Learn to use developmental psychology to improve educational outcomes.

Join our psychologists online and gain rewarding knowledge and skills for your educational practice. You’ll examine a range of today’s pressing educational issues from a psychological perspective, including:

  • 21st century skills
  • the attainment gap
  • supporting educational transitions, including post-Covid educational transitions.

You’ll learn how to source and analyse the research behind current issues in education, and how to apply research findings in your own work. And you can learn while you earn – this online short course fits around full-time work.

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.

Who is this developmental psychology course for?

This course is for anyone interested in developmental psychology and how its theories are applied in education. You do not need to have a background in psychology to join us.

The course is ideal if you work in, or are keen to work in:

  • 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 main 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 understand and evaluate current issues and approaches in education. You’ll investigate questions including:

  • what skills for life and learning should be promoted in education in the 21st century, and why?
  • how can psychological research and theory contribute to closing the poverty-related attainment gap?
  • what does recent research tell us about supporting educational transitions, including post-Covid transitions?

You’ll cover topics including:

  • key learning theories
  • growth mindsets
  • metacognition
  • resilience
  • the attainment gap – what it is, what the causes are, and what support is needed to address it
  • educational transitions, including post-Covid-19.

You’ll gain the knowledge and critical-thinking skills you need to apply research findings in your own work.

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

  • Explain developmental psychological theories.
  • Discuss current ideas in education.
  • Evaluate the strengths and limitations of educational resources by drawing on developmental psychology theory and research.
  • Apply your understanding of developmental psychology research and theory to create educational resources.
  • Communicate your critical understanding to peers using online media.
  • Provide written peer-feedback on educational resources.

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
  • video lectures to stream and download
  • 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, giving you unique insight into educational issues around the globe.

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

We have a growing range of online Psychology courses you can use to build your skills and earn more credits towards postgraduate qualifications.

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


This course can help you upskill as an educational practitioner. You’ll leave with enhanced expertise in the research that underpins current issues in education.

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.