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MSc Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

  • Study Mode: Part Time
  • Location: High Wycombe
  • Duration: Two Years
  • Start Date: September 2024

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This course is a level 2 BABCP Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Diploma. Our diverse team of highly experienced CBT therapists will deliver an inclusive curriculum of CBT training covering the core competencies of CBT to enable you to become a qualified CBT therapist. Clinical supervision is provided by the university for training cases. Full KSA portfolio support & training is also provided. 
This course will develop your knowledge & skills of CBT theory, develop self-reflective, ethically structured & inclusive evidenced-based clinical practice. Teaching will cover progressively complex mood & anxiety disorders over a two-year period, to develop professional understanding of this unique method of delivering therapy. 

Why study this subject?

Actively promoted by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), CBT is an evidence-based therapy recommended to treat a range of mental health problems. The techniques can be applied in general medical, nursing and psychological practice.

So, whether your goal is to become a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist or you want to apply the techniques in a broader context, this course gives you the skills and practical training you need to be confident in theory and practice.

Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?

At BNU we are proud to be one of the most diverse student bodies in the country, offering opportunity to all, with a large proportion of our students coming from a BAME background and/or international study. We are also one of the only master’s courses in the UK which will help you with your portfolio for the BABCP. 

We believe in offering an opportunity to everyone who is interested in CBT regardless of their background, and we value our partnerships within the local community, including the West London NHS Trust, one of the largest mental health providers in the UK. 

The Trust is responsible for well-known institutions such as Broadmoor and other clinics treating more specific illnesses, like personality disorders. BNU also offers flexible study spread over two years, allowing you to study alongside employment and fit things around your lifestyle. 

Whether you're training to build skills to apply in your current role or looking to change your career path, this course ensures you can immediately apply Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques in a professional setting.

Our MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is ideally suited for those who are seeking accreditation and the completion of a master’s level project on a CBT topic. You will have met the national training standards through completion of the PGDip element and would also complete a master’s level thesis as well, in your second year.

What facilities can I use?

Our library is packed with all the information you need for your assessments and there’s plenty of room to knuckle down for some quiet study. Our campus is ideally located in High Wycombe, Uxbridge and Aylesbury which is a short commute from London. You can be here and home in no time at all. 

We also have cafes and a laptop loan service in case you need a quiet place to study away from home. You can gain access to the BucksAnywhere web service, which provides access to many of the software applications you use for learning and studying. BucksAnywhere can be used from your own device or from a University owned PC or laptop, from any location.

What will I study?

Our course teaches you how CBT can be used effectively to tackle a range of mental health difficulties, from depression and social anxiety to panic attacks, OCD & Trauma. You will analyse how a diverse range of individuals think and encourage the implementation of positive behavioural change. 

You begin by learning the fundamentals of CBT, it’s history and origins, formulation, and behavioural experiments. You’ll learn what makes a good CBT therapist, develop your self-reflective skills, learn how to manage risk, conduct therapy sessions, develop your academic writing and write clinical reports. 

As you progress through the course, you learn how to identify unhelpful thinking and behaviours, align clinical problems to evidence-based treatment protocols, treat mood and anxiety disorders with evidence-based practice and learn how to shift clients toward recovery and relapse prevention.

In your second year you move towards the treatment of more complex cases as your learning continues and you become a more confident practitioner of CBT. Throughout the course your clinical work will be supervised by BABCP accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapists.

We focus on applied practice and being able to transfer theoretical knowledge to the field, developing the interpersonal qualities required for therapeutic environments. You will be encouraged to develop independent learning skills and increase your abilities to stay abreast of the latest developments in CBT and therapeutic approaches. 

How will I be taught and assessed?

During your time on the course, you will complete 200 hours of clinical practice for which you will also need to receive supervision from an external supervisor on your placement, as well as the course team, to ensure safe and ethical practice.

As well as being supported by expert clinical tutors, you'll benefit from specialised workshops delivered by guest speakers to help develop your understanding and contribute to your learning. 

The university also brings in experts by experience. Who are past CBT patients whose own mental health experience is their expertise and can be a great source of inspiration showing you how your training can benefit the mental health of others through the eyes of those who have been there.

The course employs a variety of teaching and assessment methods to cater for the diverse needs of students, and you will be taught using lectures and workshops, with supervised practice and practical use of our psychology laboratory facilities.

On the course you can contribute through group presentations/meetings and have individual tutorials where you'll learn to use different methods of working collaboratively. You'll also have access to our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) throughout the course where you'll be able to access online resources and participate in group forum discussions with your peers. 

We encourage all you to spend time on personal therapy and self-reflection which is often a requirement of some placement providers to ensure any personal issues do not interfere with client work. As a practitioner, this is a helpful practice to develop and maintain throughout your professional career. 

MSc Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Programme Specification

What are the course entry requirements?

Typically students on this course have a relevant degree in psychology or equivalent from another field.

You must also have at least two year's post graduation experience working with vulnerable adults and/or those with mental health problems.

Some supervision is provided on the course. However, applicants will need to have access to a British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) accredited therapist for additional support and a clinical placement to enable them to put training into practice.

If you are shortlisted for a place you will be invited to an interview.

Applicants wishing to apply for full time or part time:

  1. Have a good undergraduate degree – 1st, 2:1; 2:2 (we advise this be in a Psychology / Mental health related area  - Psychology, psychological therapy (such as counselling or CBT), Mental Health Nurse at degree level etc).
  1. (a) Have completed training in an eligible core mental health profession, as featured on the BABCP eligible professions list.


  1. (b) Meet BABCP KSA portfolio requirements (If the applicant does not belong to a core profession, recognised by the BABCP).
  1. The student will need to have completed 1 year accountable practice in a mental health setting, following the attainment of skills and competencies required for the KSA portfolio or following core professional training. The one-year accountable practice would have been completed prior to commencing the course (this can be the year leading up to the course).
  1. Clinical supervision will need to be in place prior to acceptance on the course – Clinical supervisors will need to provide assurance letters that they are contracted or have agreed to provide clinical supervision and they are BABCP accredited therapists or posses additional accreditation in CBT clinical supervision (e.g.  BABCP accredited supervisor).
  1. Clinical placement agreements need to be in place prior to commencing the course. Assurance letters from placements will need to be in place, prior to starting the course. Clinical skills training commences immediately and cases need to be focussed on common mental health problems – anxiety, trauma and depression. Psychological trauma training is in year 2 for part time students or half way through the course for full time students – we do not recommend working with trauma at the start of the course.

Applicants wishing to apply for the full time route only:

  • For full time applicants, the student will need to have a firm clinical placement in place already with access to at least 5+ cases. This can be a placement in which the applicant is familiar with and they may already work or volunteer. This needs to be in place prior to commencement on the course. Work based assurance letters will be required as evidence this is the case, detailing the number of cases the student will have access to and the problems will be single episode common mental health problems. Cases that present with complex symptoms are not advised.
  • The full time route would ideally suit organisations wishing to second their staff for training or self funding students who already work in a psychological therapy setting, with access to people seeking help for common mental health problems (e.g. an IAPT service or self employment as a therapist trained in a different therapeutic modality).
  • All other students would need to apply for the part time route.


This provides a guide of the modules that make up your course. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.

What are the tuition fees

Home and EU, Academic Year 2024 - 2025:

  • Year one: £3,580
  • Year two: £7,190

Additional course costs and financial support

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.
You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Questions about fees?

If you have any questions about the fees above, contact our Enquiries team by calling 0330 123 2023 or emailing

What are my career prospects?

As a qualified Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, you will be ready for a rewarding career within the NHS, private or commercial sectors. You can immediately apply your knowledge to improve the wellbeing of others too.

There's a clear progression route in place in the NHS and to advance through the pay bands you'll need to show that you have the required skills, experience and knowledge.

Some of the careers you could consider include:

  • clinical leadership
  • therapist
  • psychotherapy
  • counselling
  • project leadership
  • quality improvement
  • supervision
  • service management
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Dr Mallika Sharma
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Mrs Hewa Khalilifar
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Florence Mujuru
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