This course is closed to international applicants for 2024 entry.

Course overview

One in four adults in the UK will experience mental illness in their lifetime.*

On this course, you’ll learn how to support individuals and make a real difference to their mental health and wellbeing. You'll develop your knowledge and practice of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and develop the skills you’ll need to work as a CBT (high-intensity) practitioner.

Our Cognitive Behavioural Therapy MSc aims to provide you with a clear understanding of cognitive-behavioural concepts, models, and methods by focusing on the evidence-based treatment of depression and anxiety disorders. Upon graduation, you'll be prepared to work as a therapist with the ability and confidence to use what you have learned in a safe and effective way.

Our course gives you the opportunity to put the therapeutic skills you've learned into practice during your weekly clinical supervision sessions. You'll receive dedicated support and expert teaching from a team of accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapists with a wide range of experience across primary and secondary care.

*Source: NHS England,

Why choose this course?

Fully accredited

Expert teaching

from a team of accredited and experienced Cognitive Behavioural Therapists


96% of our submitted research was judged to be World-Leading or Internationally Excellent, and our research environment was rated 100% World-Leading. 

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Course content

The first five modules are delivered on a full-time basis (for both MSc and PGDip pathways).

For the MSc, you will undertake the dissertation module in year 2. This is to be completed on a part-time basis within four years.

You must complete the PGDip at the University of Nottingham first. You will then have the option to complete the dissertation module to gain the MSc qualification.

The PGDip takes place over ten months and the MSc takes four years on a part-time basis. 



Assessment and Formulation Skills in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy 20 credits

This module focuses on conducting a clinical assessment within the cognitive behavioural theoretical framework, assessment of presenting problem(s), development and maintenance of problem(s) and predisposing social and environmental factors, psychometric and idiographic measurement in the assessment process, developing problem and goal statements and developing formulation within a cognitive behavioural theoretical framework.

Fundamentals of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy 20 credits

This module focuses on core skills in CBT clinical practice, including:

  • how to structure a session and the use of homework
  • formulation within CBT theoretical framework
  • identifying and modifying negative automatic thoughts
  • identifying and modifying rules for living and core beliefs
  • the role and purpose of behavioural experiments in CBT
  • relapse prevention
Behavioural Theory and Clinical Interventions 20 credits

This module focuses on behavioural theory in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The content includes:

  • behavioural interventions in the treatment of anxiety disorders
  • graded exposure in vivo
  • exposure and response prevention
  • habit reversal
  • applied relaxation
  • developing and sharing a behavioural treatment rationale with the client
  • facilitated problem-based learning: student case discussion of treatment using behavioural theory and clinical interventions
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety Disorders and Depression 1 40 credits

The module focuses on:

  • the implementation of protocol driven interventions for anxiety disorders and depression
  • working with older adults within a CBT model
  • working with diversity and difference within a CBT model

Specific content includes formulation and implementation of the disorder specific CBT protocols for panic disorder with and without agoraphobia, generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, health anxiety, social anxiety and depression.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety Disorders and Depression 2: Complexity 20 credits

This module focuses on working with complexity in CBT. The content includes:

  • PTSD and trauma
  • hopelessness and suicide
  • loss and bereavement
  • chronic and recurrent depression
  • medically unexplained symptoms
  • personality disorders
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Dissertation Project (for MSc award) 60 credits

The dissertation project will advance your understanding in the practice of cognitive behaviour therapy practice and your understanding of, and ability to interpret, the evidence base underpinning CBT. 

The project that you undertake can be either a systematic review of cognitive behaviour therapy literature, or an innovation report focusing on a change in practice.

The completion of this substantial project will enable you to demonstrate your mastery of academic skills. It generates knowledge which can be used to inform the practice of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Thursday 27 July 2023.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • eLearning
  • Workshops
  • Patient scenarios
  • Role play

How you will be assessed

  • Essay
  • Case studies
  • Critical analysis and reflection
  • Recorded counselling sessions
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Critical review

Your work will be assessed during or at the end of each module through a variety of means.

To complete a module and gain its credits you will need to make sure you attend your timetabled sessions and get over the 50% pass mark.

  • To achieve the PGDip you will need a total of 120 credits
  • To achieve the MSc you will need a total of 180 credits

Clinical practice

You must complete eight cases by the end of the course. Cases need to be accessed through your employing department.

You 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.

Contact time and study hours

You will be required to attend clinical supervision and teaching sessions two days a week (Wednesdays and Thursdays), so will need to organise this with current employers.

You must also arrange 200 hours of clinical work in an appropriate clinical placement.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.

Undergraduate degreeApplicants must have at least a second class (2:2) UK honours degree in a related subject and be working in mental health and social care or associated independent sector agencies.
Professional qualification

You need a core profession relating to mental health or can go through the Knowledge, Skills & Attitudes (KSA) Route to Accreditation 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.

Additional information

Students will normally require a first degree in a related subject or demonstrate equivalence and an ability to study at postgraduate level.

Please note that this course is not open to international applicants.


Please be aware that you cannot apply for the MSc until you have successfully completed the PGDip.

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply


Qualification PGDip MSc top up (dissertation only)
Home / UK £11,760 £2,940
International N/A N/A

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, such as printing and travel to your clinical supervision sessions, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles.


This course (the PGDip) is usually employer-funded, which means you can choose to top it up to a full MSc if you complete the dissertation (this is usually self-funded by students). The cost for this is £2,800. 

We also recommend visiting the NHS Careers website as this is where most placement opportunities are advertised.

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

The course enables you to develop your knowledge and practice of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) skills, allowing you to work as a CBT (high intensity) practitioner.

Completion of this programme goes entirely towards meeting the requirements of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) for the training element of practitioner accreditation. If you're seeking accreditation, it is important to ensure that you will fully meet all requirements (available on the BABCP website).

Career progression

98.6% of postgraduates from the School of Health Sciences secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £25,986.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)

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

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates

This content was last updated on Thursday 27 July 2023. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.