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.
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.