Discrete dislocation dynamics (DDD) has been used to model the deformation of nickel-based single crystal superalloys with a high volume fraction of precipitates at high temperature. A representative volume cell (RVC), comprising of both the precipitate and the matrix phase, was employed in the simulation where a periodic boundary condition was applied. The dislocation Frank–Read sources were randomly assigned with an initial density on the 12 octahedral slip systems in the matrix channel. Precipitate shearing by superdislocations was modelled using a back force model, and the coherency stress was considered by applying an initial internal stress field. Strain-controlled loading was applied to the RVC in the [0 0 1] direction. In addition to dislocation structure and density evolution, global stress–strain responses were also modelled considering the influence of precipitate shearing, precipitate morphology, internal microstructure scale (channel width and precipitate size) and coherency stress. A three-stage stress–strain response observed in the experiments was modelled when precipitate shearing by superdislocations was considered. The polarised dislocation structure deposited on the precipitate/matrix interface was found to be the dominant strain hardening mechanism. Internal microstructure size, precipitate shape and arrangement can significantly affect the deformation of the single crystal superalloy by changing the constraint effect and dislocation mobility. The coherency stress field has a negligible influence on the stress–strain response, at least for cuboidal precipitates considered in the simulation. Preliminary work was also carried out to simulate the cyclic deformation in a single crystal Ni-based superalloy using the DDD model, although no cyclic hardening or softening was captured due to the lack of precipitate shearing and dislocation cross slip for the applied strain considered.