Postgraduate Taught

MSc Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Delivered in partnership with NHS Lothian and NHS Glasgow, this course will provide registered health professionals with sufficient theoretical and skills training in cognitive behavioural therapy and enable you to develop your career as a therapist and the service you provide. lt is delivered part-time.

This course is for people already working in a healthcare setting (in areas including psychiatry, clinical and forensic psychology, occupational therapy, social work, nursing, general medical practitioners) who are interested in delivering Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in clinical settings. 

Why QMU?

  • Learn the theory and practice of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – the best evidenced psychotherapy in mental health.
  • Core CBT competencies are developed through multiple methods, including lectures, workshops, role play, academic evaluation and close clinical supervision.
  • As trainee therapists, students benefit from the vast experience of expert CBT practitioners from throughout the UK delivering on our specialist postgraduate teaching course.

Course overview

CBT is the model of psychotherapy most tested by research trials for a range of mental and even physical disorders, ranging from depression, anxiety and phobias to eating disorders, schizophrenia and chronic pain. Healthcare professionals are increasingly required to demonstrate a flexible, multidisciplinary approach to make the best use of skills and resources. The NHS actively promotes provision of evidence-based management. CBT is the evidence-based psychotherapy par excellence. It can be effective as a stand-alone treatment and can also be used in conjunction with other medical or psychological treatments. The model is versatile and creative and its techniques can be used selectively in general medical, psychological and nursing practice, as well as informing whole courses of integrated treatment.

This course will help you refine your CBT skills, empower you to use the model in a range of clinical situations, and focus on the development of a respectful and pro-active relationship with patients. The therapeutic alliance is central to the delivery of CBT and the course will teach you to forge a positive collaborative relationship with patients as a means of improving and maintaining the patient’s mental health.

The course is delivered by staff of NHS Lothian and Glasgow.

Exit awards

MSc (180 credits)/ PgDip (120 credits)/ PgCert (60 credits)


To obtain a specific postgraduate award at QMU you must complete a number of credit-bearing modules. You can opt to study for the full MSc, a PgDip or a PgCert. You can also register as an associate student to complete a single module for CPD. On completion of a single module, you may wish to complete further modules and progress your studies to a named award.

Teaching, learning and assessment

The teaching and learning methods used  will encourage participative and independent learning. These approaches will engage you in lectures, problem-based learning, workshops, small group discussion, seminars, observation and skills practice. You will also arrange to see patients one day per week. You will also be required to attend Group Supervision for the duration of the course. 

Assessment methods will include essays, audio recordings of therapy sessions, case studies and supervisor assessments.

Teaching hours and attendance

You will attend a ten-day induction block followed by a four-day teaching block in the first week of every month. The PgCert requires 301 hours of independent study and the PgDip 358 hours.

Class sizes

Class sizes are usually around 30 for the PgCert and 15 for the PgDip.                       

Links with industry/ professional bodies

On completion of the PgDip you will be an accredited CBT Practitioner through membership with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).


  • CBT for Anxiety and Depression (15 credits)
  • Principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (15 credits)
  • Research Skills in CBT (15 credits)
  • Advanced CBT for Anxiety Disorders (15 credits)
  • Introduction to Complex Adaptation of CBT (15 credits)
  • Application of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (30 credits)

If studying for the MSc, you will also complete a dissertation on a research project within a chosen specialist area of CBT. The components of the dissertation will include: a research proposal; a literature review; and a paper for publication.

The modules listed here are correct at time of posting (September 2019) but are subject to change. In the event that modules do need to change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact to the students. Please check the website for any updates.


There are no placements provided on this course. Students will already be in employment and utilise their own workplace as a learning and practising environment or organise their own placement.


There is a growing demand for therapists specifically trained in this field. This course will enable you to develop your career and the service you provide.

Single modules for CPD

Available: Register as an associate student to study single modules in areas of interest. Contact Programme Leader, Sean Harper for further information.

Entry requirements

Honours degree or equivalent, plus mental health qualification. Applicants will be expected to be familiar with individual casework, history-taking and case load management and must normally be a UK registered health professional. Non-standard entrants may be considered if they can demonstrate that they have the necessary work-based experience, skills and aptitude demonstrated by a Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes (KSA) portfolio. See BABCP website for details. Non-standard applications and Recognition of Prior Learning must be referred to QMU. 

International: This course is only available to professionals currently working in the UK.

Interview: After application there will be an interview held in Edinburgh.


Some students on the course are self-funded and some receive employer support. Fees are paid to NHS Lothian once a place has been offered.   

Application deadline

More information and contacts

Contact Programme Leader, Sean Harper or Admissions on tel: 0131 474 0000.

Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2020/21 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

Course Overview

At QMU with some online learning
Part-time: 1 year (PgCert), 2 years (PgDip), additional 12-18 months required for MSc
Start Date
September 2020
Study Abroad
School of Health Sciences
Fees & Funding