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Developmental Psychology & Psychopathology MSc

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You will develop knowledge about the causes of typical and atypical psychological development, the standard psychological therapies and treatments available, and research methods and statistics relevant to this field. The course will provide you with both a research and clinical focus.

Benefit from comprehensive coverage of the field exploring how biological, behavioural and cognitive processes, along with family and wider social forces, can affect typical and atypical development. The course is ideal if you plan to work/are working in mental health with young people, or you are looking to progress to the DClinPsy or a PhD. Placements and clinical observerships are available.

The course information sheet is a printable version of the information on this web page, which you can download here.

  • Learn how to characterise typical and atypical behaviours across the life span.
  • Learn how to identify, describe and manage behavioural traits in common disorders such as Autism and ADHD.
  • Become skilled in using state-of-the-art research methods skills, and access world-renowned longitudinal data sets.
  • Explore ways in which technology could help improve coordination, quality, personalization and geographical reach of care.
  • Learn from world-leading researchers/clinicians at the IoPPN, with 12 of the world’s most highly cited scientists in this field eg Robin Murray, Robert Plomin, Michael Rutter.
  • King’s is ranked 2nd in the world for psychology and psychiatry -  US News, Best Global Universities.

Key information

Application status Closed

Duration One year

Study mode Full-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course leaders

Fruhling Rijsdijk, email: Fruhling.Rijsdijk@kcl.ac.uk


Further details

Course contact for further information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7000 


Admissions tutor: cathy.fernandes@kcl.ac.uk


Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Faculty Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience

Department Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre



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Course detail


The course will train graduates to take up roles within different organizations where knowledge of mental health is required by teaching subjects that are relevant to the characterisation of typical and atypical behaviour, the causes and development of mental health problems in children and young people (including neurodevelopmental disorders) and an understanding of the most standard psychological therapies used in clinical practice and available support service systems. In addition, the course will provide you with a solid understanding of the most recent research methods applied in this area. The programme comprises 4 components:

  • Typical and Atypical Development: Covers typical brain development and development of cognitive functions and social behaviours relevant to neurodevelopmental disorders, followed by a description/classification of the most common mental health problems in children and adolescents, including Autism, ADHD, conduct disorders, eating disorders, depression/anxiety, and antisocial behaviour. Students will also learn about the genetic, environmental/social factors that determine onset as well as persistence of these mental health problems across developmental stages.
  • Research Methods and Statistics: Covers general statistics as well as more specialized methods/statistics applied in developmental neurophysiology, neuroimaging, cognitive neuroscience and (behavioural)genetics.
  • Therapy and Treatment: Covers the theoretical basis of mainstream psychological therapies used in clinical practice in infants, children, adolescents and their families. You will also learn why some therapies are indicated and preferred over others and the available support service systems. This module can be replaced by a credit-baring placement or clinical observership.
  • Dissertation Project: This can be a research project or systematic review or clinical observership project or a communicating science project, with the possibility to link the project to your placement/obervership.


Course format and assessment

Module name

Lectures (hours)

Seminars/ tutorials (hours)

Field/lab/ studio/ supervised learning (hours)

Self-directed study  (hours)

Total (hours)

C1: Typical & Atypical Development (60 credits)

CORE1: Perinatal & Infant Mental Health (30 credits)


CORE2: Child & Adolescent Mental Health (30 credits)































C2: Research Methods & Statistics (30 credits)

CORE: General Statistics (15 credits)  


Opt1: Twin Model-fitting (15 credits) or

Opt2: Research Methods in Infants & Children (15 credits)


DL: Reviews and Critical Analysis (15 credits)















































C3: Therapy & Treatment (30 credits)

Opt1: Psychological Approaches to Treatment (30 credits) or

Opt2: Placement / Internship

(30 credits)


























C4: Dissertation Project

(60 credits)






Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work. DL = Distance Learning option


Examination 40% |Coursework 50%|Practical 10%

The study time and assessment methods detailed above are typical and give you a good indication of what to expect. However, they may change if the course modules change.


Year 1

Required Modules

You are required to take:

  • Component 1: Typical and Atypical Development (60 credits): Perinatal & Infant Mental Health (30 credits) and Child and Adolescent Mental Health (30 credits)
  • Component 2: Research Methods & Statistics (30 credits): General Statistics (15 credits) + either Twin Model Fitting (15 credits) or Research Methods in Infants & Children (15 credits) or Reviews and Critical Analysis (15 credits)
  • Component 3: Therapy & Treatment (30 credits) OR Placement (30 credits)
  • Component 4: Dissertation Project (60 credits)
Optional Modules
The course has some flexibility in that you can choose different combinations of modules in component 2 and 3. In component 2 there is also the possibility for you to choose a Distance Learning option.

Entry requirements & how to apply

Entry requirements
Minimum UK requirements  2:1

Upper second degree in either Psychology or related disciplines (behavioral or biological sciences) and medicine or professions allied to medicine.

In order to meet the academic entry requirements for this programme you should have a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree with a final mark of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme. If you are still studying you should be achieving an average of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme.

International requirement   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band D Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

Application procedure

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal apply.kcl.ac.uk and a non-refundable application fee of £70 applies.

Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Document checks
Personal Statement Yes A personal statement of up to 4,000 characters (maximum 2 pages) is required
Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Other Optional You may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your application.

Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. Our first application deadline is the 31 March 2020. After this date, applications will remain open if places are available, but programmes will be closed as soon as they are full. For programmes with spaces remaining, no further applications will be accepted from non-EU (Overseas) nationals after 31July 2020 or from UK/EU nationals after 28 August 2020.

Please note you will not be eligible for an application fee refund if you apply after the first application deadline and places are filled before the final deadlines above and we are unable to process more offers.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time Home/EU fees: £9,990 per year (2020/21)
  • Full time overseas fees: £29,850 per year (2020/21)
  • Part time Home/EU fees: n/a
  • Part time overseas fees: n/a

Students starting their programme in 2020/21 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2021/22.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.


When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The UK/EU deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31 March 2020, payment is due by 30 April 2020.
  • If you receive an offer between 1 April 2020 and 30 June 2020, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1 July 2020 and 31 July 2020, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1 August 2020, payment is due within 2 days of receiving the offer.

    If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

In addition to the core teaching, the optional module selection, the optional placement experience and dissertation project, the programme provides opportunities to develop your knowledge into different interests and career pathways. This may help you to prepare to study a PhD or Doctorate in Clinical Psychology or to pursue employment in professional settings where subject knowledge is central to your work, e.g. in a science or academic career or in clinical settings. You will also develop skills to take up employment in other settings working with children and young people where knowledge of mental health problems and therapies are required. These could be employment in social care settings e.g. welfare officers in youth organisations, schools and community centers; as family support workers; or employment in the public sector e.g. police consultant, parliamentary officer of science and technology. You may also enter employment where subject knowledge is important to succeed in the job, but not the primary activity, e.g. employment in science communication/media within organisations involved with communicating health problems in young people to increase understanding of public awareness. Or, where learning from the degree is applied more broadly, e.g. role in government office of statistics; fundraiser for charity, science editor, industry.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

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