Psychology - Foundations in Applied Psychology Practice

Co-designed with Clinical Psychologists in the NHS and co-delivered by the Schools of Psychology at Queen's and the University of Ulster, this programme provides Psychology graduates with a foundation to prepare them for employment in the NHS. It aims to enhance students' knowledge of the application of psychological theory in a health and social care setting and helps them to appreciate and develop skills of professional practice. Students who have completed the programme will be able to apply their knowledge of behaviour change principles to analyse behaviour and identify intervention goals and will possess basic skills of psychological assessment and formulation. They will demonstrate knowledge, understanding and critical awareness of concepts of mental health and mental ill health, and will be familiar with a range of behaviour change interventions and therapeutic modalities. In addition, they will be aware of issues relating to working in complex systems and will be sensitive to team dynamics and team culture.

Foundations In Applied Psychology Practice Highlights
Career Development
• The course is part of a suite of upskilling programmes, funded by DfE, intended to increase skills in the Northern Irish workforce.
Student Experience
• The course will be delivered in a flexible manner given that many students will likely already be working or have existing commitments on their time.

Course Structure
The course is comprised of two 30 credit modules.

Learning and Teaching
Lecturers on the course are experts in applied psychology in health and social care contexts either because of their research interests or through their professional practice. Thus, teaching on the programme will be research and practice-led.
We operate a proactive system of student support. The Postgraduate Advisor of Studies will guide and support you through your time with us, supported by the School's knowledgeable and friendly administrative staff. Good communication between staff and students is central and we operate a Student Voice Committee specifically for taught PG programmes.

Membership of this committee includes elected representatives from each of the taught postgraduate programmes, the Director of Postgraduate Taught Education, programme directors and the School Manager. This Committee allows students to quickly raise matters of concern to them and enables the School to keep students appraised of matters affecting the School and wider University.
The School of Psychology at Queen's has a distinguished history in educating undergraduate and postgraduate students. The School operates a single honours undergraduate degree on which around 500 students are enrolled, three taught MSc degrees, professional doctorates in Clinical Psychology and Educational, Child and Adolescent Psychology, and a highly active research PhD programme. Many of the members of staff teaching on our programmes have international reputations in their field. All are committed teachers and researchers.

Our aim as a School is to recruit the best students locally and internationally. We aim to build a supportive learning environment that stimulates students to do their best work. We provide students with a range of opportunities to learn and have included some further information on these below.

Interaction in Role Plays
Students will engage in interaction via role play, and skills practice sessions, in order to begin to develop a variety of skills relating to psychological assessment and formulation and the gathering of information from people.

Lectures serve a number of purposes: they provide information about a topic and the basis for further self-directed study. They also provide an opportunity for class discussion, questions and feedback. In many cases lectures are followed by student-led seminars.

Self-guided study
Self-guided study is an essential part of any taught MSc course when private reading and research, preparation for assignments and reflection on feedback is carried out.

Subjects taught

Course Structure
This MSc is one-third research methods and analysis, one-third applied developmental psychology content and one-third dissertation

Atypical Development in an Educational Context - core (20 CATS)
This module bridges the gap between developmental psychology, educational psychology, and clinical child and adolescent psychology to provide a rounded insight into the challenges that neurodevelopmental disorders pose in educational contexts. Over the course of the module, students will learn about the atypical development of language, literacy and communication skills, and mathematical cognition, and discuss the impact of deficits in core areas of cognition, such as working memory and executive function. The students will also develop a range of skills through individual and group work which will support their long-term personal and professional development.

Childhood Adversity: From basic science to improving outcomes - core (20 CATS)
The module will introduce leading theories and research in developmental psychopathology and develop students critical understanding of the relationships between childhood adversity, mental health, educational outcomes and behavioural outcomes throughout development. Content will include research into both familial and socioeconomic indices of adversity, and how different aspects of adversity interact to produce outcomes. Mediators and moderators of outcomes will also be explored.

Dissertation - core (60 CATS)
This module provides students with the opportunity to conduct independent and original research into a topic appropriate for the MSc in Applied Developmental Psychology.

This involves:
• Discussing with their supervisors in order to identify a viable research issue or question pertinent to the domains of applied and developmental psychology;
• Designing a research plan for investigation in order to address the research question and/or hypotheses which can be logically defended and is in accordance with the School of Psychology at QUB and BPS ethical guidelines;
• Conducting appropriate statistical analyses that address the hypotheses and/or applying other qualitative analytic methods as appropriate to the research question;
• Interpreting findings - whether numerical/statistical or in the form of verbatim transcripts, with reference to relevant theory and/or previous research, in an informed and defendable way acknowledging their own role in the analytic process;
• Coherently articulate the benefits and limitations of the research;
• Identifying the implications for future research and, where appropriate, also the practical implications with due recognition of the scope and boundaries of these implications.

Introduction to Therapeutic Skills - optional (10 CATS)
Students will receive an introduction to therapeutic skills relevant to a variety of clinical and other applied contexts. The course will involve role plays and skills practice sessions. Indicative topics include applying basic clinical skills, ACT, CBT, systemic therapy, and motivational interviewing. The course will help students to draw links between underlying theory and clinical practice.

This module cannot be taken along with the Placement: Childhood Adversity in Applied Contexts.

Placement: Childhood Adversity in Applied Contexts - optional (10 CATS)
The placement module will give you the opportunity to apply your psychological knowledge and develop your skills in a real-world setting. Working with an experienced placement provider, you will have the opportunity to research and identify an evidence-based intervention and adapt it to meet the needs of the children or young people, to support their learning, growth or development. You may also co-deliver an existing intervention and evaluate its effectiveness in order to improve the approaches of the organisation.

Some examples of projects that may be carried out whilst on placement:
1. Engage young people with ADHD in a learning environment.
2. Support emotional reasoning in a learning environment.
3. Develop social skills to support peer group learning.
4. Engage the senses to help calm and focus individuals for learning.
5. Raise awareness of and reduce anger management issues.

The Placement team within the school will source the placements on your behalf and you will apply to the ones that best fit your skills and areas of interest.

This module cannot be taken along with the Introduction to Therapeutic Skills module.

Principles of Qualitative Research Methods and Data Analyses 1 - core (10 CATS)
This module provides students with the necessary knowledge and skills to conduct independent qualitative research. The aim of this module is to equip students with knowledge to understand, design, conduct and critically appraise qualitative research. It contains teaching on philosophical assumptions underpinning qualitative research and a practical understanding of the full range of qualitative research methods in Psychology.

Principles of Qualitative Research Methods and Data Analysis 2 - optional (10 CATS)
PSY7064: This module will deepen students' understanding of four approaches to qualitative research: grounded theory, discourse analysis, narrative analysis and interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). It will include discussion of the epistemological and ontological considerations that underpin these approaches, as well the opportunity to gain hands on experience of analysing qualitative data using each of them.

Psychological Methods in Developmental Research - core (10 CATS)
This module focuses on a range of psychological methods used in developmental research. The course will cover specific design considerations when conducting research with typically/ atypically developing children and introduce students to commonly used tests in developmental research. Issues concerning the more applied aspects of working with children in different experimental and naturalistic settings will be explored with a spotlight focus on children who develop atypically.

Quantitative Data Analyses 1 - core (10 CATS)
This module offers a refresher session on inferential statistics and discusses the underlying assumptions, the use and conduct of a range of statistical techniques including ANOVA models, multiple and logistic regression. There will be demonstrations of how to do these statistical techniques using both SPSS or R.

Quantitative Data Analysis 2 - optional (10 CATS)
PSY7066: This module offers an introduction to the use and conduct of a range of statistical techniques including factor analyses, structural equation modelling, mediation and moderation analyses. It also discusses validity and reliability issues in test construction.

Research Skills - core (10 CATS)
This module covers different skills relevant to doing research, ranging from using the literature to conceive hypotheses to designing and planning experiments to analysing and writing up the results. Lectures will cover topics such as literature searching, rights and responsibilities, the replication crisis, academic writing, plagiarism, research design, research ethics, diversity in research, and managing safety.

Theoretical Perspectives in Child and Adolescent Development - core (10 CATS)
The main aim of this module is to equip students with the current understanding of the key theories of child and adolescent development from psychosocial and psychobiological perspectives. The module will begin with an overview of developmental theories before more focussed discussion of different aspects of development. The introduction to these key issues will set the stage for understanding atypical development, which will be covered in the latter part of the module.

There is an emphasis placed on student-lecturer interaction which isn't present in a lot of colleges and I think this really promotes a positive learning experience and it has definitely made me more excited about the subject. As being a psychologist is quite a social job, this also helps in preparing me for that. The in-depth focus of the modules has given me a much better understanding of certain theories and equipped me with the skills to apply the theories in real life circumstances.

Entry requirements

A 2.2 Honours degree, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University, which has been accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as conferring eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC).

All applicants are required to submit a supplementary form with one mandatory question which will be assessed.

Places available on this programme are limited. Where there are more eligible applicants than places available the academic selectors will make offers in rank order based on academic merit and potential as evidenced in the totality of the information provided within each application. We will operate a waiting list as required to allow us to fill all available places.

International Students
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements
Applicants for whom English is not their first language must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study. Please see the following link for further information:

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

• Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level

• Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

Application dates

The closing date for applications is Friday 12th May 2023 at 12 noon.

How to Apply
Applications should be submitted online via the Postgraduate Applications Portal for admission to the vast majority of postgraduate programmes.

New applicants will need to register via the Portal to create an application account. If you are already a Queen's student with an active Qsis account, you can log in using your student number and Qsis password. Guidance on how to complete an application is provided within the Portal and it is possible to save application data and return to complete it at a later date, if you wish. After core details about yourself and your academic background have been provided, you can submit an application, or multiple applications, if required.

If you applied in a previous cycle through the Portal and are re-applying, you should use your previous log in details. Please review and update your personal and contact details, academic and professional qualifications before submitting a new application.

Important – please ensure that the email address you provide is correct and active, as this will be used by us to communicate the progress of your application to you.


1 year (Part Time)

Teaching Times
The course will be delivered entirely remotely. Live lectures will take place on Tuesdays between September and April.

Post Course Info

Career Prospects
Employment after the Course
The programme is designed to prepare students for careers in health and social care contexts and graduates of the programme might end up working in a very wide variety of settings such as mental health, learning disability, psychological therapies, community mental health and positive behaviour support.

Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Certificate at UK Level 7

  • Attendance type

    Part time,Daytime

  • Apply to

    Course provider