MSc Psychological Therapy in Primary Care
A professional training programme suitable for people who want to work in a modern and demanding NHS role as a Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology.
- Award Masters / MSc
- Start date January 2024, January 2025
- Duration MSc full-time: 12 months
- Mode of study full time
- Delivery on campus
Our MSc Psychological Therapy in Primary Care provides expert training in delivering evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to adults in primary care.
Delivered jointly by the University of Stirling and the University of Dundee, it is designed by NHS professionals and clinical academics to give you the clinical and professional skills you need to work as a Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology within the NHS.
Mental Health Services across the UK are facing a growing demand for therapeutic services to treat common mental health disorders. The NHS commitment to delivering evidence-based treatments means that the theoretical focus of this course is CBT. The course has been jointly devised by NHS clinicians and clinical academics at the University of Dundee Medical School and the University of Stirling's Division of Psychology. You’ll undergo training and clinical supervision within the NHS.
The course will develop your knowledge of the prevalence, diagnostic criteria, presentation and treatment of common mental health disorders within a CBT framework. You’ll develop the abilities to meet a range of performance targets safely, while responding constructively to clinical supervision and in line with professional and ethical guidelines.
Applicants to this programme simultaneously apply for employment with the NHS and, if accepted, their tuition fees are paid by NHS Education for Scotland.
Top reasons to study with us
Funded by National Health Service Education for Scotland (NES), this course is designed to extend your knowledge of the theoretical foundations of human behaviour and psychological disorders. It will help you develop the necessary competences to deliver evidence-based psychological therapies to treat common mental health disorders in adults in a primary care setting.
Clinical skills and competency based training are conducted in supervised NHS placements.
The Division of Psychology has outstanding laboratory space fitted with high-quality equipment. It has excellent computing infrastructure, and both research and teaching activities are supported by in-house technical staff with computing, programming, electronic and audio-video expertise.
We’ve invested heavily in research infrastructure, including our own Psychology Kindergarten, which provides an outstanding facility for developmental research and teaching. Purpose-built laboratory space has also been created to support human electrophysiology research (EEG/ERPs), health research (including GSR and heart rate monitoring), face research (including eye-tracking) and vision research (including stereoscopic displays).
The University of Stirling is rated 2nd in Scotland for research impact in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience (Research Excellence Framework 2021), with 100% of our research impact and environment rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.
Our Masters students get involved in our lively community of research excellence.
Applicants should hold an honours degree in Psychology (2:1 or above) conferring the Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS).
Alternatively, applicants should have successfully completed an MSc psychology conversion course at a level equivalent to a 2:1 and which confers Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS).
Applicants for this course should be aware that they are also applying for employment with the NHS and therefore must be eligible for, and have appropriate personal qualities suited to, employment in the NHS. Recruitment will be jointly undertaken by senior academic staff and NHS staff.
International entry requirements
You apply for this course via the University of Dundee. Visit the Dundee Psychological Therapy in Primary Care MSc page for further details and the application forms.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:
- IELTS Academic or UKVI 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-skill.
- Pearson Test of English (Academic) 62 overall with 60 in each sub-skill.
- IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking.
See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.
Pre-sessional English language courses
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.
Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.
The course has five taught modules and a sixth research module. The first three modules are supervised by the University of Dundee while the second three are supervised by the University of Stirling. All modules are core and there are no optional modules.
Assessment, diagnosis and formulation
Provides knowledge of the essential ingredients of collaborative therapeutic relationships and of the evidence linking the therapeutic alliance to treatment outcomes in Cognitive -behavioural Psychotherapy.
Principles and methods of psychological therapy
Provides knowledge of general factors implicated in onset, maintenance and restitution of common mental health disorders within a CBT framework.
Common mental health disorders in primary care
Provides the theoretical and clinical knowledge of the prevalence, aetiology, presentation, course and differential diagnosis of common mental health disorders in the context of the evidence base for the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural treatment for common mental health disorders presenting in primary care.
Professional and ethical issues
This module examines common ethical dilemmas which may affect psychologists in their therapeutic work. The module will emphasize the need to consider the consequences of the therapist’s actions in relation to ethical issues in: communication, informed consent, diversity, boundaries, competence and fitness to practice, confidentiality and organizing services/clinical governance, as well as how to avoid conflicts of interest and put client’s best interests first.
Research, evaluation and outcome
This module aims to strengthen your understanding of the methodological and statistical principles of psychological research and their relevance to evidence-based outcomes while helping you develop the ability to critically evaluate psychological research methodology and outcomes.
This module gives the trainee the experience of conducting a clinically relevant research project in an NHS setting. This helps you to develop a clear understanding of what 'evidence based practice' is while engaging with relevant literature as early as possible in an attempt to answer a specified research question.
You'll be taught through a mix of:
- clinical skills workshops utilising role play;
- talks by NHS-based clinicians;
- individual and group-based clinical supervision sessions;
- comprehensive online resources to support workshops.
Regular contact between course team members and trainees is a feature of this course to support your daily clinical activities.
You'll be assessed by:
- a systematic review/service related project of published evidence relating to a primary care mental health issues;
- two exams/assessments;
- three case reports of patients you have treated;
- three clinical placement-based assessments of your clinical competence.
Students spend 12 months at the Universities of Stirling and Dundee. Clinical skills training is conducted both in supervised NHS placements and in face-to-face skills workshops at the universities.
This training is supported by online learning material. You must attend one or other of the universities for four/five days per month for nine months of the year, in addition to a two-week period during January for face-to-face clinical skills training.
Vicky Greene and Roxana Tudoran
Postgraduate Office, Level 6, School of Medicine
Fees and funding
Fees and costs
Applicants to this programme simultaneously apply for employment with the NHS and, if accepted, their tuition fees will be paid by NHS Education for Scotland.
Postgraduate tuition fee loans
This course is eligible for a postgraduate tuition fee loan from one of the UK’s governments. See the Scholarships and funding section, below, for more details.
There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.
Scholarships and funding
Eligible international students could receive a scholarship worth between £4,000-£7,000. See our range of generous scholarships for international postgraduate students.
University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our UK/Republic of Ireland Alumni Scholarship or International Alumni Scholarship.
Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship.
If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.
Scottish students may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £11,500 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.
English students can apply for a loan of up to £12,167 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.
Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,770 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales.
Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.
Cost of living
If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.
International (including EU) students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.
We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay
After you graduate
The course is designed to give you the clinical and professional skills to work competently in a modern NHS environment as a Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology (CAAP). Recent graduates have also gone on to work in other clinically-related posts in the public sector across the UK.
This is an NHS Scotland-funded training course designed to produce graduates with the qualification to work as Clinical Associates in Applied Psychology, an NHS Scotland role.
On successful completion of the course you’ll be eligible to apply for this role as well as other related posts. While specifically an NHS Scotland role, accreditation by the BPS and BABCP has increased the acceptance of this qualification in other parts of the UK.
Applicants for this course should be aware that they are also applying for employment with the NHS and therefore must be eligible for employment in the NHS. This includes having appropriate personal qualities suited to employment in the NHS. Recruitment will be jointly undertaken by senior academic staff and NHS staff.
This is a professional training course designed to equip graduates with both the clinical and professional skills to work safely and competently in a modern NHS. To be successful, graduates need to develop the abilities to meet a range of performance targets safely, while responding constructively to clinical supervision and in accordance with professional and ethical guidelines. Many of these qualities are valuable wherever our graduates eventually work.