Course specification and structure
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PMCOBETH - MSc Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Master of Science Level Masters
Possible interim awards Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate, Advanced Diploma in Professional Development
Total credits for course 180
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Subject Area Psychology
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 1 YEARS 2 YEARS
Part-time 2 YEARS 4 YEARS
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The course represents a need for further Cognitive Behavioural Therapy training within London. London met provides inclusive education and training across different academic fields with a specific emphasis on supporting students in our local community. As part of this London Metropolitan embraces the diverse community within which it sits offering training to students who might not otherwise be able to access comparable courses. Our staff within Psychology have considerable experience through MSc and Professional Doctorate in supporting professional qualification and continuing professional development. This is based on academic and practitioner experience informed by Professional Body registration and standards. The course has a specialist focus around difference and diversity which means students need to focus on the wider application of knowledge and experience they will gain. The course emphasises the development of clinical and research skills that enable graduates to make a valuable professional contribution to knowledge and practice in a variety of contemporary settings.

The learning outcomes of the course cover a wide range of personal, intellectual, professional, clinical and academic competencies, which reflect the standards of proficiency required of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy laid out by the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (BABCP). This is reflected in the course’s teaching and learning strategy, which utilises a range of methods to support student development and provide ongoing feedback. Lectures are used to present core areas of knowledge and theory for different populations. Discussion and debate encourage students to engage with complex ideas and develop their critical abilities. In-class exercises, demonstrations, and workshops including roles play, observation, problem-solving and assessment provide opportunities for students to observe and practice relevant clinical and research skills and techniques, and to think about professional and ethical issues. Supervised cognitive behavioural therapy practice provides a key context in which students can then learn to apply theory and skills in their practice and develop proficiency in a range of professional competencies under the tuition of an experienced practitioner, in a variety of settings.

Reflective practice groups enable students to discuss personal experiences of translating theory into practice and to develop a deeper awareness of cognitive behavioural therapeutic processes. Research supervision supports the development of students’ competencies in cognitive behavioural therapy research and the successful execution of their MSc project or systematic review and presentation of research paper. Bi-annual individual reviews and appraisals provide opportunities for staff and students to monitor, evaluate and feedback on student development and needs.

Weblearn is used to provide a readily accessible range of additional resources and information for students, which support autonomous self-directed learning. This includes lecture materials, audio and video resources alongside a range of academic and practitioner resources. The University’s library service also provides a range of texts, journals and resources to support advanced scholarly activity. This includes an expanding number of e-books and e-journals, as well as inter-library loans, which enable students to order texts and articles for collection from the University library from other libraries across the UK. Students also have access to a dedicated Psychology Subject Librarian, who can provide one-to-one support and tutorials, for example on relevant research databases and academic software. The University’s campus and libraries also provide extensive access to computing, photocopying and IT facilities, including on-site Wi-Fi.

The programme focuses on developing core skills within the field of cognitive behavioural therapy as well as transferable skills that be used in diverse settings and employment sectors. Assessments have been developed to support this skills acquisition and challenge students to take a reflective stance in overcoming clinical issues. The programme has been designed taking onboard input from placement providers and employers in related courses. It seeks to maintain currency with the competencies that employers look for in cognitive behavioural therapists, and to maximise the marketability of its trainees. Other programmes within the Department of Psychology have excellent track records in graduate employment, including within NHS and IAPT services.

Course aims

The principle aims of the course are to produce graduates who are:

1. Able to understand, develop and apply at an advanced level of cognitive behavioural therapy inquiry and research that enables the creation of new knowledge and which recognise the complex nature of human physical and emotional well-being

2. Able to adopt a questioning and evaluative approach to the philosophy, practice, research and theory that constitutes cognitive behavioural therapy; and aware of the wider social, cultural and political domains within which cognitive behaviour therapy operates.

3. Possess a set of skills and competencies that are transferable to a variety of professional contexts and which enhance employability

4. Able to demonstrate the range of cognitive behaviour therapy competencies necessary to be eligible to apply for accreditation by the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (note dependent on appropriate clinical experience).

Course learning outcomes

1. Demonstrate good understanding of the various philosophical, psychological, and research knowledge bases that underpin the discipline of cognitive and behavioural therapy in practice.

2. Critically evaluate a range of philosophical, theoretical, practice and research perspectives across different populations.

3. Reflect on the subjective processes inherent in therapeutic and professional relationships, including CBT practice, the production of psychological research and knowledge, and their own learning and development.

4. Demonstrate a range of practical and professional skills that support the provision of cognitive behavioural therapy as practiced within psychological and physical health contexts.

5. Practice safely and competently within a cognitive behavioural model of therapy to enhance practice, reflection and evaluation.

6. Critically evaluate a range of types of research relevant to cognitive behaviour therapy in a way that informs and develops professional practice.

7. Communicate and present information, ideas and conclusions, in written and oral forms.

8. Demonstrate standards of professionalism, integrity and self-management; and a commitment to ongoing personal development in the service of best practice.

9. Appraise the status of knowledge in a topic area of relevance to cognitive behaviour therapy; and develop, present and defend original research/systematic review that would extend the forefront of the discipline and makes a contribution to knowledge.

10. ULO: Demonstrate confidence, resilience, ambition and creativity and will act as inclusive, collaborative and socially responsible practitioners/professionals in their discipline.

Assessment strategy

The course assessment strategy focuses on developing student’s knowledge and applied skills within the field of cognitive behavioural therapy. A wide range of assessments are included within the programme to ensure students have the knowledge and skills relevant to cognitive behavioural therapy practice in their workplace and subsequent employment. These have been informed by the subject benchmarks for counselling and psychotherapy (QAA) as well as guidance by the British Association for Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapists (BABCP) to ensure appropriate knowledge and therapeutic skills are attained. Assessments include the following:

• case studies and process reports to assess students’ ability to effectively plan, implement, reflect on, evaluate and make recommendations regarding CBT interventions, within a recognised model of CBT and service context;
• reflective evaluation to assess areas of professional knowledge and understanding;
• research assignments to assess knowledge and understanding of a range psychological research methods;
• oral presentations to assess student’s ability to defend their clinical practice and research skills to different audiences;
• a research study or systematic review to assess students’ ability to appraise the state of knowledge in a professionally relevant topic area and for the generation of new knowledge; and
• attendance monitoring to ensure that students demonstrate adequate engagement with the taught curriculum

Regular course review is carried out during classes, at the end of modules and through course committee meetings to assess student experience and convey the decision-making process regarding curriculum, assessment and work-based learning experiences. Students are able to provide feedback and also see how this is actioned in terms of any module or course changes within the remits of the specifications that exist. Students are provided with relevant skills through course delivery and activities to prepare them for assessments. Practice sessions enable students to practice key skills and assessments where appropriate with peer and team feedback. Marking criteria are used to increase students understanding of the requirements regarding content and specific requirements, alongside details on different standards of grade.

Assessments are spread across semesters to allow students to focus on each component in achieving learning outcomes for the module. The timetable for assessments has also been developed to ensure both full-time and part-time students are able to develop and enhance their knowledge and skills applicable across modules in order to build up knowledge and skills. Assessments address writing, oral presentation, group work as well as practice demonstration of key skills.

Formative assessment is carried out throughout the delivery of the course and its modules through groups activities, self-reflection, supervision and assessment review. Mid-year reviews and end-of-year appraisals are used to monitor students’ performance across the programme and their accrual of the necessary experience.

Feedback for assessments is delivered In line with submission dates to ensure students are able to take onboard feedback to enhance submission of other coursework where appropriate. This uses constructive feedback to identify skills and knowledge that is acquired alongside means to develop this further for practice. Informal feedback will be provided throughout semesters on draft versions and plans for assessments to develop key skills. Students will be required to reflect on feedback provided and to develop action plans on how to meet criteria.

Clear marking criteria are provided for all assessments to ensure transparency and consistency in marking standards. Students will be provided with online resources via audio recordings to develop their knowledge of requirements. Course committee meetings will be used to review marking criteria and to agree standards in line with the course and module specifications, and learning outcomes. These meetings will also be used to discuss marking criteria and guidance with student reps on the course. Any changes to assessments will be articulated through the annual review process and discussions with external examiner.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Cognitive behavioural therapy work-based learning is central to the training programme, providing the key context in which students learning to translate theory into practice and develop proficiency in the range of competencies needed for independent practice. Specifically, over the MSc programme, students must:

• Complete ongoing supervised cognitive behavioural therapy practice in work-based learning, to be approved and supported by the Course Leader
• Undertake work-based learning that will normally last for at least 6 months
• Receive ongoing face-to-face supervision by a Cognitive and/or Behavioural Therapist who meets the BABCP criteria for Practitioner or Supervisor Accreditation
• Further details about work-based learning and requirements are provided below in section 25.

Course specific regulations

Part-time students would complete CBT: Theory and Practice, and CBT: Therapeutic and Reflective Skills and PY7204 CBT: Working with Difference and Diversity in the first year

i) Work-based learning requirements
Work-based learning requirements relate directly to BABCP Minimum Training Standards. Students who are unable to get meet these requirements will not meet these standards and therefore may not be able to seek accreditation by the BABCP. Graduates of the MSc will be required to fulfil additional requirements in order to apply for individual accreditation by the BABCP.
Students on the MSc programme are required to complete ongoing supervised clinical practice including supervised assessment and therapy. Work based learning should only be undertaken whilst a student is enrolled on the course.

Accordingly, MSc students will require ongoing supervision by a Cognitive and/or Behavioural Therapist who meets the BABCP criteria for Practitioner or Supervisor Accreditation. Client and supervision hours during that year can be obtained at work or across multiple work-based learning placements. If adequate supervision is not provided by the work-based learning placement, the student will need to obtain additional external supervision.

Additional requirements regarding the accumulation of client and supervision hours for all students:

• In order to count client-contact hours towards course requirements, students must be in the role of therapist/facilitator, not observer
• Where only group supervision is provided within a placement, students may need to obtain additional individual supervision to ensure the required supervision
• No time can be counted towards course requirements where clients do not attend (DNA) sessions.
• Client and supervision hours must be face to face only.

Work-based learning approval requirements
Approval of work-based is formalised via completion of a Work-based learning agreement form. This should be done prior to commencing the course, and is done in order to ensure that students are able to carry out work-based learning in order to fulfil relevant assessments and requirements of the course. A review of work-based learning will be carried out as part of the admission procedure through interviews with potential applicants.

Insurance and DBS requirements
All students must ensure they have appropriate professional indemnity insurance cover in place before they undertake a practice placement, and have an up to date DBS check. Where a student is completing work-based learning within an organisation in which they are formally employed, individual professional indemnity insurance may still be required, as some of their practice may take place outside of normal working hours. No client or supervision hours can be completed before the student has submitted evidence of appropriate insurance cover (e.g. a policy statement) to the Course Leader. This is a requirement for work-based learning approval.

If a student fails any piece of assessment from the programme due to, or there are significant concerns related to, professional or ethical conduct resubmission may not be permitted and the student may be withdrawn from the programme. This will be dealt with by the University’s disciplinary procedures.

If a student fails the systematic literature review or the research project component of the Research Project (PY7PA6), they will be entitled to one further attempt at passing the failed component(s). If after two attempts (i.e. first sit and re-sit) they do not achieve a pass in either or both components, they will be entitled to re-take the module in the following academic year.

Modules required for interim awards

All of the course modules at Level 7 are core-compulsory and required for the award of the MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Students who do not complete the MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy may be eligible for the following interim awards

Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Students who pass six core modules at Level 7 and accrue 120 credits, but who do not successfully complete PYP7PA6 Research Project assessment can be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Postgraduate Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Students who pass three core modules at Level 7 and accrue 60 credits, Core module must include CBT: Therapeutic and Reflective Skills and CBT: Theory and Knowledge, and one of the following: CBT for Common Emotional Disorders, CBT for Complex Disorders or CBT: Working with Difference and Diversity.

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

The concepts of reflective learning, practice and personal development are important components of the professional identity of cognitive behavioural therapy, and as such form key features of the course. Developing skills in reflecting on practice are integrated into the curriculum, learning and assessment. For example in ‘reflective practice groups’ (CBT Therapeutic and Reflective Skills), as well as reflective presentation (CBT Theory and Practice).

Many of the forms of coursework used on the programme include sections in which students are required to reflect on their learning and identify future development needs. Students are also required to keep a reflective log throughout their time on the course in order to ensure that they develop strong practical skills in reflection as part of their development. This process is also formalised within individual reviews and appraisals between students and staff, through which progress is formally monitored and evaluated.

Other external links providing expertise and experience

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

The MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is offered to graduates who already have a CORE profession or comparable KSA experience (details on KSA are available at Apart from enabling graduates to proceed to professional training in cognitive behavioural therapy, it allows graduates to have a good theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of cognitive behavioural therapy support for mental and physical health. Thus, graduates will be able to maintain and extend current core professions as well as offering a wider range of support in present or future roles.

Moreover, they could proceed in accruing more supervised clinical hours and then apply for membership with the BABCP, which would make them eligible to apply for posts as CBT therapists in a variety of settings. These include NHS settings, such as primary care, IAPT services, community mental health teams, drug and alcohol, rehabilitation, voluntary sector and private practice as well as in BABCP training programmes and supervision. The range of clinical and research skills and abilities gained through the course prepare graduates to undertake work in a variety of fields of activity.

Career opportunities

Our Cognitive Behaviour Therapy MSc will provide you with opportunities to progress within a diverse range of occupations based on your core profession. You’ll be able to work in industries including education and public and private health care.

Our course also provides additional benefits if you wish to pursue further study in counselling, clinical psychology or allied areas.

Entry requirements

You will be required to have;

a lower second class (2.2) honours degree (or above) or overseas equivalent and a registration for a core profession with a minimum of two years’ experience in areas such as:

  • art therapy (Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered)
  • counselling
  • medicine
  • occupational therapy
  • probation services
  • practitioner psychology (HCPC registered)
  • psychotherapy
  • mental or learning disability nursing
  • social work
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) teaching
  • Knowledge, Skills and Attitude (KSA) (BABCP) applicant

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2020/21 Specification version 2 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 17 Aug 2020 Last validation date 27 May 2021  
JACS codes C850 (Cognitive Psychology): 100%
Route code COBETH

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
PY7163 Research Design and Analysis for Psychology Core 20 NORTH AUT WED AM
PY7200 CBT: Theory and Practice Core 20        
PY7201 CBT: Therapeutic and Reflective Skills Core 20        
PY7202 CBT for Common Emotional Disorders Core 20 NORTH AUT WED PM
PY7203 CBT for Complex Disorders Core 20 NORTH SPR WED AM
PY7204 CBT: Working with Difference and Diversity Core 20        
PY7PA6 Research Project Core 60 NORTH AUT+SPR NA