UCL Graduate degrees


Infancy and Early Childhood Development MSc

This programme explores the main theories, methods and research findings relating to prenatal issues, infants and young children from a variety of perspectives, including psychology, education, and health. It includes approaches to assessment and intervention, typical and atypical development.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Flexible: 2-5 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 31 May 2021
Applications may close earlier if all places on the programme are filled.

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£12,500 (FT)
£28,500 (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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.

Optional qualifications: This degree is also available as a PG Diploma and a PG Certificate with fees set accordingly.
Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor’s degree in psychology, medicine or other health or education related topic 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

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

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. International Preparation Courses

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

International students

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

You will learn about the development of infants and young children (in utero life to five years of age) from the perspective of a range of disciplines, including psychology, education, medical, health and the social context.

You will learn about the impact of typical and atypical development; maternal/primary caregiver and broader environmental factors; and settings including nurseries and other informal learning settings. You will also explore the importance of early social skills and specific childhood disorders and medical conditions. You will be exposed to age-specific tools for evaluating typical and atypical development, and to intervention methods appropriate for certain neurodevelopmental disorders. There will be optional modules to allow specialisation within the areas of psychology, education and health, and you will undertake a research project under supervision.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four compulsory modules (60 credits), two to four optional modules (60 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits). The optional modules are chosen from a set of approved modules.

A Postgraduate Diploma, four core modules (60 credits), two to four optional modules (60 credits), full-time one year or flexible study up to five years, is offered.

A Postgraduate Certificate, four core modules (60 credits), part-time one year or flexible study over a period of up to two years, is offered

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Infancy and Early Childhood Development. Upon successful completion of 120 credits, you will be awarded a PG Dip in Infancy and Early Childhood Development. Upon successful completion of 60 credits, you will be awarded a PG Cert in Infancy and Early Childhood Development.

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 is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

All compulsory modules from the following list must be taken

  • Applied Statistics for Health Research 1
  • Prenatal and Newborn Development
  • Infant Development
  • Preschool Years
  • Research Project for Infancy and Early Childhood Development

The course includes lectures by clinicians from Great Ormond Street Hospital and Institute of Child Health, as well as other academic and clinical centres across UCL and the UK, to cover health issues that affect newborns, infants and young children.

Optional modules

60 credits of optional modules drawn from the following list:
(all modules are worth 15 credits unless stated otherwise)

  • Nutrition, Growth and Physical Activity
  • Infant and Neurodevelopmental Assessment
  • Safeguarding and Children in Society
  • Child Public Health
  • Fetal and Perinatal Medicine
  • Disability and Development
  • Perinatal Epidemiology and Maternal Health
  • Atypical Development (30 credits)
  • Cognitive Development and Learning (30 credits)

Dissertation/research project

All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme will be delivered via lectures, seminars and web-based materials (e.g. reading, videos). Students will be evaluated by written work (essays, commentaries, research dissertation) and presentations.

Compulsory modules are delivered as blocks of study normally over 7 consecutive weekdays.  However these may be subject to change depending on time-table demands. Face to face contact for each of these is typically between 9:30am - 5:30pm. 

Additional costs

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


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees-and-funding.


Visit the funding and studentship pages of the GOS ICH website for details of funding available to students, including the GOS ICH bursary.

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


You will gain skills and knowledge relevant to PhD-level study, a career in early childhood development research, or roles within the medical/educational professions working with infants and young children. The degree is an academic qualification and should not be considered clinical training. However, it is considered a valuable addition to the professional portfolio of those already working in clinical settings or students who are planning to apply to clinical training courses.


During the programme, you will acquire a solid knowledge and theoretical base of child development, environmental influences, medical and educational aspects within the prenatal to five-year period. You will meet and have opportunity to network with professionals from diverse fields including paediatricians, neurologists, psychologists, health visitors, play specialists and early-years educators. You will be exposed to a range of evaluation and treatment/intervention approaches and acquire research method, analysis and communication skills, including those for communicating research to the general public.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health is a world leader in the delivery of paediatric healthcare, research and education, and this programme will also take advantage of collaboration with other expert departments within UCL, thereby providing unique opportunities to interface across disciplines. This programme aims to integrate psychological development, education, medical aspects and health and social context factors. Exposure to these topics will ensure you gain an understanding of the many variables relevant to early childhood development.

The degree is an academic qualification and should not be considered clinical training. However, it is considered a valuable addition to the professional portfolio of thoes already working in clinical settings or students who are planning to apply to clinical training courses.

Department: Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health

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.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

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: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

This course is aimed at those wishing to gain exposure to high quality academic debate and key research issues in early years of childhood development.

Application deadlines

All applicants
31 May 2021

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 Infancy and Early Childhood Development at graduate level
  • why you want to study Infancy and Early Childhood 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.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 13 April 2021