PGDip in Psychodynamic Practice | University of Oxford
The side of the Radcliffe Camera through a black gate
The Radcliffe Camera, seen from the Bodleian Quad
(Image Credit: Christopher Wills)

PGDip in Psychodynamic Practice

About the course

The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Psychodynamic Practice is a two year part-time graduate course which forms part of the University of Oxford master’s in psychodynamic studies. The PGDip aims to integrate theoretical knowledge with clinical experience, and to that end you will have a clinical placement, clinical supervision, and be in personal therapy. The PGDip aims to bring trainees to the level of professional competence.

The course constitutes the second part of the University of Oxford's master's programme in psychodynamic practice, which is currently accredited by the Universities Psychotherapy and Counselling Association (UPCA). The accreditation may be liable to change but all students should apply for student membership of UPCA on starting the course. In addition, should you progress with your studies, you can apply individually to the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) after completion of the PGDip (Register) and after completion of the masters (Accreditation).

The PGDip enables those who wish to, to apply to the BACP to be on their Register following the completion of a Certificate of Proficiency.

From the PGDip course you may apply to continue on to the final part of the programme, the MSt in Psychodynamic Practice, for further supervised research and clinical tuition. 

The PGDip runs one evening a week over six terms at the Department for Continuing Education and consists of:

  • term-time weekly lecture/application sessions, clinical seminars and experiential groups; covering topics in the areas of the historical and contemporary theoretical perspectives, clinical approaches to psychotherapy, difference in the clinic, working with diversity, research and reflective practice and short-term work
  • two tutorials per term with an academic tutor, and one tutorial per term with a clinical tutor; and
  • four Saturday workshops.

Extensive regular reading and private study of at least 10 hours per week between the taught periods is recommended.

Please note 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. Due to the psychodynamic and experiential nature of the programme, it is considered inappropriate for students to engage in romantic/sexual relationships with tutors or students whilst on course. Should any such relationship arise during the course of your studies, you must declare its existence to the Course Director as soon as possible, who may, for example, ask that you refrain from continuing your relationship or that you suspend your studies.

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.

Supervision

The allocation of graduate supervision for this course 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.

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.

Assessment

The course is assessed by five written assignments and one dissertation, and end of year tutor and supervisor reports. The five assignments will each count for 14% of the final mark, and the dissertation will count for 30% of the final mark:

  • A theoretical essay on a key psychodynamic concept (3,000 words)
  • Two case studies (each 3,000 words)
  • An elaborated extract(s) from the trainee’s placement log (3,000 words)
  • A Reflective Journal assignment (3,000 words)
  • A dissertation (10,000 words)

Over the two-year duration of the course you must also complete the following:

  • a minimum of 100 hours clinical contact with patients/clients
  • supervision sessions at a minimum 1:6 ratio to client hours
  • a minimum of 80 hours’ personal therapy with a psychodynamically trained and course-approved therapist/counsellor.

Graduate destinations

Graduates of the PGDip course may apply to progress to the MSt in Psychodynamic Practice; approximately 50% of students do this.

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 (including Covid-19), 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.

For further information please see our page on changes to courses and the provisions of the student contract regarding 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.

Courses suggested by the department

Psychodynamic Counselling PGDip
Psychodynamic Practice MSt

Entry requirements for entry in 2021-22

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 any subject; and
  • the Postgraduate Certificate in Psychodynamic Counselling, or an equivalent course. It is strongly recommended that the course has been completed no more than three years before applying to the PG Diploma in Psychodynamic Practice, and please be aware that this may become a requirement.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally 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

  • Working experience in a helping role and/or experience of personal therapy may be an advantage.
  • If appropriate for the placement, the placement provider will require students to undertake and pass an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
  • Publications are not expected.

Further guidance

  • If appropriate for the placement, the placement provider will require students to undertake and pass an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
  • Students will agree to abide by the UPCA/UKCP Codes of Ethics and Practice.

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.

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. The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are detailed in the table below.

Minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level requirement
TestMinimum overall scoreMinimum score per component
IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713) 7.57.0
TOEFL iBT (Institution code: 0490)110Listening: 22
Reading: 24
Speaking: 25
Writing: 24
C1 Advanced*191185
C2 Proficiency191185

*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.

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 and are conducted by a minimum of two interviewers. The following criteria are taken into account when selecting candidates for interview:

  • completion of, or attendance and progress on, the PGCert in Psychodynamic Counselling, or equivalent course
  • 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 April 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 you are fully informed of the standard of achievement and level of commitment required by the course of study.

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

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. 

Funding

The University expects to be able to offer up to 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2021-22. 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 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 college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages.

Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2021-22

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home (UK, Republic of Ireland,
Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
£4,618
Overseas (including EU)£9,129

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.

For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our detailed fee status information and the Oxford and the EU webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s exit from the EU.

Additional information

This course has sessions in Oxford. You will need to meet your travel and accommodation costs in attending these sessions. You are required to take 40 therapy sessions for each year of the course. 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 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.

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 2021-22 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,175 and £1,710 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 2021-22, 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.

College preference

Matriculation confers membership of the University on students. Students who enrol on this course will not be matriculated and will not become a member of an Oxford college. Although not formally members of the University, non-matriculated students are expected to observe the same rules and regulations as matriculated students. Further information about matriculation is available on the Oxford Students website.

How to apply

It is not necessary to contact a member of academic 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.

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.

Personal statement:
A maximum of 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. 

If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.

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
  • 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. Both academic and professional references are acceptable.

Please note that you will be responsible for arranging personal therapy and obtaining a suitable clinical placement.

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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