About the course
The part-time DPhil in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is offered by the Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre (OCTC) in collaboration with the Department for Continuing Education. Applicants are welcome from outside Oxford, and outside the UK.
This part-time DPhil is normally carried out over eight years, equivalent to four years of full-time study, although it may take less time in certain circumstances.
The chosen topic of a DPhil in CBT should have a significant focus on issues related to cognitive behavioural theory and/or practice, for example: the development of a better understanding of the cognitive and behavioural aspects of a problem; developing an aspect of CBT to address a particular disorder; exploring theoretical or methodological issues in relation to cognitive behavioural practice etc.
The DPhil in CBT should focus on a primary research topic relevant to the theory, principles and practice of interventions, including both group and individual treatments, third wave approaches, self-help based approaches and supervision.
You will be strongly encouraged to participate in seminars and informal meetings with staff and other researchers. The major commitment of time will be to individual study and research.
As a student on this course you will have an identified Oxford-based supervisor who is interested in your research ideas and, in some instances, you will also need to identify a field supervisor who can closely monitor and advise on your practical research.
A good supervisory relationship is crucial to research. The relationship between supervisor and supervisee can be a very personal one, therefore it is important that you ensure that your supervisor understands the research concepts and that there is agreement about the potential and the direction of the research. Both supervisor and supervisee must be able to make a commitment to the project that will span several years and must agree to regular meetings.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course 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. Under exceptional circumstances, a supervisor may be found outside the Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre. In such circumstances, a second internal supervisor may be appointed.
You will be admitted initially as a Probationary Research Student (PRS), in line with University regulations on doctorates. During the probationary period, you will develop and begin work on the thesis topic. You will develop research skills through a range of training and skills development primarily offered via the Department for Continuing Education Graduate School, as well as across the University.
Students must apply for a Transfer of Status from PRS to DPhil status between the 6th and the 8th academic term after admission, each academic year at Oxford having three terms. This involves the submission of a piece of written work that is examined by two assessors, neither of whom will be supervisors. This process is to ensure that your work is of potential DPhil quality and that the methodology of the research is appropriate and feasible. Upon successful completion of the Transfer of Status, you would usually undertake a period of primary fieldwork/data collection over one to two years.
You will also be required to apply for a Confirmation of Status as DPhil sometime between the 12th and 18th term after admission. This will also involve the submission of a piece of written work that is assessed by two assessors, neither of whom are supervisors. The Confirmation of Status assessment is different to the Transfer of Status assessment as the assessors will be focusing on how the research is progressing, the quality of the draft chapters/papers, and on the plan for completion. The assessors will be looking to ensure that you are making the appropriate amount of progress in the development of your thesis, so that thesis submission will be achieved within the time limit.
DPhil students on this course are expected to be established CBT practitioners and the extensive research that they carry out will further their development as a specialist practitioner. This might be in a clinical, research or training capacity—or indeed all of these areas.
Changes to this course and your supervision
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. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic (including Covid-19), epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.
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 illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.
Other courses you may wish to consider
If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.
Courses suggested by the department
All graduate courses in medical and health sciences offered by this department
Entry requirements for entry in 2021-22
Proven and potential academic excellence
As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in a related field of study.
Alternatively, this requirement can be demonstrated by successfully completing a course equivalent to the PGCert in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, PGCert in Enhanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or PGDip in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Although a previous master's degree is not required, it will strengthen your application to have completed a master's with a distinction grade in a relevant subject.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.
If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.
GRE General Test scores
No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.
Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience
- Awards of national prizes, scholarships etc would advantage an application.
- Publications are not required, but would advantage an application.
- DPhil students on this course are expected to be established CBT practitioners and the extensive research that they carry out will further their development as a specialist practitioner. This might be in a clinical, research or training capacity—or indeed all of these areas.
If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances in the Application Guide for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately.
English language requirement
This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement. The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are detailed in the table below.
|Test||Minimum overall score||Minimum score per component|
|IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713)||7.5||7.0|
TOEFL iBT, including the 'Home Edition'
(Institution code: 0490)
*Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
†Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)
Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. Our Application Guide provides further information about the English language test requirement.
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
Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.
Applications will be assessed according to stated admissions criteria and shortlisted per place 3:1. Applicants will be notified about interview dates at least 2 weeks preceding the interview. Skype interviews will be available for overseas applicants.
Applicants will be expected to present an overview of their research proposal and answer questions related to their proposal, reasons for pursuing the award and professional background by the interview panel.
Any offer of a place is dependent on the University’s ability to provide the appropriate supervision for your chosen area of work. Please refer to the ‘About’ section of this page for more information about the provision of supervision for this course.
How your application is assessed
Your application will be assessed purely on academic merit and potential, according to the published entry requirements for the course. 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. Whether you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
Admissions panels and assessors
All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).
Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.
After an offer is made
If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, you will be required to meet the following requirements:
If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.
Disclosure of criminal convictions
In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.
Students on the DPhil in CBT course will have access to the full range of Oxford's library and computing facilities.
However, as this is a part-time degree course, it is anticipated that you will have study facilities within your own place of work/research. It is also anticipated that you will have access to experimental facilities and subjects and that these will not be provided by OCTC.
Relevant seminars and/or tutorials will be held within OCTC and when necessary, study space will be made available to you.
You will have the opportunity to network within OCTC and attend events organised by OCTC.
As this is a matriculated course, you will be a member of an Oxford college and have access to the social, study and networking facilities of that college.
The University expects to be able to offer up to 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2021-22. You will be automatically considered for the majority of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential.
For further details about searching for funding as a graduate student visit our dedicated Funding pages, which contain information about how to apply for Oxford scholarships requiring an additional application, details of external funding, loan schemes and other funding sources. Please ensure that you visit individual college websites for details of college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages.
Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.
Annual fees for entry in 2021-22
Annual Course fees
|Home (UK, Republic of Ireland,|
Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
|Overseas (including EU)||£7,311|
Course 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 course fees). 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.
Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.
Following the period of fee liability, you may also be required to pay a University continuation charge and a college continuation charge. The University and college continuation charges are shown on the Continuation charges page.
Please note that you are required to attend in Oxford for a minimum of 30 days each year, and you may incur additional travel and accommodation expenses for this. Also, depending on your choice of research topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur further 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.
In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.
For the 2021-22 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,175 and £1,710 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. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2021-22, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.
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.
All graduate students at Oxford belong to a department or faculty and a college or hall (except those taking non-matriculated courses). If you apply for a place on this course you will have the option to express a preference for one of the colleges listed below, or you can ask us to find a college for you. The Colleges section of this website provides information about the college system at Oxford, as well as factors you may wish to consider when deciding whether to express a college preference. Please note that ‘college’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 45 of the University’s colleges, including those designated as Permanent Private Halls (PPHs).
For some courses, the department or faculty may have provided some additional advice below to help you to decide. Whatever you decide, it won’t affect how the academic department assesses your application and whether they decide to make you an offer. If your department makes you an offer of a place, you’re guaranteed a place at one of our colleges.
The following colleges accept students for full-time study on the DPhil in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy:
How to apply
It is crucial that you liaise with OCTC academic staff to discuss the feasibility of your research and secure the agreement of one or more potential supervisors for your work before you apply.
You are also encouraged to communicate with OCTC administrators in order to refine your application using the contact details on this page.
The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:
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.
Research proposal and statement of purpose:
Proposal up to a maximum of 2,000 words and statement of up to a maximum of 500 words
Your proposal and statement should be submitted as a single, combined document with a clear subheading for each.
You should submit a research proposal comprising a detailed outline of your intended research, written in English. The word count does not need to include any bibliography or brief footnotes.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
You should also submit a personal statement (statement of purpose) explaining your reasons for applying to the programme and highlighting your relevant academic and professional experience. The statement should also be written in English.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
Your proposal and statement will be assessed for:
- your reasons for applying
- the coherence of the proposal
- the originality of the project
- evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study
- the ability to present a reasoned case in English
- the feasibility of successfully completing the project in the time available for the course
- commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course
- preliminary knowledge of research techniques
- capacity for sustained and intense work
- reasoning ability
- ability to absorb new ideas, often presented abstractly, at a rapid pace.
Two essays, a maximum of 2,000 words each
Academic essays or other writing samples from your most recent qualification, written in English, are required. Extracts of the requisite length from longer work are also permissible.
The topic of your work should be relevant to the proposed area of study. The word count does not need to include any bibliography or brief footnotes.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
Your work will be assessed for:
- comprehensive understanding of the subject area
- understanding of problems in the area
- ability to construct an defend an argument
- powers of analysis
- powers of expression.
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 attesting to your skills as a CBT therapist and clinician is acceptable as one of your letters of recommendation. Other references should be from referees familiar with your work in an academic setting.
Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, ability to work independently.
Start or continue an application
Step 1: Read our guide to getting started, which explains how to prepare for and start an application.
Step 2: Check that you meet the Entry requirements and read the How to apply information on this page.
Step 3: Check the deadlines on this page and the deadline information in our Application Guide. Plan your time to submit your application well in advance - we recommend two or three weeks earlier.
Step 4: Check if you're eligible for an application fee waiver. Application fee waivers are available for:
- UK applicants from low-income backgrounds who meet the eligibility criteria;
- residents in a country listed as low-income by the World Bank (refer to the eligibility criteria);
- current Oxford graduate taught students applying for readmission to an eligible course; and
- additional applications to selected research courses that are closely related to your first application.
Step 5: Start your application using the relevant link below. As you complete the form, consult our Application Guide for advice at each stage. You'll find the answers to most common queries in our FAQs.