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 AWARD and ROUTE TITLE                 MSc Developmental Psychology
                                       PGDip Psychology of Development
                                       PGCert Psychology of Development

 Name of the Teaching Institution      Sheffield Hallam University

 Mode(s) of Attendance                 FT/PT
 (eg. FT/PT/SW/DL)
 UCAS CODE                             N/A
 Professional/Statutory/Regulatory We will be seeking accreditation from the
 Body Recognising this             British Psychological Society. This will
 Programme                         allow graduates of this award to be eligible
                                   for Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR).
 QAA Subject Benchmark                 QAA Benchmark Statements are not
 Statement or other relevant           available for the study of Psychology at
 external reference point              Level 7.
                                       British Psychological Society Qualifying
                                       Examination Syllabus
 Date of Validation                    21st May 2008


       The MSc Developmental Psychology aims to:

    1. Provide students with knowledge and understanding of lifespan human development
       in relation to the BPS core areas of psychology (e.g. cognitive psychology, social
    2. Provide students with the academic and research skills to engage in further study or
       practical work with developmental groups (i.e. children, adolescents, elderly)
    3. Provide students with a BPS accredited qualification, conferring GBR status
    4. Provide those students (e.g. teachers, youth workers) already working with
       developmental groups, with the opportunity for further relevant study, thus
       contributing to their lifelong learning.

2.1      Knowledge and understanding covered within the Programme. By the
         end of the programme you will be able to

      1. Explain and explore historical and current theories and perspectives on
         human development

      2. Explain and explore cognitive, social and physical/biological development
         through the lifespan
      3. Explain and explore both normative patterns of development and individual
         differences in psychological development
      4. Explore lifespan and cross-cultural perspectives on health and illness
      5. Explore the research methods and techniques used in developmental
         psychology and apply appropriate research methods to address
         developmental research questions
      6. Select and explore in depth a current area of research within developmental
      7. Apply critical understanding of developmental theory and research to practical
         settings relevant to developmental populations (e.g. schools, hospitals)

2.2      Intellectual/Subject/Professional/Key skills covered within the
         Programme: by the end of the programme you will be able to

      1. Critically evaluate and synthesise concepts, theories and research from
         across the various domains of development, such as cognitive and social
      2. Identify, access and rigorously evaluate current research publications and
         other appropriate primary sources
      3. Identify current and complex problems within the domain of lifespan
         development and identify solutions, based on knowledge of theory and
      4. Select and apply a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods in
         order to address a variety of research questions in developmental psychology
      5. Critically reflect on the ethics of developmental psychological research and
         employ an ethical approach in your research
      6. Identify, select, use and evaluate quantitative and/or qualitative approaches to
         data analysis
      7. Communicate effectively in both written and spoken mediums to enable
         enhanced understanding by both professional and lay audiences
      8. Reflect on and evaluate factors which impact on your skills, attributes and


3.1      The approach to Learning and Teaching within the Programme

A combination of face-to-face lectures, on-line lectures and on-line study guides will
be offered. These will map out the basic theories, perspectives and approaches
within core psychology areas (e.g. social psychology) with emphasis on the
developmental aspects of these topics. Key background readings will be suggested
together with guidance on your own independent research in the topic area. Where
relevant, visiting speakers (e.g. educational psychologists) will provide a more
applied perspective on certain topics: thus consolidating your knowledge of how
theory and research apply to practice.

Workshops and seminars will accompany the various lectures and will be used to
extend your analyses of the topics and debates. Material such as journal articles,
case studies and media articles will be utilised as the basis for debate; fostering
discussion between peers and between tutor and student to enhance analysis and
critical evaluation. Problem-based learning will also be used as a method for
applying theoretical models and research evidence to practice-related issues.
Although many of the workshop and seminar sessions will be face-to-face,
opportunities will be provided for you to establish and maintain discourse through
discussion forums on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

Workshop and seminar sessions will also be used to demonstrate standardised
assessment batteries. These will provide you with direct experience and interaction
with test material, thus encouraging a deeper and more meaningful understanding of
assessment with different age groups. In addition to published tests, the Psychology
Section also owns a range of psychophysics equipment and teaching staff have
research experience of using this equipment with developmental groups. Although
extensive training is often required to utilise such techniques, you will be introduced
to these methods in workshop sessions and demonstrations will be undertaken by
trained staff. This represents an opportunity to gain valuable insight into the use of
sophisticated research techniques, thereby enhancing your understanding and
critique of relevant published research.

Group work activities will underpin many workshops, seminars and lab sessions.
Such activities will provide the opportunity for co-operative, peer-supported learning:
a forum for you to develop your views and strengthen your evaluative skills. Based
on these small group activities, you will be encouraged to feedback and summarise
information to the class as a whole; thus promoting your oral and visual presentation

Workshops, seminars, tutorials, drop-in sessions, office hours and email/phone
contact will offer you the opportunity to discuss your learning experiences with tutors.
This may relate to the actual academic content of the modules e.g. interpreting
relevant reading material. Importantly, however, these sessions will also provide the
opportunity for you to adopt a reflective stance on your learning experiences, such
as considering peer and tutor feedback and self-assessing your academic progress
and skill development.

3.2    The approach to Assessment and Feedback within the Programme

A wide range of assessment techniques will be utilised by the programme team
including examinations, coursework essays, portfolios of short answer questions,
journal reviews, research protocols, oral presentations and individual research
projects. Such techniques will be used to provide summative feedback. Some of
these approaches will also be used to provide formative feedback, e.g. oral
presentations, practice exam questions. Group work activities in workshops and on-
line (e.g. generating research protocols, problem-based learning activities) will form
a key source of formative feedback from both tutors and peers. Written feedback will
be provided for all coursework assessments and you will also be provided with
opportunities to further discuss performance on assessments with tutors e.g. in office
hours. To further facilitate the improvement of learning, you will also be encouraged
to engage in self-assessment through your Personal Development Plan.

Learning Outcomes relating to Knowledge and Understanding will be assessed in a
number of ways including but not restricted to:

       unseen examinations
       coursework essays and short answer questions
       research project
       research protocols
       journal article review
       individual presentations

In terms of the Intellectual/Subject/Professional and Key skills, the learning
outcomes will be assessed as follows.

       Written coursework (i.e. essays, short answer questions, journal article
        review, research protocols, lab reports, Dissertation) and oral presentations
        will assess learning outcomes 2.2.1; 2.2.2; 2.2.7
       Coursework in the form of essays, research protocols, problem-based
        learning report and the Dissertation will assess 2.2.3; 2.2.4; 2.2.5
       Unseen examinations and the Dissertation will assess 2.2.6
       The Dissertation and problem-based learning report will assess 2.2.8


The modules offered on the MSc Developmental Psychology are as follows:

       Theoretical and Applied Perspectives in Developmental Psychology (20
       Cognitive Development (20 credits)
       Developmental Social Psychology (10 credits)
       Psychobiology and Development (10 credits)
       Psychology of Differential Development (10 credits)
       Research Methods and Statistics (2 electives/routes):
        -    Fundamentals in Design and Statistics (20 credits) OR
        -    Advanced Statistics and Design (20 credits)
       Developmental Practicals (10 credits)
       Lifespan and Cross-cultural Perspectives on Health and Illness (20 credits)
       Developmental Psychology Dissertation (60 credits)

The course is structured so that you will study lifespan development in relation to the
other core areas of psychology, as identified by the BPS. Specifically, these are:
Cognitive Psychology; Social Psychology, Psychobiology and Individual
Differences/Differential Psychology. Thus, you will study development in relation to
cognition, social relations, psychobiology and the similarities and differences shown
by individuals in development through the lifespan. Essential information (e.g.
theoretical models, paradigms) within the core area will be reviewed and will
underpin the developmental emphasis placed on module content. This approach will
therefore provide a thorough general introduction to the core areas for graduates
from a non-psychology background and offer a ‘refreshment’ of prior learning to
psychology graduates. Moreover, this approach will extend and enhance current
undergraduate teaching in Developmental Psychology.

In addition, you will be expected to undertake a core skills-based module relating to
psychology research methods and statistics. This will be offered at two levels,
depending on your previous experience in this area: Fundamentals in Design and
Statistics or Advanced Statistics and Design. In order to promote your knowledge of
research methods in relation to Developmental Psychology, the module
Developmental Practicals will be offered. This comprises a series of interactive
workshops in which different developmental research approaches/techniques are
outlined and demonstrated. Furthermore, learning and teaching relating to research
methods in Developmental Psychology is embedded throughout all the modules in
the programme i.e. lectures and workshops will emphasize developmental research
and encourage critique of different approaches and designs.

Students undertaking the MSc as a conversion course will also be required to study
Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology, as this is a further part of the BPS
Qualifying Examination syllabus. Material on this topic will be available as a series of
on-line lectures. Although the study of Conceptual and Historical Issues is not credit-
bearing, you will be provided with opportunities to formatively assess your learning
(e.g. MCQ’s on Blackboard).

Further to these core areas, you will also study lifespan development in relation to an
advanced option within the BPS Qualifying Syllabus (see Appendix 1) – Health
Psychology. Finally, you are required to undertake an empirical research project in
the area of Developmental Psychology (Dissertation).

       Possible progression or career routes after you have completed this
       programme include

For graduates with degrees other than Psychology, who obtain an average mark of
50% or above, successful completion of the MSc Developmental Psychology course
will confer eligibility for GBR (subject to accreditation from the BPS). An average
mark of 50% is stipulated by the BPS as the minimum required in order to gain GBR.
As a conversion course, the programme is specifically designed to provide you with
a sufficient and thorough grounding in Psychology, with particular emphasis on
lifespan development. The programme is thus designed to give you the core
academic and subject specific skills needed to pursue a career in Psychology. The
major career routes are Clinical Psychology, Educational Psychology, Occupational
Psychology, Health Psychology, Forensic Psychology, and Counselling Psychology.
Further work experience in a relevant setting is usually required before you can be
admitted to these postgraduate training courses.
For all students completing the MSc Developmental Psychology (whether
psychology or non-psychology graduates), the course will consolidate and extend
your knowledge of lifespan development and develop your research skills, and
therefore will:

     Enhance your opportunities for practical work with developmental groups e.g.
      children, the elderly; working in a range of applied settings such as educational
      and healthcare contexts.

     Strengthen progression into further professional training routes e.g. clinical
      psychology, educational psychology, counselling, teaching.

     Expand your opportunities for future research in Developmental Psychology. For
      example, you may choose to apply for research worker posts or consider
      undertaking doctoral research.

     Offer opportunities for lecturing or teaching in Psychology e.g. Associate Lecturer

Finally, successful completion of the MSc Developmental Psychology will strengthen
and enhance your employability in a range of professional settings, outside of


6.1      Specific Entry Requirements for entry to the initial stage of this
         programme are

            Academic Qualifications             A UK undergraduate degree
             (including A / AS level              in Psychology with at least a
             grades and subjects, where           lower second class honours
             applicable)                          (or its overseas equivalent).
                                                 A UK undergraduate degree
                                                  in a subject other than
                                                  Psychology with at least
                                                  lower second class honours
                                                  (or its overseas equivalent)
                                                  and at least 60 credits of
                                                  undergraduate study in
                                                  Psychology either as part of
                                                  or in addition to your
                                                  undergraduate degree.

            Level of English language             IELTS (International English
             capability                             Language Testing System) -
                                                    overall Band 6.5

            Any other specific, formally      No
            certified qualifications
           Previous relevant work or       This is not essential but
            work-related experience         preferable (see 6.2)
           Any specific articulation       None
            arrangements recognised
            for this programme
           Professional qualifications     None

           Any other specific entry        None

6.2   APPLICANT ENTRY PROFILE: the knowledge, skills and qualities etc.
      required to enable you to benefit from, and succeed on the programme
      of study are

      You should be enthusiastic about Psychology and have a keen interest in
      learning about development from infancy to old age. To benefit most from the
      course, you should have:

          previous/current experience of working with developmental populations
           (e.g. preschoolers), thereby drawing on your practical knowledge to
           enhance your learning experience
          awareness of and sensitivity to the needs of specific developmental
           groups (e.g. the elderly)
          good communication skills and a willingness to contribute to group
           discussions and activities
          ability to express yourself well in the written form

6.3   The University will select non-standard entrants to the programme in the
      following ways

      Non-standard applicants represent those individuals who do not hold the full
      entry requirements for the programme i.e. do not hold an undergraduate
      degree and/or do not have at least 60 credits of Psychology studied at
      undergraduate level. These entry requirements are stipulated by the BPS for
      all conversion awards. As such, non-standard applicants will be contacted to
      discuss how they can obtain full entry requirements. Suggestions will be
      offered, specifically relating to the attainment of 60 credits in Psychology. For
      example, within the Psychology Section we offer students the opportunity to
      obtain these credits from studying three modules from our undergraduate
      Psychology programme.           Successful completion of these modules by
      graduates would then lead to progression onto the MSc Developmental
      Psychology programme.
6.4   Use of Prior Credit (APCL/APEL): prior certificated credit or prior
      experiential credit may be used within the Programme in the following

      The BPS stipulates that “no accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL)
      or accreditation of prior certificated learning (APL) is permitted as part of an
      accredited conversion programme”. Thus, APEL and APCL may not be used
      within the Programme for those students seeking GBR (i.e. undertaking the
      MSc as a conversion course). For all other students, SHU standard
      APCL/APEL regulations apply.

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