MSc Cognitive Behaviour Psychotherapies

Interested in the practice and theory of behaviour therapy? Our MSc Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies offers training preparing you for Level 2 Provisional Accreditation as a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist (CBP), or for further study. The course is taught by practitioners who are accredited therapists in their own right.

MSc Cognitive Behaviour Psychotherapies

Course details

It’s estimated that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year*. The problem-focused, action-oriented approach used by cognitive behavioural psychotherapists to help people develop personal coping strategies is proving a popular and effective method of treating several mental health conditions. Our MSc Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies (CBP) course prepares you for practice in this in-demand profession. Additionally, our experienced British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapists (BABCP) accredited staff will support you to complete a dissertation based on independent research, preparing you for higher-level study and enhancing your career prospects.

As a graduate of this course, you’ll be eligible to apply for Level 2 Provisional Accreditation as a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist with BABCP. During your studies, we’ll guide you to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes that underpin CBP practice. You’ll explore the underlying principles and have opportunities to develop skills in the assessment of clients and the analysis of their presenting difficulties. You’ll be encouraged to develop a detailed knowledge of CBP techniques, as well as of models of anxiety disorders and depression, and their application to clinical casework.

This course is ideal if you wish to practice using a cognitive behavioural approach in settings that include the helping or health professions, private practice or management roles where working with people is the prime focus. Training in research methods and design will also prepare you to keep abreast of evolving ideas in the field and open doors to doctoral level studies.

* accessed on 14 December 2017

  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: MSc
  • Duration: 3 years

Course highlights:

  • This course offers you the opportunity to gain accreditation as a therapist from the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapists (BABCP). It has Level 2 Accreditation which means that it meets the training requirements for practitioner accreditation. The course is also designed to cover the therapeutic competences for cognitive behavioural psychotherapists outlined by the Department of Health.
  • On successful completion of the course you’ll have an assessed portfolio of evidence designed to meet the BABCP criteria for accreditation.
  • You can benefit from supervised opportunities to apply proven techniques in practice and evaluate their efficacy, including 30 hours of supervision from a course tutor who has personal BABCP Accreditation.
  • Our accessible and knowledgeable course team includes Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapists and active researchers. The senior tutor for this course is also a BABCP Accredited Supervisor.
  • We work hard to create a learning environment that offers innovative methods of teaching and assessment, and access to high-specification facilities such as our observation and psychophysiology laboratories.
  • Together we’ll consider wider issues in CBP such as the evaluation of literature, models and therapeutic practice, psychological research methods, evidence based-practice, professional issues and ethical practice.

Key features:

  • The course is fully modular and therefore flexible. If your work or personal circumstances require you to take a break, we can extend your period of study by agreement.
  • A strong basis of theoretical psychology underpins the course. This helps to ensure your practice-related learning is not separated from its primary academic base, and supports your understanding of where CBP techniques come from, and how they might develop in future.
  • We’ll also explore how to evaluate literature, models and therapeutic practice, and consider how research methods, design and evaluation is used to underpin evidence-based practice. The course also covers issues relating to ethical practice and the professional role of the therapist.
  • You’ll be expected to complete 200 hours of experience of working with clients in a clinical setting through supervised clinical practice placements. You’re usually responsible for arranging your own placements.
  • Our teaching staff are accredited therapists with extensive experience in the field and teaching groups are small, ensuring there is close contact between you, your classmates and your tutors.
  • If you’re following the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) Qualification in Counselling Psychology (QCoP) by the independent route, the course may be appropriate as part of the required training.

Entry requirements

  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: MSc
  • Duration: 3 years

If you’ve already completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies and can provide evidence of your good academic performance (in the form of a transcript), then you can apply to top-up your qualification to MSc Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies by completing two research-focused modules (worth 60-credits).

Alternatively, to be eligible for the full MSc Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies programme you must have already achieved a minimum of an Upper Second Class (2.1) Honours degree in a relevant discipline (with high grades in relevant modules).

You should possess a Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Skills (or equivalent).

You must hold previous experience of counselling/therapy and/or client work (normally 200 hours).

You must submit a draft portfolio of evidence of your knowledge, skills and attitudes relevant to working as a cognitive behavioural psychotherapist (details of this will be sent to you prior to interview or please visit the BABCP website). Find out more

You must be willing to undertake external supervision with an approved supervisor.

You should have access to clients once practice modules commence (usually via arrangement of a voluntary placement).

You'll be required to attend an interview as part of the application process.

You must be able to provide two satisfactory references.

This course involves working unsupervised with children and/or vulnerable adults and all students must gain an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Disclosure certificate for a Child Workforce including Child Barred List checks, before starting their studies. Charges are payable to cover the cost of the DBS Enhanced Disclosure application and annual registration with the online Update Service. Find out more

If English isn’t your first language you’ll also need IELTS 6.5 with normally no less than 6.0 in any band (or equivalent). Find out more

Career opportunities

This course is designed to enhance practice and facilitate employment and career progression in psychology or therapy, research and teaching, the helping and health professions, social work, education, private practice and management roles where working with people is the prime focus.

During your studies, we’ll support you to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes that underpin cognitive behavioural psychotherapies practice. As a graduate, you’ll understand the principles of cognitive behavioural psychotherapies, and possess skills in the assessment of clients and formulation of their presenting difficulties.

Studying this course will also support the development of your personal and transferable skills such as critical analysis, self-reflection, observation and questioning skills, communication skills and the ability to work independently.

What can I do with this qualification?

As a cognitive behavioural psychotherapist, opportunities exist within social services, mental health services, youth justice, the NHS, primary care, education or the voluntary and private sectors. Management roles are possible within the NHS, although this usually means a reduction in clinical work as the emphasis moves to managing individuals and services. Lecturing and clinical teaching in universities or training institutions is another route that can be taken.

Some graduates choose to specialise in a particular area; for example, working with children as a child psychotherapist. Other psychotherapists set up in independent private practice, but this may take some time to develop.

On completion of this course you have the option of continuing your studies by taking up a research degree.

Alternative career options

  • Research and development
  • Community mental health
  • Clinical psychology
  • Art therapy
  • Health care management
  • Counselling
  • Consultancy
  • Human resources
  • Market research analysis

Professional recognition

This course is a Level 2 Accredited training course with British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). This means that on completion of the course, you’ll have met all of the training requirements for practitioner accreditation by the BABCP.

If you’re following the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) Qualification in Counselling Psychology (QCoP) by the independent route, the course may be appropriate as part of the required training.

Fees & funding

No fee information is currently available, please contact Student Data Management on 01204 903059 or for more information

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

The University is currently awaiting Government guidelines as to EU fee charges for students commencing study in 2019/20.

UK undergraduate tuition fees are subject to UK government approval and are subject to the outcome of the Teaching Excellence Framework.

How to apply


You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

You should have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or


International applications are not possible for this course

As an international student you are not allowed to study this course because of the restrictions on your visa.

We offer a wide range of full-time courses in lots of different subjects, many of our courses start in September and January. If you would like to see what courses are available please visit our Course Search.

Teaching & assessment


Modules listed below are a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules as part of the course.

  • Psychological Principles of CBT
  • Professional Practice, Skills and Attitudes
  • Applications of CBT1
  • Applications of CBT 2
  • Applications of CBT 3
  • Supervised Practice 2
  • Supervised Practice 3
  • Practice Portfolio Preparation and Supervised Practice 1
  • Research Methods MSc top-up
  • Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies Dissertation

Teaching, learning and assessment

We use a range of learning and teaching strategies to promote independent and active learning. These include lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials, e-learning, poster presentations and supervision sessions. At Level HE7, you’re expected to take more responsibility for your own learning than you were at undergraduate level. Therefore, you should expect to engage in a substantial amount of independent study, including library research, practical activities and further reading, which will be guided by your module tutor.

You’ll be expected to participate in group discussions for seminars and tutorials, present papers and posters and lead plenary sessions. These methods seek to encourage an enquiring, analytical and imaginative mind, leading to independence of thought, judgement and criticism which truly reflects mastery of the subject.

The different assessments we use are aimed at enabling you to demonstrate your knowledge and skills, and your progress towards achieving the learning goals. You can expect essays, seminar presentations, case studies, skills assessments, and written and verbal reports. You’ll also be expected to complete a dissertation by supervised independent study.

Your development of therapeutic skills will be evaluated and assessed using the Cognitive Therapy Rating Scale together with supervisor reports, course team reports, and peer feedback. Formative ratings will be made of role plays and tapes. Summative ratings will be made of recordings of clinical work within the supervised practice modules.


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up to date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

Assessment methods

Level Assessment method
Level One Coursework (100%)

Learning activities

Level Learning activity
Level One Guided independent study (69%), Placement/study abroad (10%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (21%)

Contact The University

Key facts

  • Course type:
  • Start date:
  • Location:
    The University of Bolton
  • Award:
  • Duration:
    3 years

Contact us

Mel Greenhalgh
Programme Leader
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903508

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903903