Interviews and placements for MSc Psychological Therapy in Primary Care

Updated on 12 July 2023

This course is both a University course and a job in NHS Scotland where you work on placement. This guide provides information on how interviews and placements will operate.

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Working a second job while studying this course

You will not be able to work in another job while undertaking this training. It is a highly demanding programme of academic and professional training that will require you to be flexible, very-well organised and self-motivated. Trainees should complete the programme within the scheduled 12 months.

You will have a role in mental health services that will require you to work and think like a health professional. You will need to be resourceful, determined and prepared to work and prepare for your clinical duties while managing the academic demands of training.

The minimum training standards of our accrediting bodies are high and you should be sure that your circumstances will allow you to make the commitments that will be necessary to undertake this training.


Interview and programme start dates

Interview dates and format

Interviews to be held from Monday 2 October 2023 to Friday 6 October 2023. Interviews will be held online using Microsoft Teams.

Applicants should though make sure that they are available for interview during this period.

Start dates for successful candidates

There is a three-week induction period:

  • Monday 8 January 2024 - placement with your employing health board
  • Monday 15 January 2024 - University of Dundee (Ninewells Hospital) intensive academic training period
  • Monday 22 January 2024 - University of Stirling intensive academic training period


University attendance

What dates do I attend university classes?

Attendance at university is usually on the last Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of each month except in July when university attendance is not required.

University attendance is compulsory

You have to attend (in person or online) all teaching sessions, this is non-negotiable. The course has strict attendance requirements and failure to meet these may mean that you will not be allowed to graduate.

What happens during weeks when I do not attend university?

You work on placement, under the supervision of an experienced clinician. In the early stages of training you will observe clinicians assessing patients, formulating patients’ difficulties and delivering Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). You will very probably be involved in a variety of other activities aimed at giving you a broad experience of working in a busy NHS environment.

Does the programme teach other approaches to therapy or just CBT?

The focus of this programme is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This is an evidence-based training programme intended to equip you with knowledge of how common mental health disorders are acquired, maintained and treated. We do this by reference to the current CBT models, incorporating the latest peer-reviewed evidence so that you have a structured, theoretical understanding of the challenges and approaches to treating these conditions. Other approaches and models are often referred to but the focus remains very much CBT.


Travel expenses and overnight accommodation

The cost of your travel to and from the universities for teaching are normally reimbursed by your health board. 

Subject to certain conditions and limits, you are usually entitled to reimbursement by your employing health board of reasonable accommodation costs incurred when attending the university teaching weeks. Overnight accommodation is only reimbursed if your base is further away than ninety minutes travel.


Placements with health boards

Do I have to be on placement full-time?

When you apply for this programme you are applying both for entry to the universities and employment with the NHS. You will be required to sign a contract of employment that will require you to work full time for the NHS.

This means in practice that during the weeks when you are not required to attend the universities for academic training, you will be required to work on placement, at locations required by your employer, for 3 days of each week.

The other two days are reserved as study days when you undertake self-directed study of academic material. As training progresses this will involve researching for a dissertation.

What supervision is provided?

Whilst on placement, clinical supervision is provided by an experienced clinician allocated to you at the start of training. Wherever possible this person will be your supervisor for the duration of your training and they will provide you with weekly, formal supervision. There are usually opportunities for informal supervision from other departmental staff.

You will also attend group supervision on the Friday afternoon of teaching weeks. You will be allocated to a group that will be led by an experienced clinician who is also a member of the university-based training team, for the duration of the training year.

In addition, you will be allocated a course team member to supervise and guide you when you are conducting your research for your dissertation.

Do I have to attend my placement every day?

Your employment terms and conditions are covered by an employment contract which states that you are a full-time employee and so outside of statutory and annual leave you must either attend university or be at work on placement. Some employers allow you to spend study days at home and if that happens you have to be contactable by the course team and have access to the internet that will enable you to attend virtual meetings to discuss training matters.

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Admissions and Applicant Experience

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