Skip to main content

How can we use developmental psychology to improve educational outcomes?

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.

Policymakers and professional bodies are keen to see more research into developmental psychology. And it’s important that the highest standards are maintained in applying this research to real-life policy and practice.

On this applied developmental psychology course, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of the subject, and how it can be applied in education practice.

Join our expert psychologists online on this flexible part-time course that fits around full-time work.

You can use the credits you earn on this course towards our accredited MSc in Psychological Studies if you’d like to go on to study that degree at a later stage.

Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone interested in developmental psychology and how its theories are applied in education.

It’s ideal for those working in, or keen to work in, education, healthcare, social care, social justice and the charity sector.

What you’ll study

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

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?

You’ll gain the knowledge and critical-thinking skills you need to apply research findings to make a difference in the real world.

You’ll cover the following topics on this applied developmental psychology course:

  • Key learning theories
  • Growth mindsets
  • Metacognition
  • Resilience
  • The Attainment Gap
  • Transitions.

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

This applied developmental psychology course is delivered part-time, 100% online. You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

Part of our accredited MSc in Psychological Studies, this course is taught at Masters level.

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 applied developmental experts 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.


This course is assessed entirely online via:

  • your regular contributions to discussion boards
  • weekly online multiple-choice tests
  • the creation of an educational resource (for example, a leaflet, blog post, or poster).

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, giving you knowledge and expertise in the research underpinning current issues in education.

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

Whatever your industry, you’ll gain career-enhancing skills and expertise on this course.

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Free careers advice

We’ll help you explore your career potential and connect with job opportunities around the world.

You can access our free careers service while you study.

From interview training to CV clinics, we’re here with tailored, impartial and professional advice.

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