Psychology of Childhood Adversity

The programme provides advanced study of topics in developmental psychology, with a specific focus on development in the context of adversity.

Childhood adversity refers to factors extrinsic to the child such as growing up in contexts of parental psychopathology, economic deprivation and community conflict. Psychological, educational and behavioural outcomes of adversity will be explored as well as the predictors, mediators and moderators of outcome.

Students will additionally have the opportunity to study interdisciplinary approaches to tackling childhood adversity, with compulsory and optional modules in Children's Rights, Youth Justice and Caring for Children with Complex Health Needs.

We address questions such as:

What aspects of childhood adversity impact of child and adolescent development?
How do intrinsic (eg child's personality) and extrinsic (eg parenting) factors interact to moderate outcomes of adversity?
What programmes and interventions can help children growing up in adversity and how can they be best designed and implemented?

Entry requirements

Normally a 2.2 Honours degree (minimum 57%) or above in Psychology or an acceptable related discipline, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.

Applicants with relevant work experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy provides guidance on the assessment of experiential learning (RPEL).

Please visit for more information.

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

English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

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.


1 year full time / 2 years part time.

Teaching Times
Teaching takes place in the morning and afternoon, usually over 2 days (Tuesday/Wednesday). The course may include additional workshops outside normal teaching hours.

Careers or further progression

Career Prospects
The programme is designed to prepare graduate students for more advanced research in developmental psychology, for professional training in psychology or related disciplines, and/or for employment in children's voluntary or statutory services.

Further enquiries

Dr Teresa Rushe
Programme Director
School of Psychology
Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 4336

Subjects taught

The programme consists of compulsory and optional modules. Students take half the taught modules in semester 1 and half in semester 2. Teaching time is usually over 2 days (Tuesday/Wednesday).

Modules are likely to include the following:

Childhood Adversity (20 credits)
Improving Outcomes with Evidence Based Interventions (20 credits)
Principles of Qualitative Research Methods and Data Analyses (10 credits)
Quantitative Data Analysis 1 (10 credits) and 2 (10 credits)
Research Design and Professional Skills (10 credits)
Theoretical Perspectives on Child and Adolescent Development (20 credits)
Quantitative Data Analyses 1 (10 credits) and 2 (10 credits)
Psychological Methods in Developmental Research (10 credits)


Psychology of Childhood Adversity highlights

World Class Facilities
•The School has a long-standing reputation for research and practice in developmental psychology and currently offers two professional Doctorates in applied areas of psychology (clinical and educational).

Student Experience
•We focus exclusively on the study of childhood adversity, and thus our students are exposed to up to date advances in our understanding of the effects on child adversity on human development.

Assessment method

Coursework assignments
Class tests

Application date

How to Apply
Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Please note: Applications for this course, received after 30th June may not be accepted. A deposit will be required to secure a place.

Enrolment and start dates

Entry year: 2019

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