Postgraduate Taught

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - MSc

Are you a registered healthcare professional who is interested in delivering cognitive behavioural psychotherapy (CBT) in clinical settings? There is a growing demand for psychotherapists trained in this field and this MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy course will provide training, including sufficient theory and skills training, and will enable you to develop your career as a cognitive behavioural psychotherapist and the service you provide.

The course may interest those working in psychiatry, clinical and forensic psychology, occupational therapy, social work, nursing, general medical practitioners, allied health professions, counselling and third sector environments. 

This British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)-accredited course is delivered in partnership with NHS Lothian and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and is available part time.

Why QMU?

  • Staff expertise: The course is delivered by staff from NHS Lothian and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, in collaboration with QMU School of Health Sciences. As trainee therapists, students benefit from the vast experience of expert CBT practitioners from throughout the UK delivering on our specialist postgraduate teaching course.
  • Accreditation: This course is accredited with the BABCP. On completing the PgDip students will be eligible to apply for BABCP accredited status, the gold standard benchmark in CBT competence.
  • Responsive: This course meets the demand for trained specialists in the field.
  • Range of teaching and learning methods: Core CBT competencies are developed through multiple methods, including lectures, workshops, role play, academic evaluation and close clinical supervision.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (MSc): More information and what you will achieve

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the best evidence-based psychotherapy for a range of mental and even physical disorders, ranging from depression, anxiety and phobias to eating disorders, schizophrenia and chronic pain/health conditions.

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, 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 develop and 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.

How will I be taught?

Structure and exit awards

You can opt to study for the full MSc (180 credits), a PgDip (120 credits) or a PgCert (60 credits).

Teaching, learning and assessment

The teaching and learning methods used will encourage participative and independent learning. The approaches will engage you in lectures, problem-based learning, workshops, small group discussion, seminars, observation and skills practice. As part of the course, you will be required to see patients weekly and 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.

Placements/work-based learning

There are no placements on this course. Students will already be in employment and utilise their own workplace as a learning and practicing environment or organise their own placement. Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) trainees must be able to access a caseload of patients with mild to moderate anxiety or depression. Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) trainees will be expected to access cases with more complex mental health issues.

Teaching hours and attendance

You will attend a 10-day induction block followed by a week long teaching block every month. The PgCert requires 301 hours of independent study and the PgDip requires 358 hours.

Class sizes

Class sizes are usually around 30 for the Pg Cert and 15 for the Pg Dip. 

Teaching staff

You can read more about the teaching staff on this course at the bottom of this page. Please note that teaching staff is subject to change.


For the award of PgCert, you will complete:

  • Principles of Cognitive Therapy (20 credits)
  • Application of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (20 credits)
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety and Depression (20 credits)

To obtain a PgDip, you will also complete:

  • Research Skills in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (20 credits)
  • Advanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety Disorders and Major Depression (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Complex Adaptation of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (20 credits)

To obtain an MSc, you will then complete:

  • Practice-based Research Project* (60 credits)

*The research project will be within a chosen specialist area of CBT. Components of the dissertation will include: a research proposal, a literature review and a paper for publication.

NB The modules listed are correct at time of posting (October 2023) but are subject to change. In the event that modules change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact on students.

Career opportunities

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

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (MSc): Entry requirements and application information

Entry requirements

Honours degree, or equivalent, plus a 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. Please see BABCP website for details.

Non-standard applications and Recognition of Prior Learning must be referred to QMU for consideration.

After application there will be an interview held in Edinburgh.

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

Disability/health conditions

If you have a disability, long-term physical or mental health condition, or learning disability, it should not stand in the way of your studying at QMU. However, if you are not sure whether your disability might be a barrier in your studies or in relation to the professional standards, please contact the disability service who will be able to have a conversation with you about reasonable adjustments and supports available to you.

Applying for this course

You should apply for the MSC Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Course via the NHS Lothian website: South of Scotland Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Programme

Application deadline

The application deadline is 31 October 2024. Find more details of the South of Scotland CBT Course NHS Lothian website: South of Scotland Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Programme

Terms and Conditions

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2024/25 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).


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. See the NHS Lothian website for more information on fees for the MSc Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Start date

Find more details of the South of Scotland Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Programme on the NHS Lothian website. 

More information and contacts

Become your best you: study at QMU

Course Overview

Some teaching on campus at QMU and some online teaching
This course is part time. The PgCert will take one year and the PgDip, two years to complete. An additional 12-18 months is required for the MSc.
Start Date
January 2025
School of Health Sciences
Fees & Funding
SCQF Level

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