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 behavioural, 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 psychoanalytic theory 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