Child Development MSc

London, Bloomsbury

The MSc Child Development will deepen students' knowledge of child development and developmental psychology and prepare them for professional work with children and young people, or progression to professional doctorates, higher research degrees, or employment as a researcher. This programme is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and serves as a conversion course, which means that graduates without a background in Psychology can also apply to build on their first-degree qualification to become eligible for the BPS Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership. 

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Up To 5 Years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 05 Apr 2024

Applications closed

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard (in addition to the language and successful reference criteria).

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

This programme is suitable for international students on a Student visa – study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting October.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

This programme provides a high-quality education in the main theories, methods, and findings of psychological research relating to child development. The programme aims to enable independent learning and an approach to developmental psychology that is both informed and critical. Participants have the opportunity to conduct research that contributes to the field of child development.

Who this course is for

This programme is suitable for graduates who have or have not obtained an accredited degree in psychology and who wish to pursue research careers or professional training in educational or clinical psychology. It will be of interest to teachers and professionals working in related fields and those pursuing an applied career in psychology. Suitably qualified graduates of other disciplines can take the programme to become eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society.

What this course will give you

IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society is one of the world's leading centres for education and related areas of social science, and the Department of Psychology and Human Development is unique in the UK for its dedicated focus on developmental and educational psychology. Students therefore have the opportunity to learn from leading researchers in these fields. IOE houses major longitudinal studies such as the Millennium Cohort Study. It is conveniently located for attending research seminars in neighbouring colleges and institutes, such as the Birkbeck Babylab and the Institute of Child Health. In addition to the IOE's extensive library and online resources, students have access to the Senate House, which contains the British Psychological Society collection.

For the tenth year in succession IOE has been ranked number one for education (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023).

The programme provides the opportunity for suitably qualified applicants to gain the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society. Our alumni include government ministers; heads of schools, other educational institutions and NGOs; Olympians; and prize-winning authors.

The foundation of your career

This programme offers a comprehensive research training in Child Development. It provides a good grounding for doctoral study and valuable preparation for a research career in the academic community, the public sector or in industry.


Graduates are currently working as:

  • assistant psychologists in the field of child development in the public and private sectors
  • social science researchers
  • educational or clinical psychologists (following the completion of a professional doctorate)
  • PhD students


Students will have opportunities to attend research seminars, journal clubs and research talks.


This programme is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). Students who successfully complete the course can apply for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership.

Teaching and learning

Various pedagogical techniques and approaches are used to facilitate learning, promote student engagement, and achieve the program's educational objectives. These include, but are not limited to: a) traditional lectures delivered by subject matter experts to present core concepts, theories, and principles; b) pre-recorded lectures to enhance flexibility and accessibility of content; c) workshops where students can apply theoretical knowledge and develop hands-on skills; d) group projects that foster teamwork and communication skill; e) self-directed study to encourage students to take responsibility for their learning through independent research and study; f) a variety of formative and summative assessments to consolidate knowledge and to evaluate progress; and others.

These methods create a dynamic and interactive learning environment, catering to diverse learning styles and preparing students for real-world challenges in their chosen field.

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures delivered by both IOE academic staff and guest speakers, group work, and computer workshops giving hands-on practice. Assessment is through coursework involving a variety of methods including research reports, extended writing pieces, policy briefs, group work, lay reports as well as the dissertation.

Each of the taught modules has 30 hours of contact time (lectures, seminars and group activity). Students are expected to supplement these contact hours via self-directed study. Further time is set aside for contact with supervisors for the dissertation, where the bulk of the work consists of independent research activity.


Full-time students will be expected to complete 180 credits, including four compulsory modules and an independent dissertation.

Compulsory modules:

- Development of Brain and Behaviour (30 credits – Term 1)

- Social and Individual Development (30 credits – Term 2)

- Cognitive Development in Typical and Atypical Populations (30 credits – Term 2)

- Research and Analytical Methods in Psychology (30 credits – Term 1)

- Dissertation on Child Development (60 credits – Terms 1 - 3)

Part-time route:

In Year 1, students will be expected to complete three compulsory modules totaling 90 credits. 

- Development of Brain and Behaviour

- Research and Analytical Methods in Psychology

- Cognitive Development in Typical and Atypical Populations

In Year 2, students will be expected to complete one compulsory module and the dissertation, totaling 90 credits. 

- Social and Individual Development

- Dissertation on Child Development

Modular-flexible route:

Modular flexible students will be expected to complete 180 credits across five years. Students can select the number of modules studied in a given year up to a five-year period. This must be in agreement with the department and the selected modules must follow the same sequence as full- or part-time student.

It is recommended that Research and Analytical Methods in Psychology is taken at the start of the programme and the dissertation should be taken in the final year. If you are a continuing student, please do not select any module you have taken previously.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Child Development.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Psychology and Human Development

Develop your knowledge and career in psychology education with the leading centre devoted to developmental psychology and its application in education and other real-world settings. We welcome you to book your place at our Virtual Open Event. You will meet our Programme Leaders, hear about the programmes you are interested in and have the chance to ask any questions you might have. These sessions are free and open to all.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £12,700 £6,350
Tuition fees (2024/25) £31,100 £15,550

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

Students should take into account any travel, accommodation and expenses involved in their dissertation.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

IOE-Clarke Scholarships

Deadline: 3 May 2024
Value: Tuition fees, return flights and stipend (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE-ISH Centenary Masters Scholarships

Deadline: 3 May 2024
Value: Tuition fees and accommodation (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Child Development at graduate level
  • why you want to study Child Development at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging 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.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.