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

About the course

This course aims to equip practitioners with the enhanced CBT skills necessary to implement evidence-based treatment across a wide range of clinical presentations, and to disseminate these treatments as trainers and supervisors to other practitioners. 

As a student undertaking this course, you will need to have already completed either the PGCert in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or the PGCert in Enhanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Your PGCert will be subsumed by the PGDip in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. 

This course is designed to help you achieve certain aims. By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • appreciate how theory, research and clinical practice inform each other in cognitive behavioural therapy, contributing to its continued development
  • establish and practise a repertoire of enhanced cognitive behavioural skills
  • develop the ability to apply these skills with specialist patient groups and problem areas encountered in their own places of work
  • establish and maintain warm, respectful, collaborative relationships, and develop the ability to understand and manage difficulties in the alliance (including the student’s contribution) using a cognitive conceptual framework
  • through consultation, identify and resolve difficulties in practice, whether arising from theoretical, practical, interpersonal, personal or ethical problems.

There are four pathways for this course representing different specialisms: Complex Presentations, Psychological Trauma, Psychosis and Bipolar, and Supervision and Training. You will choose one specialist pathway, which you will follow for the duration of your course.  If you have already completed one of these specialist pathways while undertaking the PGCert in Enhanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy you will need to choose a different specialism for this course. The duration of each specialist pathway will vary, but will not exceed one year.

Students will be expected to have access to treatment settings with regular clinical and CBT supervision where cognitive behavioural therapy skills can be practised and refined on a regular basis. Those applying for the Supervision and Training pathway will be expected to have access to settings with CBT trainees and supervisees.

Course structure

The course structure will vary according to the specialist pathway chosen. Reading and completion of written assignments will be undertaken in addition to the teaching days. Many students find it effective to set aside at least six to seven hours a week for private study. 

Complex Presentations

This specialism seeks to enable students to add to their existing knowledge of cognitive behavioural therapy, models, concepts and methods specific to more complex mental health problems (eg eating disorders, psychosis, complex trauma), and to models employed in the treatment of personality disorder, severe mental illness and cases with a high degree of comorbidity, and to establish and practise a repertoire of cognitive behavioural skills for use with complex presentations.

Students are expected to carry out CBT with at least three suitable patients during the course and receive two hours of small group supervision on a bi-weekly basis.

The course begins with a four-day induction block and then bi-weekly training workshops on Thursdays and Fridays.

Psychological Trauma

This innovative programme is designed to offer in depth training and supervision in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for traumatised populations. It offers comprehensive training in CBT for traumatised populations with a strong grounding in current theories and the up to date evidence base.

Sixteen days of training are spread over an academic year in intensive four day teaching blocks and students are expected to complete trauma-focused CBT with at least two patients over the duration of the course.

Psychosis and Bipolar

This specialism seeks to enable students to develop a sound understanding of cognitive behavioural models of psychosis and the related evidence base; competence in engaging, assessing and developing collaborative formulations with individuals with psychotic and bipolar presentations; and competence to deliver high quality, individualised, evidence-based interventions in accordance with NICE guidance and the competence framework for work with people with psychosis and bipolar disorder (Roth & Pilling 2013).

The course comprises teaching over three terms. Term one starts with a four-day teaching block in October and is followed by one full-day per fortnight (Thursdays) during November and the beginning of December. The second two terms starts with a two-day teaching block in January followed by one full-day per fortnight (Thursday) from February to June.

Supervision and Training

This specialism explicitly aims to prepare students to teach and supervise CBT. The emphasis is on acquiring, practising and communicating specialised dissemination skills, within an explicit theoretical framework and in relation to associated empirical research.

Students are normally expected to carry out CBT supervision in at least three supervision settings over the course and to present at least one training event.

The course comprises 18 days, presented in five teaching blocks. It begins with a four-day induction, followed by further three-day or four-day blocks. Formal teaching comprises full or half-day workshops as a half-day Practice of Supervision (PoS) session is regularly integrated into the course.

Some of the teaching days on this course may be made available to a wider audience as publicly bookable workshops via the Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre. All participants will be expected to have an appropriate level of competence to participate fully.

Course assessment

Summative assessment requirements vary according to the specialism chosen.

Complex Presentations

  • Two clinical recordings;
  • Two case reports of not more than 4000 words.

Psychological Trauma

  • One assignment of not more than 2,000 words demonstrating knowledge of CBT theory;
  • One clinical recording;
  • One clinical assessment report of not more than 2,000 words;
  • One case report of not more than 6,000 words.

Psychosis and Bipolar

  • A research presentation of up to 20 minutes duration based on the theoretical content;
  • One clinical recording;
  • One case report of not more than 6,000 words;
  • One case presentation of up to 15 minutes duration.

Supervision and Training

  • One assignment of not more than 2,000 words demonstrating knowledge of supervision and training theory;
  • One video recording of supervisory practice and supervision critique of not more than 2,000 words;
  • One training report of not more than 4,000 words.

Graduate destinations

Completion of the course provides access to a growing network of course graduates and to an ongoing programme of follow-up workshops on CBT and related topics. Further supervision through OCTC may also be negotiated, for example, for participants wishing to achieve accreditation by the British Association of Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies as a therapist, supervisor and/or trainer.

This award forms the foundation for further professional and clinical development, which can be pursued within the larger framework of the OCTC/University of Oxford CBT programme. The programme offers specialist training leading to a PGDip in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Further training can lead to the MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

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 a relevant subject.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.

Applicants are also normally expected to:

  • be qualified members of one of the main National Health Service professions, eg clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, general practitioners, occupational therapists, or other recognised professions, eg social worker; 
  • have at least two years' post-qualification clinical experience; and
  • have completed an OCTC/University of Oxford PGCert in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or PGCert in Enhanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

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).

Other appropriate indicators will include:

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(s)

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  

Applicants will be shortlisted in accordance with their ability to meet the criteria for admissions. Interviews will usually be held four to six weeks after the application deadline. 

Interviews will normally be held in person, but in exceptional circumstances may be conducted via video-conferencing, and will be conducted by 2 members of the course team. They will usually last about 30 minutes and include questions about the applicant's professional background and either a role-play to assess clinical skills or a brief presentation on a relevant topic.


Publications are not expected.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

For the specialism in complex presentations

Applicants should:

  • demonstrate commitment to developing CBT skills for use in clinical practice
  • have access to treatment settings with regular clinical and CBT supervision where cognitive behavioural therapy skills can be practised and refined on a regular basis.

For the specialism in supervision and training

Applicants should:

  • demonstrate commitment to developing CBT dissemination skills.
  • have access to CBT supervisees and trainees. 

For the specialism in psychological trauma

Applicants should:

  • work in an environment that enables them to offer CBT based interventions to patients with clinical presentations following exposure to developmental and or adult trauma, drawing on behavioural and cognitive concepts and methods
  • have support from their employer for providing the time and suitable clinical opportunities necessary for completing the course.

For the specialism in psychosis and bipolar

Applicants should:

  • be competent in using a cognitive behavioural approach to treat anxiety disorders and depression
  • have support from their employer for providing the time and suitable clinical opportunities necessary for completing the course
  • demonstrate commitment to developing CBT skills for use with clients with psychosis and bipolar.

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 Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre 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 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.
  • A supervisor may be found outside the Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre.

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.

5. Assessors

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

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£4,098

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.

Additional information

This course has residential sessions in Oxford. You will need to meet your travel and accommodation costs in attending these sessions. 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.

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 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

You do not need to make contact with academic members of staff before you apply.

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.


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.

Statement of purpose:
500 words

Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, which of the four specialisms you are applying for, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas that interest you.

This will be assessed for your motivation for applying to this particular programme of study; your relevant academic, research, or practical experience; and the areas of study within the subject that interest you.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, at least one professional and one 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 from your current clinical supervisor is required and at least one of your references should be academic.

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, ability to work in a group and clinical ability.

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.

Application GuideApply

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