DPhil in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy | University of Oxford
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DPhil in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

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. Examination for the DPhil is by submission of a thesis and oral examination.

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.

Supervision

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.

Graduate destinations

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. 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 sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

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.

Entry requirements for entry in 2020-21

Proven and potential academic excellence

Degree-level qualifications

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 TherapyPGCert 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. 

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.

Detailed requirements - higher level

The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are:

IELTS Academic7.5Minimum 7.0 per component
TOEFL iBT110

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or C1 Advanced191Minimum 185 per component
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or C2 Proficiency191Minimum 185 per component

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. For more information about the English language test requirement, visit the Application Guide

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

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.

Supervision

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: 

Financial Declaration

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.

Resources

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.

Funding

There are over 1,100 full or partial graduate scholarships available across the University. You will be automatically considered for over two thirds of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline, with most scholarships awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. To help identify those scholarships where you will be required to submit an additional application, use the Fees, funding and scholarships search and visit individual college websites using the links provided on our college pages.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2020-21

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£3,985
Overseas£7,030

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.

For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Additional information

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.

Living costs

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 2020-21 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,135 and £1,650 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 2020-21, 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.

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:

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 2,000 words and statement of up to 500 words

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

You should also 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.

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.

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.
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.

Written work:
Two essays 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.

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 plan your time to submit your application well in advance.

Step 4: Our Application Guide will help you complete the form. It contains links to FAQs and further help.

Step 5: Submit your application as soon as possible (you can read more information about our deadlines).

Application GuideApply

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