Psychology and Learning Disability MSc

Psychology eye-tracker technology
Mode of Study
Part-time by distance learning
2 years part-time distance learning
Start Date
September 2019


Whether you're already working in the sector, or a graduate looking to start a career in the field, our MSc Psychology and Learning Disability degree course will give you the skills to enhance your practice and meet the challenges of working in social care.

From helping to identify those who need extra support, to helping those with intellectual disability live more independently, this course will give you the knowledge required to make a positive difference in your career. You can complete the course over 2 years through distance learning, giving you the flexibility to fit your studies around existing work commitments.

You'll graduate with the skills and confidence to support children and adults with learning disabilities, and gain an academic qualification that will improve your career prospects.

What you'll experience

On this course, you'll:

  • Be supported by experienced academics in the field of learning disability
  • Learn through a combination of live web-based chat forums, e-conferencing, remote seminars and workshops, and individual tutorials, where you'll discuss your work with lecturers and other students
  • Get to grips with the key topics in the field, including the role of family support in care, the practice of cognitive behavioural therapy and the analysis of Autistic Spectrum Conditions
  • Complete an individual project based on an original piece of research
  • Take part in voluntary work with children or adults with intellectual disabilities
  • Tap into the Library’s vast selection of electronic resources, and borrow books locally via the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCOLNUL) scheme

Work experience and career planning

We'll help you to identify voluntary roles and opportunities that will complement your studies.

When you complete this course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the heritage, teaching, or other related industries.

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

Careers and opportunities

When you graduate, you'll be in a strong position to make significant progress in your career, in senior management positions and upwards. Previous graduates have also gone on to study for advanced academic qualifications, such as PhDs or professional doctorates.

Career opportunities include:

  • social work
  • community care
  • NHS
  • public services for children or adults
  • education
  • mentoring

We'll provide you with as much support as possible in finding employment, through close industrial contact, careers events, recruitment fairs and individual advice.

Entry requirements​

Entry Requirements

  • A good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. 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.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2019 start)

  • Home/EU/Channel Islands/Isle of Man and International students: £5,800 in year 1 and £2,900 in year 2 (may be subject to annual increase)

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. 

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

​What you'll study

Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

You need to study units worth a total of 180 credits over the duration of the course. 

Units currently being studied

  • Autistic spectrum conditions: a critical approach
  • Communication and interviewing vulnerable witnesses
  • Critical disability studies and intellectual disability
  • Families and systemic therapy
  • Quantitive and qualitative research methods
  • Research project

There are no optional units.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques


You'll be taught through distance learning, and be given resources, materials, help and guidance to complete your studies to your full ability.

Using our virtual learning environment you'll participate in group discussions with other students in an online class environment. Plus real-time chat with lecturers will ensure you receive all the support you need for the topics you study.

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and an assessment period:

  • Autumn teaching block – September to December
  • Spring teaching block – January to Easter
  • Assessment period – Easter to June

How you're assessed​

You'll be assessed through:

  • practice files
  • essays
  • critical reviews
  • data analysis and reports
  • literature reviews
  • a research project


Apply for this course using our online application form

International students

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study with us, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply. 
Contact information
Subject area
Health care and social care
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