MSc Developmental Psychology

MSc Developmental Psychology is designed for graduates and practising psychologists who wish to acquire a specialism in child development.

The Course

The MSc Developmental Psychology focuses on the social, emotional and cognitive development of children and is designed for graduates and practising psychologists who wish to acquire a specialism in child development.

The School of Psychology has a growing reputation as a centre of expertise in developmental psychology, with research interests in cognitive development, language acquisition, autism, motor development, human-animal interaction, child safety and injury prevention, cultural contexts of development. Research in the School is finding immediate real-world applications. For example, studies into the misinterpretation of canine facial expressions have led to a prevention tool to reduce instances of children being bitten by dogs.

You may have access to the specialist Lincoln Infant and Child Development Lab, which is equipped with facilities for preferential looking, listening and eye-tracking as well as a motor lab and research facilities for examining comparative cognitive development.

Teaching is predominantly delivered on a Monday and Tuesday, although students may be expected to attend on other days of the week.
The programme starts every year in September. Teaching is predominantly delivered on a Monday and Tuesday, although students may be expected to attend on other days of the week. Part-time students may attend on one of those days.

The programme is taught by experienced research-active staff with a background in developmental psychology, supported by staff from various Schools across the College of Social Science, thereby contributing to a multidisciplinary learning environment.

On some occasions teaching is shared with other Master's programmes, providing opportunities to interact with students from MSc Forensic Psychology and MSc Psychological Research Methods.

The School of Psychology has a thriving research seminar programme in which national and international researchers present their work, which in many cases is directly linked to issues in developmental psychology.

The composition and delivery for the course breaks down differently for each module and may include lectures, seminars, workshops, independent study, practicals, research and one-to-one learning.

Students are expected to engage in at least 2-3 hours of independent self-study for each contact hour.

Advanced Research Internship (Option)
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Advanced Research Internship (Option)

As part of this module students have the opportunity to learn about a specific area of research undertaken by a member of staff. This typically involves learning about a member of staff's research publications, research support structures (e.g., grant applications and/or lab work), data collection and data analysis methods, and research dissemination activities (e.g., conferences submission, peer review submission of work).

Students can only choose this option if an appropriate member of staff has been identified and has agreed to supervise the applied research work. Students are typically involved in literature review work, data collection, data analysis and other work related to the specific research interests of the member of staff. The aim of this optional module is for a student to be immersed and engaged in a specific area of research, and to have the chance to carry out pilot research work in this area.

Advanced Research Methods and Skills (Core)
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Advanced Research Methods and Skills (Core)

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the basic principles of a range of advanced procedures for the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, typically using appropriate software packages such as SPSS and NVIVO. Familiarity with the use of SPSS is assumed in this module. The module focuses on the use of research methods in an applied context and works towards an understanding of more complex methodologies.

Advanced Topics in Developmental Psychology (Option)
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Advanced Topics in Developmental Psychology (Option)

The focus of this module is on recent research and current applications in development. Taking a topical approach, this module discusses child and adolescent development in relation to contexts and correlates of typical and atypical development, developmental problems and applications. Topics may include specific developmental problems and/or disorders, problems and transitions in adolescence, context-based problems, and interventions.

Basic Programming Skills (Option)
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Basic Programming Skills (Option)

The aim of the module is to provide students with the opportunity to develop basic programming skills for data analysis and experimentation. Basic programming skills can provide a greater degree of flexibility in data analysis and experimentation than by relying on ready built software. The module typically consists of two blocks: (1) basic programming skills for data analysis, and (2) introduction to programming for experimentation.

Forensic Child Psychology (Core)
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Forensic Child Psychology (Core)

This module is designed to consider forensic issues and mental disorders and how they affect children, and the perpetration of offences by children. The focus is on providing the opportunity to develop an understanding of how critical events result in developmental pathways which lead to emotional and psychological problems and possibly of offending behaviour. The module includes developmental trauma and attachment, child protection, effects of victimisation and child/youth offending.

MSc Thesis (Core)
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MSc Thesis (Core)

The thesis is designed to allow students to explore in more detail their interests in a specific area of research. It allows the opportunity to design, implement, analyse and write-up a substantial piece of empirical work.

Research Methods and Skills (Core)
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Research Methods and Skills (Core)

This module discusses research designs, research ethics, data collection, data preparation and data analysis and dissemination. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods and skills are covered in this module.

Research Methods in Developmental Psychology (Core)
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Research Methods in Developmental Psychology (Core)

This module aims to give students the opportunity to practice research-based learning by providing the chance to develop practical skills and exploring the nature of research methods in a wide variety of applications. Overall, the module aims to widen students’ understanding and appreciation of the main principles of how research methods are applied.

Seminar Diaries in Psychological Science (Option)
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Seminar Diaries in Psychological Science (Option)

Students are expected to attend a series of external and internal research seminars within the School of Psychology with the aim of attending a total of 15 seminars across the academic year. Assessment is via seminar diaries submitted twice during the course of the year.

Social and Emotional Development (Core)
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Social and Emotional Development (Core)

This module provides an opportunity to study topics in social and emotional development in depth. These include emotional development, social-cognitive development and selected topics on development in family, school, community and cultural contexts. Typical development, atypical development and the potential applications of psychological research and theory will be considered where appropriate.

Theories and Mechanisms in Developmental Psychology (Core)
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Theories and Mechanisms in Developmental Psychology (Core)

This module considers such topics as visual attention, attachment, categorisation, child safety, friendship, language, motoric development and trust from different angles. These include the social and cognitive aspects of these topics, their possible neuropsychological foundations, relevant cross-cultural or critical period issues, psychological tests and research methods relating to these topics, and the implications of atypical development.

† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Assessments for this course are diverse and could include a research proposal, essay, case study, literature review, research report or presentation.

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to you promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date.

 2019/20 Entry*
Home/EU £7,400

(including Alumni Scholarship 20% reduction )**

International £16,000
(Including International Alumni / Global Postgraduate Scholarship £2,000 reduction)**
 Part-time Home/EU £41 per credit point
 Part-time International £89 per credit point

* Academic year September- July
** Subject to eligibility


A new system of postgraduate loans  for Master's courses has been introduced in the UK. Under the new scheme individuals** will be able to borrow up to £10,609 for the purpose of completing an eligible postgraduate Master's qualification.


As a postgraduate student you may be eligible for scholarships in addition to those shown above.

Guidance for Part-time Postgraduate Fees

To complete a standard Master's Taught programme, you must complete 180 credit points.

Full time students will be invoiced for the programme in full upon initial enrolment.

For part-time students, tuition fees are payable each credit point enrolled. To calculate your part-time fees, multiply the part-time fee per credit point by the number of credits you intend to complete within that academic year. This is usually between 60 and 90 credit points per year.

For example, if the fee per credit point for your programme is £38, and you enrol on 60 credits, the tuition fee payable for that academic year will be £2280.

Fees for enrolment on additional modules

Tuition fees for additional activity are payable by the student/sponsor and charged at the equivalent £ per credit point rate for each module. Additional activity includes:

- Enrolment on modules that are in addition to the validated programme curriculum

- Enrolment on modules that are over and above the full credit diet for the relevant academic year

- Retakes of modules as permitted by the Board of Examiners

Exceptionally tuition fees may not be payable where a student has been granted a retake with approved extenuating circumstances.

For further information and for details about funding your study, scholarships and bursaries, please see our Postgraduate Fees & Funding pages [].

Other Costs

For each course you may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required, depending on your course. Some courses provide opportunities for you to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for the travel, accommodation and your meals may be covered by the University and so is included in your fee. Where these are optional you will normally (unless stated otherwise) be required to pay your own transportation, accommodation and meal costs.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and you will find that our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that you are required to read. However, you may prefer to purchase some of these for yourself and you will be responsible for this cost.

First or upper second class honours degree in psychology or an equivalent qualification and grade C in GCSE mathematics. Candidates with a degree and professional experience may be considered.

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. . These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study.

Learn from Experts

Throughout this degree, students may receive tuition from professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, researchers, practitioners, visiting experts or technicians, and they may also be supported in their learning by other students.

Dr Karen Pfeffer

Programme Leader

Karen's teaching and research interests are in developmental psychology, cross-cultural psychology and psychological approaches to injury prevention. Before joining the University of Lincoln, Karen was a lecturer in the Department of Psychology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. She has served as an injury prevention Mentor for the World Health Organization MENTOR-VIP (Violence and Injury Prevention) programme.

Your Future Career

Career and Personal Development

As specialists in developmental psychology, graduates may work in a range of areas that value expertise in child development including hospital and care settings, schools, social services and children’s services.

The programme can also provide an ideal springboard for further study such as a PhD in Psychology.

Careers Services

The University Careers and Employability Team offer qualified advisors who can work with you to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during your time at the University. As a member of our alumni we also offer one-to-one support in the first year after completing your course, including access to events, vacancy information and website resources; with access to online vacancies and virtual and website resources for the following two years.

This service can include one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise your future opportunities.
The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world.

Visit our Careers Service pages here


Specialist psychology research facilities include a sleep laboratory, motor lab and EEG laboratories, a psychophysiology laboratory and Lincoln Infant and Child Development Lab – a specialist area for the study of child development.

Students have access to ICT suites and technical staff are on hand to aid in the design and execution of experiments and provide assistance with specialist software.

We constantly invest in our campus as we aim to provide the best learning environment for our students. The University strives to ensure students have access to specialist equipment and resources, to develop the skills, which they may need in their future career.

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.