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Developmental Science and Neurodiversity MSc

Start date
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught
£10,530 FT (UK students)
£26,280 FT (International students)

Change and diversity are essential characteristics of the cognition, behaviour, and brains of children, adolescents, and adults. This MSc course will take neurodiversity as a framework for understanding development across the whole human lifespan and how development varies between people.

The course will provide a unique opportunity to gain advanced training in how to characterise diversity and development, and how to study them with the latest research designs and statistical methods.

Neurodiversity refers to variation in brain and cognitive functions including learning, attention, social ability, mood, and sleep. It provides a framework for understanding the factors that influence brain and behaviour across the whole population and the whole lifespan; for understanding conditions such as autism and ADHD as a part of that variation; and for addressing the need for variation to be recognised, valued, understood, and accommodated.

You will have opportunities to interact with a wide range of researchers from the University of Birmingham's Centre for Developmental Science, practitioners, and people with lived experience of neurodivergence. Optional modules let you combine your interest in development and diversity with training in advanced data analysis, neuroscience methods, and mental health.

Scholarships for 2024 entry

The University of Birmingham is proud to offer a range of scholarships for our postgraduate programmes. With a scholarship pot worth over £2 million, we are committed to alleviating financial barriers to support you in taking your next steps.

Each scholarship has its own specific deadlines and eligibility criteria. Please familiarise yourself with the information on individual scholarship webpages prior to submitting an application.

Explore our scholarships

Why study this course?

  • The course is highly distinctive

    Take neurodiversity as the central framework for understanding development and diversity.
  • Create your own pathway

    Combine optional modules on clinical psychology and developmental diversity, neuroscience, mental health, and advanced data analysis.
  • Address challenging questions

    Review the perspective that neurodiversity offers on understanding differences between people, and implications for clinical practice, education, and the workplace.


You will take a mixture of compulsory and optional modules totalling 180 credits, including a 60-credit supervised research project, leading to a 6,000-word research dissertation. See some of the recent projects undertaken by students on similar courses in the School of Psychology.

Compulsory modules

  • Neurodiversity
  • Modelling Change and Diversity
  • Research methods and skills
  • Proposing research in psychology
  • MSc Research Project

Optional modules (two from this indicative list):

  • Clinical psychology and developmental diversity.
  • Data science for behaviour and brain I
  • Data science for behaviour and brain II
  • Translational Neuroscience
  • Youth Mental Health
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Applications of Electrophysiological Approaches

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2024. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules after that date; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Fees for 2024/25

  • Code 727H: UK students £10,530 full-time
  • Code 728H: UK students £5,265 part-time
  • Code 727H: International students £26,280 full-time

Please note fees for this programme are not final and may be subject to change.

Birmingham Masters Scholarship

We are offering over 200 awards of £2,000 to support the brightest and best applicants wishing to undertake Masters study at the University during 2024-2025.

Find out more and apply now  

Postgraduate Progression Award

Our Postgraduate Progression Awards offer final year undergraduates at the University of Birmingham a fee discount of £1,500 for postgraduate taught study.

Find out more and apply now  

Learn more about fees and funding.

Are you an international applicant?

All international applicants to this course will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of £2,000 on receipt of an offer, to secure their place.

Find out more about the deposit >>.

For further information contact the School directly or get in touch with the Funding, Graduation & Awards via the online enquiries system.

How To Apply

Please apply as soon as possible, as places are limited and the programme may close when full. Please ensure that your personal statement meets our requirements as failure to do so will result in delays to processing the decision on your application.

International students requiring visas

30 June 2024 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2024 made after this date; a new application will need to be made for September 2025.

UK students

31 August 2024 is the application deadline for UK students. We are not able to consider applications for 2024 made after this date; a new application will need to be made for September 2025.

Applications for 2024 entry are now open.

Making your application

Personal statement template

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the taught programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

Applicants should have obtained a good Honours degree (at least 2:1 or equivalent) in Psychology or a related discipline and have gained at least a 2:1 (or equivalent) in the research dissertation (i.e., experience of planning and conducting research and analysing data).

Applicants who do not meet our requirement for a 2(i) in their final-year research project, but who have gained significant research experience in a relevant research setting will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Guidelines for Personal Statement

(approx. 500-words in total)

The personal statement should describe research experience and research interests, supporting the applicant’s reasons for applying and demonstrating the motivation for studying the MSc.  The personal statement should include the following key information:

Section 1: Research Experience

  1. Briefly describe the research project you completed in the final year of your undergraduate degree.
  2. Briefly describe any other projects you have worked on as a volunteer or paid research assistant.
  3. Briefly describe your experience with running statistical data analysis. What kinds of analysis are you familiar with, and what statistical programmes/packages have you used?

Section 2: Research Interests

  1. What are your research interests? Briefly describe how your research interests fit within the areas of research expertise in the School of Psychology, University of Birmingham.
  2. What research methods and analysis techniques would you like to use or develop as a student on the MSc?
  3. What are your future research/career plans? How will a place on the MSc help you to achieve your future research/career plans?
  4. Please state the names of three academics within the School that, given the opportunity, you would like to work with.  Please note: If you are offered a place on the MSc, we will contact you about identifying relevant, available supervisors before the course starts.  When allocating a supervisor, we will take your preferences into account, but there are a number of other factors we consider, so your supervisor may not be one of the academics you have listed.  

Section 3: Other Experiences (maximum 200-words)

Provide details of voluntary work experience, other aspects of your CV, and/or other points of achievement. We are interested in experience that is relevant or related to neurodiversity, though this is not a course requirement.

A personal statement template is available to help you ensure your personal statement meets our requirements. Failure to include the requested information in the personal statement will result in delays to processing the decision on your application.

Examples of research interests in the School can be found on the following webpages:

International Requirements

The course includes a variety of learning and teaching activities, including lectures, seminars, journal clubs, and workshops. For research-based modules, students will have regular supervision and directed research work. Activities include both individual and group work. 

Assessment Methods

You will be assessed by a variety of methods including essays and reports, oral and poster presentations, and peer assessments. 


A wide range of careers are open to students graduating with an MSc in Developmental Science and Neurodiversity. Our students will be excellent candidates for research-related employment in both private and public sector organisations because this MSc develops key skills that are highly attractive to employers, namely analytical and statistical skills, as well as presentation and report writing skills. Knowledge of developmental science and neurodiversity has particular relevance in a variety of careers in clinical psychology and education.

This MSc is also excellent preparation for PhD or other advanced degree positions.