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Educational Psychology - Research

In line with international practice, professional training in Educational Psychology at the School of Education is now offered 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 methods and doctoral thesis, for applicants who have already completed a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology.

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.

Learning Outcomes

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 contexts, including educational and healthcare setting, to critique relevant research and to conduct research at doctoral level.

Students on the D Ed Psych 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, from a sociologial and a sociak osychological perspective.

•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 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.

Entry requirements

The Professional Doctorate in Educational Psychology Course is open to graduates who, prior to application, hold a first or second class honours degree in Psychology or a qualification in Psychology that is deemed to be equivalent, and who meet the requirements for Graduate Basis for Registration with the Psychological Society of Ireland or equivalent. An applicant cannot be considered for entry to the course unless the results of his or her Psychology degree/diploma are confirmed and available. Applicants must also have at least two years professional experience, excluding placement experience gained as part of acquiring professional qualifications. Periods of continuous professional experience of less than three months full-time employment will not be considered as counting towards this two years minimum requirement.

Applicants will be short listed for interview. In judging applicants' suitability, account will be taken of academic qualifications, professional experience and interpersonal skills, as well as communication and presentation skills. Previous research experience and perceived potential to conduct research at doctoral level will also be important factors. Consideration of overall personal suitability for the role of educational psychologist and the quality of references are also integral elements of the selection process. Applicants shortlisted for interview will be required to submit a Research Proposal.

Successful applicants will have to go through a Garda clearance procedure prior to final acceptance on to the course. Professional conduct on the course is governed at all times by the Code of Ethics of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI).

For Qualified Educational Psychologists

There is a facility for advanced entry directly into Stage 2 for applicants who have already completed a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology that constitutes a professional qualification to practise as an Educational Psychologist. Such applicants may complete the Professional Doctorate in Educational Psychology over two years full-time or four years part-time. This will involve Research Methods training and the completion of a 50,000 word thesis. Applicants for direct entry into Stage 2 will be required to submit a Research Proposal as part of the application process. Applicants should contact the School of Education Office and request guidelines on the completion of a Research Proposal.


W334/W335 3 years Full-time or 5 years Part-time.

Further enquiries

Sarah Walshe

Subjects taught

Module Components Of Professional Doctorate In Educational Psychology

Year One Full-time/Years 1 and 2 Part-time

•Inclusion and Equality in Education
•Child Development Theory Applied to Practice
•Educational Psychology Practice 1
•Psychological Theories and Interventions
•Educational Psychology Practice 2
•Research Methods

Year Two Full-time/Years 3 and 4 Part-time

•Educational Psychology Practice 3
•Educational Psychology Practice 4
•Advanced Research Methods Qualitative and Quantitative
•Research Thesis Preparation

Year Three Full-time/Year 5 part time

•Educational Psychology Practice 5
•Research Thesis Preparation and Submission

Assessment method

Assessment Procedures

There is a variety of assessment procedures employed on the course including; essay-based assignments, research assignments, completion of professional placement portfolios, individual and group presentations, observed administration of test instruments, supervised professional practice in schools and in psychological services, and the completion of a doctoral thesis of 50,000 words. For the award of Doctorate, the research must make an original contribution to knowledge and contain material of a standard appropriate for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Application date

Closing date of Entry Monday 5th February 2018

Enrolment and start dates

Start date: To be agreed with School

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