The School of Education, UCD, has been offering professional training in Educational Psychology, in the form of an MA in Educational Psychology (MAEP) since 1995. In line with international practice, professional training in Educational Psychology at the School of Education is now offered predominantly at doctoral level, in the form of a Professional Doctorate in Educational Psychology (D Ed Psych.). There is also a facility for advanced entry directly into Stage 2 of the Professional Doctorate in Educational Psychology, which involves the research and doctoral thesis component, for applicants who have already completed a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology.
Overview of the programme
The Professional Doctorate in Educational Psychology will prepare students to work as educational psychologists. It involves taught components, extensive professional placement experience and the conducting of research at doctoral level. The research will involve the completion of a 50,000 word thesis. The course is being offered full-time over three years or part-time over five years. Part-time in this context will require availability to attend lectures and engage in professional placements on two-to-three days per week. Some modules will be delivered online and there will also be online tutorial support. This course is being offered at Level 10 within the National Framework for Qualifications (NFQ) and will carry a total of 270 Credits. As a professional training course, application will be made to the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) for accreditation when it has commenced.
The course aims to provide trainee educational psychologists with the theoretical framework and the practical experience necessary to work as professional psychologists within a variety of educational contexts, to critique relevant research and to conduct research at doctoral level.
Students on the DEdPsych course will:
- Critically examine the discipline of Educational Psychology and the varying roles and responsibilities of educational psychologists.
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of the main theories of Child Development, including: neuropsychological, cognitive, motor, perceptual, social and emotional, linguistic and numerical development in the context of explaining human functioning and dysfunctioning in a variety of contexts.
- Examine a range of disabilities/special educational needs in relation to aetiology, assessment and diagnosis, as well as the main educational and therapeutic interventions used to support persons with disabilities/special educational needs.
- Become familiar with models of curriculum development, with particular emphasis on curriculum modification for students with special educational needs.
- Examine the discourse, assumptions, policy and legislation underpinning educational provision for students with disabilities/special educational needs, with particular emphasis on inclusive education.
- Critically examine perceived models of best practice in relation to the organisation of provision for students with disabilities and special educational needs with a particular emphasis on an inclusive whole-school approach to such organisation.
- Explore a range of issues in the Sociology of Education, such as intelligence, disability, ethnicity, gender and social disadvantage.
- Gain an understanding of schools as systems, of school cultures and of systems theory in the context of organisational psychology.
- Become familiar with the main approaches to counselling and develop basic counselling and communication skills.
- Acquire the skills to formulate and evaluate holistic individualised education programmes, relating to care, education and behaviour.
- Become thoroughly proficient in the administration of key tests of cognitive ability, school attainment and social, emotional and behavioural functioning and become aware of the issues involved in administering such tests to persons of various ages, presenting with a variety of disabilities/special educational needs and from a variety of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
- Become fully aware of the main issues involved in the conducting of psychological assessments and the production of reports of such assessments, including; informed consent, information gathering and the communication of results.
- Become competent in interpreting psychological profiles, in writing clear, coherent and relevant reports and in formulating appropriate recommendations.
Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the ethical and professional issues involved in the practice of Educational Psychology.
- Demonstrate a competent ability to critically evaluate and compare theories, conceptual models and research, with particular relevance to the application of such theories, models and research to the professional practice of Educational Psychology.
- Be able to design and conduct a substantial piece of original research at doctoral level that can inform the practice of Educational Psychology and be able to report the findings of their research in an accessible format that is of a standard suitable for publication in national and international refereed journals.
- Complete a doctoral thesis that makes an original contribution to knowledge and that is relevant to the practice of Educational Psychology.