The Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology (DECPsy) is a highly sought-after three-year, full-time professional training programme for candidates interested in pursuing a career as an educational psychologist. This programme 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 trainee educational psychologists (TEPs) to effectively integrate theory and practice and become skilled and accountable professional practitioners. The doctorate programme will enable candidates to acquire an advanced knowledge and understanding of psychological theory, methods, evidence, research and practice. Moreover, it will provide candidates with the ability to apply psychological methods, insights and interventions in work with a wide array of clients, problems and contexts.
The DECPsy programme is fully accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI).
The professional doctorate has a nominal value of 270 ECTs. The programme includes a combination of taught modules, professional placements and research. Taught Components: 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 will be typically delivered by qualified educational psychologists (EPs) and EP practitioners, 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, Assistive Technology, Dynamic Assessment. One day per week is typically assigned to study.
The programme utilises approaches to learning that are problem-based and collaborative. Students are 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. Teaching and learning experiences provide broad and balanced coverage of the working contexts of educational psychologists
The programme has in place a personal tutor system, and students will have access, at all stages throughout the programme, to a designated tutor who will take lead responsibility for mentoring and supporting the professional development of each trainee.
On completion of the programme, students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an advanced knowledge and a critical understanding of educational and child psychology theories, research and practice.
2. Conduct high quality research which contributes to the practice and profession of educational and child psychology.
3. Select and competently use a range of evidence based psychological skills, techniques, assessment and intervention strategies and approaches relevant to the field of education and child psychology.
4. Utilise educational and child psychology theoretical models, frameworks and paradigms to underpin practice in a wide variety of roles with different client groups within the ethical, legal, national and local frameworks for educational psychology practice.
5. Undertake a range of autonomous and collaborative professional roles that are, or could be, performed by educational psychologists in relation to a range of contexts and client groups.
6. Effectively communicate psychological knowledge and insights.
7. Identify, critically appraise and apply research evidence relevant to practice.
8. Manage a personal learning agenda and self-care, and engage in monitoring of professional effectiveness and impact.
9. Engage in partnerships and effective collaboration with the interacting systems of families, schools, communities and other agencies, to bring about positive change for children and young people.
10. Develop insight into personal attitudes and beliefs and how these can impact on the provision of an equal and inclusive service to a diverse range of clients.