MSc Education (Child Development and Education)

The MSc Education (Child Development and Education) is unique in offering a combination of a strong research basis with recognised expertise in applied research and policy. It aims to promote critical understanding of developmental theories and research and the use of this knowledge in the design and evaluation of programmes aimed at promoting children’s development and education.

It promotes reflection and discussion about how theories of child development inform practice and how challenges faced in educational and care settings call for further theoretical and research enquiry.
In this full-time, one year Masters course, you will participate in lectures, seminars, workshops and field work during your data collection (depending on the project you choose), which provide rich opportunities for you to deepen your understanding of child development theories and their use in making decisions about children. A practicum about assessing and promoting children’s literacy in pre- and primary school will expand your knowledge of tools for research and their design. Your Masters project will allow you to study a topic of your interest, chosen in agreement with your supervisor, in greater detail.

Our students come from varied professional backgrounds: primary school teachers seeking to become specialists in literacy or numeracy; experienced Early Years professionals; professionals working with children and aiming to prepare themselves for a leadership role in different types of service (e.g. head teachers, professionals engaged in programme evaluation research, including governmental and non-governmental agencies). We welcome graduates with psychology degrees who wish to develop their knowledge of psychology in the field of child development and education; those seeking to pursue a doctoral degree will find that this course offers them a solid disciplinary and research basis.

The MSc Education (Child Development and Education) student group (October 2017)

Educational Aims of the Programme

  1. To promote students’ critical understanding of child development theories and research, including cognitive, social and emotional aspects of development;
  2. To provide students with a critical knowledge of widely disseminated programmes aimed at pre-school children and at the development of language and literacy, cognitive stimulation and the development of numeracy in school;
  3. To develop students’ knowledge and skills required for the analysis of current issues in the education of children from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in different early childhood settings and in schools;
  4. To provide students with experience with a range of research methods used in the evaluation of educational and early childhood programmes (including those for families and institutional settings) and to develop their ability to analyse critically evaluation reports;
  5. To encourage discussion on how theories of child development inform practice and how challenges faced in educational and care settings call for further theoretical and research enquiry;
  6. To provide a strong basis for further studies in Child Development and encourage future applications to doctoral studies in this domain.

Programme Features

The course is structured in three papers, two that focus on the disciplinary basis (Child Development, Interventions and Policies to Promote Children’s Development) and one that aims to develop the students’ research skills (Foundations of Educational Research 1 [compulsory] plus Foundations of Educational Research 2 and Intermediate Quantitative Methods [one assessed and one non-assessed]) plus a Masters dissertation. A special feature of the MSc Education (Child Development and Education) is that students have the option to participate in a practicum about literacy in early years and primary school that offers them the opportunity to have practical knowledge of literacy assessments and interventions to improve literacy.

Child Development is taught over two terms and discusses child development theories, considering cognitive, linguistic, and social-emotional aspects of development from infancy to late childhood. Normative and non-normative development is considered. The study of cognitive development includes a critical analysis of theories of cognitive development, current issues in the development of pre-school children, the role of working memory in children’s school learning, the connections between theory, research and practice in the teaching of literacy, numeracy and science in school. The study of language development covers a range of issues in first and second language development and childhood bilingualism. The study of children’s social-emotional development includes a critical analysis of attachment theory, studies of mother-child interaction, children’s understanding of the other, moral development, the impact of social and family environments on children, peer relationships and the development of self-concept.

Interventions and Policies to Promote Children’s Development covers programmes designed for school as well as pre-school children. Original reports of the assessment of intervention programmes and systematic reviews form the core readings in this module. The module places emphasis on the critical analysis of the theoretical background for interventions and of the empirical basis provided in their assessment. It promotes discussion of the relationships between theory and practice. The first term focuses on interventions and policies related to primary school and the second on pre-school programmes.

Foundations of Educational Research is part of the common core of all the MSc Education strands. It offers students an overview of quantitative and qualitative methods of research, practical experience with a sample of these methods, and an opportunity to discuss their own ideas as they work towards their dissertation. Ethical aspects of educational research are discussed in depth.

Intermediate Quantitative Methods builds on previous statistical knowledge. The aims of the intermediate course are to enhance students’ ability to select variables, build statistical models, carry out and interpret the results of multivariate statistical tests for answering a range of research questions as well as to enhance their ability to create informative graphical representations and tables. It builds on Introductory Quantitative Methods, a required non-assessed course for students with no previous training in statistics.

You are encouraged to explore the Department’s website and find out about the research carried out by the course team in the research groups Child Learning and FELL.

A sample of dissertation titles from previous years is presented below.

  • A comparison of different Place Value teaching strategies with five- and six-year-olds
  • Assessing a working memory intervention based on metacognitive processes
  • Awareness of the Structure of Compound Words in Korean and English
  • Children’s, parents’ and teachers’ experiences of primary school transition and children’s social behaviour after Year 1
  • Chinese children’s morphological awareness in English and Chinese
  • Family Income and Child Developmental Outcomes – A Relationship Mediated by the Quality of the Home Environment?
  • Primary school students’ self-regulation and motivation during well- and ill-structured tasks
  • Quality in Early Childhood Settings: A comparison of the views of parents and professionals within Minnesota’s Twin Cities Metro Area, USA
  • The relationship between maternal vocalisations with 10-month old infants and child language scores at 36 months
  • Improving Spanish-English bilingual children’s awareness of morphemes
  • Investigating the effects of the Singapore Model Method in solving mathematical word problems
  • The connection between morphological awareness in Greek and English in Cypriot children
  • The effectiveness of arrow diagrams in children’s mathematical problem solving
  • Use of schematic representations to improve children’s understanding of functional reasoning in proportions
  • What Year 1 children think about fractions

Page last modified: October 19, 2017