental health services through our collaborations with a range of partner organisations, as well as the Anna Freud National Centre's own clinical services, the Evidence Based Practice Unit (EBPU) and the Child Attachment and Psychological Therapies Research Unit (ChAPTRe).
Modules are grouped into ‘families’
Module Family Year 1 Year 2 Child Development, Disorders and the Developing Mind
Multiple Perspectives on Developmental Psychopathology I and II
Psychoanalytic Thought: Introduction to the Clinical Theory of Psychoanalysis
CAMHS in Context Clinical Skills
Building and Maintaining Therapeutic Relationships
Assessment and Planning Clinical Interventions
Clinical Skills I and II
Introduction to Research Methods (formative)
Quantitative Data Analysis (SPSS)
Introuction to Qualitative Research (formative)
Evaluating Clinical Interventions
Research Methods II (formative)
Supervised Research Project
(Year 1 and 2)
Location: London, Kings Cross (Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families)
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.
Who can apply?
This MSc provides a solid foundation for those wishing to pursue further clinical training, or to apply for employment with the children's workforce. The programme is highly selective and takes a maximum of 15 students per year, so students with relevant experience prior to application will be at an advantage.
- All applicants
- 3 February 2020
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 Developmental Psychology at graduate level
- why you want to study 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. It is highly desirable that students have obtained relevant experience working with children or adolescents prior to application.
Please note: you are required to provide details of 2 referees on your application, at least one of whom should be academic. We require your references to be completed on or very soon after the application deadline so please bear this in mind when you apply. Interviews will be held in March 2020. Interviews are held in person for those in the UK and via telephone for applicants who are overseas.
Please note: this programme is not eligible for US Federal Loan Authority funding.
The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families offers one bursary for this MSc programme (£3000 per year) which is open only to Home and EU Students. Additionally, the Centre offers one bursary for mature students. Both are awarded based on academic ability and potential as well as on financial need. Please note, students are only eligible to apply once they have been issued with a firm offer from UCL for this programme. The bursaries are administered by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and are not part of UCL.
There are a variety of different funding options for both UK/EU and International Students. For information on entry scholarships and other sources of funding for Graduate students please go to the UCL Scholarships page.
“This is a ground-breaking course which offers an understanding of childhood problems along with training in the skills needed to help distressed children and families. We are delighted to be a partner in offering placement experience to students on the course.”
Yvonne Millar, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Islington Community CAMHS Service Manager
“What attracted me to the course in the beginning was how it was a very well-rounded approach to theory, research and practical training … This course provided me with a very broad but proper grounding in all three. My experience of the placement was one of the biggest learning experiences I have ever had … we were not just observing clinicians … we were right in there with them”
Graduate of the MSc in Developmental Psychology and Clinical Practice.
Graduates from the programme have already successfully gone on to gain places on doctoral-level clinical trainings, including Clinical Psychology, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and Counselling Psychology. Others have got jobs as research assistants or as primary mental health workers specialising in work with children and families.
Completing this MSc does not result in an accredited clinical qualification as a child therapist or clinical psychologist. However it will help you develop several core clinical competencies and provide direct supervised experience of work in a child and adolescent mental health service, placing you in a very strong position to work in children's services or to proceed to a doctoral-level clinical training. The programme also puts graduates in a strong position to go on to PhD studies in the field of child and adolescent mental health and health service related research.
Q. What kind of academic background do you look for in successful candidates?
A. Successful applicants would have a background in Psychology, or a related field. They would have an undergraduate final grade of at least a 2:1 or equivalent. Some experience of working with children or in research would be an advantage as well.
Q. What kind of careers do people move into after the MSc?
A. Graduates from the programme have successfully gone on to gain places on doctoral-level clinical trainings, such as Child Psychotherapy, Counselling or Clinical Psychology; and to find work as primary mental health workers specialising in work with children and families. The programme will also put graduates in a strong position to go on to PhD research studies in the field of child and adolescent mental health.
Q. Is the programme professionally accredited?
A. This MSc does not lead to professional accreditation as a specialist child and adolescent mental health practitioner; however, the programme is specifically designed to help students gain the key clinical skills, knowledge and experience that will help them to progress to doctoral-level training, if they wish to do so. It is anticipated that completing this MSc, with its range of theoretical and practical components, will put students in a strong position to apply for a range of doctoral-level clinical trainings, or to work directly within children's services.
Q. I’m an overseas student, where can I convert my grades to find out if I am eligible for the programme?
A. You can find information on converting grades on the International Students website, under information by country.
Q. How long is the programme?
A. The programme is a two-year programme and is only offered on a full-time basis.
Q. Are fees payable for both years of the MSc?
A. Yes, fees are payable to UCL for both years of study.
Q. What scholarships/funding opportunities are available?
A. There are a variety of different funding options for both UK/EU and International Students. For information on entry scholarships and other sources of funding for Graduate students please go to the UCL Scholarships page. To apply for funding it is necessary to have filled in an application form for admission as a Graduate student before completing a scholarship application form. Please note that the deadlines for scholarship applications are strongly adhered to and no application will be accepted after the deadline date indicated.
Q. Am I required to take the GRE to qualify for the MSc?
A. No. Applicants do not need to take the GRE. This is not required as part of the selection process.
Q. Are second language English students required to prove their English proficiency?
A. Yes. All students whose first language is not English must be able to provide recent evidence that their spoken and written command of the English language is good. See 'English language requirements' for full details.
Dr Nick Midgley is the Joint Programme Director for this programme.
Nick is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and an Associate Professor in the Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology at UCL. He is co-director of the Child Attachment and Psychological Therapies Research Unit (ChAPTRe), and author or editor of several books, including Minding the Child: Mentalization-based interventions with children, young people and families (Routledge, 2012), Reading Anna Freud (Routledge 2013), Mentalization-Based Therapy for Children: a time-limited approach (APA, 2017) and Essential Research Findings in Child and Adolescent Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage 2017).
Dr Fiona John is the Joint Programme Director for this programme. Fiona is a Clinical Psychologist with many years of experience in the NHS.
All teaching staff on the MSc are either experienced clinicians working in child and adolescent mental health services, from a range of disciplines and backgrounds (family therapy, child psychotherapy, clinical psychology etc.); or they are leading researchers in the field, carrying out a range of developmental, neuroscience and clinical research projects.