Studying a Masters degree in Psychology
Frances Jackson talks about why she came to Lancaster to study a Masters degree in Developmental Disorders.
Providing you with an advanced understanding of this specialist discipline, this programme ensures you are ideally placed to excel in your career. Whether you pursue research, practice professional psychology or something else, you will be in a strong position to advance into senior roles.
A developmental disorder is any process that affects typical development from conception to adulthood. It can arise as a consequence of genetic or chromosomal abnormalities, perinatal complications or environmental influences. In most cases, however, their aetiologies are unknown or poorly understood. In some cases, a disorder results in variations around a common outcome while in other cases the developmental trajectory is more heterogeneous. These consequences and outcomes will serve as a basis for illustrating the inherent difficulties in carrying out research on developmental disorders.
Lancaster is home to one of the world’s largest centres for developmental psychology research. Specialising in infancy and childhood development, our department is one of the UK’s leading research groups in the discipline. This programme will provide you with advanced insight into psychology and offer you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience that will be hugely beneficial in any career. You will benefit from the world-leading research being conducted by our staff, and our Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) recognised PhD-level research training.
Throughout the course, you will study five taught modules and one substantial research project. This will ensure you receive the breadth of skills and depth of knowledge to engage with a wide range of careers, or to progress into further research and study.
You will complete two compulsory modules to develop your skills and expertise. You will extend and enhance your ability to collect, analyse and interpret psychological data. A solid foundation in these skills will be invaluable as you progress into research or into specialist psychology roles, such as clinical or forensic psychology.
In three subject specialist modules, you will focus on enhancing your discipline specific knowledge, providing you with a deeper understanding of developmental psychology, and of the disorders of development. As a result, you will graduate with a state-of-the-art understanding of developmental psychology.
Within the degree programme, you will be taught vocational skills that you will need to obtain and sustain a career in psychology and other fields, such as CV writing, interview skills, team work and presentation skills.
At the core of your experience, you will undertake an independent research project, supervised by a member of our research-active staff. This dissertation will allow you to apply all that you have learnt to a dissertation topic of your choice. As well as developing your conceptual understanding, research design, data-analysis, and communication skills, this project will be an exciting learning experience that will give you the opportunity to prove your skills, interests, and enthusiasm. What you achieve in your project will be important evidence of your skills and knowledge for prospective employers or postgraduate research student selection committees.
We teach using a mix of lectures, seminars and practical lab sessions, encouraging increasingly independent study as your degree progresses. You will carry out regular web assessments to make sure your learning is on track, as well as practical work, essays, written examinations, practical lab reports, and presentations.
As a university, we commit to providing you with timely feedback on all aspects of your work.
Our students are key members of a thriving academic community. We offer an excellent staff-to-student ratio and an open-door policy to enable you to really get to know your lecturers. We believe this fosters a productive learning environment, helping you to achieve your potential.
In your time at Lancaster, your programme director will serve as your academic tutor. They will be here to make sure that you reach your personal goals. You will also be able to call on help, with any aspect of your studies, from the Director of Studies, from teaching coordinators, and from student learning advisors. We strive to inspire and encourage our future psychologists.
Our Developmental Disorders Masters will equip you with transferable skills valued by all employers: in communication; critical thinking; numeracy; and self-management. From research analysts to retail managers, a good grasp of human behavioural patterns and the science of the mind makes psychology graduates attractive to a wide range of employers.
Helping you to prepare for your future career is important to us. We will help you decide on your career path and give you the chance to develop the right skills. There are three Academic Employability Champions within the Psychology Department whose role is to ensure that our students become highly sought after, employable, graduates. This includes providing students with information about pathways to various careers inside and outside of psychology, and advice about further study. We offer one-to-one careers sessions, regular drop-in Psychology Careers cafés, and careers fairs.
Some psychology graduates go on to become chartered psychologists, specialising in clinical, educational, occupational, forensic, health or sports psychology. You will be equipped, also, to engage in opportunities in new and emerging areas such as environmental psychology, consumer psychology, and business intelligence. The workplace is a fiercely competitive field. In graduating with a Masters from Lancaster, you will be given a wider range of opportunities, and gain an edge when applying for new roles. This advanced qualification will also support your career progression as you move into more senior positions.
2:1 Hons degree (UK or equivalent) in Psychology or related cognate discipline.
We may also consider non-standard applicants, please contact us for information.
If you have studied outside of the UK, we would advise you to check our list of international qualifications before submitting your application.
We may ask you to provide a recognised English language qualification, dependent upon your nationality and where you have studied previously.
We normally require an IELTS (Academic) Test with an overall score of at least 7.0, and a minimum of 6.0 in each element of the test. We also consider other English language qualifications.
If your score is below our requirements, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes.
Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
A range of analytical techniques, both written and practical, that are standard in professional practice in psychological research will be taught. With emphasis on quantitative observation, students will explore a core set of analytic methods through a combination of lectures and practical workshops, and will learn how to apply statistical tests, such as ANOVA, correlation and regression, and t-tests, in a variety of settings. Problem solving skills will be honed by learning how to define the link between observed outcomes and psychological effects in a wide range of contexts.
Students with be equipped with the capacity to confidently identify the appropriate technique for analysing data across a wide range of investigation types, applying the R statistical software to their own research. They will reinforce decision making and evaluation skills through examining different forms of evidence, and gain experience in presenting and interpreting findings effectively in a journal-style short report.
This module offers an exploration into a wide range of research approaches used in contemporary psychological research. It enables students to expand their existing knowledge of theoretical ideas, emphasising research techniques as well as their implementation. Students will develop a professional writing style in accordance with the American Psychology Association, learn how to write an ethics proposal associated with a particular research design and gain a working knowledge of how to implement different types of research procedure. In addition, the module will enhance students’ ability to differentiate between the benefits of qualitative and quantitative design, as well as understanding the staples of psychological research, including reliability and validity, importance of ethical issues and research methods such as oculomotor, questioning and observation.
All elements of this module are assessed through a range of coursework, with a large portion deriving from article writing. Due to its literary nature, participation in this module will help increase the student’s probability of becoming a published author in psychology.
The module aims to examine a range of developmental disorders and, through description and analysis, consider the clinical continuum of early detection, diagnosis and therapeutic intervention. The module also aims to foster the ability to synthesise and integrate concepts across specific disorders, and to consider the appropriate level of explanation and methodological approach for understanding atypical cognitive development.
By means of reviewing key, up-to-date publications, students will be exposed to the most recent theories and methodologies that bear upon this continuum. The main thrust of these reviews will be to foster a critical, but constructive, attitude to the ways in which psychologists can contribute to a better understanding of developmental disorders in general.
Students will develop an understanding of developmental psychology research, methods and theories that apply when working with children. A wide range of approaches used in contemporary research in psychology will be addressed, and there will be focus on different theoretical assumptions underlying individual research techniques.Expanding on elements previously introduced at undergraduate level, this module examines the various stages of developmental change and includes a balance of historic and contemporary methods such as ERP and Near-infrared spectroscopy. Students will gain a working knowledge of how to implement different types of research procedure and learn how to write within the conventions implemented by the American Psychological Association in how to publish a research article.
Students will learn about the ethics which are required for events involving children, and, after submitting their own ethics proposal, will conduct independent research on a matter of their choice in order to contribute with other students in the ‘Hot Topic Debate’.
This module will give students the opportunity to apply their research and professional skills in an independent investigation. Students will focus in depth on a particular psychological question, and develop theoretical understanding of research methods to investigate that question. They will then communicate their findings in a report equivalent in standard to a published article in a professional psychology journal.
While carrying out research on the dissertation topic, students will develop essential skills in the critical evaluation of research literature. During the dissertation itself, they will independently complete the development and testing of a hypothesis, the design and construction of study and test materials, and the collection or collation of data relevant to testing their hypotheses. Students shall also determine the appropriate use of analytic methods, interpret and successfully communicate their research findings.
By the end of the dissertation, the students will have used empirical methods to collect original data or to select, prepare, and analyse secondary data; conducted appropriate analyses of the data; shown an understanding of the research findings and presented that understanding effectively.
This module builds on 'Analysing and Interpreting Psychological Data I' by further developing the ability to conduct and present quantitative data analysis techniques through a combination of lectures and workshops, using R statistical software. Practical exercises will draw upon observations taken from real psychological data to develop flexibility and the capacity for critical thinking in the application of analytic skills. Statistical techniques will include modelling approaches such as (general) linear models and (generalised) linear mixed-effects models due to their power, flexibility and accuracy across the widest range of applications in psychological science.
With an emphasis on qualitative research, this module will address a range of uses for verbally acquired data, for example from interviews and focus groups, and enable students to apply this content for conversational analysis.
Students will develop a range of skills including sampling, ethics and transcription, resulting in the ability to conduct and write-up a piece of independent qualitative research. There will be opportunity for students to develop practical and analytic skills and technique, and expand their knowledge of the underlying epistemological assumptions of a range of qualitative methods.
The difference between discursive psychology and discourse analysis will be explained, complimented with thematic analysis and interpretive phenomenological analysis and, through the method of coursework, students will be encouraged to conduct and report independent qualitative research.
This module involves a self-directed literature review, undertaken by the student on a psychological topic of their own choosing, under expert supervision. Students will be encouraged to develop an in-depth knowledge of a specific area of psychological research. This will include both classic theories and studies in the area, as well as up-to-date knowledge of current approaches and recent research findings.
Students will engage and develop skills in literature searching, in addition to the understanding they will gain in evaluating evidence, summarising findings from primary sources, and drawing conclusions on the basis of existing research. Students will obtain the practical knowledge and experience required to use electronic and other forms of library resources to identify published research in psychology, and will be aware of different traditions of theory and research in their chosen topic area.
Paired lectures and seminars will cover a wide range of indicative topics, including auditory and visual languages, psycholinguistic programmes and the subliminal power of advertising such as non-conscious effects, persuasion and emotional appeals.
Students will advance their skills in the critical examination of empirical evidence and theoretical arguments. They will examine the main cognitive psychological factors that impact on advertising success, ranging from lower-level perceptual, attentional and memory processes through to higher-level interpretational and inferential processes.
In addition, this module provides an understanding of the psychology of advertising from both a developmental and adult perspective, while also examining methodological issues associated with the study of child and adult cognition.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research. Not all optional modules are available every year.
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