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MSc Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Top-up)

  • Study Mode: Part Time
  • Location: High Wycombe
  • Duration: One Year
  • Start Date: September 2022

You can also study this course:

This course enables you to develop your skills and qualify to practice Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
If you have already completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, this programme will allow you to top-up your existing qualification to a full master's degree.
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Application guide

For information on how you can boost your career-prospects and apply for our postgraduate courses, follow our application guide.

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Postgraduate Open Days

Join us for a Postgraduate Open Day where you can discuss your options and chosen course with our course leaders.

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Fees and Funding

There’s a range of ways you can secure funding for your course, including sponsorship, scholarships and loans. And if you recently graduated from BNU, you may be eligible for a fee discount.

Why study this subject?

There is strong competition for employment in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and having the higher qualification of MSc will help enhance your career prospects. It could also open up promotional opportunities within the field of psychological therapies.

Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?

At Buckinghamshire New University 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 such as personality disorders.

This course is ideal to those who may already possess a PGDip in CBT, but who wish to complete a master’s thesis in the area of CBT and top up their PGDip to a full MSc.

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.

Whilst studying with us you will also use our 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?

To achieve the MSc, you will need to complete the Dissertation module, allowing you to investigate a topic important to you. You will cover the whole research process, from ethics approval to writing your final report, with the guidance of an allocated supervisor who will support you throughout the whole process.

How will I be taught and assessed?

Led by an experienced and dedicated course team, this programme builds on our strong reputation in this field.

Useful Documents

PGDip Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Programme Specification

What are the course entry requirements?

Applicants to the MSc Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Top-up would need to be BABCP (British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies) Accredited, working towards BABCP accreditation or eligible for it, and hold a Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or equivalent.

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.

MSc CBT ‘top up’

Same admissions criteria for any Masters at BNU, however the topic needs to be related to the field of CBT practice. This is ideally suited to qualified CBT therapists who wish to expand their skills in research and evaluation and / or wish to develop a clinical project.

The choice of projects are:

  1. Empirical Project – We would only recommend this, if you have access to a research population, have a research proposal and have already have completed modules in Research Design and Methods. The team would need to review the research proposal (1000-1500 words) prior to entry.
  2. Extended Case Study of a case, subject to patient consent.
  3. Systematic Review / Methodological Analysis of an area of interest within the field of CBT practice, service delivery or lived experience research.
  4. Practice based project – The development of a package of product relevant to the field of CBT, based on existing evidence (academic literature) or secondary data analysis (e.g. analysis of national IAPT datasets).


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.

Year 1 Modules


What are the tuition fees


Home, Academic Year 2022 - 2023

£3,500 per year

The University is unable to accept any new applications from students who require sponsorship for a student visa to start in September 2022. This is due to the overwhelming popularity of our courses and visa processing timeframes.  Applications are still being taken from students who are already in the UK and hold the right to study.

From September 2022, those students living in the UK or Republic of Ireland, and EU nationals with settled status in the UK, will be considered Home students.

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?

Contact our Enquiries Team:

0330 123 2023

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 will immediately have the ability to apply your knowledge to improve the wellbeing of others.

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Dr Mallika Sharma
  • Programme Director
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