About the course
This two-year part-time course offers experienced professionals from a range of backgrounds a unique opportunity to develop in-depth specialist knowledge and skills in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) curricula. The course is best suited to applicants with professional experience in mental or physical healthcare, education or skills training, stress reduction, or other contexts that involve working with individuals and groups in supportive ways.
The course offers an opportunity for in-depth learning and aims to foster a community of mindfulness practitioners and teachers with the expertise to deliver high-quality MBCT in a variety of settings, including healthcare, education, workplaces, criminal justice, government, and others, and who will contribute to the development and dissemination of MBCT.
The course combines in-person learning in Oxford with online learning. In addition to the taught component, students will need to set aside six to seven hours per week for private study, personal practice related to MBCT, and completion of written assignments. Much of the teaching is interactive and experiential, and weaves together personal practice, skills training, theory, research and applications of MBCT. Students are supported in developing for themselves the understanding and skills they will be teaching to others.
The course addresses the theoretical foundations of MBCT, including relevant aspects of psychological science, as well as aspects of Buddhist psychology and philosophy on which MBCT draws. It also provides opportunities for students to develop the practical skills they need to translate knowledge and understanding into competent MBCT teaching; that is, students are expected to develop for themselves the understanding and skills they will be teaching to others. Students will design and deliver a course of MBCT to an appropriate client group in their own place of work, with supervision from course tutors.
The course covers four main topic areas:
- Theory and research, including psychological science related to health, wellbeing, and underlying psychological processes; relevant aspects of Buddhist psychology and philosophy and their contribution to MBCT, and empirical research on the effects of mindfulness practice, mechanisms of change, and application in a variety of contexts and populations;
- Experiential understanding of mindfulness developed through guided and independent personal practice and reflection on experiences of personal practice in light of theory, research, and underlying psychological processes;
- Teaching skills and professional competencies for delivering MBCT curricula skilfully and ethically in a range of contexts; students will deliver two courses of an MBCT curriculum to an appropriate client group in their own place of work, with supervision from course tutors.
- Communication skills for writing and speaking about mindfulness and MBCT.
The first year of the course is designed to develop student’s knowledge of all of the main topic areas.
- Theory and research are covered through reading, presentation, and discussion.
- Experiential understanding is developed through guided practice during training days, independent practice between training days and an intensive guided retreat.
- Teaching skills and professional competencies are cultivated through skills training and experiential workshops.
- Communication skills are developed through group discussion, skills practice, and marked written assignments.
The second year deepens understanding of theory and research, hones teaching skills and professional competencies, and cultivates knowledge and skills for applying MBCT in various populations and contexts.
- Knowledge of theory, research and application are cultivated through additional reading, presentation, and discussion through completion of a dissertation.
- Experiential understanding of mindfulness is further cultivated through continued guided and independent personal practice and through an additional intensive guided retreat.
- Teaching skills and professional competencies are honed through additional teaching days and through the completion of the teaching project: each student delivers two courses of MBCT in their setting.
Teaching days and retreats will be led by teachers, trainers, and researchers experiences in MBCT, with invited speakers for specialist areas.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and this role will usually be performed by the Course Director.
It is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. A supervisor for the teaching project may be found outside the core staff team.
To complete the MSt in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, students are required to:
- complete two 4,000-word essays, demonstrating the capacity to critically appraise theory and research relevant to MBCT (Year 1);
- complete a 4,000-word reflective analysis of personal meditation practice as related to psychological science and Buddhist psychology (Year 1);
- complete a 4,000-word assignment describing the delivery and evaluation of an MBCT course suitable for their population and context, along with appropriate instructional materials (Year 2). Please note that the MSt programme does not offer placements; students must have access to a relevant setting in which to deliver the MBCT course on which the write-up is written;
- submit recordings of the MBCT classes they taught (Year 2); and
- submit a dissertation of no more than 10,000 words on a topic selected by the student, in consultation with their tutors (Year 2).
Most part-time students commencing this programme are already in employment and will teach MBCT in an appropriate context to which they have access.
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, 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.
Entry requirements for entry in 2024-25
Proven and potential academic excellence
As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the following UK qualifications or their equivalent:
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in a relevant subject.
Preference will be given to applicants with professional experience in mental or physical healthcare, education or skills training, stress reduction, wellness, or other contexts that involve working with individuals and groups in supportive ways.
Your background should have equipped you to:
- read theoretical and scientific literature relevant to MBCT
- write the essays and other assignments described above
- work with individuals and groups in ways which require relational skills.
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.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.
GRE General Test scores
No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.
Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience
You are expected to have:
- knowledge of mindfulness-based approaches, and to have attended at least one face-to-face or online eight-week MBCT-L (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Life) course run by an experienced provider. The Oxford Mindfulness Foundation offers many courses.
- personal experience of insight meditation practice and a personal meditation practice of at least one year
- some experience of working with or facilitating groups.
- access to suitable groups with whom to teach MBCT under supervision
- substantial professional experience in mental or physical healthcare, education or skills training, stress reduction, wellness, or other contexts that involve working with individuals and groups in supportive way
Publications are welcome but not required.
Assessors screening applications and interviewers are looking for the following qualities:
- commitment to acquiring the knowledge and skills related to the practice and teaching of MBCT
- ability to take advantage of academic teaching, as evidenced by prior learning history
- openness to new ideas and the ability to absorb, communicate and use new information and concepts
- ability to meet the time and study commitments of the course
- ability to present a coherent argument in written English
- psychological and personal suitability to benefit from and contribute to the course, as well as the delivery of MBCT
- knowledge and understanding of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is desirable
English language proficiency
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.
Declaring extenuating circumstances
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.
You will need to register three referees who can give an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for the course. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the types of reference that are required in support of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.
You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the supporting documents that are required as part of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.
Performance at interview
Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process and are expected to take place in March.
Applicants will be shortlisted in accordance with their ability to meet the criteria for admissions.
Performance at interview will play a significant role in assessment against the selection criteria. Interviews are held following the application deadline and will be conducted by a minimum of two interviewers.
How your application is assessed
Your application will be assessed purely on your proven and potential academic excellence and other entry requirements published under that heading.
References and supporting documents submitted as part of your application, and your performance at interview (if interviews are held) will be considered as part of the assessment process. Whether or not you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
An overview of the shortlisting and selection process is provided below. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about how applications are assessed.
Shortlisting and selection
Students are considered for shortlisting and selected for admission without regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, sexual orientation, as well as other relevant circumstances including parental or caring responsibilities or social background. However, please note the following:
- socio-economic information may be taken into account in the selection of applicants and award of scholarships for courses that are part of the University’s pilot selection procedure and for scholarships aimed at under-represented groups;
- country of ordinary residence may be taken into account in the awarding of certain scholarships; and
- protected characteristics may be taken into account during shortlisting for interview or the award of scholarships where the University has approved a positive action case under the Equality Act 2010.
Processing your data for shortlisting and selection
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.
Other factors governing whether places can be offered
The following factors will also govern whether candidates can be offered places:
- the ability of the University to provide the appropriate supervision for your studies, as outlined under the 'Supervision' heading in the About section of this page;
- the ability of the University to provide appropriate support for your studies (eg through the provision of facilities, resources, teaching and/or research opportunities); and
- minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to the University's taught and research programmes.
Offer conditions for successful applications
If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, your offer will outline any conditions that you need to satisfy and any actions you need to take, together with any associated deadlines. These may include academic conditions, such as achieving a specific final grade in your current degree course. These conditions will usually depend on your individual academic circumstances and may vary between applicants. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about offers and conditions.
In addition to any academic conditions which are set, you will also 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.
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. Wi-Fi 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 department's 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.
Departments offering this course
This course is offered jointly by the following departments:
Department for Continuing Education
The need for new learning opportunities throughout life is now recognised throughout society. An intensive, initial period of higher education is not always enough in times of rapid social, economic and technological change. The Department for Continuing Education is known worldwide as a leading provider of extended learning for professional and personal development.
The department provides high-quality, flexible, part-time graduate education, tailored for adults. Students can undertake graduate-level certificates, diplomas and taught master’s degrees in a wide range of subjects. Increasing numbers of courses are delivered in mixed mode, combining intensive periods of residence in Oxford with tutored online study.
The department recruits adult students of all ages on a regional, national and international level. Many courses are offered jointly with other academic departments around the University. Courses are offered in the following areas:
All postgraduate students on the department's courses are members of its Graduate School. The Graduate School aims to provide a stimulating and enriching environment for learning and research. It also fosters intellectual and social interaction between students coming from different disciplines and professions. Interdisciplinary research seminars, training opportunities and other events are offered by the Graduate School in support of this goal.
All masters' and DPhil applicants are considered for Clarendon Scholarships. The department is committed to seeking scholarship support for other students wherever possible.
Department of Psychiatry
The Department of Psychiatry offers supervision in a wide range of research areas including laboratory-based neuroscience, brain imaging, literature synthesis and psychological and pharmacological treatment research.
The DPhil and MSc by Research degrees, both of which can be studied on a full- or part-time basis, provide students with the opportunity to gain expertise in their chosen field and to develop the skills and experience required to manage a project and conduct independent research. Supervision is provided by senior researchers from within the department and, where appropriate, students can be linked with a co- supervisor in another department (for example, the Department of Experimental Psychology and Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences). Students are also encouraged to attend seminars and research meetings which are held frequently within the department.
In addition to academic supervision, the graduate studies team within the department provide support and advice to student at all stages of their study. This includes holding regular meetings to provide a forum for students to discuss their research and identify those working in related areas with whom they can share ideas.
The University expects to be able to offer over 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2024-25. 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 December or 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 any college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages or below:
Please note that not all the colleges listed above may accept students on this course. For details of those which do, please refer to the College preference section of this page.
Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.
Annual fees for 2024-25
Annual Course fees
Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.
Information about course fees
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 changes 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.
This course has residential sessions in Oxford. You will need to meet your travel and accommodation costs in attending these sessions. There are also three retreats; two in Somerset and one in Devon. Accommodation and food are provided for these retreats, but you will need to cover your travel costs. 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.
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 2024-25 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,345 and £1,955 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. The current economic climate and high national rate of inflation make it very hard to estimate potential changes to the cost of living over the next few years. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2024-25, it is suggested that you allow for potential increases in living expenses of around 5% each year – although this rate may vary depending on the national economic situation. UK inflationary increases will be kept under review and this page updated.
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.
Students enrolled on this course will belong to both a department/faculty and a college. Please note that ‘college’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 43 of the University’s colleges, including those designated as societies and permanent private halls (PPHs).
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. Before deciding, we suggest that you read our brief introduction to the college system at Oxford and our advice about expressing a college preference. For some courses, the department may have provided some additional advice below to help you decide.
The following colleges accept students on the MSt in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy:
Before you apply
Our guide to getting started provides general advice on how to prepare for and start your application. Check the deadlines on this page and the information about deadlines in our Application Guide. If it's important for you to have your application considered under a particular deadline – eg under a December or January deadline in order to be considered for Oxford scholarships – we recommend that you aim to complete and submit your application at least two weeks in advance.
Application fee waivers
An application fee of £75 is payable per course application. Application fee waivers are available for the following applicants who meet the eligibility criteria:
- applicants from low-income countries;
- refugees and displaced persons;
- UK applicants from low-income backgrounds; and
- applicants who applied for our Graduate Access Programmes in the past two years and met the eligibility criteria.
You are encouraged to check whether you're eligible for an application fee waiver before you apply.
Do I need to contact anyone before I apply?
You do not need to make contact with the department before you apply but you are encouraged to visit the relevant departmental webpages to read any further information about your chosen course.
Completing your application
You should refer to the information below when completing the application form, paying attention to the specific requirements for the supporting documents.
For this course, the application form will include questions that collect information that would usually be included in a CV/résumé. You should not upload a separate document. If a separate CV/résumé is uploaded, it will be removed from your application.
If any document does not meet the specification, including the stipulated word count, your application may be considered incomplete and not assessed by the academic department. Expand each section to show further details.
Three overall, academic and/or professional
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.
Professional references are accepted if these are relevant to the course.
Your references will support your academic ability and suitability for the course.
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.
Statement of purpose:
A maximum of 500 words
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. You are also required to include a summary of some of the most important discoveries you have made through your own personal meditation practice, including challenges.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
This will be assessed for your motivation for applying to this particular programme of study and how you plan to make use of the material learnt in the programme.
A maximum of 500 words
Please include a written critical discussion of approximately 500 words in which you discuss the following: ‘Are there any limits to the usefulness of MBCT in the area of mental health?’.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.