Aims And Structure

Is the Postgraduate Diploma in CBT Suitable for you?

The programme is aimed at health care professionals from a variety of backgrounds including psychiatry, clinical psychology, occupational therapy, social work, nursing, primary care and the third sector. The programme is specifically designed to teach CBT. Applicants who have not done individual work will be advised to gain experience of this for at least a year before taking part in the programme.

Aims of the programme

The overall aim of the postgraduate programme in cognitive behavioural therapy is to:

  • Promote excellence in cognitive behavioural therapy by offering opportunities to develop personally, professionally and collaboratively.

To achieve this, the programme aims to:

  • develop knowledge and skills of health care professionals who are already familiar with individual case work, history taking and caseload management; in particular to enable students to effectively undertake the diagnosis, assessment and application of Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy skills
  • enable the acquisition of skills to such a level that participants can practise CBT in clinical settings and use CBT based supervision.
  • provide sufficient theoretical and skills training that participants can, in due course, seek to be accredited by the BABCP as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist.

The Postgraduate Diploma in CBT (120 SCOTCAT POINTS)

  • The Pg Diploma is part-time, day release over 24 months.  The Pg Certificate is part-time, day release over 12 months.
  • The course begins with a ten-day block introducing the cognitive model and practising basic techniques.
  • The course then runs on a four day block in the first week of every month.
  • Accredited group supervision is offered as part of the course. In addition, trainees identify a suitable CBT qualified. supervisor. The course is taught in Edinburgh.
  • Coursework required to attain the PG Certificate – 1 x essay, 1 x audio with reflective essay, additional audio, 1 x case study.
  • Coursework required to attain the PG Diploma – 2 x essays, 4 x audio recordings 3 x case studies, data management exercise and critique of selected research study.

After completing the 24 month Diploma, clinicians will be competent to deliver high intensity CBT intervention to a wide range of conditions and complexities.  If, however, the trainees exit after 12 months having completed modules 1 – 4 and attained a PG Certificate (60 SCOTCAT POINTS), they will only be competent to deliver high intensity interventions for mild to moderate anxiety and depression cases.

The Postgraduate Masters in CBT

To be eligible to apply for the Masters in CBT, applicants will have obtained the Postgraduate Diploma in CBT (or its equivalent).

Dissertation of the research project which is an investigation of a topic within the chosen specialist area of CBT (13,000 words). The project will involve an exploratory piece of research which would include designing and undertaking a research project including choosing appropriate research questions, epistemology, methodology, collecting data, analysing data and drawing appropriate conclusions from your study. Due consideration should be given to ethical requirements of the study and appropriate Research and Development procedures should be observed. This could be in the form of a small scale, service related audit, service based evaluation, a single N or case series design. A range of research approaches or project methodology may be adopted, drawing for example from phenomenological, case study, implementation science or action research paradigms and using quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods of data collection and analysis.

 The components of the dissertation would include:


  1. A research proposal; (2000 words.) This would detail the title and rationale of the chosen research project, and then appraise the relevant research methodologies, epistemology and comprehensive consideration of ethical issues.
  2. A literature review: (6000 words.) This would be a comprehensive literature review focusing on a topic related to a specific aspect of the research proposal which critically appraises and synthesises the evidence pertaining to a specific area explored in the proposal.
  3.  Paper for publication (5000 words) in journal article format. The student should identify an appropriate journal in which they wish to publish and follow appropriate style. The paper would summarise the above literature review and detail the actual project undertaken and present ready to be submitted for publication, with some discussion of a potential route of dissemination such as work based report, publication, poster, etc.


The duration of the MSc. is eighteen months and regular supervision is arranged by negotiation with the trainee.

Last Reviewed: 16/03/2017