Educational & Child Psychology

The Professional Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology (DECPsy) is a highly sought-after three-year, full-time professional training course for candidates interested in pursuing a career as an educational psychologist. This course will equip candidates with the necessary competencies to work in a range of autonomous and collaborative professional roles that are performed by educational psychologists (EPs) in a variety of contexts and with a range of client groups. The overall aim of the DECPSY programme is to enable students to effectively integrate theory and practice and become skilled and accountable professional practitioners.

Key Features

The programme is sufficiently flexible in content and structure to adapt readily to current and future needs and to the emergence of new knowledge in educational psychology and related fields. Taught modules are typically delivered in four-day blocks over the first two years. In addition to taught modules, a variety of workshops and seminars are organised for trainees and delivered by experienced practitioners e.g. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Video Interactive Guidance, Dynamic Assessment. One day per week is normally assigned to study.

Over the three years, students develop their knowledge and understanding of the nature of research showing in depth understanding of the range of research orientations and methods used in educational and professional educational psychology research. Students are required to complete a research thesis which must make an original contribution to knowledge and contain material of a standard and form appropriate for peer-reviewed publication.

The programme utilises approaches to learning that are problem-based and collaborative. Learners will be provided with opportunities to construct knowledge in an active, collaborative manner by working through real-life case studies and examples, thereby linking psychological theory and research to professional practice. Those involved in the delivery of the programme recognise that they are engaging with adult professional learners and aim to employ methods that will afford adult learners a robust learning experience.

Professional placements, totalling 300 days, are organised in a variety of settings e.g. early intervention and school age teams with HSE/disability services, National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS). Professional placements provide extensive opportunities for the exercise of a wide range of professional roles and competencies. Students typically attend placements for 3-4 days per week. Where possible, students will be placed close to their home base.

Entry requirements

By the closing date for applications applicants must have:

•A minimum upper second class honours (2.1) degree in psychology or an equivalent qualification, recognised by the Psychological Society of Ireland or equivalent, as conferring eligibility for Graduate Membership.

•An equivalent of two year's relevant full-time experience working in the field of education or psychology or both is required.

Short-listing of applicants for interview normally occurs. The selection panel will pay attention to the personal suitability of applicants to work with children. In evaluating applicants' suitability, account will be taken of academic qualifications, professional and research experience, interpersonal skills and communication skills in addition to the quality of references provided. Successful applicants will be Garda vetted prior to final acceptance on to the course.

English Language Requirements

Applicants for whom English is not a first language must provide evidence of their proficiency level English in the form of an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) composite score of 6.5 – 7.0 with no less than 6.0 in any one component, or IELTS equivalent accepted by UL. Such applicants will also be required to undergo an interview through English.

Post Course Info

Graduates of the DECPsy will have knowledge of a broad range of psychological theory, evidence-based practice, method and research and will have the ability to apply psychological methods, insights and interventions to working autonomously or as part of multi-disciplinary teams, with a variety of clients in diverse contexts. Professional practice will be characterised by high ethical standards, competence to practice in a variety of professional contexts, and a disposition to work collaboratively with high levels of professional skill and up- to- date knowledge.

Graduates will be eligible to apply for Chartered Members of the Psychological Society of Ireland and for full membership of the Division of Educational Psychology.

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  • Qualifications

    Degree - Doctoral (Level 10 NFQ)

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