MSc Applied Child Psychology

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1 MSc Applied Child Psychology Module list Modules may include: The Child in Context: Understanding Disability This module aims to challenge understandings of child development that have emerged within the discipline of psychology. It will examine the range of ways by which knowledge and understanding of the psychology of childhood (both with regard to ability and disability) has been developed, referring to the social construction of childhood from contemporary, historical and cross-cultural frameworks. It will assess critically the consequences of this knowledge and understanding and consider different methodological approaches to understanding the child in context. The module challenges traditional approaches to understanding a range of issues related to children. At the heart of the module is the assumption that an inclusive approach to education systems, policy and an understanding of difference is crucial for overcoming the challenges often faced in childhood. Specifically, the module will seek to address the following questions: How does psychological research contribute to our understanding of difference and diversity? What is the value of psychological research methodologies in furthering our understanding of the wider context of development? In what ways does the discipline of psychology act to reinforce and/or to challenge exclusion? How and why is it important to consider the social construction of childhood and also a wider context, for example family, systems, culture and policy, when reflecting on the challenges often faced by children? To what extent does psychology have a role in the development of social and educational practice? 1

2 Social and Cognitive Development in Children The module will consider the importance of social and cognitive explanations for understanding, and critically explaining, children s development within different education settings. The module will consider aspects of social and cognitive developmental psychology within an applied educational setting and aims to challenge some of the traditional approaches to understanding a range of issues related to children within the school context. At the heart of the module is the recognition that social and cognitive explanations need to be integrated to provide better understanding of educational development in children. Specifically, the module will focus on examining key concepts in social development, such as the importance of peer relationships, school exclusion, victimisation and bullying alongside cognitive explanations for language and literacy and the development of mathematical and scientific thinking. The module will examine the development, and integration of, social and cognitive explanations for understanding children s development both within (and beyond) different educational settings. The module will consider the importance of studying and integrating cognitive and social explanations for understanding children. Topics on social development may include: Victimisation/bullying, aggression. School adjustment and influential factors. Importance of relationships (Peer relationships, teacher-child relationships). Development of self, self-knowledge and social competence. Morality, trust, and pro-social behaviour. Developmental influences beyond the home. Topics on cognitive development may include: Language and literacy development, and educational achievement. Early arithmetic development and schooling. Role of attention, memory and problem-solving. Understanding intentionality and theory of mind. Different theoretical (and practical) approaches to schooling and education. Research Skills for Working with Children The module aims to introduce you to the quantitative and qualitative research methods that are typically used to study child and adolescent psychology. In doing so the module aims to facilitate a critical understanding of the field and explore research methodology that leads to applied initiatives in child and adolescent development. 2

3 Specifically, the module aims to Provide practical experience of applying a wide range of analytic techniques to psychological data in a child and adolescent development context. Enable you to fully appreciate the designing and conducting of small-scale empirical research projects. Provide you with experience in reporting their research. Prepare you for your independent research project. Enable you to develop a practical understanding of the application of ethics in psychological research. The module s content intends to provide you with a grounding in the approaches used by researchers in child and adolescent psychology. The content is likely to include discussions of the practicalities and ethics of working with children, designing surveys, secondary data analysis, questionnaire design, qualitative methods and developing experimental studies for use with young participants. The main methods of analysis that will be introduced include, qualitative analysis, bivariate regression, multiple regression, and analysis of variance. Observational Methods This module will provide you with a knowledge of, and practical skills in, observational methods. More specifically the module aims to: Develop understanding of the use of different observational methods to address psychological questions. Demonstrate the processes involved in the coding and analysis of observational data. Enable students to conduct a piece of observational research. Allow students to appraise critically the quality of observational designs and address issues concerning relating to reliability and validity. To develop students abilities to handle observational data. To further develop students abilities to report, present and evaluate observational designs and data. The module aims to provide specialist training in observational methods. Topics may include: Observational research designs (the use of structured and un-structured observations). Quasi-experimental techniques. Data gathering techniques. Advantages and disadvantages of observational designs. Data handling, organisation, and management techniques. 3

4 Developing valid and reliable coding schemes and the application of these coding schemes to analyse video material. Reliability and validity. Clinical Aspects of Behavioural Disorders The module will consider contemporary approaches to understanding clinical aspects of children s behaviour. Specifically, the module will examine some of the challenges involved in the labelling of clinical disorders, the role of inclusion and disability, and the diagnosis and treatment in children. A key focus will be the importance of integrating biological explanations with wider social and cultural explanations. Further, a key aim is to allow you to demonstrate comprehensive knowledge, understanding, and critical awareness of the key theoretical and methodological issues that lie at the forefront of clinical explanations of child development. The module aims to provide a specific focus on understanding early childhood behaviour from a clinical perspective. The topics will focus on both emotional and behavioural difficulties across clinical settings. Specifically, the module aims to address the following issues and topics: Understanding clinical difficulties in infancy and childhood: The role of inclusion and disability in clinical contexts. The development of phobias in infancy and early childhood. Childhood schizophrenia and depression. Conduct disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Understanding behavioural and emotional difficulties in childhood: Explaining a range of behavioural difficulties across applied settings (e.g., temperament, attachment disorders and disturbing behaviour in home and school settings). Identification, assessment and treatment for ADD/ADHD and the application of contemporary approaches in psychology. Understanding co-morbidity across the different behavioural and emotional disorders. Understanding Atypical Development The module will consider current theory and research to explain a range of developmental disorders and critically address issues surrounding the identification and treatment of different disorders. Several types of developmental disorders will be covered, such as specific language impairment, autism, dyslexia, and downs syndrome. Specifically, a critical perspective will be taken to evaluate current approaches to treatment and intervention. With an applied focus, the module will provide a critical exposition for the importance of psychological research in understanding the development of educational policy, systems, and practice. 4

5 The module aims to examine contemporary psychological theory to address issues with identification, assessment and interventions for developmental disorders. Specifically, the module will aim to address the following issues: Characterising developmental disorders: Several types of developmental disorder will be covered (e.g. Specific Language Impairment, Autism, Dyslexia, Downs Syndrome) with the following topics being covered: Cognitive and behavioural characteristics of each disorder. Theories and hypotheses surrounding current explanations of each disorder (e.g. biological, cognitive, social and cultural explanations). Associated issues with each disorder (e.g. cognitive strengths and weaknesses and the impact on social development and well-being). Diagnosing developmental disorders and intervention: Issues and debates surrounding diagnosis and intervention will be covered such as: Debating the medical model and issues around labelling and disability. Use of cognitive tests of performance to identify developmental disorders. Current intervention approaches used by schools and by professionals (e.g. educational psychologists, speech and language therapists). Theoretical underpinning of the intervention. Evaluation of current approaches to intervention in light of research evidence. Child Psychology Specialist Essay This module provides your with the opportunity to comprehensively explore an area of interest in depth, under the supervision of a member of staff who has expertise within that field. The module will allow your to have the opportunity to focus on one specific aspect of child psychology and demonstrate a critical evaluation of the application of theory and practice to understanding this topic. Specifically, the module aims to provide an opportunity for your to develop a greater in-depth and critical understanding with regard to current psychology theory and research. Moreover, the module aims to develop critical thinking and analytical skills relevant for the integration and understanding of psychological issues in a particular area of the your own choosing in the context of child psychology. 5

6 The module content will vary and depend on the choice of topic. You may choose to explore and critically evaluate a specific topic on child psychology (as agreed with the nominated supervisor). This may include: To examine the work of professional applied psychologists in one specific field of child or adolescent psychology. To critically examine an area of research, perhaps exploring the philosophical underpinnings of the area. Critically evaluate the research and/or the methods used in a specific applied area of child psychology. To critically examine the role of psychological theory and research in the wider context of professional practice (e.g., social policy, procedures or educational reform). Child Psychology Research Project This module will enable you to develop and demonstrate professional psychological research skills appropriate to the discipline by designing (including addressing ethical issues) and undertaking an extended independent research project in psychology, using an advanced research method, under the guidance of an appropriate supervisor. The aims are to: Critically assess methodological issues and apply an appropriate methodological approach. Gain practice in using and interpreting advanced statistical techniques (or other analyses) to a professional standard. Develop research skills associated with the writing and structuring of professional quality research reports. Demonstrate advanced scholarship and a critical awareness of current research relating to child psychology. The module content will depend on the your choice of topic. Regular supervision will be provided to guide your research projects. Supervisory support will be provided as you plan and prepare their project proposals (e.g., advanced research skills and use of specialist equipment) and afterwards at regular intervals. Please visit for fees, funding and scholarship information. Please us at or telephone on +44 (0) for more information. 6

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