This is an advanced professional development programme involving the following: coursework, modules, study workshops, dissertation and a placement in forensic ID services.
The programme aims to provide graduates with detailed knowledge of intellectual and developmental disabilities and forensic issues. You will develop an evidence-based critical understanding of intellectual and developmental disabilities and forensic issues. The programme encourages values-based, ethically stringent practice and/or research in the subject area.
Graduates will be able to take leading roles in public services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and issues.
About the Tizard Centre
The Tizard Centre is part of the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR) and has excellent links with health and social care organisations, and other relevant establishments.
The Centre is at the forefront of learning and research in autism, intellectual disability and community care, and in 2013 received a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of its outstanding work in these areas.
The Centre has excellent links with health and social care organisations, and other relevant establishments. Our primary aims, through research, teaching and consultancy, are:
- to find out more about how to effectively support and work with people with learning disabilities
- to help carers, managers and professionals develop the values, knowledge and skills that enable better services
- to aid policymakers, planners, managers and practitioners to organise and provide enhanced services.
The Tizard Centre is recognised as leading the field in deinstitutionalisation and community living, challenging behaviour, quality of staff support, sexuality and autism, and has had a significant impact on national policies in these areas. We are committed to addressing issues arising from social inequality.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research was ranked 2nd for research power in the UK. The School was also placed 3rd for research intensity, 5th for research impact and 5th for research quality.
An impressive 94% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 99% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research, gaining the highest possible score of 100%.
Teaching includes lectures, guided study using Moodle, with seminars and group exercises to enhance understanding of the underlying concepts. The MSc is awarded for the achievement of 180 credits from taught modules and the successful completion of the dissertation and practical placement.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.
- Research Methods (15 credits)
- Social Psychology of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Forensic Issues (10 credits)
- Assessment and Intervention (10 credits)
- Intellectual and Development Disabilities and forensic services issues (10 credits)
- Extended Essay (15 credits)
- Research Project in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (120 credits)
|Modules may include||Credits|
TZ830 - Research Methods
The aim of this module is to teach students about research methodology and the knowledge needed to access and interpret the research literature. For those who take the statistical analysis element, the aim is also to teach appropriate statistical techniques for the analysis of quantitative data. The emphasis will be on methods of data collection and analysis which will be useful in practice settings, so that advanced multivariate techniques will not be taught.Read more
TZ864 - Practical Placements
The aim of the placements is to give students practical skills in analysis and intervention in intellectual and developmental disabilities, under skilled supervision
All students in Analysis and Intervention in Intellectual Disabilities will be required to work in two different placements during their programme. The first placement will be based at the Tizard Centre supervised by Dr Julie Beadle-Brown. This placement will involve the assessment of a local service-providing organisation and the development and monitoring of an action plan with the service. Placement sessions occur mostly in week long blocks spread throughout the year from October to March, with part-time students conducting less of the assessment but continuing to monitor progress in the service until the beginning of July. Some of the sessions occur at the Tizard Centre and involve preparation for the work in the placements.
The second placement will happen during Term 3 and the summer (2-3 days per week for a total of 44 days). Part-time students do this placement in the second year of the course. These placements will be based in a community learning disability team, specialist or advisory service or a residential and day service, supervised by a clinical psychologist, or similarly trained practitioner. Students can expect to do some placement preparation or writing up work in their study time, although this should not be extensive. Students are expected to complete work with at least 3 clients (from assessment through to intervention and evaluation) during the placement plus to take advantage of any other opportunities available to them to broaden their experience and meet the placement objectivesRead more
TZ865 - Extended Essay
All students will write one 6000 word essay on a topic which requires them to draw on material from the service issues, social psychology and behavioural analysis and intervention modules. This will be done over the course of the year for full time students and in the second year for part time students and will be submitted during the third term of the final year.Read more
TZ882 - Social Psychology of IDD & Forensic Issues
This module provides students with in-depth understanding of the definitions and causes of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), the epidemiology of IDD and of offending, issues of screening for IDD in criminal justice setting, transitions between settings, and the effects that IDD and offending can have on the family. It will consider social relationships, social networks and sexuality issues (attitudes of staff, issues of abuse etc.) in people with IDD and forensic issues, as well as the vulnerabilities of people with IDD (to physical and sexual abuse, exploitation, and wrongful conviction). In addition, behaviour phenotypes and offending (including specific diagnosis- e.g. autism, Klinefelters syndrome, Foetal Alcohol syndrome etc.) as well as mental health issues and offending will be considered.Read more
TZ883 - IDD & Forensic Service Issues
This module will provide students with an in-depth understanding of service issues in intellectual and developmental disabilities and forensic issues, including an understanding of normalisation/Social Role Valorisation (and race/gender issues), deinstitutionalisation, current services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including forensic services. Students will learn about the Mental Health Act and other relevant legislation, the role of the police, courts, prisons, and probation. They will consider how to assess quality of care, quality of life and service user views, and will examine advocacy and self-advocacy movements, organisational issues and interventions to improve quality of life and care.Read more
TZ884 - Assessment and Treatment of Offenders with IDD
This module provides students with in-depth knowledge and understanding of assessment and treatment methods for people with IDD and forensic issues. It considers the definitions, measurement and epidemiology of challenging behaviour, the distinctions between challenging behaviour and offending, and the causes of challenging behaviour and offending behaviour. It also covers assessment, including rating scales, interviews and observations, for challenging and offending behaviour, and functional analysis for challenging and offending behaviour, treatment interventions (behavioural and cognitive behavioural approaches) for offenders with IDD in forensic and community settings, and risk assessment and risk management of offenders with IDD in forensic and community settings.Read more
TZ994 - Research Project in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
During the first term of the course students will develop ideas for their research project and will be given the opportunity to choose a research project proposed and supervised by members of the course team or other Tizard staff (see Appendix 4 of course handbook for the list of topics for the current year). Students who choose to design their own project will be allocated a dissertation supervisor. Students following the MSc in Analysis and Intervention in Intellectual and Developmental Disability are required to do an empirical dissertation. All other students can choose between either an empirical or a non-empirical (e.g. policy or research review) dissertation.
Students develop a proposal (assessed) for their research project with advice from their supervisor and apply for ethical approval either to the Tizard Ethics Committee (Ethical Review Checklist available on web-based resources) or to another ethics committee such as those in the NHS.Read more
Teaching and Assessment
The assessment methods include unseen examinations, mixture of essays and assignments, whilst placements in services enable the knowledge required to be applied in practice and is assessed by case reports.
The aims of this programme are:
- to provide students with detailed knowledge of intellectual and developmental disabilities and forensic issues
- to develop an evidence-based critical understanding of intellectual and developmental disabilities and forensic issues
- to encourage values-based, ethically stringent practice and/or research in intellectual and developmental disabilities and forensic issues
- to produce graduates equipped to play a leading role in public services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and forensic issues
Knowledge and understanding
You gain the following knowledge and understanding:
- Definitions and epidemiology of intellectual and developmental disabilities
- Definitions and prevalence of challenging behaviour and offending in IDD
- Cognitive, communicative and social characteristics of people with IDD at risk of offending
- Biological, social and environmental factors in the causes of IDD and offending
- Values & ethical principles underpinning professional practice
- Methods of assessment and intervention for IDD and offending
- Ideology, policy and service development in IDD and offending
- Definition and measurement of service quality
- Relationships between service organisation and quality
- Research methodology and basic statistical analysis
You will develop intellectual skills in:
- The ability to present critical, balanced and conceptually-informed arguments
- The ability to appraise and interpret evidence from academic literature and personal/work experience
- The ability to critically analyse data with reference to issues of method, reliability and validity
- The ability to generate and interpret evidence through research
You will develop skills to:
- Conduct assessments, design interventions, monitor outcomes and adjust interventions at individual and service levels.
- Behave in an ethically correct and professional manner, working collaboratively with users and colleagues, using supervision and recognising limitations.
- Conduct applied research on a topic relevant to IDD and forensic issues.
You gain the following transferable skills:
- Communication: organise information clearly, respond to written sources, present information orally
- Numeracy: make sense of statistical materials, integrate quantitative and qualitative information
- Information Technology: produce written documents, undertake online research
- Working with others: work co-operatively on group tasks, understand how groups function
- Improving own learning: explore personal strengths and weaknesses, time management, review working environment
- Problem solving: identify and define problems, explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them
Our postgraduate courses provide detailed knowledge of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Graduates will have gained a very good understanding of the matters arising within this population and will be able to analyse and conduct relevant research.
Our postgraduate courses improve employability prospects for both those with established careers and new entrants to the field. Many of our students already work with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in professional, management or supporting capacities. Our programmes support their continuing professional development and enhance their opportunities for career advancement.
Other students, who are at the beginning of their careers, move on to a range of professional roles in health and social care including:
- Working as psychologists in learning disability or behavioural specialists in community learning disability teams
- Service management of development roles
- Clinical psychology training or a PhD
This particular programme will also provide the necessary skills to work in secure services or forensic community teams.
The Tizard Centre runs an annual seminar series where staff or guest lecturers present the results of research or highlight recent developments in the field of social care. The Jim Mansell Memorial Lecture invites public figures or distinguished academics to discuss topics that could interest a wider audience. The Centre also publishes the Tizard Learning Disability Review (in conjunction with Emerald Publishing) to provide a source of up-to-date information for professionals and carers.
The Tizard Centre provides consultancy to organisations in the statutory and independent sectors, both nationally and internationally, in diversified areas such as service assessment, person-centred approaches, active support and adult protection. The Centre also teaches a range of short courses, often in conjunction with other organisations.
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Journal of Mental Health; Journal of Applied Research and Intellectual Disabilities; American Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; and Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.
Global Skills Award
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
We welcome applications from applicants who have obtained at least a second class honours degree including all the required examinations at a university in the United Kingdom or at another approved university.
Mature applicants without a degree are asked to provide evidence of their ability to complete a postgraduate programme successfully, and are eligible to enter the programme following the completion of an assessed task.
We encourage international applicants with the relevant academic/professional background and competence in spoken and written English. However, we require them to have some experience of UK services. We also require applicants to have 7.5 IELTS, minimum 6.5 in any element or equivalent in other tests.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.
English language entry requirements
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Current research areas include: social inequalities and community care; IDD and challenging behaviour; offending and IDD; early intervention; autism; abuse; service quality.
Staff research interests
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Professor Julie Beadle-Brown: Professor in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Autism and social impairment in learning disability; the implementation of active support in services; the effect of grouping people in services; personcentred approaches; exclusion of people with challenging behaviour from services.View Profile
Dr Jill Bradshaw: Lecturer in Learning Disability
Staff attributions; communication and personcentred active support; communication environments; total communication approaches; augmentative and alternative communication.View Profile
Dr Mecca Chiesa: Lecturer in Learning Disability
Behaviour analysis; precision teaching; fluency building; autism and learning disabilities.View Profile
Professor Rachel Forrester-Jones: Professor in Social Inclusion; Director of the Tizard Centre
Community care outcomes (mental health, learning disabilities); social networks and social support relating to all client groups, including university students; social inclusion; social environments; supported employment; death, bereavement and spirituality.View Profile
Dr Nick Gore: Senior Lecturer in Learning Disability
Relational Frame Theory; acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT); challenging behaviour; supported employment.View Profile
Dr Peter Langdon: Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology and Disability
Adapting, developing and evaluating psychological therapies for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; forensic mental health problems including sexual offending and their treatment; information processing models; use of technology in psychological therapies.View Profile
Dr Michelle McCarthy: Reader in Learning Disability
The sexuality of people with learning disabilities, in particular women with learning disabilities, and sexual abuse; sexual and reproductive health; the menopause for women with learning disabilities.View Profile
Professor Peter McGill: Professor of Clinical Psychology of Learning Disability
Applied behaviour analysis; challenging behaviour; positive behaviour support; family support.View Profile
Professor Glynis Murphy: Professor of Clinical Psychology and Disability
Effectiveness of cognitive behavioural treatment for men at risk of sexual offending; effectiveness of treatment for people with untreated phenylketonuria (PKU); symptoms of abuse for people with severe learning disabilities; capacity to consent to sexual relationships; early development of self-injurious behaviour; effectiveness of early intervention in autism.View Profile
Tony Osgood: Lecturer in Learning Disability
Positive behaviour support for challenging behaviour; behaviour analysis; person-centred planning; autism and asperger’s; organisational influence on human services outcomes.View Profile
Dr Paraskevi Triantafyllopoulou: Lecturer in Learning Disability
Sleep functioning and sleep problems in children and adults with learning disabilities and/or autism; sleep and challenging behaviour; offending in people with learning disabilities; person-centred active support.View Profile
The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
|Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Forensic Issues - MSc at Canterbury:|
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
General additional costs
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