MSt in Psychodynamic Practice

Key facts

Level: Postgraduate

Mode: Part-time

Duration: 3 years

Application Deadlines: 20 January 2017 & 10 March 2017

MSt in Psychodynamic Practice

The Master of Studies (MSt) Degree in Psychodynamic Practice is a one year part-time postgraduate course which forms part of the Oxford University Master’s Programme in Psychodynamic Studies. This integrated part-time programme comprises a Certificate (1 year), Diploma (2 year) and MSt (1 year).

The MSt course seeks to consolidate the clinical and academic work of the programme, and provides a training in advanced clinical work and research methodology, with the undertaking of supervised research. It is primarily orientated towards increasing the understanding and application of counselling/psychotherapy research in practice. The course is designed to bring course members to an advanced level of professional competence.

Applicants will have satisfactorily completed the Diploma course and will continue their clinical placement and personal therapy. Please note that successful completion of the MSt will result in the Diploma award being subsumed by the MSt award.

Course members who take the MSt must apply also for membership of a college. Most choose to become members of Kellogg College which caters particularly for part-time mature students and which is closely associated with the Department. The Programme Director is a Fellow of Kellogg College.


The Masters Programme is accredited by the UPCA (Universities Psychotherapy and Counselling Association). Students who complete the full programme and the necessary clinical hours will be eligible for professional accreditation via the UPCA with UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy), as a psychotherapeutic counsellor. In addition, those that wish may apply individually to the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Programme details

The MSt. will be awarded on the basis of:

  • attendance at the weekly Wednesday evening clinical and research seminars
  • attendance at two Saturday workshops, one in Sept 2017, one in Sept 2018
  • two tutorials with the senior clinical tutor
  • four tutorials with the research tutor
  • a minimum of one meeting per term with an off-course research project supervisor
  • a 15,000 word research project dissertation
  • a viva voce examination
  • satisfactory tutor and clinical placement reports.

Course members are required to attend all scheduled sessions and must also continue personal therapy and supervised practice between course nights. Course members may need to change placement in order to gather research material for the dissertation/research project. A minimum of one hour’s off-course supervision is taken for every six hours of patient/client contact. A minimum of 100 clinical hours and a minimum of 17 supervision sessions over the year are required. Course members must also receive a minimum of 40 hours personal therapy over the year, with a psychodynamically trained and course-approved therapist/counsellor.

The hours of private study are those needed to bring both clinical understanding and the dissertation to the standard required by the MSt.; both tutors will assist in monitoring this. However, at least 10 hours study per week between the taught periods is envisaged.

Michaelmas and Hilary terms consist of a weekly clinical seminar with the senior clinical tutor. After a coffee break/library period, there is a weekly research seminar where, under the leadership of the research tutor, research methodology will be taught, and where course member’s research projects will be presented and discussed as they develop. Trinity term consists of two individual research tutorials.

The on-course research tutor and off-course research project supervisor will support and guide the course member with regard to the research project dissertation, which nevertheless must remain an original piece of individually-researched work authored entirely by the course member. All subjects for the dissertation/research project must be approved by the research tutor, the Director of Counselling Courses, and where appropriate the external examiner.

Clinical Seminars

The aim of the clinical seminars is to give MSt course members an opportunity to further their clinical training by seeking to integrate personal and professional development via increased clinical experience and theoretical knowledge. They will be expected to:

  • provide clinical material for discussion and reflection
  • understand and apply relevant psychodynamic concepts and techniques
  • demonstrate self awareness and a capacity to reflect on the client and the process of the therapeutic relationship
  • appreciate the effect of setting and context on their clinical work
  • recognise and reflect on ethical and professional standards in their clinical work
  • show evidence of a high standard of clinical work and professional competence.

Research Seminars

The aim of the research seminars is to enable course members to develop an interest in, and understanding of, research, and to appreciate its value and implications for their therapeutic work. As a result course members should be able to:

  • examine their own practice, identify problems within it, or areas in which knowledge is lacking, and make a case for research which can then be shared with their peers
  • use library/information resources effectively, identify sources of research related to counselling/psychotherapy in their own field, locate relevant material and read it with understanding
  • recognise, understand, and appreciate the links between the stages involved in carrying out a piece of research
  • be aware of the different philosophical traditions which underpin competing forms of research, and acknowledge the central importance of self reflection and process to counselling/psychotherapy research
  • be familiar with key research concepts and techniques
  • identify and meet the criteria and standards required for the proper presentation of research reports
  • recognise and evaluate the ethical and evidence based aspects of their proposed research.


Assessment is primarily by an individually-researched dissertation and viva voce examination. The dissertation, which must not be more than 15,000 words, must be submitted in September 2018. The subject matter, be this qualitative or quantitative, must be approved by the research tutor in consultation with the Director of Counselling Courses, and where appropriate the external examiner.

All research project dissertations are double blind marked by assessors as pass, fail or distinction and samples will be passed to the external examiner for moderation. All dissertations are also subject to a viva voce examination. Failed dissertations may be resubmitted no later than one year after the original submission date.

The award of Master of Studies in Psychodynamic Practice cannot be made until course members have successfully completed their research project dissertation and passed their viva voce examination. They must also have attended a minimum of 80% of the scheduled course sessions, satisfactorily completed their placement, and received satisfactory reports.

Supervised placements

Appropriate clinical placements are very scarce in Oxford, and much competed for by a variety of courses. Course members are urged, wherever possible, to utilise their own networks for obtaining a suitable placement. The Director of Counselling Courses may be able to assist in the setting up of placements, or tightening up existing arrangements, but ultimately the finding of a suitable placement is the course member’s responsibility. The placement setting itself may form part or whole of the subject of the research project dissertation, or course members may elect to structure their research independent of their placements. Course members should note that the Director of Courses must approve their placements.

Tutorial Provision

Tutorial support is a central feature of the whole 4-year Psychodynamic Studies Programme. This is especially relevant to the M.St. course, since course members are expected to be able to work on their own for prolonged periods while completing their research project dissertation. In recognition of this each course member will have one off-course tutorial per term with both the research tutor and the advanced clinical tutor in Michaelmas and Hilary terms, and two off-course tutorials with the research tutor in Trinity term.

Course members may also access Pastoral tutorials which are optional. They are confidential except in extreme circumstances. Any matter may be discussed, but these are not therapeutic sessions.

No applicant currently in therapy/counselling with a course tutor will be admitted to the course.

Research project supervision

In addition to tutorial support, each course member must select an off-course supervisor for his/her original research project, with whom they will have at least one meeting per term. The supervisor should be a person with a specialist interest in, or knowledge of, the topic of the course member’s research. The course member is responsible for locating an appropriate off-course supervisor. This supervisor must be approved by the Director of Counselling Courses.

Guidance notes

This is an intensive and time-consuming course with considerable simultaneous clinical and academic demands, including off-course tutorials, clinical placement, personal therapy and at least 10 hours’ private study per week. Prior to applying, applicants are asked to carefully consider whether they are able to devote the time and resources to a period of intensive self directed study which the Master’s Degree in Psychodynamic Practice requires.

If you would like guidance on general matters relating to the course please contact: The Programme Administrator (Psychodynamic Studies), on 01865 280725, or email:

If you would like to discuss matters relating specifically to the course, please contact the Director of Counselling Courses, Alistair Ross, who will be pleased to assist with any queries. Alistair Ross may be contacted on 01865 270384 (Tuesday - Thursday), or email:

Student Support

Much of course members’ academic support will come naturally from the tutors on the course, who are familiar with the problems faced by those undertaking research study. However, the Department also runs a programme of Study Skills workshops designed to enable course members to develop and improve the skills needed for effective study. Full details are obtainable on 01865 280728.

Entry requirements

Graduate admissions criteria for Master of Studies in Psychodynamic Practice for Entry in 2015-16

Please see entry requirements in the course details found from the Department's webpage at Graduate Admissions:

IT requirements

This course uses a secure website for sharing course material and information. Please see our recommended minimum computer specification.

Students of this course may use the student computer facilities provided in Department buildings.

Apply for this course

Applicants should initially discuss their application with the Psychodynamic Studies Programme Administrator (01865 280725), or the Programme Director, (01865 270384 or email: They will then be advised of the application process which varies according to whether the applicant is currently enrolled on the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychodynamic Practice or has previously completed it. Applicants who are not in either situation will not be considered.

Information for Overseas Applicants.

This course is not suitable for non-EU students who do not already live in the UK before the course begins. For information, refer to UKCISA


Fees in 2015-2016 comprise the following: University composition fee: £2,870 (EU); £7,425 (non-EU) and the College fee: approx £1,400 (EU and non-EU). Fees for the course are collected via the college with whom you matriculate and will be invoiced on a termly basis. The college is responsible for establishing your fee status (Home, EU or overseas) and will request financial assurances from you to ensure that you are able to cover fees and maintenance over the duration of the course.

The fee includes tuition on research methodology, research and clinical seminars, two Saturday workshops, four off-course research and two off-course advanced clinical tutorials over the year; and two off-course pastoral tutorials and one off-course research project supervision per term.

Course members are responsible for the cost of their own personal therapy. All therapists treating course members must be approved by the Director of Counselling Courses.Additional costs may be incurred for membership of relevant associations and for supervision at some clinical placements.


An offer of a place on the course will be conditional upon your demonstrating that you are able to meet the course fees.

For information on student funding, please visit our website: and follow links to `students'and `sources of funding’. You will find information on student loans, bursaries and Professional and Career Development Loans as well as details of external sources of funding. For further information on funding, see the Oxford Funding Search


Postgraduate Certificate in Psychodynamic Counselling

The course forms part of the Oxford University Master’s Programme in Psychodynamic Studies


Postgraduate Diploma in Psychodynamic Practice

A two-year part-time postgraduate course which forms part of the Oxford University Master’s Programme in Psychodynamic Studies

Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course

Sources of funding

Information on financial support