Taught course

Psychology and Learning Disability (Distance Learning)

University of Portsmouth · Department of Psychology

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.

Months of entry


Course content


This Master’s course looks in detail at learning disability, neurodiversity and autism from a psychological perspective. Studying contemporary practices, critical theories and case studies, you’ll investigate how neurodivergent and learning disabled people can be best supported in healthcare, education and workplace settings.

Whether you're currently working with people with learning disabilities or you've recently graduated and you're looking to get started in this field, this MSc Psychology and Learning Disability degree is designed to provide you with the skills and knowledge to develop your career and become a specialist.

It’s a part-time, distance learning course, which allows you the flexibility to fit your studies around work commitments. In Year 1, you’ll study modules that cover the core issues, and in Year 2 you’ll focus on your own research project with support from our expert tutors.

Course highlights

  • Join one of the few Master’s programmes to study learning disability, neurodiversity and autism from a psychological perspective, as opposed to a nursing perspective
  • Learn about the role that psychological methodologies and analytical techniques can have in the planning and delivery of learning support at an individual and organisational level
  • Increase awareness and understanding in the sector and beyond, about the positive role of psychology and psychotherapy in the study of learning disability
  • Complete an individual research project on a topic of your choice. Each year we present the Sue Buckley Award – named after our esteemed Emeritus Professor of Development Disability – for best project
Careers and opportunities

Careers this Master’s prepares you for

If you’re working in education or learning support, or if you’re already specialising in learning disability or developmental needs, this course will help you develop personally and professionally, introducing new ways to design and deliver services to individuals with developmental disability.

Previous students who were already in professional roles during the course have progressed to senior management positions, academic posts and doctoral level study.

If you have a British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited BSc in Psychology, you could apply to do a taught doctorate in areas such as Educational Psychology (EdPsychD) or in Clinical Psychology (ClinPsychD) once you've successfully completed your Master’s.

Graduates of this course have gone onto roles such as:
  • Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) co-ordinator
  • SEND teacher
  • Student services officer
  • Enablement Leader
  • Support worker
  • Community care worker

Fees and funding


Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    part time
    24 months
    • Online learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Admissions Team
023 9284 5566