About the course
The Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Psychodynamic Counselling is a one-year part-time course offering a broadly based knowledge of psychodynamic theory and practice, as the access point to a four-year, part-time clinical training in psychodynamic counselling/therapy, or as a stand-alone course.
The course forms part of the Oxford University Master’s Programme in Psychodynamic Studies which is accredited by the UPCA (Universities Psychotherapy and Counselling Association). Students who complete the full programme and the necessary clinical hours will be eligible for professional accreditation via UPCA with UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy) as a psychotherapeutic counsellor. In addition, those that wish may apply individually to the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy).
The PGCert may be taken as a stand-alone course, though it is not a clinical practitioner status course, or it may equip you to apply for higher level graduate courses in this area.
The course runs one evening a week over three terms at the Department for Continuing Education and consists of:
- term-time weekly theory-and-practice workshops organised around a key dimension of psychodynamic practice - 'The Psychodynamic Approach', 'Therapeutic Processes and Skills' and 'Therapeutic, Practical and Ethical Implications'
- experiential groups
- two tutorials per term with a course tutor
- four written assignments
- two Saturday workshops.
Extensive regular reading and private study of at least 10 hours per week between the taught periods is recommended.
The course tutors will support and guide you in regard to your academic work, and offer a forum for the discussion of personal and professional development. Pastoral tutorials, to assist you in coping with the psychological demands of the course, are optional and confidential except in extreme circumstances. All tutors are professionally qualified and accredited counsellors or psychotherapists.
Please note for your own interest that no applicant currently in therapy/counselling with a course tutor will be admitted to the course.
The course works using the UPCA and UKCP standards which are based on a number of implicit ethical principles that highlight the important nature of boundaries, professional conduct and, in a psychodynamic course, the power of unconscious processes. Students should at all times act in accordance with the ethical codes issued by the UPCA and UKCP.
The PGCert course runs annually, while the PGDip and master's courses are on a two-year cycle. A post-certificate seminar series is held on alternate years, when there is not an intake for the PGDip directly following the PGCert. The seminar series gives the opportunity for consolidation of certificate learning and facilitates a progression in psychodynamic thinking.
Counselling introductory courses
Counselling Introductory Courses are also run, separately to this PGCert - details are available in the Weekly Classes section of the Department for Continuing Education website, or from the Weekly Class Administrator via telephone at 01865 280893.
Graduates of the PGCert course may apply to progress to the PGDip in Psychodynamic Practice, approximately 50% of students do this. Others may apply to training courses elsewhere, or may use the PGCert course within their current employment.
Other courses in this area
The PGDip in Psychodynamic Practice and MSt in Psychodynamic Practice are offered in alternating years, on a two-year admissions cycle.
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 2019-20
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 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.
Relevant and suitable qualifications and/or professional experience may be accepted as alternative evidence of eligibility for the course.
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 and are conducted by a minimum of two interviewers. The following criteria are taken into account when selecting candidates for interview:
- the quality and relevance of the personal statement
- relevant prior experience and/or studies
- the views of referees.
You will normally be expected to attend interview in Oxford in person. Skype interviews may be held in rare cases, at the discretion of the Programme Director, when travelling to Oxford is difficult or impossible for you within the interview period.
Interviews will normally be held in the period between March and May.
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.
Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience
Working experience in a helping role may be an advantage. Preference may be given to those who have previously studied counselling at introductory level. Previous experience of personal therapy may be an advantage.
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.
Annual fees for entry in 2019-20
Annual Course fees
|Home/EU (including Islands)||£4,540|
The fees shown above are the annual course fees for this course, for entry in the stated academic year.
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. You may have seen separate figures in the past for tuition fees and college fees. We have now combined these into a single figure.
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.
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.
This course has sessions in Oxford. You will need to meet your travel and accommodation costs in attending these sessions. You are not required to take any therapy sessions for this course, however some students choose to do so. If you choose to take therapy, you will be responsible for the cost incurred. Therapy ranges from c. £40 to £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 course, currently £21 per year.
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 2019-20 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,058 and £1,643 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 2019-20, 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.
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
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.
Around 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 reasons for applying; evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study
- your ability to present a reasoned case in English
- commitment to the subject
- capacity for sustained and intense work
- reasoning ability
- your 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 your intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, and your ability to work in a group. Both academic and professional references are acceptable.
Start or continue an application
Step 1: Carefully read the entry requirements on this course page to make sure you meet all the criteria.
Step 2: Check above what documents are required and prepare to apply by reading our Application Guide.
Step 3: Apply as soon as possible. Consult the Application Guide for more information about deadlines.