Master of Social Sciences in the field of Educational Psychology

General Office (Tel: 3917 5866, E-mail: cwfung@hku.hk)

The Department of Psychology of HKU offers three postgraduate programmes in educational psychology, including the Master of Social Sciences in the field of Educational Psychology, the Doctor of Psychology in the field of Educational Psychology, and the PhD with a specialization in Educational Psychology. All these programmes adopt scientist-practitioner model with the aim to prepare educational psychologists who are strong in both research and practice.

The Master of Social Sciences in the field of Educational Psychology Programme was established in 1981 as a response to the pressing demands from society for the professional training of educational psychologists. It is the first professional degree programme that prepares educational psychologists in Asia. It is also the first programme in Asia accredited by the International School Psychology Association (ISPA). Graduates from this programme are prepared to function as scientist-practitioners in the field of educational psychology.

The Master of Social Sciences in the field of Educational Psychology programme is designed to provide instruction and training in the theory and practice of educational psychology. To this end, emphasis will be placed on both academic studies and related practical experience in the field.

The period of study extends over two years full‑time, commencing in September and including the intervening vacations. Throughout the programme, in both its theoretical and practical aspects, special attention will be paid to the needs and issues concerning educational psychology in the local setting.

For students admitted in 2016-2017 academic year, the full-time curriculum consists of a total of 156 credits. The quantitative value of a credit is equivalent to 20 hours of student learning activities (including both contact hours and all other forms of student learning activities) for taught course or 27 hours of work for practicum, under supervision of an experienced psychologist. Candidates are required to complete 19 compulsory courses, including 15 taught courses each given 6 credits (a total of 90 credits), 3 practicum courses each given 18 credits (a total of 54 credits for PSYC6012 Practicum I, PSYC6013 Practicum II and PSYC6014 Practicum III) and a 2-year dissertation research course given 12 credits (PSYC6007 Dissertation research). Ten of the taught courses are normally taken in the first year and the remaining five in the second year. Duration of each taught course is normally one semester and consists of three hours of weekly lectures, discussions, seminars or workshops.

Examinations of the courses followed by a student may be either by a written paper in the examination held in December or May of the academic year of study, or by continuous assessment of the student’ performance in completing the requirements of these courses, or by a combination of these methods.

A student’s performance in the programme is evaluated in three parts: (1) formal courses on the basis of written examination and/or continuous assessment of all written and practical work carried out during the year; (2) dissertation research and (3) practical training. Students must pass all three components of the programme.

First year courses(full-time)
PSYC6002 – Research methods & statistics I
PSYC6003 – Research methods & statistics II
PSYC7010 – Psychoeducational assessment I
PSYC7011 – Psychoeducational assessment II
PSYC7026 – Children with special needs I
PSYC7027 – Children with special needs II
PSYC7014 – Psychoeducational intervention I
PSYC7015 – Psychoeducational intervention II
PSYC7016 – Skills training seminar I
PSYC7017 – Skills training seminar II

Capstone Experience Course
PSYC7028 – Dissertation research

Second year courses(full-time)
PSYC6004 – Curriculum and instruction
PSYC6019 – Professional ethics and issues in educational psychology
PSYC8010 – Skills training seminar III
PSYC8007 – Applied developmental psychology
PSYC8008 – Motivation and learning
PSYC6012 – Practicum I
PSYC6013 – Practicum II
PSYC6014 – Practicum III

Capstone Experience Course
PSYC7028  – Dissertation research

Regulations and syllabus of the degree of Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc), please click:
For students admitted in the 2019-20 Academic Year

PSYC6002 – Research methods and statistics I
The topics in this course include intermediate research methods and statistics.  This course is designed to extend the knowledge and skills of students on research design and quantitative methods, using empirical examples in psychology to illustrate the key concepts and statistical reasoning involved. Students learn to become more intelligent consumers of research findings and more independent in conducting their own empirical studies.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC6003 – Research methods and statistics II
The topics in this course include intermediate research methods and statistics.  This course is designed to extend the knowledge and skills of students on research design and quantitative methods, using empirical examples in psychology to illustrate the key concepts and statistical reasoning involved. Students learn to become more intelligent consumers of research findings and more independent in conducting their own empirical studies. At the end of this course, each student will have developed a viable research proposal in preparation for his/her thesis according to standards of the American Psychological Association.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC6004 – Curriculum and instruction
This course helps students understand and enact the principles of curriculum design, teaching, and assessment of learning, as they apply to the contexts and issues educational psychologists are likely to meet. A systemic view of children’s learning problems will be emphasized. Curriculum and instructional issues for both mainstream and special schools in Hong Kong will be reviewed.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC6007 – Dissertation research I & II
The dissertation should be a critical study within the field, normally including an empirical element, and should not exceed 20,000 words in length. Where appropriate, studies involving qualitative methodology and other approaches may also be included. The title of the dissertation shall be submitted for approval on March 31 of the final academic year of study, and the dissertation shall be presented by July 31 of the final academic year of study. The candidate shall submit a statement that the dissertation represents his own work (or in the case of conjoint work, a statement countersigned by his coworker, which shows his share of the work) undertaken after registration as a candidate for the degree. The examiners may also prescribe an oral examination on the subject of the dissertation.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC6012, PSYC6013, PSYC6014 – Practicum I-III
The programme considers field work placement an important and indispensable part of the training and whenever possible tries to integrate theories discussed at the University with that of fieldwork practice. All students are required to do fieldwork placement for a total of 180 days in three different settings.
PSYC6012 Practicum I (4 credits)
PSYC6013 Practicum II (4 credits)
PSYC6014 Practicum III (4 credits)

The average duration of each practicum is 60 days. Adjustment of the length will be made according to the specific requirements of the settings. Each practicum aims at providing the students with:
(a) exposures to a broad spectrum of work of an EP working in a particular setting;
(b) adequate hands-on experiences at different levels (such as individual casework, group work, consultations to parents and teachers, in-service training for teachers, etc.) in the development of the necessary practical knowledge and skills;
(c) knowledge of different types of provisions and systems accessible to children with special educational needs and referral procedures; and
(d) opportunities for collaborative work with other professionals.
Assessment: 100% practicum

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PSYC6019 – Professional ethics and issues in educational psychology
This course prepares students for professional practice in educational psychology by examining the organizational, ethical, and legal considerations as well as current issues related to such practice in Hong Kong. Ethical and legal guidelines pertinent to the delivery of school psychological services will be introduced to enable students to make well-informed choices in resolving professional problems and ethical dilemmas when they occur. Students will also engage in discussion and analysis of contemporary issues related to educational psychology practice. Topics covered are broad and diversified and are highly relevant to the local context.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7010 – Psychoeducational assessment I
This course provides students with theoretical foundations of psychoeducational assessment and basic concepts in measurement. Starting with standards related to professional conduct and ethics in assessment, the course introduces students to formal and informal techniques and instruments used most frequently in the local setting. Focus will be put on the assessment of intelligence, achievement, and learning disabilities. The assessment of infants and young children is a special topic. The integration of assessment data into a comprehensive psychological report with associated recommendations for intervention is an essential component of this course.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7011 – Psychoeducational assessment II
The focus of this course is on the assessment of behavioural and adjustment problems in children and adolescents. Using the problem-solving and systems approach as framework, students will be introduced to important concepts, procedures and instruments associated with the assessment of behaviour, personality, and social-emotional functioning in the school context.
Assessment: 100% coursework 

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PSYC7012 – Children with special needs I: basic concepts
This course will introduce students with problems and issues related to children with special needs. The course will cover the following topics: Issues, definition and historical background; provisions for children with special needs; special education in Hong Kong; issues concerning integration of special needs children into mainstream settings; and effects of a handicapped child on family life. This course will also explore different types of special needs children including intellectually different students (the gifted and the mentally handicapped); children with learning disabilities, children with emotional and behavioural disorders, and those with communication disorders, sensory or health impairments.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7013 – Children with special needs II: diagnostic and remedial procedures
This course will focus on diagnostic and remedial measures used with special needs students in mainstream and special educational settings. Topics include different classification systems, individualized educational programmes, general remediation strategies and specific training programmes for different types of special needs students.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7014 – Psychoeducational intervention I
The nature and basic principles of psychoeducational intervention are introduced. The first half of the course will cover the fundamentals of counselling and guidance. If focuses on the process and stages of counselling in a pan-theoretical way. The second half o the course will cover some of the major approaches in counselling and intervention (e.g., person-centred therapy and behaviour modification). It aims at equipping the students with specific and useful techniques and procedures derived from these approaches. Students are expected to master both theories and practical skills. Practical training is an indispensable component of this course.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7015 – Psychoeducational intervention II
Major approaches and different levels of psychoeducational intervention are covered. The course emphasizes both direct and indirect intervention. Students are encouraged to go beyond the remedial model and are expected to work as an active agent with broader perspective in preventive intervention. Practical training is an indispensable component of this course. The students are expected to apply the acquired knowledge and practical skills to their work in educational settings. Topics include cognitive-behavioural intervention, systems and ecological approaches, school consultation, family work, psychodynamic approaches, alternative forms of therapy with children and adolescent, and career and vocational counselling.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7016 – Skills training seminar I
This course provides an initial orientation programme immersing students into settings related to roles and functions of educational psychologists. Subsequently more intensive discussion and hands-on practice of assessment skills and intervention programmes are provided. Students observe and practise skills related to consultation and interviewing, observational techniques, testing procedures, reporting test results and recommending interventions. They also engage in practice related to intervention techniques such as stress management.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7017 – Skills training seminar II
This course is an advanced course in practical skill training. It is run parallel with the practicum courses. It provides a platform for the students to polish the micro-skills that are required in their fieldwork placement. These are the skills in assessment, counselling, consultation, inter-disciplinary collaboration, and systems-intervention. This course also provides a forum in which experienced educational psychologists from the field can share their specialities and expertise with the students.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7026 – Children with special needs I
This course introduces some basic concepts and issues on educating students with special educational needs with focus on the characteristics, identification and intervention strategies for students with intellectual and learning related disabilities.  The course covers the following topics: Historical background; inclusive education; early identification and early intervention; provisions for students with intellectual disability and learning disability.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7027 – Children with special needs II
This course focuses on the basic characteristics, identification and intervention measures for students with emotional and behavioural related disabilities.  Topics include different classification systems, general remediation strategies and specific training programmes in mainstream and special educational settings for students with emotional and behavioural problems.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC8007 – Applied developmental psychology
This course focuses on an integrated study of human development across the life span with implications for educational psychology. It aims at familiarizing students with current state of knowledge and major theories of human development with particular emphasis on childhood and adolescence. The interrelationship among biological, cognitive, social, and educational factors that influence human development will be examined. In particular the influence of Chinese culture and context on development during the childhood and adolescence will be discussed.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC8008 – Motivation and learning
This course aims at familiarizing students with theories, research, and practices in the field of motivation and learning. It focuses on how educational psychologists can use existing knowledge in motivation and learning to enhance teachers’ instruction and students’ learning. Topics include theories of motivation and learning; their application in educational settings; effects of social cognitions on motivation; instructional environment that fosters motivation; and biological, cultural and contextual factors of learning.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC8010 – Skills training seminar III
This course is the last in a series of practical skills training seminars.  It is offered in the second year when the students are immersed in practicums.  It provides a platform for them to further polish the micro-skills that are required in field work.  It also provides them with opportunities to seek support and guidance for the challenges they come across in practicum.  In addition, it is a forum in which educational psychologists and allied professionals from the field can share with the students their experience in difficult cases and latest development in intervention.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7028 – Dissertation research
The dissertation should be a critical study within the field, normally including an empirical element, and should not exceed 20,000 words in length.  Where appropriate, studies involving qualitative methodology and other approaches may also be included.  The title of the dissertation shall be submitted for approval on March 31 of the final academic year of study, and the dissertation shall be presented by July 31 of the final academic year of study.  The candidate shall submit a statement that the dissertation represents his own work (or in the case of conjoint work, a statement countersigned by his co‑worker, which shows his share of the work) undertaken after registration as a candidate for the degree.  The examiners may also prescribe an oral examination on the subject of the dissertation.
Assessment: 100% coursework

Educational psychologists (EPs) were first introduced to Hong Kong by the Special Education Section of the Education Department in the late 1960’s. Since then the scope of work of EPs has gradually permeated to the broader education system. Now most of the EPs are employed by the Education Department of the Hong Kong government and voluntary agencies running special and mainstream schools. The main activities of EPs include:

  • to handle the more difficult cases with learning and/or behavioural-emotional problems that require intellectual/personality assessment and treatment;
  • to advise teachers on the planning and implementation of educational/remedial programmes for pupils with learning difficulties;
  • to advise teachers on the general strategies of management for pupils with behavioural-emotional programmes;
  • to advise school staff in the planning and implementation of preventive/developmental programmes;
  • to plan, organise and conduct school-based staff development programmes for teachers
  • to plan, organise and conduct parent training programmes;
  • to conduct research and experimental projects related to educational psychology;
  • to participate in case conferences and discussions with teachers and related professionals so as to co-ordinate efforts in assisting pupils.

For further information about the EP profession, please visit
https://www.dep.hkps.org.hk/ep-service/

Ms. Doris FUNG (General Office)
Tel: (852) 3917 5866
Email:  cwfung@hku.hk

Admission Coordinator:
Dr. Alice Yuen-Ching KEUNG (mssep@hku.hk)

Programme Director:
Dr. Kathy Kar-man SHUM (kkmshum@hku.hk)

For admission information, please go to this web page
MSocSc in Educational Psychology

HKU Psychology