Developmental Psychology and Clinical Practice MSc

London, King's Cross (Anna Freud Centre)

This MSc aims to encourage an integrated understanding of child development and a range of childhood disorders. It also gives students an opportunity to apply this understanding in a clinical setting through a supervised placement in the second year within a mental health service.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
All applicants: 16 Oct 2023 – 05 Feb 2024

Applications closed

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university in Psychology, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, and relevant experience working with children or adolescents. Relevant work experience could include professional or voluntary involvement with children (whether in mental health context or not), for example, as part of placements undertaken during undergraduate study, as part of a research project (e.g. interviewing children for research) or in a personal capacity (e.g. childminding or volunteering).

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

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.

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

The programme draws together theory, research and therapeutic thinking from a range of perspectives, including clinical and cognitive psychology, systemic thinking, CBT, psychoanalysis and neuroscience. Alongside working on a research project and learning about child mental health, students learn how to build therapeutic relationships, and carry out assessments and evaluation. These skills are put into practice during the clinical placement.

Who this course is for

This MSc provides a solid foundation for those wishing to pursue further clinical training or research or to apply for employment with the children's workforce. The programme is highly selective and takes a maximum of 20 students per year, so students with more relevant experience prior to application will be at an advantage.

What this course will give you

The programme is based at Anna Freud in London, a world-renowned centre for research, training and clinical practice in the field of child mental health. Distinctive features include teaching by highly experienced clinicians and researchers working in the field of child mental health; the opportunity to develop clinical skills for working with children; practical training in conducting research in clinical settings.

You will also gain exposure to clinical work within NHS and/or voluntary sector organisations involving children, adolescents and families, under the supervision of an experienced clinician.

To read past students' testimonials, please visit the departmental webpages.

The foundation of your career

Completing this MSc 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 strong position to proceed to a further clinical training, such as in clinical psychology.


Since the MSc was established in 2011, graduates have gone on to work with children and families in children's services and various therapeutic settings, or to undertake doctoral-level clinical training, such as clinical psychology, or counselling psychology. Some of our graduates also pursue research careers, taking up posts as research assistants or going on to PhD study.

*opportunities will vary depending on funding opportunities and eligibility criteria


Students will have an opportunity to attend the Academic Skills Seminar Series which will be hosted by a variety of guest lecturers from different fields. Students will also be able to attend careers events with a specific focus on clinical and research focused careers, which will offer networking opportunities with relevant professionals. There will also be opportunities for the students to network with other MSc students in the Anna Freud and with DPCP alumni. There will be other opportunity to network with researchers, clinicians and other students/staff in the Anna Freud and UCL through various activities such as involvement in UCL ChangeMakers projects and taking part in staff-student committees and events.  

Teaching and learning

In year one, weekly lectures are delivered, complemented by small group seminars. Modules focusing on clinical skills provide opportunities for role play, reflective practice and working with mock case material. In year two, as well as taking further modules, students move into a two-three days per week placement in a child and adolescent mental health setting, supervised by an experienced clinician. This offers an opportunity to develop clinical, professional and practical skills relevant to working in mental health settings. 

Assessment is by a mixture of coursework (including science communication assignments), examinations, oral presentations (individual and group-based), video role-play, and a research portfolio. 

The majority of taught modules involve approximately 150 learning hours. This typically includes 25 hours of contact time per term in the form of lectures, seminars, and workshops, and 125 hours of self-directed study, including weekly readings in preparation for the teaching, further individual study, coursework, and revision/preparation for summative assessment.

The Research Portfolio module involves approximately 850 learning hours, spread across the two years of the programme. The bulk of the work involves independent research activity, supported by research project supervision and monthly workshops, which encompass approximately 65 contact hours.

Further time is set aside for additional workshops (e.g. professional skills workshops, journal club) and termly meetings with Personal Tutors.

In Year Two of the programme, two to three working days (14-21 hours) a week will be spent on clinical placements. This is in addition to taught modules (up to 5 contact hours per week) and additional programme activities and research project work (variable).


Year One

In Year One, most modules are taught at Anna Freud in London, a world-renowned centre for research, training and clinical practice in the field of child mental health. You will 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 include interactive seminars with recorded role-play video feedback, offering you a context within which to develop and reflect upon practical skills.

Year Two

In Year Two, as well as taking further modules at Anna Freud and UCL, and continuing work on your research portfolio, you will move into a 2-3 days per week placement in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in London. During this placement you will have the opportunity to develop core clinical skills relevant to working with children and families, under the supervision of an experienced clinician.

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 270 credits. Upon successful completion of 270 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Developmental Psychology and Clinical Practice.


In the second year, students move into a two-three day placement. These placements are in mental health services which specialise in work with children, young people, parents, carers and families. Supervision within the placement is provided by an experienced clinician. Personal Tutors also facilitate placement review meetings once a term, and all students have access to a weekly Work Discussion Group.


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.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £15,100
Tuition fees (2024/25) £34,400

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

Travel costs, including travelling to Anna Freud/UCL regularly for teaching as well as travelling to clinical placement service (up to 3 times a week, term-time), in the second year. Some specific research projects may incur an additional cost, for example for travel and research expenses.  

This programme requires a completed DBS check for some compulsory modules. You will receive more information from UCL on how to complete the check once you have firmly accepted an unconditional offer for the programme. The DBS application cost will be covered by UCL, but offer holders will also need to have their ID checked and verified at a Post Office, for which they will incur a charge of £15.00. The offer holder is also required to arrange and pay for any overseas police check that may be necessary; costs vary by country. For more information about the DBS application process, please contact the UCL Graduate Admissions team.

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

Anna Freud offers a number of bursaries which 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 bursary is administered by Anna Freud and not by UCL. You can find more information about this funding here.

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

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 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
  • About your experiences of working with children and young people (whether in a professional, voluntary or personal capacity)

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 and to discuss and reflect on your experiences and learning.

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.

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