About the course
A one year part-time graduate course providing training in advanced clinical work and research methodology in psychodynamic practice, involving the opportunity to undertake supervised original research.
The course forms part of the University of Oxford's master’s programme in psychodynamic studies, which is accredited by the UPCA (Universities Psychotherapy and Counselling Association). At completion of the full programme and the necessary clinical hours you will be eligible for professional accreditation via the UPCA with UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy), as a psychotherapeutic counsellor. In addition, if you wish you may apply individually to the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy).
The MSt course seeks to consolidate the clinical and academic work of the programme and provides training in advanced clinical work and research methodology, with the undertaking of supervised research. It is primarily orientated towards increasing the understanding and application of counselling/psychotherapy research in practice. The course is designed to bring you to an advanced level of professional competence.
You should have satisfactorily completed the PGDip in Psychodynamic Practice and will continue your clinical placement and personal therapy. Please note that successful completion of the MSt will result in the PGDip award being subsumed by the MSt award.
The course consists of:
- weekly Wednesday evening clinical and research seminars during Michaelmas and Hilary terms
- two Saturday workshops, in September at the start and end of the course
- two tutorials with the senior clinical tutor
- four tutorials with the research tutor
- a minimum of one meeting per term with an off-course research project supervisor
- a 15,000 word research project dissertation
- a viva voce examination
- a minimum of 100 clinical hours with supervision at a minimum 1:6 ratio to clinical hours
- a minimum of 40 hours personal therapy over the year, with a psychodynamically trained and course-approved therapist/counsellor.
The hours of private study are those needed to bring both clinical understanding and the dissertation to the standard required by the MSt both tutors will assist in monitoring this. However, at least 10 hours study per week between the taught periods is envisaged.
The on-course research tutor and off-course research project supervisor will support and guide you with regard to the research project dissertation, which nevertheless must remain an original piece of individually-researched work authored entirely by you. All tutors are professionally qualified and accredited counsellors or psychotherapists.
No applicant currently in therapy/counselling with a course tutor will be admitted to the course.
Graduates of this programme are working in various counselling settings, including schools, university, NHS and private practice.
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
It is necessary to have successfully completed the PGDip in Psychodynamic Practice, or to be currently studying on the second year of the PGDip, in order to apply to this course.
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 any subject. For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.
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).
No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.
Other appropriate indicators will include:
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.
A half-hour interview will be arranged for all those who appear to fulfil the basic requirements for entry to the course. Applicants will normally be expected to attend interview in Oxford in person; interviews will normally be held in March and April. They will be conducted by a minimum of two interviewers.
Performance at interview will play a significant role in the assessment of the selection criteria. The purpose of the interview is to:
- establish your level of interest, motivation and potential to benefit from the course of study;
- clarify any uncertainties about course requirements; and
- ensure that you are fully informed of the standard of achievement and level of commitment required by the course of study.
Publications are not expected.
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 Department for Continuing Education 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 Department for Continuing Education and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff.
- A supervisor is often found outside the Department for Continuing Education.
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.
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
Total annual fees
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 of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.
This course has sessions in Oxford. You will need to meet your travel and accommodation costs in attending these sessions. You are also required to take 40 therapy sessions over the course of your studies. You will be responsible for the cost of personal therapy, and may need to fund supervision if the placement provider does not offer supervision as required by the course. Therapy and supervision costs range from c. £40 - £80 per hour, and possibly more in London, but some therapists offer reductions for students. For accreditation purposes student membership of UPCA is required throughout the programme, currently £21 per year.
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.
How to apply
It is not necessary to contact an academic member of staff before you apply.
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.
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 reasons for applying
- evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study
- the ability to present a reasoned case in English
- commitment to the subject
- 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.
References/letters of recommendation:
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.
Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, ability to work in a group. References may be either academic or professional.