MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy | University of Oxford
Students
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(Image Credit: Martin Prechelmacher / Graduate Photography Competition)

MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

About the course

This course aims to guide students through the process of developing and implementing an independent research project in their own clinical setting. This two-year, research-based award provides the foundation for carrying out research and publishing an academic paper. 

This course is designed to help you achieve certain aims. By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • display knowledge and understanding of general research principles and methodology, and demonstrate how these may be used within their own clinical work, and in the design and completion of an independent research project
  • interpret and evaluate theoretical literature relevant to the provision of cognitive therapy or cognitive therapy services
  • use established bodies of knowledge as a basis for developing their own ideas for research
  • understand the value of an evidence-based approach to psychological treatment, including the distinctive contributions of efficacy and effectiveness research trials to clinical practice, and the use of clinical audit and other service evaluation approaches
  • show evidence of the capacity to apply knowledge of research principles and practice in designing and carrying out an independent research project, using appropriate methodology and analysing and discussing results
  • use and interpret a variety of appropriate psychometric instruments to assess patient pathology and evaluate progress and outcome in treatment
  • write clear and literate assignments (research project proposal and final dissertation) that comply with established conventions of presentation and referencing

The teaching element of the MSc course is provided through tutorials. These are spread out over two years with an initial three-day meeting followed by one- or two-day tutorials several times during the year. Supervision is additionally provided on a one-to-one basis throughout the course.    

Field supervisors, or local supervisors, give practical guidance in the workplace and advise and support students in carrying out the research. Students should have ready access to local supervisors for guidance regarding research practicalities in their area.

Each student will be allocated a supervisor from Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre staff during the academic year, although the practical emphasis for supervision rests with the field supervisor.

To complete the MSc in CBT, you will need to submit a dissertation, which comprises:

  • a research paper, which is prepared to a standard that is acceptable for submission to a peer reviewed journal (maximum of 14,000-14,500 words)
  • a reflective critique of the research experience (500-1000 words).

The reflective critique is an opportunity for you to look back over your experience of carrying out a piece of research and taking it to the point of submission. You will need to demonstrate what you have learnt from your experience, what you would do differently with hindsight, and how your experience will inform your practice from now on.

Graduate destinations

Completion of the course provides access to a growing network of course graduates and to an ongoing programme of follow-up workshops on CBT and related topics. Further supervision through OCTC may also be negotiated, for example, for participants wishing to achieve accreditation by the British Association of Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies as a therapist, supervisor and/or trainer.

Some students have used their MSc project as the foundation for further studies at a doctoral level.

Changes to the course

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Entry requirements for entry in 2017-18

Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in a relevant subject.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.

To be admitted to the MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, applicants must also have successfully completed the PGDip in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Applicants are also normally expected to:

  • be qualified members of one of the main National Health Service professions, eg clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, general practitioners, occupational therapists, or other recognised professions, eg social worker; and
  • have at least two years' post-qualification clinical experience.

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

Other appropriate indicators will include:

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview(s)

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  

Applicants will be shortlisted in accordance with their ability to meet the criteria for admissions. Interviews will usually be held four to six weeks after the application deadline. 

Interviews will normally be held in person, but in exceptional circumstances may be conducted via video-conferencing, and will be conducted by 2 members of the course team. They will usually last about 30 minutes and include questions about your professional background and submitted research proposal.

Publications

Publications are not expected.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

Applicants for the MSc will need to demonstrate that they have:

  • a research proposal which can be implemented in their clinical setting. It is imperative that applicants have developed a realistic proposal; therefore, applicants are required to submit their proposal with their MSc application so that it can be reviewed prior to interview;
  • a ‘field’ supervisor for their research, ie a supervisor who is local to the student and the project, and who is sufficiently experienced in research to oversee the work; and 
  • maintained their continued professional development as CBT practitioners, as is required by the BABCP, since completing their Postgraduate Diploma

2. English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.

3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places

The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • The ability of the Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work. 
  • Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.

The provision of supervision, where required, is subject to the following points:

  • The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff.
  • A supervisor may be found outside the Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, maternity leave or change in employment.

4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties

Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.

Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

5. Assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

6. Other information

Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.

Resources

The department is committed to supporting you to pursue your academic goals. 

The Rewley House Continuing Education Library, one of the Bodleian Libraries, is situated in Rewley House. The department aims to support the wide variety of subjects covered by departmental courses at many academic levels. The department also has a collection of around 73,000 books together with periodicals. PCs in the library give access to the internet and the full range of electronic resources subscribed to by the University of Oxford. Wifi is also available. The Jessop Reading Room adjoining the library is available for study. You will have access to the Central Bodleian and other Bodleian Libraries.

The Graduate School provides a stimulating and enriching learning and research environment for the department's graduate students, fostering intellectual and social interaction between graduates of different disciplines and professions from the UK and around the globe. The Graduate School will help you make the most of the wealth of resources and opportunities available, paying particular regard to the support and guidance needed if you are following a part-time graduate programme. The department’s graduate community comprises over 600 members following taught programmes and more than 70 undertaking doctoral research.

The department provides various IT facilities, including the Student Computing Facility which provides individual PCs for your use. Many of the department's courses are delivered through blended learning or have a website to support face-to-face study. In most cases, online support is delivered through a virtual learning environment. 

Depending on the programme you are taking with the department, you may require accommodation at some point in your student career. Rewley House is ideally located in central Oxford; the city's historic sites, colleges, museums, shops and restaurants are only a few minutes’ walk away. The department has 35 en-suite study bedrooms, all with high quality amenities, including internet access.

The Rewley House dining room has seating for up to 132 people. A full meal service is available daily. The department operates a Common Room with bar for students. 

Funding

There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.

A range of scholarships are available to students on the programmes offered by the department, along with bursary funds to assist students on low incomes. Full information on these opportunities can be found on the departmental funding pages.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2017-18

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£2,365£1,511£3,876
Overseas£2,365£1,511£3,876

The fees shown above are the annual tuition and college fees for this course for entry in the stated academic year; for courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

Tuition and college fees are payable each year for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay tuition and college fees).

For more information about tuition fees, college fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details on the impact of the result of the UK referendum on its membership of the European Union.

Additional information

This course has residential sessions in Oxford. You will need to meet your travel and accommodation costs in attending these sessions.  Further, as part of your course requirements, you may need to choose a dissertation, a project or a thesis topic. Depending on your choice of topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.

Living costs

In addition to your tuition and college fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2017-18 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between £1,002 and £1,471 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our Living costs page. If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.

Colleges

The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy:

How to apply

You do not need to make contact with academic members of staff before you apply.

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Research proposal and statement of purpose:
Proposal of 1,500 words and statement of 500 words

Your statement and proposal should be submitted as a single, combined document with a clear subheading for each.

You should submit an outlined proposal for a research study, written in English, that is appropriate to the aims of the course, well-designed and feasible. Your proposal should identify your proposed research project and outline the scope and treatment of the project.

Your statement of purpose should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas that interest you and/or you intend to specialise in.

Your proposal and statement will be assessed for your motivation for applying to this particular programme of study; your relevant academic, research, or practical experience; and the areas of study within the subject that interest you.

It will be normal for your ideas subsequently to change in some ways as you investigate the evidence and develop your project. You should nevertheless make the best effort you can to demonstrate the extent of your research question, sources and method at this moment.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, one professional and two academic

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

A professional reference from your current clinical supervisor is required. Your other references should be academic. 

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, ability to work in a group and clinical ability.