Specialist Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

The MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Trauma) provides both clinical and research skills training to promote evidence-based practice in mental health care.

You may study for the Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) over 18 months to obtain the minimum training qualification accredited by The British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) to practice as a CBT therapist or apply directly to this MSc which is offered over 2 years.

The MSc adds to the PG Dip modules an applied specialist clinical module for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and related disorders including research methods training designed to facilitate clinical research and encourage therapists to publish in academic journals.

Please note that this course is not eligible for a Tier 4 visa.

Entry requirements

A 2.2 Honours degree or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a cognate area or equivalent professional qualification(s) and at least two years clinical practice experience in a statutory or independent mental health or related setting. All applicants must:

- Provide evidence of prior basic knowledge of psychological therapies preferably Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and

- Be currently employed in a clinical or practice setting within an organisation providing therapeutic or counselling services, and

- Be in a role for the duration of the Programme to access a suitable client group for practice and supervision purposes.

Applicants from a non-core profession must provide a portfolio of evidence and references to demonstrate suitable core knowledge, skills and attitudes in line with KSA guidelines produced by The British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).

All eligible applicants will be interviewed.

Progression from the Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) onto the MSc will be subject to successfully completing all PG Dip modules and assessment of suitability for study of research methods and advanced CBT practice, which must be approved by the Course Director.

Applicants with a relevant PG Dip in CBT may apply for Recognition of Prior Certificated Learning (RPCL) under the University's Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy. This will exempt them from the first year of the MSc in Specialist Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (Trauma) (90 CATS points). Applicants applying under the RPCL Policy must provide a record of modular content of prior PG Dip in CBT training and relevant CPD. Please visit http://go.qub.ac.uk/RPLpolicy for more information.

Closing date for applications: Wednesday 31st July 2019.
Late applications may be considered.

International students will need local placements to access clients for clinical training. Whilst these placements should normally be arranged by the applicants the university will try to negotiate a limited number of placements with local H&SC agencies.

International Students

For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
•Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
•Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.


2 years part-time

1 day per week over 3 x 12 week semesters.

Number of credits

Assessments associated with this course are outlined below: Essays, case studies, case presentations, supervision, DVD-recorded clinical sessions supervision, portfolio, research project.

Careers or further progression

Career Prospects
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy services are an expanding area of mental health services due to an increasing demand for evidence-based psychological therapies.

Graduate of this specialist MSc can apply for professional employment as fully accredited Cognitive Behaviour Psychotherapists, practice in trauma at a specialist CBT level and are be able to undertake clinical research with a view to publishing in academic and professional journals.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes help our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

Further enquiries

Dr Michael Duffy
Senior Lecturer
School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work - Senior Lecturer
Contemporary Social Issues and Policy
The Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice
Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation
Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 3298

Subjects taught

The MSc is delivered part-time over two years and provides training in the evidence based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy models that are recommended in NICE guidelines.

The programme consists of four x 30 credit modules (PG Dip modules) which are linked to the BABCP Minimum Training Standards for CBT accreditation (Level 2) and in addition an applied clinical module on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with a research component (60 credits).

Core Modules (all 30 CATS except where stated):

Application of CBT Models and Skills for Depression and Anxiety
Core Concepts and Skills of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Depression)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety Disorders
CNT Models and Skills for Other Specific and Complex Disorders
Appraisal and Application of Evidence-Based Trauma Focussed CBT for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Other Related Disorders (specialist MSc assessment, 60 CATS)

In year 1, the Application of CBT Models and Skills for Depression and Anxiety module is the supervision module that runs in parallel with the first two modules, CBT for Depression and CBT for Anxiety Disorders. CBT for other Specific and Complex Orders in semester 1 of year 2 incorporates both teaching and supervision.

Taught modules are delivered one day per week over 3 x 12-week semesters. Students must attend small group training supervision sessions at Queen's. Where possible, these will be delivered during the teaching days. They are designed to facilitate the integration of research and theory with practice, and the development of skills in CBT. Clinical accountability for CBT clinical practice remains with the agency responsible for the patients. During the taught modules (first 18 months), training supervision is provided each morning in small groups before teaching commences. Teaching and supervision are provided each Thursday and trainees should plan for a second day to provide therapy with clients, receive supervision at base and critically review their own performance.

Trainees will be expected to provide therapy with a minimum of 8 clients during the course and also arrange their own clinical supervision within the agency providing the clients for the trainee. Therapy sessions should be recorded on camera for supervision purposes and to facilitate self-reflection on practice development.

The MSc research teaching is provided in year 2; semester one comprised of three seminars over two half days (October and December) and one full day (November) in college. In semester 2 there is one final half day seminar (May) to consider forms of information presentation and dissemination along with plans for writing up the assignment.

The clinical component of the specialist MSc module is an applied specialist clinical module for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and related disorders and is provided over 12 weeks in the spring semester in year 2. Clinical accountability for CBT clinical practice with trauma clients remains with the agency responsible for the patients. MSc students will also complete further training in research methods.

The specialist MSc assessment will be based on assessment of the following components which must all be passed to receive the MSc award:
one PTSD therapy session recorded on camera
one 3000-word PTSD case study
a research/literature review/project
a 2000 word reflective learning essay

Training supervision will be provided by the Queen's teaching team and agency supervision will be provided by CBT staff meeting BABCP criteria for provision of supervision.


Specialist Cognitive Behavioural Therapy highlights:

Professional Accreditations
•The taught modules have been accredited by the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy professional body, The British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP), to Level 2 which meets BABCP minimum training standards criteria for individual therapist accreditation.

Internationally Renowned Experts
•The MSc is provided by a team of internationally recognised trauma researchers and clinicians and is one of the few specialist MScs in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Trauma and related disorders available in these islands and across Europe.

Application date

How to Apply
Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Enrolment and start dates

Entry year 2020

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