Dan Middleton, MSc in Child Development alumnus

After completing my undergraduate single honours Psychology degree at Keele in 2016, I
decided to pursue an MSc in Child Development. During my own childhood I experienced
several difficulties that subsequently formed my ambition to become an Educational
Psychologist. I wish to make a positive impact on the lives of children and young people in
the future and pursuing the MSc Child Development at Keele University was the next step to
achieve this.

The programme provided an excellent opportunity for me to understand the complex
experiences that can be faced during childhood, the potential complications associated with
them, as well as methods of intervention. One of my personal highlights was being given the
opportunity to develop an evidence-based intervention to improve teacher awareness of
depression and anxiety in adolescents. This provided the chance to develop skills to utilise in
my future career, thus reaffirming the real life impact this type of research can have on
children and young people.

Additionally, the research apprenticeship module enables you to work alongside a Lecturer
and assist them in conducting their own research. In my apprenticeship, I have been
exploring the use of different humour styles in children, which has provided me with vital
experience in conducting research with children and how to gain access to this population.
Finally, the most rewarding aspect of the course has been my dissertation, exploring the
retrospective account of being a young carer and the impact of this. Young carers are often
unwilling to identify themselves as such and the impact remains hidden and
underrepresented within research. The opportunity to explore a topic I have personally
experienced provided an opportunity to engage in qualitative research to further my
abilities and also to utilise my own experience to inform my current investigation.

The child development course has been an incredible experience for me for many reasons
beyond the course content. The support from Lecturers has been vital in helping me to
develop as a psychologist. Additionally, my personal tutor has motivated me to aim for a
distinction and believes in my abilities. There is an excellent social aspect; being part of the
MSc cohort provides new friendships, support, and lots of opportunities to engage with
extracurricular activities. This course has proven to be a vital step in preparing me for the
next stage of my academic career.