MSt in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

Course details

Course Content

The course addresses the theoretical foundations of MBCT, including relevant aspects of psychological theory and science, as well as aspects of Buddhist psychology and philosophy on which MBCT draws. It also provides opportunities for students to develop the practical skills they need to translate knowledge and understanding into competent MBCT teaching; that is, students are expected to develop for themselves the understanding and skills they will be teaching to others. Students will design and deliver a course of MBCT to an appropriate client group in their own place of work, with supervision from course tutors.

The course covers four main topic areas:

  • Theory and research, including psychological science related to health, wellbeing, and underlying psychological processes; relevant aspects of Buddhist psychology and philosophy and their contribution to MBCT; and empirical research on the effects of mindfulness practice, mechanisms of change, and applications in a variety of contexts and populations
  • Developing experiential understanding of mindfulness through guided and independent personal practice and reflection on personal practice in light of theory, research, and underlying psychological processes
  • Developing teaching skills and professional competencies for delivering MBCT curricula skilfully and ethically in a range of contexts
  • Developing communication skills for writing and speaking about mindfulness and MBCT

Entry requirements

Please see the Graduate Admissions website for details.

Course Aims

The aims of the course are:

  • To provide qualified clinicians with an understanding of theory and research and with practical experience, so that they can apply MBCT competently and effectively in clinical and other appropriate healthcare and educational settings
  • To cultivate a body of practitioners trained to disseminate the approach, and educated to contribute creatively to further developments in the field

Course Objectives

The Master of Studies seeks to enable participants to:

  • Develop in-depth knowledge, understanding and critical appreciation of theory, empirical research and clinical literature relating to MBCT, appreciating how theory-building, research and clinical observation reciprocally inform one another
  • Contribute creatively to theoretical understanding of the psychological processes underlying MBCT and to its application with clinical populations
  • Develop and deepen their own personal mindfulness meditation practice and the capacity to reflect on practice in the light of theory, research and clinical knowledge
  • Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to design and deliver a programme of MBCT competently with a particular client group, including producing appropriate instructional materials, evaluating the impact of the programme, and reflecting critically on its design and outcome in relation to theory, research and clinical literature

Assessment methods


Assessment has been designed as much to provide opportunities to consolidate and extend learning as to evaluate knowledge and skill. Assignments are evaluated by internal assessors and examiners.


In Year I, appreciation of theory and research are assessed through two 4,000 word essays

Reflective Analysis

Also in Year I, the development of students' mindfulness meditation practice and their reflective capacity are assessed through a written reflective analysis, relating personal experience to theory and research.


In Year II, students are required to complete a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic chosen by themselves and approved by the Course Director and Course Committee. The dissertation should demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of theory and research in an area they find of particular interest, and relating these to the practice to MBCT. Course tutors will provide supervision and guidance in dissertation development, both one-to-one and in small group seminars.

MBCT Project

Also in Year II, the capacity to apply experiential, theoretical and research knowledge, and teaching skills is assessed through a written project of 4,000 words, describing the design, delivery and evaluation of an 8-week course of MBCT in an appropriate setting, and in a problem area with which they are familiar. This includes producing appropriate written handouts. Adherence to the MBCT protocol and competence in delivering MBCT to participants are assessed by evaluating recordings of the course taught.

IT requirements

This course uses the Department’s online assignment submission system. In order to prepare and submit your course assignments you will need access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification. Students of this course may use the student computing facilities provided in Departmental buildings.

Teaching methods

Teaching is mostly highly interactive and experiential. Each teaching block covers a range of topics drawn from the four main areas outlined above, weaving together personal practice, theory/research and clinical applications. We envisage the following format for blocks in each year.

Year I

The first year of the course is designed to develop student’s knowledge of all of the main topic areas

  • Theory and research are covered through reading, presentation, and discussion
  • Experiential understanding is developed through guided practice during training days, independent practice between training days and retreats
  • Teaching skills and professional competencies are cultivated through skills training and experiential workshops
  • Communication skills are developed through group discussion, skills practice, and marked essays

Year II

The second year deepens understanding of theory and research, hones teaching skills, and cultivates knowledge and skills for developing adaptations and applying MBCT in various populations and contexts

  • Knowledge of theory, research and application are cultivated through additional reading, presentation, and discussion, particularly on topics related to adaptations and applications of the family of MBCT curricula, and through completion of a dissertation
  • Experiential understanding of mindfulness is further developed through  an intensive guided retreat
  • Teaching skills are honed through additional training days and through the completion of the  teaching project: each student delivers a course of MBCT in their setting

Teaching sessions and training retreats will be led by practitioners experienced in mindfulness-based approaches, mostly from Oxford, with invited speakers for specialist areas

On successful completion of the taught components of the course and associated assignments, the award of the Master's degree is made by the University of Oxford, under the aegis of its Continuing Education Board.


Please visit the Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy page on the University of Oxford Graduate Admissions website for details of course fees and costs.

Apply for this course

Applications for this course should be made online via the University of Oxford Graduate Admissions website. Please see the Application Guide for more information.

Help us to help you. Apply early - if you submit your application early, the Graduate Admissions team will be able to let you know if any items are missing. Applications must have been fully completed by the relevant application deadline in order to be considered, so please ensure that you have gathered your supporting materials in advance and have given your referees plenty of time to prepare their references before the deadline.