Our MSc Psychological Therapy in Primary Care provides expert training in delivering evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to adults in primary care. Delivered jointly by the University of Stirling and the University of Dundee, it is designed by NHS professionals and clinical academics to give you the clinical and professional skills you need to work as a clinical associate in applied psychology within the NHS.

Mental Health Services across the UK are facing a growing demand for therapeutic services to treat common mental health disorders. The NHS commitment to delivering evidence-based treatments means that the theoretical focus of this course is CBT. The course has been jointly devised by NHS clinicians and clinical academics at the University of Dundee Medical School and the University of Stirling's Division of Psychology. You’ll undergo training and clinical supervision within the NHS.

The course will develop your knowledge of the prevalence, diagnostic criteria, presentation and treatment of common mental health disorders within a CBT framework. You’ll develop the abilities to meet a range of performance targets safely, while responding constructively to clinical supervision and in line with professional and ethical guidelines.

Applicants to this programme simultaneously apply for employment with the NHS and, if accepted, their tuition fees are paid by NHS Education for Scotland.

Top reasons to study with us

#1 You’ll gain the clinical and professional skills you need to work as a Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology within the NHS

#2 You'll simultaneously apply for employment with the NHS and, if accepted, your tuition fees are paid by NHS Education for Scotland

#3 The course has been designed by NHS professionals and clinical academics

Course objectives

Funded by National Health Service Education for Scotland (NES), this course is designed to extend your knowledge of the theoretical foundations of human behaviour and psychological disorders. It will help you develop the necessary competences to deliver evidence-based psychological therapies to treat common mental health disorders in adults in a primary care setting.

Work placements

Clinical skills training is conducted in supervised NHS placements.

Course details

The course has five taught modules and a sixth research module. The first three modules are supervised by the University of Dundee while the second three are supervised by the University of Stirling. All modules are core and there are no optional modules.


Modules will be taught by a combination of clinical workshops and seminars and supported by online learning material.

NHS employers provide appropriate study facilities, including computers and internet connection to allow you to carry out academic work on-site. Clinical activities and delivery of therapeutic interventions will be supervised and guided by an NHS clinical supervisor in the NHS setting. They’ll provide guidance on all aspects of clinical competence according to agreed guidelines. Ratings of clinical competence will be based on taped evidence of practice in the NHS setting and observations of the trainee’s clinical interaction with patients.

You’ll be allocated an NHS clinical supervisor who oversees and provides guidance on your clinical activity. You’ll also be allocated a University-based supervisor from the course team (who reviews clinical performance) and a University-based research supervisor.


The course is made up of approximately 50 percent academic study and 50 percent practical clinical placement work.

Academic assessment will be by case reports based on NHS clinical work, an essay, examinations and a dissertation. In addition, the successful completion of the first three modules listed above will depend on the receipt of a satisfactory assessment of clinical competence from your NHS clinical supervisor. Assessments of clinical competence are made six months and nine months into the course. At these points, any unsatisfactory clinical competence will be highlighted and a programme of remedial action provided that must be undertaken successfully by the end of the modules.

A further, final assessment of clinical competence will be made at the beginning of December. A minimum rating of satisfactory is required at this point.

Classroom hours

Students spend 12 months at the Universities of Stirling and Dundee. Clinical skills training is conducted both in supervised NHS placements and in face-to-face skills workshops at the universities. This training is supported by online learning material. You must attend one or other of the universities for four days per month for nine months of the year, in addition to a two-week period during January for face-to-face clinical skills training.

Course director

Dr Freda McManus (Division of Psychology, University of Stirling)

+44 (0) 1786 466839


Dr Will Goodall (Department of Psychiatry, University of Dundee)

+44 (0) 1382 632410


Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated November 14, 2018
This course is Online
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