MSc in Psychological Therapy in Primary Care

University of Stirling

Program Description

MSc in Psychological Therapy in Primary Care

University of Stirling

This Master’s course, delivered jointly by the Universities of Stirling and Dundee, was designed by National Health Service (NHS) professionals and clinical academics to train people to deliver evidence-based psychological therapies to adults in Primary Care.

Mental Health Services across the UK are facing a growing demand for therapeutic services for common mental health disorders. The NHS commitment to delivering evidence-based treatments means that the theoretical focus of this training is cognitive behavioural therapy. Students of this MSc will study a curriculum jointly devised by NHS clinicians and clinical academics at the University of Dundee Medical School and the University of Stirling's Division of Psychology, whilst undergoing 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 Cognitive Behavioural Framework.

Course objectives

This National Health Service Education for Scotland (NES) funded MSc is designed to extend the knowledge of the theoretical foundations of human behaviour and psychological disorders, and to develop the necessary competences to deliver evidence-based psychological therapies to treat common mental health disorders in adults in a primary care setting.

What makes us different?

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Applicants should hold an Honours degree in Psychology (at upper second class or above) conferring the Graduate Basis for Chartership with the British Psychological Society. Applicants for this course should be aware that they are also applying for employment with the NHS and therefore must be eligible for, and have appropriate personal qualities suited to employment in the NHS. Recruitment will be jointly undertaken by representative senior academic and NHS staff.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

Structure and content

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

  • Assessment, Diagnosis and Formulation: This overview of the assessment process enables you to conduct clinical assessment and formulation of common mental health disorders in primary care.
  • Professional and Ethical Issues: This module develops your understanding of the principles and practice of appropriate professional conduct in the National Health Service (NHS).
  • Research Project: A supervised systematic review of the scientific literature chosen to answer a clinically relevant question in the context of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for common mental health problems in adults.
  • Principles and Methods of Psychological Therapy: This module helps you develop and maintain collaborative working alliances and deliver a range of psychological interventions appropriate to common mental health disorders.
  • Common Mental health Disorders in Primary Care: This module develops understanding of use of theoretical and clinical knowledge of the presentation and evidence-based treatment interventions for common mental health disorders.
  • Research, Evaluation and Outcome: This module equips you with the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate relevant published literature.

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

Delivery and assessment

Modules will be taught via a combination of clinical workshops and seminars and supported by material in an online learning environment. 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, who will 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 trainees’ clinical interaction with patients.

The course will comprise 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 depends 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.

Modes of study

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

Study method

Online and by attendance at the Universities in line with an annually determined timetable; Full-time

Career opportunities

The course is designed to enable a graduate to work as a Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology (CAAP) in the NHS. Recent graduates have also gone on to work in other clinically related posts in both the private sector and public sector across the UK.


This is a professional training course designed to equip graduates with both the clinical and professional skills to work safely and competently in a modern NHS. The development of the abilities to meet a range of performance targets safely, while responding constructively to clinical supervision and in accordance with professional and ethical guidelines, is essential for a successful graduate. Many of these qualities are clearly valuable wherever our graduates may eventually work.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Cost & Fees

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for all taught postgraduate courses are to be held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge for the conferral of your degree. This will be charged at the rate applicable when you complete your studies.

Last updated September 28, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
Jan. 2018
1 year
Full time
United Kingdom - Stirling, Scotland
Start date: Jan. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Jan. 2018
United Kingdom - Stirling, Scotland
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info