PGCert in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy | University of Oxford
Radcliffe Camera
The Radcliffe Camera, seen from the Bodleian Quad
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PGCert in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

About the course

This course aims to equip practitioners with the CBT skills necessary to implement evidence-based treatment for the most common psychological disorders. It comprises 20 days of teaching over two terms, including weekly supervision groups.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is part of a comprehensive CBT training programme, which has been renowned for its consistent record of excellence in CBT practice, training and supervision over the past 25 years.

Oxford is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence in CBT and the course draws on an impressive body of local specialist skill and knowledge.

The course aims to provide students with:

  • a sound knowledge of cognitive behavioural models, concepts and methods
  • an understanding of issues of importance relating to the theory and practice of CBT, including:
    • the relationship between CBT theory and therapy 

    • the use of CBT with a variety of client groups and disorders 

    • related research on outcome and process. 

  • competence in assessing and treating patients using CBT:
    • in assessing patient suitability for CBT
    • in developing CBT case-formulations
    • in devising and implementing individual treatment programmes 

    • in evaluating their effects.

  • the ability to convey clearly the central concepts of CBT and to communicate basic treatment skills.

The course does not aim to prepare students to teach and supervise CBT. The emphasis is on acquiring, practising and communicating specialised clinical skills, within an explicit theoretical framework in relation to associated empirical research.

Course structure

The course begins with a four-day teaching block followed by one full-day per week (Friday) over two terms, beginning in September. Students receive two hours of small group supervision weekly. 

Reading and completion of written assignments will be undertaken in addition to the teaching day outlined above. Many students find it effective to set aside six to seven hours a week for private study.

Students will be expected to have access to treatment settings with regular clinical and CBT supervision where cognitive behavioural therapy skills can be practised and refined on a regular basis. 

Course assessment

To complete the PG Cert in CBT you will need to:

  • take an active part in teaching and supervision sessions, and carry out CBT with the required number of patients
  • complete a 4,000-word case report of one treated case
  • complete a 2,000-word essay on CBT theory, research and 
  • submit audio/video recordings of CBT sessions for formative and summative assessment.

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. 

This award forms the foundation for further professional and clinical development, which can be pursued within the larger framework of the OCTC/University of Oxford CBT programme. The programme offers specialist training and can lead to a Postgraduate Diploma or MSc in CBT. 

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.

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 one year's 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 the applicant's professional background and roleplay to assess clinical skills.  


Publications are not expected.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

Applicants should:

  • be competent in general clinical skills, such as forming a therapeutic relationship and communicating effectively. A foundation of basic clinical competencies is an important prerequisite as the course provides specialised training in CBT and does not focus on developing the basics of good clinical practice;
  • be 'psychologically minded'. Applicants should be used to working within the framework of psychological explanations of behaviour and using psychological treatment methods to achieve change. This does not imply commitment to any particular psychological model. 

  • have some knowledge of cognitive behavioural therapies. Applicants do not need to have extensive practical experience of CBT, however, preference is given to candidates who can demonstrate some knowledge and experience of CBT approaches. Prior CBT 
experience and knowledge can be pursued through personal reading, attendance at workshops, membership of appropriate professional organisations or having a basic supervised CBT practice;
  • demonstrate commitment to developing CBT skills for use in clinical practice; and
  • have access to treatment settings with regular clinical and CBT supervision where cognitive behavioural therapy skills can be practised and refined on a regular basis. 

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.


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. 


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.


Annual fees for entry in 2017-18

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

(including Islands)

The fees shown above are the annual tuition 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. College fees are not generally payable for non-matriculated courses although a small number of courses may permit college affiliation for which a charge will be made.

Tuition 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 fees).

For more information about tuition 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 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.


This is a non-matriculated course and students studying non-matriculated courses do not become members of an Oxford college. More information about matriculated and non-matriculated courses can be found on the Matriculation page.

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.


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.

Statement of purpose:
500 words

Your statement 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.

This 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.

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.