MSc in Development, Disorders and Clinical Practice


This MSc in Development, Disorders and Clinical Practice combines theoretical grounding in development and its disorders, with practical experience in clinical assessment and diagnosis.  This course embeds an understanding of cognitive neurodevelopmental disorders within the context of typical development, with a particular focus on dyslexia, specific language impairment, autism, ADHD, and dyscalculia. The course uniquely combines perspectives from cognitive psychology, developmental cognitive neuroscience, and applied clinical and educational practice. Topical issues in developmental disorders will be examined, including co-morbidity between disorders, and the implications of cognitive disorders for children’s mental health.

Research on developmental disorders has the potential in the long term to both inform research theoretically and to lead to substantial applications and practical implications. 

This programme is therefore particularly suitable for students from Psychology or related disciplines who:

  • Are seeking to build on their knowledge of developmental psychology and developmental disorders before embarking on PhD study. The acquisition of wide-ranging theoretical and practical knowledge of developmental psychology and disorders, as well as crucial research and project management skills will make students strong candidates for future positions in PhD programmes.
  • Wish to boost their research skills and theoretical and practical knowledge of developmental disorders before progressing to careers in speech and language therapy, clinical psychology, educational psychology, teaching, or child health related disciplines.
  • Have already qualified as clinical or educational professionals, behavioural therapists, care workers, speech and language therapists, but wish to supplement and enhance their research skills and extend their knowledge of developmental disorders.


Programme Structure

Term 1

  • Research Design & Statistics (20 credits)
  • Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (10 credits)
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders (10 credits)
  • Clinical Practice for Developmental Disorders (10 credits)

Term 2

  • Issues & Methods in Applied Research (20 credits)
  • Current Questions in Developmental Research (10 credits)
  • Assessment and Treatment of Developmental Disorders (10 credits)
  • Transferable Skills (10 credits)

Term 3 and Summer

  • MSc Pathway: Empirical Project (80 credits)
  • Diploma Pathway: Literature review (20 credits)

Specialist Modules

The programme combines specifically focused modules on development and disorders with courses teaching general principles of psychological research design, statistics and key transferable skills.

  • Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders    
  • Assessment and Treatment of Developmental Disorders
  • Current Questions in Developmental Research
  • Clinical Practice for Developmental Disorders

Empirical Projects

As part of this programme, you will be given the opportunity to undertake a novel piece of empirical work, on a topic at the cutting-edge of research in development and its disorders. You will be supervised by faculty with relevant expertise in fields including language and literacy development and dyslexia, numerical cognition and dyscalculia, socio-communicative skills and autism, genetic disorders (e.g. Down Syndrome, 22q deletion syndrome), and the impact of sleep on learning and memory.


Modules are assessed through a variety of different assignments and exams including essays, critical analysis of published papers, presentations, short notes on a range of topics, practical reports, and a dissertation and poster presentation based on the Empirical Project.



How to apply

You can apply for this course using our online application system. If you've not already done so, please read the application guidance first so that you understand the various steps in the application process.

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For application deadlines (both Home/EU and Overseas applicants), please follow this link.

If you have any questions about the course, please contact Posgraduate Admissions.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree (typically a 2:1 or 1st) or an equivalent qualification in Psychology, Linguistics, Speech and Language Therapy, Education or related disciplines.

For international applications, one of the following English language qualifications is required:

  • IELTS 6.5, with each subtest at least 6.5
  • Cambridge Proficiency: A,B




An online application form is available from Student Recruitment and Admissions.

Who to contact for further information: 


For fee information please refer to the University's standard fees for Laboratory-based Taught Masters courses.  Please note that it is the Taught (not Research) fees that apply for this course, and that it is Laboratory-based (not Classroom-based).  Information about these fees can be found via the following link.