Cognitive Development and Disorders MSc

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in psychology or related subject.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
UK fees
£13,500 (Total)
International fees
£31,000 (Total)

Course overview

Psychology students in library

This course combines psychological theory and application to the study of cognitive functioning, its development through childhood and ageing, and its deficits encountered across disordered populations.

While studying with us, you'll draw on theory from multiple perspectives including cognitive, clinical, health, educational, biological, and social psychology, along with neuropsychology, neuroscience, and gerontology.

This course will:

  • Improve your psychological understanding of cognitive development and its disorders.
  • Demonstrate how this understanding informs the development and application of new real-world techniques for improving the assessment of cognitive functioning.
  • Develop your understanding of the diagnosis of deficits, delivery of support and intervention, training in education, gerontology and clinical implications.
  • Provide an advanced understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods.

On this course you'll be taught and supervised by subject experts at the forefront of current research, actively publishing in their areas of expertise. This gives you the opportunity to learn from those currently working with the NHS, industry, and charities to improve educational, developmental, clinical, and health outcomes.

We offer high-quality, research-led teaching and you’ll be actively encouraged to engage in ongoing research. Much of this research is collaborative with government departments, research councils, the NHS and industry.

We offer a lively learning environment with modern facilities for teaching and research, which aims to produce graduates equipped with current knowledge and the ability to apply this knowledge to different populations.

We have over 70 members of academic, research and support staff, including 12 Professors. The School is renowned for high quality research, much of it in collaboration with government departments, research councils, the NHS and industry.

The School of Psychology has excellent facilities to support your learning and allow you to participate and conduct novel research. We have dedicated computer laboratories, EEG equipment for measuring the brain's electrical activity, the human appetite research unit with its state-of-the-art facilities and exceptionally well-resourced libraries, giving you access to contemporary research outputs within the discipline.

In addition to this there is a wide range of other specialised equipment to support research and teaching. We offer a lively learning environment with modern facilities for teaching and research and a comfortable student lounge. The School of Psychology’s size and range of activities combine to provide a varied and exciting environment in which to study and work.

Course details

The course offers a unique combination of advanced training in research methods and systematic reviewing.

Modules are designed to explore research-led applied perspectives in development, ageing, and neuropsychology.

While studying your masters you’ll also have the opportunity to carry out a substantial research project, closely supervised by experts in the field. This project will not only develop your research skills to an advanced level, but also allow you to focus on your own area of interest.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Cognitive Development and Disorders MSc in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Advanced Research Issues in Psychology 15
Advanced Research Methods 20
Systematic Review 25
Current Themes in Neuropsychology and Neuroscience 20
MSc Research Project 60
The Psychology of Ageing and Dementia 20
Typical and Disordered Development 20

Learning and teaching

The course incorporates a range of teaching methods including workshops, presentations, problem solving approaches and small group discussions alongside traditional lecture and seminar formats.

We expect our students to spend the remainder of their study time in independent learning, guided by reading lists and assessments.

As part of ongoing developments within the course we are increasing the level of co-creation within our modules, allowing you to focus on aspects of particular interest supported by our academics. The School offers many opportunities for you to engage with contemporary psychology, including attending seminars by guest speakers and by volunteering for short-term research posts.

There are a number of volunteering opportunities to get involved in with such as our Peer Mentoring Scheme, PsychU (widening access for schools). Other examples incude our School magazine 'Psynapse', course representation and the Leeds University Union Psychology Society. All these volunteering activities are HEAR (Higher Education Achievement Record) recognised, meaning that a certificate is issued at graduation. Find out more about our societies.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


You’ll be assessed through innovative forms of assessment such as group work, short reports, individual and group presentations, research and clinical protocols, case studies, systematic reviews and research projects alongside exams and essays to develop your skills, with increasing emphasis on authentic, flexible and co-created assessments as we develop our course in line with the University of Leeds’s new student education strategy.

This range of assessments is designed to assess your understanding and application of psychology. You'll also develop your essential workplace skills, engage with central aspects of the discipline to analyse and synthesise contemporary research-based knowledge, presenting it in a coherent manner in a variety of formats. Using this range of assessment methods allows us to use tasks that are suitable for the learning outcomes of specific modules, and to keep you enthused and excited by the approaches employed.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in psychology or a discipline containing a substantial amount of psychology and research methods training. In addition, successful applicants will normally have at least a UK upper second class grade or equivalent in research methods-related modules taken as part of their undergraduate degree.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. You could study a part-time online course starting in January, or a full-time course in summer. Find out more about online pre-sessionals.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Application deadline

International applications - 31 March 2024

The MSc in Cognitive Development and Disorders is a very popular programme. We strongly encourage you to apply as soon as possible to have the best chance of securing an offer.

Please see our Taught Admissions Policy here.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

This course is taught by

School of Psychology

Contact us

School of Psychology Taught Postgraduate Admissions Team



UK: £13,500 (Total)

International: £31,000 (Total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

International support

All International students who are new to the University, pay the International fee, are self-funding and not in receipt of any other bursary, can receive a scholarship of £2,000. Visit our scholarships page for more information.

Career opportunities

This course was designed to be versatile and opens up a range of career paths for our graduates.

It is highly suitable for students wishing to pursue a research-oriented path, as the MSc course forms a sound basis for further PhD study.

The wide coverage of cognition and its development in healthy and clinical groups supports paths into careers including clinical and educational psychology.

Careers support

The School of Psychology organises several careers events throughout your time at Leeds. You’ll also have a personal tutor, who can offer support and guidance about careers, as well as having access to a wide range of psychology specific careers events held in the School.