MSt in Psychodynamic Practice

Course details

The information on this page relates to 2023 entry. Details will be updated when the course opens to applications for 2025 entry.

The Master of Studies (MSt) in Psychodynamic Practice is orientated towards increasing the understanding and application of counselling/psychotherapy research in practice. It is the final part of the Oxford University’s Master’s Programme in Psychodynamic Studies, progressing directly from the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychodynamic Practice.

The MSt course consolidates 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. The course is designed to bring course members to an advanced level of professional competence.

Applicants will have satisfactorily completed, or be in the second year of, the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychodynamic Practice.

Quick links

How you will study

The course is delivered part-time: it is held on Wednesday evenings from 6-9.30pm over two ten-week terms in Michaelmas and Hilary terms, with tutorial support for the research work in Trinity term. There are two Saturday workshops per year.

Course evenings are split between a clinical seminar and a research seminar. The number of places is variable according to the suitability of applicants and to create groups of viable size(s). There are six individual tutorials during the year.

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.

Trainees are required to attend all scheduled sessions and must undertake personal therapy, clinical supervision and clinical placement between course nights. Trainees should seek to take personal holidays outside term time.


The Masters Programme is accredited by the Universities Psychotherapy & Counselling Association (UPCA), which is a full organisational member of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) through the UKCP University Training College (UTC). All students should apply for student membership of UPCA on starting the programme. In addition, you can apply individually to the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) after completion of the PGDip (Register) and after completion of the masters (Accreditation).

Course details

Clinical Seminars

The aim of the clinical seminars is to further the clinical training; seeking to integrate personal and professional development via increased clinical experience and theoretical knowledge.

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. Course members’ research projects will be presented and discussed as they develop. 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.

Saturday workshops

There will be all day workshops on a Saturday in the Septembers at the start and end of the course.

Supervised placement

Clinical placements, which must be approved by the Programme Director, are a central aspect of trainees’ learning; a minimum of 100 hours of client work with supervision at a ratio of 1:6 must be completed during the course. 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.

Personal Therapy

Personal therapy is a cornerstone of the psychodynamic approach and trainees are required to complete a minimum of 40 hours with a course approved therapist during the course.


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. 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.

To be successfully awarded the Master of Studies, you will need to pass the dissertation and viva voce, meet attendance requirements, satisfactorily complete your placement, and receive satisfactory reports.

Course outcome

By the end of the course students should have:

  • Evolved a personal clinical style, at a high standard of clinical work and professional competence with the ability to recognise and reflect on ethical and professional standards in their clinical work.
  • Understood how to integrate theoretical, evidence based, philosophical and technical aspects of psychodynamic counselling and psychotherapy with their psychodynamic clinical work at an advanced level.
  • Developed a detailed knowledge and understanding of research methodology and understood how to apply counselling/psychotherapy research in practice.
  • Written a clear and literate original research project dissertation which complies with established conventions of presentation and referencing

Who should apply

Applicants will have satisfactorily completed, or be in the second year of, the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychodynamic Practice 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.

Please note that in their own interest no applicant currently in therapy/counselling with a course tutor will be admitted to the course.

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

How to apply

Please contact Penny Wheeler at for more information about how to apply.

Course members who take the MSt must apply also for membership of a college, this is included in the course application process. Most choose to become members of Kellogg College which caters particularly for mature students and which is closely associated with the Department. The Programme Director is a Fellow of Kellogg College.

Fees and additional expenses

For information about fees and additional expenses please visit the course page on the Oxford Graduate Admissons website.

For accreditation purposes trainee membership of UPCA is required for the duration of the MSt course, currently £45 per year.

Where applicable, students are responsible for the cost of their own personal therapy. All therapists treating students must be approved by the Director of Courses (who can offer the names of suitable therapists). Additional costs may be incurred for membership of relevant associations and for supervision at some clinical placements.

Visa information

For part-time courses longer than six months with a weekly or monthly attendance requirement you will not be eligible for a Tier 4 visa or the Short Term Student route based on the structure of the course.