• For Entry: January
  • Duration: 12 months
  • School: Medicine
  • Study Mode: Full Time

A full-time course to train psychology graduates to deliver evidence-based psychological therapies for common mental health disorders in Primary Care.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

This 12 month professional training programme focuses on development of cognitive behavioural therapy competences and the professional skills required to apply evidence based methods in health care and assessment.  On completion of the course, and following agreed and appropriate supervision and continuing professional development, graduates will be competent in the assessment and treatment of adult patients suffering from a range of common mental health disorders typically presenting in primary care settings.

This training course is jointly run by the Universities of Stirling and Dundee, in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland, and a number of NHS Psychological Services across Scotland. On completion of this Masters level course trainees will be equipped with the core skills for assessing and treating adult patients who are suffering from a range of common mental health disorders, typically presenting in Primary Care NHS settings. This highly demanding 12-month course will focus on Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy approaches and on applying evidence based psychological interventions to assessment and treatment of mental health problems.

Successful applicants to the course will be based in and employed concurrently by a local NHS Scotland Psychology Service where all clinical placements, involving supervised, direct work with patients, will be undertaken. Consideration will be given to the applicant’s preferred NHS locality as far as possible.  Trainees' fees and travel expenses will be covered, and salaries paid at agreed national levels (A4C Band 6, first spine point, currently £26,830). 

Applicants will have the Graduate Basis for Chartership with the British Psychological Society and an Honours degree in Psychology (2:1 or above), or equivalent BPS recognised MSc conversion qualification. Those successful will have graduate level knowledge of psychological theories e.g. learning theory and research methodology and statistics as well as demonstrating an awareness of applied psychology and Primary Care within the NHS. Applicants will have excellent communication skills and bring a clear awareness of professional expectations. 

The course has applied to the BABCP for Level 1 accreditation. 

Participating Health Boards will be; Ayrshire and Arran; Borders; Dumfries and Galloway; Fife; Forth Valley; Grampian; Greater Glasgow and Clyde; Lanarkshire; Lothian; Orkney; Tayside. 

Open Information Day | University of Stirling

Monday 30 July 2018 at 11.00am Room 2A73,Psychology Department, Stirling University.

Dr Will Goodall and Karen Langlands will be available to talk to people who might be interested in applying for our MSc course. We will be able to provide you with general information and specific information about the department and the training environment and also answer any questions that you may have about the training on offer.
It would be helpful if you can let Karen know if you are attending.
If you have any questions please contact Karen Langlands, Course Administrator on k.z.langlands@dundee.ac.uk

Why study this course at Dundee?

The growing demand for psychological interventions for adults presenting with common mental health disorders (e.g. anxiety and depression) in NHS Primary care has been identified in a variety of studies by central government and professional bodies.

Following consultation with NHS  stakeholders, NHS Education for Scotland (NES) has supported the development of this role for psychology graduates in NHS Scotland as Clinical Associates in Applied Psychology.

The Masters-level training is designed to equip psychology graduates with the competence required to deliver the evidence-based psychological interventions required in circumscribed areas of practice defined by service need. The delivery of training involves a partnership, brokered by NES, between the Universities providing the academic components of the training programmes, the Universities of Stirling and Dundee, and the NHS which supports trainees in supervised clinical practice in the workplace.

Learn more about our research facilities.

Aims of the course

Specifically the course aims to:

  • create knowledge of the prevalence, diagnostic criteria, presentation and current psychological theories of common mental health disorders in adults
  • create the ability to assess common mental health disorders by means of standardised scales, interviews techniques and observation
  • foster the ability to develop clinical formulation based on information obtained from case notes, interviews, standardised scales and observation
  • foster the therapeutic skills to deliver cognitive behavioural therapy for common mental health disorders in Primary Care and evaluate progress and outcome of treatment
  • equip graduates with the skills to critically evaluate peer reviewed literature and assess its importance in delivering up to date evidence-based interventions

Who should study this course?

This is a professional training programme suitable for people who are interested in working innovatively in a modern and demanding NHS role as a Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

How you will be taught

Modules will be taught via a combination of assessed and supervised clinical practice, clinical workshops and seminars. 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.

How you will be assessed

The course comprises approximately 50 percent academic study and 50 percent practical clinical placement work.  Academic assessment will be by case reports based on NHS clinical work, examinations, an essay 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 will be agreed that must be undertaken successfully by the end of the modules.

What you will study

The course comprises five taught modules and a sixth research module. 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
  • 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
  • Problem-Specific CBT for Common Mental Health Disorders in Primary Care: This module develops understanding of the use of theoretical and clinical knowledge of the presentation and evidence-based treatment interventions for common mental health disorders
  • 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, Evaluation and Outcome: This module equips you with the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate psychological research methodology and outcomes, the ability to communicate research findings and an understanding of  the methodological and statistical principles of psychological research and their relevance to evidence-based outcomes
  • Research Project: This is an opportunity to carry out a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature dealing with a specific topic related to the application of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to a common mental health disorder presenting in primary care.

Trainees are allocated an NHS clinical supervisor who oversees and provides guidance on clinical and professional skills development. Trainees are also al located a University based supervisor from the course team (who reviews clinical performance) and a University based research supervisor.

Since the inception of the course in 2005 the majority of graduates have been employed by the NHS as Clinical Associates in Applied Psychology (CAAPs). However the job situation for CAAPs is currently more competitive, as it is for almost all workers at the moment. Some graduates have gone into the private sector as therapists and some have been employed in other NHS posts that are related but have different job titles. Some graduates have gone on to work in England under the IAPT program me. It is impossible to make predictions about vacancies for the future, however the requirement for all NHS Boards to provide psychological therapies within 18 weeks from referral will require some services to consider their skill mix.

Applicants must have the Graduate Basis for Chartership with the British Psychological Society and an Honours degree in Psychology (2:1 or above) and should have appropriate personal qualities suited to employment in the NHS. Some experience of working in a caring or clinical setting is desirable but not essential. Recruitment is jointly undertaken by representative senior academic and NHS staff.

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.5
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 6.0

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

MSc PTPC course fees are paid by NES NHS for UK and EU students.

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fee statusFees for students starting 2018-19
Scottish and EU students
Rest of UK students
Overseas students (non-EU)
You can only apply for this course between Friday 20 July 2018 to midnight on Friday 10 August 2018.

You apply for this course via the UCAS Postgraduate website which is free of charge. You can check the progress of your application online and you can also make multiple applications.

You'll need to upload relevant documents as part of your application. Please read the how to apply page before you apply to find out about what you'll need.

  Degree Course code

Course Contact

Mrs Karen Langlands