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Developmental Psychology & Psychopathology MSc

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Join us for Mental Health in the 21st Century, a series of online lectures hosted by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience.

You will develop knowledge about the genetic and environmental 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, plan to study for a PhD, or if you are looking to progress to the DClinPsy. Placements and clinical observerships are available.
  • 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 familiar with the latest scientific results and debates surrounding the “nature and nurture” of psychological and psychopathological conditions.
  • Become skilled in using state-of-the-art research methods skills, such as those in statistical genetics, and access world renowned longitudinal data sets.
  • Explore ways in which technology could help improve coordination, quality, personalisation 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 Open

Duration 12 months

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 tutors: 

Francesca Happe francesca.happe@kcl.ac.uk 

Jonathan Coleman jonathan.coleman@kcl.ac.uk

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Faculty Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience

Department Division of Psychology & Systems Sciences Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre



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Course detail


The course will train graduates to take up roles within different organisations where knowledge of mental health is required by teaching subjects that are relevant to the characterisation of typical and atypical behaviour, the biological and environmental 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 course comprises three components:

  • Typical & 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.
  • Advanced Methods in DPP: Covers general statistics (mandatory) as well as more specialised optional methods/statistics applied in developmental neurophysiology, neuroimaging, cognitive neuroscience, behavioural and statistical genetics, and qualitative research methods. There is also an optional Therapy & Treatment module which 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. Finally, within this component it is also possible to pick an optional credit-bearing placement or clinical observership. Thus, you will be able to select the modules that best suit your interest and future career, choosing from those with a more statistical/biological, or a more clinical/developmental, focus.
  • Dissertation Project: This can be a research project, a systematic review, a clinical observership project or a communicating science project, with the possibility to link the project to your placement/observership. Many large-scale longitudinal datasets with developmental, clinical and/or genetic data are available for study if a research project is chosen. You will work alongside one of our experts to complete a piece of high-quality scientific research.

We will use a delivery method that will ensure students have a rich, exciting experience from the start. Face to face teaching will be complemented and supported with innovative technology so that students also experience elements of digital learning and assessment.



Course format and assessment

You will be taught through a mix of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Compulsory and optional modules are listed below.

Introduction to Statistics

Lectures (24 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (24 hours) | Self-study time (102 hours)

Psychology and Psychopathology

Lectures (35 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (5 hours)  | Self-study time (260 hours)

Perinatal and Infant Mental Health

Lectures (30 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (16 hours)  | Self-study time (254 hours)


Lectures (10 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (5 hours)  | Field/lab/studio/ supervised learning (175hours)  | Self-study time (110 hours)


Field/lab/studio/ supervised learning ( 400 hours)  | Self-study time (200 hours)

Psychological Approaches to Treatment

Lectures (34 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (4 hours) | Field/lab/studio/ supervised learning (6 hours) | Self-study time (256 hours)

Research Methods in Infants and Children

Lectures (19 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (2 hours) | Field/lab/studio/ supervised learning (7 hours) | Self-study time (122 hours)

Twin Model-Fitting

Lectures (10 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (20 hours)  | Self-study time (120 hours)

Research Skills: Reviewing and Critical Analysis

Self-study time (150 hours)

Molecular Genetics (lab skills)

Lectures (12 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (2 hours) | Field/lab/studio/ supervised learning (11 hours) | Self-study time (125 hours)

Genetic Association Analysis 

Lectures (10 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (20 hours)  | Self-study time (120 hours)

Qualitative Research: Methods & Practice

Lectures (20 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (0 hours) | Field/lab/studio/ supervised learning (5 hours) | Self-study time (125 hours)


The primary methods of assessment for this course are written examinations, coursework and individual or group projects.  The study time and assessment methods typically give an indication of what to expect. However, these may vary depending upon the modules selected.

Extra information

King’s College London is regulated by the Office for Students.


Year 1

Required Modules

You are required to take:

  • Introduction to Statistics (15 credits)

  • Psychology and Psychopathology (30 credits)

  • Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (30 credits)

  • Dissertation (60 credits)
Optional Modules

The optional modules you can take:

  • Placements (30 credits)

  • Psychological Approaches to Treatment (30 credits)

  • Research Methods in Infants and Children (15 credits)

  • Twin Model-Fitting (15 credits)

  • Research Skills: Reviewing and Critical Analysis (15 credits)

  • Molecular Genetics (lab skills) (15 credits)
  • Genetic Association Analysis (15 credit)
  • Qualitative Research: Methods & Practice (15 credits)

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates

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 B 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 is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages).

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 One academic reference is required. A professional reference 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 26th March 2021. After this date, the programme will remain open only if places are still available and will be closed as soon as it is full.  

For programmes that remain open beyond this date, the final application deadlines for the following fee statuses are listed below: 

  • EU or overseas (international) fee status: 30th July 2021 

  • Home fee status: 27th August 2021 

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

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 fees: £10,500 per year (2021/22)
  • Full time overseas fees: £31,350 per year (2021/22)
  • Part time Home fees: n/a
  • Part time overseas fees: n/a

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 deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31st March, payment is due by 30th April 2021. 

  • If you receive an offer between 1st April and 30th June, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer. 

  • If you receive an offer between 1st July and 31st July, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer. 

  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer. 

  • If you receive an offer from late August onwards, 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.

Additional costs/expenses

You can also expect to pay for:

  • books if you choose to buy your own copies
  • DBS checks
  • clothing for optional course related events and competitions
  • library fees and fines
  • personal photocopies
  • printing course handouts
  • society membership fees
  • stationery 
  • travel costs for travel around London and between campuses
  • graduation costs.

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 course provides opportunities to develop your knowledge into different interests and career pathways. This may help you to prepare to study a PhD in a subject such as Psychology, Statistical or Behavioural Genetics, or a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. It will also help you 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, particularly in working with children and young people where knowledge of mental health problems and therapies are required. These could be employment in social care settings eg 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, genetic counsellor, science editor, industry professional.


Blue box with King's College London rankings. Starting with, 7th in the UK for research quality. Followed by, 6th in the UK for research power. Concluding with, 4th among multi-faculty universities for research Impact. The source is research excellence framework 2014

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