Cognitive Behavioural Therapy PGDip


Fact file

Qualification name:Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Duration:18 months part-time
Entry requirements:Applicants must have at least a second class UK honours degree in a related subject and be working in mental health and social care or associated independent sector agencies.
Other requirements:Applicants without a first degree may be considered for the course based on clinical experience and previous study subject to approval.
IELTS:6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)
Start date:September
Campus:Queen's Medical Centre

Course Overview

This programme in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (CBP) will focus on the evidence-based treatment of depression and anxiety disorders.

The central aim of the course is to provide students with a clear understanding of cognitive-behavioural concepts, models, and methods. It is anticipated that those completing the programme will be able to use what they have learned in a safe and effective way in order to enhance the efficacy of their psychotherapeutic interventions.

The course is fully accredited by the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) as an IAPT level 2 course.

Students need a core profession relating to mental health or can go through the KSA route and provide a portfolio as outlined on the BABCP website. KSA requirements must be met if candidates do not have a core profession recognised by the BABCP. 

Students will be required to attend clinical supervision and teaching sessions one day a week (day to be confirmed), so will need to organise this with current employers.

For more information download the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy flyer (PDF).

Please note: This course is only available part-time. 

Key facts

  • Rated 4th in the UK for physiotherapy in the Complete University Guide 2015 and 7th for nursing and midwifery in the Guardian University Guide League Tables 2015
  • We are a leading environment for world class research according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014; 86% of our research activity is rated as world leading and internationally excellent with significant impact on people's health and wellbeing. We have also seen a 35% improvement in the quality of research undertaken in the past five years
  • Ranked 5th best in terms of research power in our unit of assessment, a measure which includes the quality of research and number of research active staff according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014  
  • 98% of students from nursing, midwifery and physiotherapy who participated in the 2013 Postgraduate Research Experience Survey were satisfied with the experience of their research degree programme
  • Our teaching team includes a number of Senior Fellows and Fellows of the Higher Education Academy
  • We have a community of over 3,000 students and around 280 academic and support staff

Course Details

The postgraduate diploma consists of three prescribed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) modules (each of 40 credits) taken at level 4. 

The modules are entitled:

  • The Fundamentals of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety and Related Disorders  
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Depression and Related Disorders  

Teaching will be a mix of lectures, role-plays and discussions. There will be a strong focus on experiential learning and the mastering of practical skills, such as:

  • Assessment
  • Formulation
  • Working with thoughts
  • Rules and beliefs using cognitive and behavioural methods
  • Following disorder specific protocols

The skills element will consist of at least 50% of the course. The course will be taught by experienced clinicians in CBT, all registered as practitioners, supervisors and trainers with the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). 

Students will receive theoretical instruction and clinical skills development at the University for one day per week.

Supervision will be provided as part of the course to ensure consistency between the academic and supervision elements. Teaching will be supplemented by off-campus experiential learning in the student’s place of work.


Written assessments:

1) Essays
Students are required to complete one essay in the first module, of a maximum 3,000 words, on assigned topics related to the module's teaching. This essay must demonstrate a clear understanding of the theoretical basis of Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies (CBP). In the final module an essay of 3,000 words is to be completed relating to the material in modules three and four. 

2) Case reports
Students are required to write up four treated cases, one in the first, two in the second and one in the third term. Case reports are between 2,000 and 4,000 words. Case reports include: references to relevant literature, a description of the patient, a cognitive-behavioural formulation of the case, a treatment plan demonstrating knowledge of appropriate cognitive therapy interventions, an evaluation of outcome, and a concluding discussion. 

Evaluation of clinical performance:

1) Audio/video-taped treatment sessions
Students must submit four audio or videotaped examples of mid-treatment cognitive therapy sessions, the first of these is formatively marked by the supervisor. Tapes are submitted in fulfillment of module assessment processes, three in all, and will be evaluated summatively by means of the Cognitive Therapy Scale, an established measure of therapist performance.

Summary of assessments:

Assessment of module one - essay of 3,000 words maximum, case report one 2,000-4,000

Assessment of module two - case reports two and three, 2,000-4,000 words each 

Assessment of module three - case report, 2,000-4,000 words

A portfolio of clinical work is kept, and marked at the end of each module on pass/fail basis.

Clinical practice:

The student must complete eight cases by the end of the course. Cases need to be accessed through the trainee’s employing department. They should also work towards a total of 200 hours clinical practice over the year, which is the BABCP accreditation requirement. It is very important to think in advance about accessing suitable cases.


Core modules:

  • Fundamentals of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (40 credits)
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Depression (40 credits)
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety and Related Disorders (40 credits)


Home/EU students

Most UK students are funded through their employers and NHS training monies. Some students have also been successful in obtaining scholarships from national funding bodies.

You can find out more detailed information about course fees, scholarships and funding on the School website.

International students

This course is not available to international students.


The programme is open to people working in mental health and social care, and associated independent sector agencies. Students will normally require a first degree in a related subject or demonstrate equivalence and an ability to study at level 4. 

The course will enable students to develop their knowledge and practice of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) skills to allow them to function as CBT (high intensity) practitioners.

Completion of the Diploma or MSc programme will entirely go towards meeting the requirements of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) for the training element of practitioner accreditation. However, it is very important for individual students who are seeking accreditation to ensure that they will fully meet all requirements, which are available at the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies website.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 96% of postgraduates from nursing, midwifery and physiotherapy taught courses and research courses who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £27,498 with the highest being £75,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU postgraduates, 2013/14.

Recent graduates have gone on to work for NHS trusts (eg. clinical specialists, advanced practitioners, modern matrons), universities (eg. lecturers and senior academics, lecturer practitioners, researchers) and in private practice.

Career prospects and employability

The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential. Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.  

Make an enquiry


Dr Helen Moya
Course Director
School of Health Sciences
Institute of Mental Health
University of Nottingham
Innovation Park
t:   +44 (0)115 748 4288
MHS videos

Medicine and Health Sciences videos


The Enquiry Centre

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5559
f: +44 (0) 115 951 5812
w: Frequently asked questions
Make an enquiry