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MSc Developmental Psychology

Gain a greater understanding of how humans develop, mentally, socially and behaviourally, throughout life, from infancy to old age, on a course accredited by the British Psychology Society. As well as gaining Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) required to start your career as a psychologist, you also gain research skills and a professional level of understanding in this specialist area.

Course length 1-2 Year(s)
Location Collegiate Campus

Course description

On this course you study

• development through the lifespan – from infancy, childhood and adolescence into adulthood and old age
• stability and change in our physical, cognitive, social and emotional development
• similarities and differences in the development of individuals and how factors such as biology and environment shape our development

This course is accredited as conferring eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership. This is the first step towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist.

The course is ideal if you are a

• psychology graduate seeking to advance your knowledge of developmental psychology
• graduate from a non-psychology background wanting to apply developmental psychology in the workplace
• graduate considering professional training in a developmental field, such as educational psychology or in areas of psychology requiring Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership
• graduate considering a research career

During your studies you

• gain insight into how and why developmental changes take place, for example, in memory, problem-solving ability and emotional understanding
• explore why children differ in their development, for example, in attributes such as self-esteem and motivation
• gain a thorough grounding in traditional and contemporary developmental theories
• gain comprehensive knowledge and experience of developmental psychology research methods, enabling you to carry out good quality research
• apply your knowledge of lifespan development in various practical settings including education and healthcare

You improve key skills such as • critical thinking • group working • report writing • data analysis • IT ability.

We also offer you the opportunity to gain experience of teaching students on our undergraduate programmes.

International students are most welcome on this course. At Sheffield Hallam University we provide international students with a wealth of support, from pre-arrival right up to, and including, study support while you are studying here. Please see the International Experience Team webpage for more information.

Professional recognition

This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and confers eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC), provided you achieve an overall mark of at least 50 per cent and pass your dissertation. This is the first step towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist.

Entry requirements

2017 entry requirements

A 2:2 degree or above or equivalent in any subject.

We may consider graduates with relevant work experience.

If you do not have these qualifications, or you are unsure whether you have the equivalent, please contact us. You may also be able to claim credit points which can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your qualification at Sheffield Hallam. Find out more

International students

Typically you need qualifications equivalent to the above, and if English is not your first language you must have an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with a minimum 6.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in all other skills. For equivalencies see our English language entry requirements web page.

If your English language skill is currently below IELTS 6.5 we recommend you consider a Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve an equivalent English score.

If you do not have these qualifications, or you are unsure whether you have the equivalent, please contact us.

International and European entry qualifications

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

Course structure

Starts September

Full-time – one day per week for one year
Part-time – typically one day per week for two years

Typical modules may include


Research issues in developmental psychology
• key lifespan developmental theories • attachment theory • emotional development and emotional regulation • development of self concept • development of skills, such as drawing and arithmetic • application of developmental theory and research to practical contexts • overview of developmental research designs • ethical issues in developmental research • infant research techniques • experimental cognitive research with developmental groups • qualitative techniques such as life histories • observational methods • questionnaires and interviews • psychophysical measures including electroencephalography (EEG)

Cognitive development and psychobiology
• Piagetian research • information processing approach • infant speech perception • memory and conceptual development • language processing • cognition in old age • problem solving and reasoning • physical and perceptual development • behavioural genetics • hormonal influences on development • evolutionary developmental psychology • developmental cognitive neuropsychology

Psychology of differential development
• psychometric testing/developmental test batteries • perspectives on differential development such as psychoanalytic, behavioural and biological • development of intelligence • temperament and personality • motivation and self-determination • adult attachment • genetic and environmental influences on differential development

Psychology of social development
• the social context of development including family and peers • social cognition - attribution, attitudes • intergroup processes such as the development of ethnic and national prejudice • identity formation • close relationships

Research methods and statistics
You complete one of the following modules depending on your previous study of psychology at undergraduate level • fundamentals in design and statistics • advanced statistics and design.

You • develop a research question • design a study • collect and analyse data • evaluate your findings • submit a written report based on your study.

Continuing professional development
You are provided with a series of professional development skills tutorials. These are designed to help you progress from academic skills refreshers in the first semester to thinking about how the skills you gain on the course can help your career in the second semester.

Option module
To make sure you graduate with the degree you want, you also choose an option module from one of the following • healthy and clinical ageing • clinical neuropsychopharmacology • theory and practice in counselling and therapy • psychology of criminal behaviour.

  • coursework essays
  • research protocols
  • research reports
  • journal article reviews
  • sample lectures
  • presentations
  • exams
  • individual research project


This is one of the few developmental psychology postgraduate courses to study human development through the lifespan and confer eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership.

Students completing this course have gone on to apply for both educational and clinical psychology training posts, and have also used the course to assist in career change to working with children or for progression in their current positions.

Our careers central website contains useful careers information for students studying psychology.


Home / EU student

Please note tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation. More information can be found in the ‘Tuition Fee Increases’ section of our Fees Regulations (PDF, 2.10 MB)

2016/17 academic year

Typically £6,300 for the course

Part-time – typically £4,200 in year 1, £2,100 in year 2

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are available across the majority of subject areas.

2017/18 academic year

Typically £6,400 for the course

Part-time – typically £4,270 in year 1 and £2,135 in year 2 (subject to inflation)

International student

2016/17 academic year

Typically £12,800 for the course

2017/18 academic year

Typically £13,250 for the course

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs information

How to apply

Complete the application form available at www.shu.ac.uk/study/form

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and student Regulations.

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