Key Facts

Course Title: Child Development
Course type: MSc
Mode of Study:Full Time or Part Time
Contact Details:Bev Davies
Website: Go to School homepage
Faculty: Faculty of Natural Sciences
Subject Area: Psychology


****  We are now accepting applications onto a waiting list for 2017/18  ****

The MSc in Child Development is designed to prepare psychology graduates for the next stage of their career in research or applied areas of psychology.
Keele has a vibrant, well-established and ever-expanding community of researchers in child development. Students will benefit from their expertise across a wide range of areas including child social development (e.g. bullying and peer relationships), child cognitive development (e.g. theory of mind, attention in autism and ADHD) and education (e.g. girls and science and enhancing collaborative learning in the classroom). MSc students are made to feel part of this research culture both through the formal modules and through involvement in research seminars and meetings.

Students become members of the new Centre for Research with Children and Young People through which the teaching of the advanced study module is delivered.

Career Destinations
Many of our MSc graduates go on to take up positions in the workplace, register for professional psychology training (e.g. educational psychology) or a PhD in psychology.

Aims of the Course

The programme provides taught content and research training in a range of areas in Child Development, building on areas of staff research expertise. Strengths include: children’s peer relationships, e.g. bullying in schools; children’s trust in health professionals; written emotional expression in adolescents; eye movements in children with autism and ADHD; how an understanding of the nature of knowledge and beliefs develops in children and young adults; social influences on learning, such as how teachers use feedback in the classroom; and how to promote collaborative learning; factors that influence children’s subject choices, e.g. girls and science; children’s musical development and engagement; and parenting, e.g. interactions at family mealtimes.
We have well-established links with local schools and have created research partnerships where students come to the university to experience learning in a university setting as well as allowing our students to gain valuable experience working and collecting data in a school setting. We also run the project White Water Writers which gives groups of young people the chance to write and publish their own full length novel in a week. We work with local primary, secondary, SEN and other youth groups such as looked after children and MSc students are given the opportunity to take the lead in running this project.

Entry Requirements

This course is open to graduates with a first or upper second-class degree in psychology (or a cognate discipline with some psychology study) or equivalent. International students are very welcome. We accept IELTS 7.0 overall with 6.0 in each subtest.

Course Content

The programme addresses written and communication skills, independent learning skills, data analysis, critical reflection and critical evaluation. Our students benefit from a wide range of support including accessible academic staff with a wide range of expertise, laboratory and other research space, study space, and access to IT and research tools.

List of Module Titles

  • Contemporary Research in Psychology (15 credits)
  • Advanced Research Skills & Design (15 credits)
  • Qualitative Research Methods (15 credits)
  • Advanced Quantitative Statistics (15 credits)
  • Research Apprenticeship in Psychology (15 credits)
  • Dissertation (75 credits)
  • Advanced Study in Child Development (30 credits)

Social and Community

Using a guided independent learning approach, where research active members of staff engage with students to critically evaluate and discuss key journal articles on a range of topics. The module aims to deepen students’ knowledge and understanding of key concepts, theories and research evidence on the psychology in social and community psychology, and to gain a perspective on new insights in these areas of psychological research. The seminar programme is both rich and diverse, covering both the development and the application of theory and research to the issues of nationalism, group development, collective action, social influence, cyber-psychology, persuasion and local community psychology. Across the module you will be introduced to the complexity and plurality of theory. You will begin to understand that there can be different social psychological explanations for the same kinds of issues and that it is important for you to take a reasoned position in relationship to these contrasting ideas. You will also see how research and theory can be involved in provoking and mobilising social change as much as merely explaining its dynamics.

Child Development

The teaching for this module is delivered through the new Centre for Research with Children and Young People. The module aims to deepen students’ knowledge and understanding of key concepts, theories and research evidence on child development and to develop their critical awareness of current issues and new insights in this area of psychological research. There is a key focus on the ethical and practical issues associated with conducting research with children and young people. Topics can include: children’s humour, children and face perception, children and advertising, bullying in schools.

Cognitive Psychology

The teaching for this module centers around a guided independent learning approach, whereby key journal articles are critically discussed in weekly "journal clubs" led by staff with relevant expertise. The module is situated within the research expertise of members of the Cognitive and Biological Research Group in the School, and aims to develop students' knowledge and critical understanding of classic and developing areas of cognitive and biological psychology. Indicative topics include attention, executive functioning, memory (short- and long-term), false memory, cognitive neuropsychology, cognitive ageing, face perception, emotion contagion, psychobiology, social perspective taking, and metacognition.

Psychology of Health and Wellbeing

This module aims to deepen students’ knowledge and understanding of key concepts, theories and research evidence on the psychology of health and wellbeing and to develop their critical awareness of current issues and new insights in this area of psychological research. Indicative sections of the module include 1) defining health and wellbeing; 2) researching and promoting health and wellbeing; and 3) evaluating health and wellbeing initiatives.

Teaching and Assessment

The course is of one year duration for full time and two years for part-time.

The course is assessed through written coursework, unseen examination, verbal presentation of research, and independent research written up as a dissertation.

Additional Costs

Apart from additional costs for text books, inter-library loans and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for this postgraduate programme. Limited support is available for research-related expenses.

For information on fees please see the latest information here for taught postgraduate fees.
There are a number of bursaries on offer to both home and overseas postgraduate students. Please see this page for more information.

The School of Psychology will fund students to attend a UK conference to present their dissertation research.