Learn to use developmental psychology to improve children’s mental health and wellbeing.

Join our expert psychologists online to study childhood mental health issues, their causes, and how we can provide more effective support.

You’ll learn to source and use insights from developmental psychology to examine and understand a range of applied issues, including:

  • adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their impact
  • childhood behavioural difficulties and their causes
  • parenting styles, attachment theory, and ecological systems theory.

Build credits towards a Masters degree

This online short course is part of our accredited Masters in Psychological Studies. You can use the credits you earn on this course towards this MSc qualification if you go on to study it.

Who is this developmental psychology course for?

You do not need to have a background in psychology to join us for this course. It’s open to anyone interested in applied developmental psychology and educational psychology.

It’s ideal if you work in, or are keen to work in:

  • early years or childhood practice, education, healthcare, social care, social justice, the third sector.

We’ll look at issues through the lens of educational practice, but this course is valuable if you work with children in any environment.

What you’ll study

You’ll cover the key theories and latest research in developmental psychology.

What is developmental psychology?

Developmental psychology is the scientific study of how human beings develop and change across the lifespan. Its importance is growing within many sectors, including education.

Issues you’ll explore

You’ll use insights from developmental psychology to study and understand current issues in childhood mental health and wellbeing. You’ll examine current approaches to tackling these issues, and how these play out in the real world.

You’ll cover two main themes and a range of topics:

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)

  • What ACEs are.
  • The impact of ACEs on development and behaviour.
  • Support available.

Behavioural difficulties

  • Types of behavioural difficulties, including aggression.
  • Causes of behavioural difficulties, including social-emotional learning.
  • Support options, including behaviour management, self-regulation, classroom management, mindfulness and nurture groups.

You’ll also cover developmental psychology areas including:

  • attachment theory
  • ecological systems theory
  • parenting styles.

Throughout the course, you’ll learn to source and evaluate a range of resources, research and initiatives relating to childhood mental health and wellbeing.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to…

  • Explain developmental psychological theories.
  • Discuss current ideas in childhood health and wellbeing.
  • Reflect on the strengths and limitations of resources by drawing on developmental psychology theory and research.
  • Apply developmental psychology research and theory to present ideas on an online platform.
  • Communicate your critical understanding to peers using online media.
  • Provide written feedback on presentations given by peers.

How you’ll study

Online learning

This distance-learning developmental psychology course is delivered part-time, 100% online. You can study with us anywhere in the world, with no need for a visa, and manage your study hours to suit you.

Part of our accredited MSc in Psychological Studies, this course is taught at Masters level. You’ll be learning alongside students who are on the full MSc programme.

Your teaching

Your teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including:

  • videos
  • reading materials
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library
  • discussion boards with colleagues and tutors.

Your tutors

You’ll learn from expert developmental psychologists from our School of Psychology.

You’ll also learn from your fellow students. You’ll be studying online alongside individuals from a range of backgrounds who may be based all over the world.

Your course coordinator

Where this will take you

Towards a Masters

You’ll earn 15 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this course. You can use these credits towards our accredited:

This on-campus Masters degree is:

  • accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • designed to introduce graduates from other disciplines to the study of psychology, as your first step to pursuing a career in psychology.

Build your learning

This course is part of our series of online mental health and wellbeing courses.

Use these short courses to build your skills and earn more credits towards postgraduate psychology qualifications:

All these online courses are part-time and fit around full-time work.


You’ll leave this course with the skills and confidence to help improve children’s mental health and wellbeing wherever you work.

You’ll have a better understanding of childhood mental health issues that have become a major focus in the education sector and beyond, both nationally and internationally.

Because of its psychological focus, this course is also a great fit for anyone interested in pursuing a future career in educational psychology.

Whatever your industry, you’ll gain career-enhancing expertise, including transferrable skills in critical thinking, communication and presentation.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for CPD hours. Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Free career support

Access our free careers service while you study.

  • 1:1 appointments
  • CV checks
  • Interview prep
  • Job opportunities

See how our careers service can help you.

Entry requirements

This course has no formal entry requirements. You decide if it’s suitable for you.

The course is delivered at Masters level. At this level, you’d usually have at least:

  • a 2:2 (second-class) undergraduate degree
  • or relevant experience that supports this level of study.

Apply for this course

Start date
23 January 2023
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