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Master's Level Training

The MRes in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology is a unique two-year program at University College London (UCL), offered in collaboration with Yale, that focuses on developing skills in neuroscience, research, and understanding childhood disorders from multiple perspectives, including cognitive and psychoanalytic approaches. Students spend their first year in London and their second year at the Yale Child Study Center, where they complete a substantive research project with a mentor.

This program developed from the many decades of joint scholarly work and enterprise between the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, a mental health charity closely associated with UCL, and the Yale Child Study Center. The partnership began when Anna Freud collaborated with Dr. Albert Solnit to explore the approach and treatment of children in the legal system.

Candidates for this master’s degree are recruited internationally. UCL seeks students from diverse backgrounds with an interest in interdisciplinary empirical research, and a strong academic background in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, medicine, genetics, computational science, and are open to candidates from other fields with a special interest in the relationship between psychoanalysis and other disciplines. Prospective candidates are advised to check UCL's website for the MRes, for a more detailed description, current entry requirements, and online application.

The Master’s program prepares students to apply for doctoral research (PhD) programs. In addition, due to the program’s focus on developmental psychopathology, it can be a useful precursor to further clinical training.

Our Program

The program introduces students to a broad range of perspectives on developmental psychopathology, including psychoanalytic theory, neuroscience, and cognitive theory. Students are equipped with knowledge and understanding of both neuroscientific and psychodynamic concepts, and the ability to design research approaches using a range of neuroimaging and psychological techniques.

It is particularly suitable for students with a strong academic background in psychology, medicine, genetics, neuroscience and related disciplines who have an interest in neuroscience. Applicants are not required to have extensive research experience, but some familiarity with experimental work (e.g. data collection, analysis and writing up) is important.

Year One: London

In the first year is based at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, with full access to University College London’s internationally renowned campus, including libraries and computer facilities.

The first year modules provide a foundation in developmental psychopathology and affective neuroscience, which includes an introduction to the main therapeutic orientations including cognitive behavioral, systemic and psychoanalytic approaches. Students will also develop core skills in research neuromethods and statistics, providing a necessary foundation for the research project in the second year at Yale.

Year Two: Yale

Year 2 comprises a series of formative workshops to support students in their independent research project, productive engagement in the research lab of their mentor/supervisor, and a research thesis.

These workshops normally include: fMRI methods; EEG methods; Advanced Research Design; and Integrating Multiple Perspectives, which includes clinical, neuroscience, psychoanalytic and other approaches.

Electives taught by Yale faculty across disciplines are offered, including neuroscience, philosophy, clinical science, research methodology, and statistics.

By the end of the second year, the student will submit a research thesis of approximately 17,000 words to University College London for assessment. In their research thesis, students will be encouraged to consider how multiple perspectives can inform and augment our understanding of developmental psychopathology.

We strongly encourage students to produce publishable findings from their research, in collaboration with their research mentor.

Research themes include:

  • fMRI and social exclusion in autism
  • Emergence of social cognition evidenced in child behavior
  • EEG, face processing and autistic and psychopathic traits
  • fMRI and childhood maltreatment
  • Behavioral measures of mentalization across development
  • EEG – fMRI: the biological basis of risk taking and reward
  • Effective attachment based interventions for mothers in substance misuse treatment

How to Apply

Candidates are recruited internationally. We seek students from diverse backgrounds with an interest in interdisciplinary empirical research and a strong academic background in psychology, medicine, genetics, cognitive neuroscience, computational science (and related disciplines), but are open to candidates in other fields with a special interest in the relationship between psychoanalysis and other disciplines.

Apply through University College London's online application system to the Master's in Research (MRes) in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology. The first page of the online system includes guides to applying.

Further information and online applications are available at the Anna Freud Centre website and the University of College London website.

If you have further questions about the Master’s program please contact the course administrator, or Dr. Helena Rutherford, Deputy Program Director at the Yale Child Study Center.