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Genes, Environment & Development in Psychology & Psychiatry MSc

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New scholarships for 2020 entry. Find out more and apply here.

Anne Farmer Scholarship Available for MSc Genes, Environment & Development, 2020 Entry

Find out more about the Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre

Our Genes, Environment & Development in Psychology and Psychiatry MSc course takes a highly interdisciplinary approach to the study of how genetics and the environment ('nature and nurture') combine during human development to produce behaviour, diseases and psychiatric disorders. You will study three required modules and undertake a research project on one of the broad range of subject areas relevant to the course.


Key benefits

  • Offers specialised interdisciplinary graduate training in several subject areas and research methods.
  • Taught by the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre, a department recognised as a world-leader in the field of interdisciplinary studies in psychology, psychiatry and behaviour.
  • Opportunity to attend the weekly SGDP Centre research seminars led by renowned researchers, such as Professor Francesca Happé, Professor Robert Plomin and Professor Sir Michael Rutter.
  • Extensive collaborations within King’s as well as with other universities.
  • Study with students from from diverse and rich backgrounds.
  • Access to large sets of data for populations who have been studied and followed up over many years.
  • Located in a beautiful modern building designed to foster interaction.
  • Our state-of-the-art molecular genetics laboratory provides a complete suite of resources for research.

Key information

Application status Closed

Duration One year FT.

Study mode Full-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course intake Approximately 30 FT.

Course leaders Dr Stuart Ritchie

Further details

Course contact for further information

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

Course Administrator:  GED-admin@kcl.ac.uk

Course Leadr: stuart.j.ritchie@kcl.ac.uk


Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience

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



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Course detail


Our interdisciplinary course covers the advances that have been made in behavioural genetics over recent years. It focuses on how genes and environments shape the development of normal and abnormal human behaviours, including cognitive ability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), anxiety and depression and schizophrenia. 

In addition to disorder characterisation and presentation of the genetic, social and other environmental risk factors, our course also covers the molecular mechanisms and the specialised analysis methods relevant to interdisciplinary research in this field. By focusing on current research in this area, our course will enhance your understanding of research methods and enable you to critically appraise the relevant scientific literature. 

Our course also aims to provide a thorough grounding in a range of research methods and their application and to develop skills of critical evaluation, problem solving and intellectual rigour in order to carry out independent research. You will develop an awareness of the practical and ethical issues related to conducting, writing up and disseminating research and develop transferable skills and knowledge needed for a research career in academia or industry, or in science communication. 

We seek to increase your knowledge and understanding of behavioural genetics and social development, especially if you wish to convert from your original degree discipline and to equip you to apply it in your future career choice, either in further postgraduate education (e.g. PhD) or employment related to the subject. 

Many recent advances in behavioural genetics have been made with growing evidence for the role of genes in shaping our behaviour. The purpose of our course is to focus on how genes and environments influence the development of human behaviours, providing interdisciplinary training to students from a range of scientific backgrounds.

Further literature

Course format and assessment


You will be taught through a mix of lectures, seminars and tutorials.

Introduction to Genes, Environment and Development

Lectures (30 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (5 hours) | Field/lab/studio/ supervised learning (5 hours) | Self-study time (260 hours)

Introduction to Statistics

Lectures (20 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials 15 hours) | Field/lab/studio/ supervised learning (0 hours) | Self-study time (115 hours)

Twin Model Fitting Analysis

Lectures (10 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials 0 hours) | Field/lab/studio/ supervised learning (10 hours) | Self-study time (130 hours)

Genome-wide Association Analysis

Lectures (8 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials 7 hours) | Field/lab/studio/ supervised learning (7 hours) | Self-study time (128 hours)

Molecular Genetics Research Methods

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

Psychology and Psychopathology

Lectures (30 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (5 hours) | Field/lab/studio/ supervised learning (5 hours) | Self-study time (260 hours)

Research Project

Seminars / Tutorials (2 hours) |Field/lab/studio/ supervised learning (58 hours) | Self-study time (540 hours)

Course Assessment

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

Extra information

Regulating body

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

Other related courses:

Health Psychology MSc

Organisational Psychiatry and Psychology MSc


Year 1

Required Modules
    Students on this course are required to take: 
  • Introduction to Genes, Environment and Development (30 credits) 
  • Introduction to Statistics (15 credits) 
  • Twin Model Fitting Analysis (15 credits) 
  • Genome Wide Association Analysis (15 credits)
  • Molecular Genetics Research Methods (15 credits) 
  • Psychology & Psychopathology (30 credits) 
  • Research Project (60 credits)
Optional Modules
There are no optional modules for this course.

Entry requirements & how to apply

GEDP Enty requirements
Minimum requirements 2:1

A Bachelor's degree with 2:1 honours in psychology or related scientific disciplines such as behavioural, biological or mathematical sciences. Applications from those working in medicine or professions allied to medicine are also welcome. 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.

 2:2 degree may be considered only where applicants also offer a Masters with Merit in a related subject

International requirements    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. 

Applications are normally processed within two weeks of receiving references. All applicants are welcome to visit the department by arrangement. Please call or email us to arrange this. After review of the initial application, the admissions tutor may invite selected candidates to interview. It will be possible for overseas applicants to make arrangements to be interviewed via Skype or phone.

Personal statement and supporting information

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

Document checklist
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). All applicants must complete this section, explaining why this programme of study is appropriate for them and their intended progression at the end of the course. This information is particularly important for applicants coming from a non-scientific background. This section should also be used to draw attention to any special circumstances that should be taken into account when the application is considered.

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 also 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: £9,900 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 before 1 June 2020, payment is due by 30 June 2020.

  • If you receive an offer between 1 June 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 one week of receiving the offer.

  • If you receive an offer in late August, 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

In addition to the costs above, 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.

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

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

Our graduates go on to further full-time study in an academic research environment or in a taught clinical programme, gain employment in an academic, clinical or pharmaceutical organisation. Some students may enter scientific publishing.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

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

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