MSc Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy

The University of South Wales has many years’ experience in teaching Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and the three-year MSc Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) course highlights the therapeutic relationship and the development of core psychotherapy skills whilst equipping students to work effectively and ethically as CBT practitioners.

The course is for mental health professionals looking for additional specialist training, or if you want to train as a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist. 

The MSc Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy is made up of two years training which covers both the practical and theoretical aspects of learning to be a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist, plus a 3rd year completing the research requirements. 

2020/21 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 3 Years January Newport City C
Part-time 3 Years September Newport City C

Year One: Fundamentals of Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy

This module provides a critical understanding of the theoretical underpinning of Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (CBP) and a working knowledge of the principles and basic competences for effective practice, building on the basic and generic competencies used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and within professional practice.

Problem specific Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (1)

This module builds on the knowledge and skills gained in the first module Fundamentals of CBP and provides an introduction to the assessment, conceptualisation and treatment of the most common presentations of depression and anxiety.

In addition, we will introduce an understanding of research methodologies and principles, and the development of problem-specific knowledge and competencies used in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and within professional practice.

Year Two: Problem specific Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (2)

This module builds on Module 1 and 2 and continues to develop the knowledge and skills to work with both depression and anxiety disorders.

It also addresses the difficulties that can arise with engaging clients in treatment and that impede progress. We will also develop students’ knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to research and in relation to professional practice and build on metacompetences.

Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy with Complex Problems

This module extends the knowledge and skills base developed in modules 1, 2 and 3 to critically examine CBP approaches to working with more complex presentations of mental health problems and to treat such difficulties by adapting and enhancing problem-specific strategies to achieve best outcomes.

Year Three

In the final year, you’ll have the opportunity to choose between conducting an academic research dissertation and delivering a professional practice project in the community. Whichever you choose, it will need to be on a topic relevant to Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy.

You will learn about a range of appropriate research, evaluation and project management methodologies and methods to support you in the development, implementation and completion of your final submission.

You will be allocated a personal academic supervisor or project mentor to provide expert guidance, advice and support through the process.


In Years One and Two classes include interactive lectures with group discussion, skills workshops, video recording, role play, case discussion seminars, self-reflection and self-practice, specialist workshops with outside expert speakers, seminars and research skills exercises.

Students must also allow time for work in their practice placement, which is likely to be to the equivalent of one day per week, together with time for self-directed study.

There are a few additional teaching days each year when you will be expected to attend on both Wednesday and Thursday; these dates will be confirmed before teaching starts in September.

We expect that all our students will attend all teaching sessions; there is a minimum requirement of 80% attendance in order to complete the course successfully. 

In Year Three the teaching consists of seven days of tutor facilitated teaching and learning and nine hours of direct dissertation supervision or project mentoring. 

All tutor facilitated days will take place on a Friday from 9.30am until 4.30pm. 

Supervision or mentoring meetings would be negotiated directly and arranged flexibly with the designated member of staff. 


A range of assessments are used during the first two years of this course to test your knowledge, skills, self-reflection and practice ability. 

These include essays, case studies, practice portfolios and presentations. Practical assessments include in-class skills assessments, assessed recordings of your client work (CTS-Rs) and reports from your clinical practice and supervisor.  

During the years One and Two you will need to complete 200 hours of supervised practice. 

During Years One and Two you will need to:

Take an active part in teaching and skills practice

Complete four recorded skills practice – one with a peer & three from clinical practice (CTS-R).

Complete reflective process reports on skills recordings supported by a portfolio of evidence

Complete Written Assignments – three case studies linked to clinical practice.

Complete a presentation upon a case that you have worked with

There will also be a number of formative assessment opportunities set throughout the year that support your progression through the modules.

During Year Three, depending on whether you have chosen to follow an academic research dissertation or an applied professional project route, you will either submit a 17,000-word Dissertation or a 17,000-word Project Portfolio for summative assessment.

There will be a number of formative assessment opportunities set throughout the year that support your progression towards your final Dissertation or Project submission.


You will need to find your own placement, although the staff team and placement officer can provide some support in sourcing a placement by providing a list of placements that students have previously utilised, or currently utilise, whilst accessing the course.

The placement that you will work within will need to provide one-to-one Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with adults (18+) and support the use of CBT as a therapy modality and be willing for you to record your therapy sessions.

You will need to have regular supervision with a BABCP accredited practitioner. If this is not available at your placement, then the placement should give permission for you to discuss clients with an external BABCP supervisor.

This may incur an extra cost.

You will be given more information on this at interview and at the beginning of the course.

Placements may be available (by application/interview) in USW Therapy Centre, the USW counselling service for the local community which operates from the University counselling clinic facilities.

There is no formal requirement for a placement during Year Three, however, the nature of the applied professional project route will require you to negotiate and secure access to, and support from a relevant sector organization, for delivery and/or evaluation of your proposed project.


A light, modern suite of rooms at Newport City Campus. IT and library facilties including access to SPSS (statistics software).


  • Hold a degree or, where relevant, evidence of working at degree level
  • Have a completed a minimum of 96 direct teaching hours in counselling theory and skills (some of which is CBT)*
  • Have completed 60 hours training in professional practice issues *
  • Evidence relevant experience in the health and social care field in the public, private or voluntary area

* This is equivalent to the Postgraduate Certificate Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Skills course at USW.


  • Relevant professional qualification (e.g. registered mental health nurse; occupational therapist, counselling psychologist; clinical psychologist; qualified social worker; accredited/registered counsellor/psychotherapist; psychiatrist; General Practitioner or other profession recognised as core by the BABCP
  • Have completed an introductory training in counselling theory and skills, including CBT, as part of their previous training

In addition, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • An Enhanced DBS check on the Adult Workforce and Adult Barring List and subscription to the DBS Update Service. (Overseas equivalent required for non-uk applicants)
  • Two references uploaded with your application. One from your current/previous Counselling tutor
  • A confirmed suitable placement for counselling practice. Please note that this is essential and you will be asked to provide details of your placement before the course begins. The criteria for a suitable placement will be discussed at interview and we will be able to provide you with a list of placements previously used by students studying on the PGDip CBP


We have four interview sessions each year, see dates below, at the interview we will tell you more about the course and give you the opportunity to ask questions.

We will explore your motivation, suitability and readiness for the Programme through observation of skills, a group exercise, a written assessment and an individual interview. Applicants are asked to allow half a day for this process. If you are selected to attend an interview we will contact you by e-mail to make a booking. We strongly advise that you book yourself onto the earliest interview date to avoid disappointment as the numbers are limited for each date and are filled on a first come first served basis


Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2020 - July 2021 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU:  £1000 per 20 credits

August 2021 - July 2022 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
DBS * £53.20
This fee includes £40 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
DBS Updating Service * £13
Subscription required for each year of the course for a yearly fee of £13. Please note the service has to be joined within 30 days of receipt of your enhanced DBS certificate.
Professional Body Membership * £81.5 - £105
Each year
Professional indemnity insurance * £40
Students are encouraged to hold their own insurance but they may be covered within their placement. Total is each year.
Kit (Uniform and/or Equipment) * £45 - £55
Recording device and Encrypted USB Stick
Other: Supervision *
Dependent on whether appropriate supervision requirements are available within the placement student and if not the external supervisors cost.


You can apply for a postgraduate loan as a contribution towards your course and living costs.

Once you’ve completed the Masters, you will have demonstrated that you have an in-depth knowledge of CBT, including specialist knowledge gained by your own research findings. This is likely to further develop your reputation and employability as a therapist in the statutory, commercial and third sector. There may also be opportunities for you to progress on to a PhD.