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Psychology and Education


I consider the MEd/MPhil in Psychology and Education to be perhaps the best course of its kind in the country.

Professor Neil Humphrey, University of Manchester, External Examiner

Key Facts
Route Co-ordinatorDr Helen Demetriou

Full-time enrolled 2020-21: 28

Open to:  Paused for 2022-23 entry

Part-time enrolled 2020-21: 9 
Full-time deadline: N/A
Part-time deadline:  N/A
Written task FAQs

Important note for potential applicants: We are in the process of completely revising our Psychology & Education Masters programme to reflect exciting new changes in our Faculty staff team and research focus. We will be pausing admissions for October 2022 entry in order to make these programme changes, with the intention of resuming the course in October 2023.

Is this programme for me?

Are you interested in the psychological processes involved in learning and development? Would you like to explore your ideas through an innovative Masters programme that is informed by cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary research? Would you like to develop new knowledge and skills in critical analysis and learn more about the research processes used in psychological sciences as applied to education, learning and human development? Are you planning for further study through a PhD or EdD, or hoping to apply your knowledge and skills in an educational, NGO, or public policy context? We offer a full-time (one year, MPhil) programme that will allow you to explore topics in psychology and education that are close to your heart.

Academic staff in the Psychology and Education group comprise an international team. We share expertise across a wide range of ages, subject areas and research methods in psychology and education. We invite you to read more about the research we are doing. We are also very excited about our recently refurbished laboratory, offering state-of-the-art research facilities for our staff and students to conduct observations and experiments.

Why choose us?

  • Engage with the latest issues and debates in psychology and education on our unique course covering a wide range of ages and developmental stages from infancy to adulthood
  • Become a valued member of active research teams at the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education
  • Complete an in-depth Masters research dissertation under the supervision of experts in the field
  • You would be joining a research & teaching environment committed to promoting open science and scholarship.
  • Benefit from teaching by internationally renowned Faculty and staff who are actively involved in cutting edge research and policy advice
  • Closely engage with the work of the Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development and Learning and the Faculty's Psychology and Education and Learning Studies Research Group
  • Join a select group of around 40 students per year
  • Experience a teaching approach that promotes active, participatory, inclusive and research-orientated pedagogy
  • Enjoy personalised support and mentoring through one to one supervision
  • Connect with a friendly and vibrant community of students from across the world
  • Benefit from access to research groups and networks across the University of Cambridge
  • Develop skills for employability across a range of organisations

What does this course offer?

You will:

  • Engage with contemporary issues in psychology and education in order to interrogate the latest theoretically-grounded and evidence-based literature
  • Critically investigate dominant paradigms in psychology and education, and engage with topical issues of relevance to educational policy and practice
  • Develop research and career paths within the wider research culture of both the Faculty and the broader university

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How is the course organised?

You will have 64 hours of course sessions in Psychology and Education. These sessions take a range of forms from workshop-style discussions, seminars, and presentations, through to more traditional lecture formats. The exact content is to be confirmed due to the planned course refresh but will draw on the expertise of the team to include topics related to key issues and questions in the psychology of education, such as:

  • What does a 21st century education look like? How can we support individuals to become flexible, creative, and adaptive life-long, learners? What are the opportunities and challenges inherent in rapid developments in technology and in society? How can playful approaches support learning in different ways?
  • Towards a science of learning. How can research on cognition and biology inform our approach to education and learning? How do key cognitive functions change and develop across the lifespan? How can we know a given educational approach is having the intended effects? How do biological factors and learning environments work together to promote positive development and learning potential?
  • (De)constructing knowledge. What can we learn from the historical methods that have been used in the psychology of education and learning? What is the role of theory in moving forward our understanding of learning processes? What are the roots of the replication and generalisation crises in psychological research and how can these be addressed?
  • Contemporary social contexts and learning. What role do family dynamics play in human learning and development? How do social connections and opportunities support learning in the home, in formal education and in everyday life? How does cultural context influence development and learning? What implications does the digital world have for education and learning across the lifespan?
  • Well-being, diversity & inclusion in education. How can we ensure access to quality education for those with neurodevelopmental conditions? Can and should schools be considered part of mental health support services for young people? How do factors like poverty or exclusion affect human development and learning?

Additional elements will support your development of research skills:  research seminars, quantitative data analysis, research workshops and a research dissertation.

In addition to the above, you will attend the Research Methods Strand (see below) where you will also mix with students and staff from other specialisms within the Faculty. Most of your interactions will be with other students and academic staff within the Psychology and Education course.


Research Method Strand

Alongside these modules, you will benefit from 32 hours of Research Methods teaching. This is taught across all thematic Masters within the Faculty of Education, allowing you to interact with others on different courses. It covers a broad range of social science research methods and is essential for Masters level understanding and critical engagement with the research literature in many specialist areas and in education more generally. Through this strand you will acquire the skills necessary for designing, conducting, analysing, interpreting and reporting a research study for your Dissertation.

Detailed information

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Who are the course team?

Dr Helen Demetriou (coordinator) is happy to be contacted with questions specific to the course, which aren’t answered in our FAQs page. Administrative queries should be addressed to the HD office. Other team members are:

Dr Sara Baker

Dr Michelle Ellefson

Dr Dervila Glynn

Prof Gordon Harold

Dr Joni Holmes

Prof Paul Ramchandani

Prof Rupert Wegerif

Please note that not all team members are always available as supervisors each term, and this list may be subject to change. Supervisor allocations are made by the course co-ordinator once you arrive at Cambridge and potential students do not need to identify particular supervisors before joining the programme.

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Where do our students go?

Our graduates are the future leaders in their field. They have a wide choice of career options, including further PhD study, doctoral training in educational or clinical psychology, work in schools, with charities and government departments, as well as think tanks and universities.

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What our students say

Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and they pursue many different paths after leaving us. Many carry out fieldwork in their country of origin or in an educational setting they are familiar with.

Hear about Connor Quinn’s experience as an MPhil:
Audio file

Hear about Susan Potter’s experience as an MEd:
Audio file

Examples of past thesis topics include:

  • How bereavement is handled in the classroom
  • Personality factors in organisational success in graduates and managers
  • Effect of word length and level of abstractness on short-term memory retention
  • Relation between musical play and self-regulation in primary school children
  • Resilience and coping by adolescents in the context of peer-stress