Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Mental Health in Children and Young People: Psychological Approaches MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time

This programme offers the unique perspective that children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is influenced by developmental processes at multiple levels, from individual to sociocultural, and that our approaches to working should be informed by this dynamic, interactional system.

The programme aims to support students in developing a nuanced and critical appreciation of mental health in children and young people, by taking a developmental approach to the etiology of mental health issues.

Programme courses draw upon cognitive, developmental and relational theories, as well as models of risk and resilience to enhance deeper understanding of the development and maintenance of wellbeing and mental health.

The programme staff comprise of clinical and academic psychologists with a broad range of research expertise in areas of:

  • psychological interventions
  • neurodevelopmental disorders
  • child trauma and maltreatment
  • parenting

The programme promotes excellence in research with aim of preparing students future progression into further academic, research, and clinical training. Examples of student pathways following the programme include:

  • PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • Doctorate in Educational Psychology
  • MSc in Applied Psychology (Healthcare) For Children and Young People

For students interested in these pathways, it’s about improving their knowledge, skills, and competencies to enhance their applications into these types of programmes. For students already working in the field, it’s about enabling them to improve their knowledge of child and adolescent mental health.

This MSc programme offers a range of courses that assist you in developing a critical knowledge base of interacting factors relating to mental health in children and young people, from infancy through to young adulthood.


The MSc programme comprises 180 credits. Students must undertake 120 credits from core and option courses (20 credits per course). The dissertation comprises 60 credits. Students undertake 60 credits (3 courses) in semester 1 and 60 credits in semester 2.

A 20-credit course entails about 200 hours of study, with 20-25 hours of this being taught.

Students on this programme will engage with, on average, 7-8 hours of direct teaching per week. On many courses, teaching is delivered in a three-hour block. Online courses have less formal teaching time but more overall contact time with tutors.

Class sizes vary for individual courses but are usually in the range of 12-48 students.

As well as attending face to face teaching, you will be expected to engage in independent study.


All MSc students complete a dissertation, which can take the form of an empirical study, systematic review or meta-analysis. The dissertation allows students to develop research skills whilst working within an area of expertise aligned with their supervisor’s interests.

Students are assigned a dissertation supervisor from the teaching staff within the department. Supervisors are generally assigned towards the end of the first semester so that students can begin working on their dissertation from the second semester onwards.

Students commonly work in pairs or small groups with their supervisor on a project outlined by staff within the department. Peer support is therefore available during the data collection/analysis stage.

Students then write up their dissertations as an independent piece of work.

Many students present work from the dissertation at local and international conferences. Several student dissertations from the programme have resulted in a peer-reviewed publication.


Each course has at least one formative assessment to enable you to receive feedback on your progress. Assessment on the programme is varied; assignments include essays, group projects and case studies. There are no examinations.

(Revised 29 March 2024 to provide more detail on courses, dissertation requirements and assessment)

The programme will enable you to:

  • develop your practice through engagement with research and scholarship in psychological theory and practice
  • develop advanced skills in the critical appraisal of psychological practice in the field of child and adolescent mental health
  • develop and consolidate an extended knowledge base of theoretical and clinical approaches to psychological therapy for children, young people and families

The programme fosters transferable skills such as:

  • critical evaluation
  • research competence
  • teamworking
  • communication

The programme is suitable for further PhD-level study, research or practitioner study. It will enhance the employability of those wishing to work with children and adolescents in mental health-relevant settings.

Previous students work in a range of professions including clinical practice and voluntary sector organisations, and, with appropriate additional training, in nursing, social work and social care, and teaching.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent in psychology or a related subject.

We will also consider applicants with a UK 2:2 honours degree in psychology and Merit in a related UK masters degree, or their international equivalents. (Revised 01 April 2024 to add requirements for applicants with a UK 2:2.)

Experience of working or volunteering with children and/or young people is highly desirable.

We may also consider your application if you have other professional qualifications or experience; please contact us to check before you apply

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Postgraduate Administrator
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3970
  • Contact:
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • School of Health in Social Science
  • Medical School, Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Please be aware that applications must be submitted and complete, i.e. all required documents uploaded, by the relevant application deadline in order to be considered in that round. Your application will still be considered if you have not yet met the English language requirement for the programme.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2024/25:

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 18 December 2023 15 February 2024
2 04 March 2024 18 April 2024
3 31 May 2024 27 June 2024


Your suitability will be established through your application and reference. An academic reference for recent graduates or a work-related reference for those in paid employment is required.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Postgraduate Administrator
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3970
  • Contact:
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • School of Health in Social Science
  • Medical School, Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG