Psychology and Learning Disability
Flexible study for graduates and professionals interested in learning disability
Why take this course?
The term 'learning disabilities' is used interchangeably with 'intellectual disability' to describe those who have significant problems with learning and who need support with many aspects of life.
This distance learning course enhances knowledge and skills of graduates and experienced practitioners wishing to develop their understanding of people with learning disabilities.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Be taught by academics who are active researchers in learning disability
- Participate in live web-based chat forums, e-conferencing, and individual tutorials, to discuss your work with lecturers and with other students
- Tap into the Library’s vast selection of electronic resources or access library facilities and borrow books locally via the SCOLNUL scheme
What opportunities might it lead to?
This course provides an opportunity for those supporting children and adults with intellectual disabilities and their families to enhance their knowledge and skills, and gain an academic qualification.
Developing my theoretical knowledge and applying it to my day-to-day work was invaluable. Evidence-based practice is key to modern NHS culture and the course helped me prepare for this.
Clare Mander, MSc Applied Psychology of Intellectual Disabilities graduate
- 1 year full time (distance learning), 2 years part time (distance learning)
- 2017 entry requirements
- A good honours degree or equivalent. Applicants with a professional qualification not at degree level may be accepted - each application is considered on an individual basis according to academic qualifications as well as professional qualifications and experience. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
Home/EU/Channel Islands/Isle of Man and International full-time students
2017/18 entry: distance learning: £6,400
Home/EU/Channel Islands/Isle of Man and International part-time students
2017/18 entry: distance learning: £3,200 (year 1 - 90 credits - certificate/diploma) and £3,200* (year 2 - 90 credits - diploma/MSC)
Course is eligible for Government Postgraduate Loan
* Fees are subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 5566
- Department of Psychology
- Programme specification
Structure & Teaching
Full-time students will study all 180 Level M credits (i.e. six units) in one full year. Part-time students will normally study three units each year, and will begin to explore potential research ideas and research methodologies in the first year. All units are Level 7, 30 credits, and are core units.
Here are the units you will study (part-time students will study these in the first year):
- Critical Disability Studies and Intellectual Disability: The perspective of Critical Disability Studies (CDS) is about how society and its agents respond to the labelled person's circumstances rather than how intellectual disability inhabits the person. This unit will address the relationship between workers and disabled people that CDS might call for. Here disability and intellectual disability in particular will be a standpoint or position from which to view society, in contrast to disability as a categorisation of people.
- Autistic Spectrum Conditions: A Critical Approach: this unit aims to provide knowledge about autistic spectrum conditions and promote understanding of the key issues in providing support to people with autistic spectrum conditions and their families.
- Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods: This unit provides an introduction to experimental and survey-based research methods, and quantitative data analysis techniques. It covers qualitative methods for data collection and analysis, as well as to how to write research reports in both traditions.
The following units will be studied in the first year by full-time students and in the second year by part-time students:
- Families and Systemic Therapy: This unit aims to provide you with an understanding of families including an appreciation of experiences of families with an intellectually disabled member. It aims to enhance your abilities to support families via theoretically informed, partnership-based empowering practices.
- Research Project: The research project requires you to initiate, conduct and report upon an original piece of research. The work is conducted to deadlines agreed with a project supervisor and project must include empirical quantitative or qualitative research – data collection and relevant analysis must be included. Any statistical analysis must be both descriptive (e.g. means, standard deviations and graphs etc.) and inferential (i.e. statistical tests).
- Communication and Investigative Interviewing of People with Intellectual Disabilities: This unit aims to promote communication skills and opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities and outline the status of the law concerning vulnerable adults as witnesses/victims. It aims to provide you with the opportunity to examine issues that arise when people with intellectual disabilities are interviewed as witnesses/victims of crime.
Teaching and Assessment
Despite its distance learning mode, this course is still extremely student focused. You will be given resources, materials, help and guidance to complete your studies to your full ability. Using our virtual learning environment you can participate in group discussions with other students in a friendly yet challenging online class environment. Plus real-time text based 'chat sessions' with lecturers will ensure you receive all the support you need for the topics you study.
How are you assessed?
You are assessed in a variety of ways to reflect the individual topics, however there are no examinations and all assessment is coursework based. Here’s how we assess your work:
- practice files
- statistical analysis and reports
- literature reviews
- a research project
Facilities & Features
Although you may not be campus based, you will still benefit from web, email or phone access to many of our facilities and services. Our student website, LookUP, will be your one-stop shop for all news, information and links to other services, and 24/7 online access to the University Library’s vast electronic book, journal and database collections will help you find the right resources for your research.
Due to the distance-learning nature of this course and the potential pressure of juggling your course alongside work life, we aim to provide you with as much support as possible. There are tutors available to support your studies via online tutorials, email and telephone conferencing. You will also be assigned a personal tutor who will offer support and guidance throughout your studies.
Throughout the course we aim to organise optional study days and workshops covering topics of current interest and study material relating to specific unit topics. There will be opportunities for group work, as well as traditional lectures and presentations. Though these study days and workshops are not compulsory, we strongly recommend that you try to attend as you are guaranteed to find them very useful and beneficial to your studies.
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help. The library also has an electronic bibliography for psychology called PsycInfo, which can be accessed via the internet from your home. It is an invaluable tool for searching for literature on any topic.
Budgeting for your studies
There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.
Careers & Opportunities
When embarking on this course, you may benefit from having completed paid or voluntary work with children or adults with intellectual disabilities.
Previous graduates of the course frequently make significant progress in their careers. Some are just in the beginning stages while others move on to senior manager positions and upwards. Past students have also progressed to advanced academic qualifications such as PhDs or professional doctorates.
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.
We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.
In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.
Benefits of Postgraduate Study
Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.
- Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
- Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
- Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
- Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
- If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.
Postgraduate Information Days
Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2017 entry have now finished. If you would like to meet or speak with a member of staff about any courses you are interested in, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange this for you.
We will confirm the dates of events related to 2018 entry soon.
Other opportunities to visit
Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4pm.
We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.
If you are unable to visit us, contact the admissions team – see the 'Key Facts' section above for contact details.
Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.
Fees and Funding
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.