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Postgraduate Taught

PGDip Psychological Therapies Practice
(High Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

Please note: The below is for 2025 entries. Click here for 2024 entries.
UCAS code 1234
Duration 1 year full time or 2 years part-time
Entry year 2023 (January start)
Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline Psychology
Typical offer

View full entry requirements

Evidence of undergraduate-level study and relevant professional experience

Contextual offers


View 2024 Entry

Clinical Education Development and Research (CEDAR)

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Programme administrator: Harriet Keers-Stribley


Phone: +44 1392 722504

This programme is delivered by Clinical Education, Development and Research (CEDAR): an applied psychological practice centre of excellence, focussed on training the new psychological therapies workforce of the future.

Competency-based training, delivered according to the latest evidence-informed clinical pedagogic approaches

Dedicated training facilities equipped with video and audio recording

A strong emphasis throughout the programme is placed upon your personal and professional development

Entry requirements

PGDip Psychological Therapies Practice (High Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is open to applicants who meet the following criteria:


  • Successful completion of an undergraduate degree or evidence of previous successful study at third year of undergraduate degree level


  • Core Professional background (e.g. nursing, social work, OT, clinical or counselling psychologist, psychiatrist, BACP/CPC accredited counsellor)
  • Or, if you do not have a Core Professional background you should have evidence of successfully completing a mental health training programme at undergraduate or postgraduate level (e.g. IAPT Low Intensity training, Graduate Mental Health Worker Programme). You will be required to complete a full KSA (knowledge, skills and attitudes) portfolio to demonstrate how you meet the requirements as indicated for BABCP accreditation standardsSee KSA applicant information below. Please note that PWPs cannot be recruited to HI posts or as HI CBT trainees until 2 years post qualification.
  • Two years' clinical mental health experience including relevant experience gained during or after any professional training
  • Evidence of foundation level or sustained CPD in CBT
  • Evidence of using CBT techniques in practice
  • Please also see the NHSE/HEE 2 year funding rule for psychological professions

Additional requirements

  • Availability to attend university as required, which will include blocks of teaching of up to four days. Most teaching will be 2 days per week in conjunction with a minimum period of high intensity CBT clinical practice per week*
  • Applicants should demonstrate evidence of interpersonal skills to engage and develop working alliances with colleagues and patients
  • Applicants should show evidence of an openness to learning new knowledge and skills
  • Applicants should be able to demonstrate that their values and behaviours align with the values of the NHS Constitution
  • All successful applicants will need to become members of the BABCP at the start of the training

*Please note: the number of days required to meet the educational objectives and skills based competences covered during the respective courses are only achievable if a minimum number of days occur in clinical practice, in addition to the required days spent within the University. Please consult national guidance for information concerning the contracts required for this workforce.

Applicants without a core professional background

  • Applicants without a core professional background are required to submit the full KSA portfolio prior to interview for assessment. Appointment of a training place will only be offered on assessment of this.
  • If you are unsure whether you hold a Core Profession then please refer to the BABCP website for more information.
  • All successful applicants will need to become members of the BABCP at the start of the training to ensure that they have a code of professional conduct to work when starting the training.
  • Every effort will be made to have a KSA representative from the University on any interview for a KSA candidate. If this is not possible, any offer of a training place will only be made subject to KSA being reviewed by a KSA representative from the University.

Entry requirements for international students

Please visit our entry requirements section for equivalencies from your country and further information on English language requirements.

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Course content

High intensity therapists assess and treat primary care patients with common mental health problems (principally anxiety and depression) using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is recommended in the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines as part of the stepped-care approach. The approach works to alleviate symptoms and have a positive impact on social inclusion, employment and productivity. Practitioners will work closely with other agencies to assess and maximise employment opportunities for each client.

The programme prepares you to provide high-intensity CBT within Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services. It adheres to the National Curriculum for High Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Courses (2022). The School maintains a firm commitment to evidence-based clinical practice and as such we endeavour to ensure all of our training programmes are firmly embedded within current research.

Aims of the programme

The programme has a cognitive-behavioural theoretical base, favouring approaches with the soundest evidence and where cognitive and behavioural techniques are integrated in therapy and fully compliant with the NHS Talking Therapies curriculum.

In addition to providing practical intensive and detailed skills training to facilitate skill development to a defined standard of competency, the programme will aim to:

  • increase your knowledge base of therapy and research in CBT
  • promote a critical approach to the subject
  • equip you to become a skilled and creative independent High Intensity therapist, in accordance with BABCP guidelines for good practice and to contribute to the further development of CBT.

The programme will provide opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge, understanding and skills in the following areas:

  1. To develop practical competency in cognitive behavioural therapy for common psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety
  2. To develop critical knowledge of the theoretical and research literature relating to CBT


After completing this programme, students may wish to progress to:

How to apply

Trainee NHS Talking Therapies posts are typically advertised by NHS Talking Therapies services on NHS jobs websites or equivalent. Please keep an eye on these websites for posts and updates on future intakes.

If you are a prospective student and would like to apply for this course:

Our PGDip Psychological Therapies Practice (High Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) programme is aimed at experienced healthcare professionals working with mental health patients. If you are currently working in an NHS Talking Therapies Service we advise that you speak to your manager about courses available to you. If you are a healthcare professional not working in an NHS Talking Therapies service we recommend you refer to the NHS Talking Therapies website for further details. 

If you are a manager and would like to submit a candidate for this course:


Selection processes including shortlisting and interviews are carried out jointly between NHS Talking Therapies services and the University. As such, successful applicants will be required to meet the requirements of the employing service’s job description and person specification and the University entry requirements listed below.

Our hope is that an Exeter trainee will maintain and advance the standards of High Intensity CBT while providing excellent service to clients, carers and colleagues within their NHS Talking Therapies services. In partnership with the recruiting NHS Talking Therapies services, we therefore want to attract and select trainees who have the required competencies, as well as being able to demonstrate that their values and behaviours align with the values of the NHS Constitution.

Equal opportunities

Also in partnership with the recruiting services, our Programme is committed to Equal Opportunities for prospective HI trainees. We welcome trainees from diverse cultural and personal contexts, mature applicants with extensive life experience, and applicants with disabilities. Trainees will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, age, disability, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, religion or belief.

Candidates with disabilities are welcome to contact us to discuss the programme's capacity to meet their training needs. Please contact the Programme Administrator or the university Accessibility department for further details.

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UK/EU fees per year:

£10,745 (2019/20)


We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students. This includes over £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*.

For more information on scholarships, please visit our scholarships and bursaries page.

*Selected programmes only. Please see the Terms and Conditions for each scheme for further details.

Teaching and research

Teaching consists of full and half day workshops and group tutorials. Sessions include role-play, practical exercises and small group discussions. There will also be regular supervision sessions with University supervisors. Guided independent study is expected to take place.

Types of assessments include:

  • case reports
  • self-practice/self-reflection tasks and blog
  • recorded CTSR sessions with reflective summaries
  • essays
  • case presentations
  • and a clinical portfolio.

Some students will be required to complete a KSA portfolio prior to the course beginning. 


This programme is training people already in a career within the NHS or NHS Talking Therapies service. It will provide you with an outstanding opportunity to develop your competencies and knowledge associated with practice as a Practitioner.

A strong emphasis throughout the programme is placed upon your personal and professional development.

Advantages of the programme are that:

  • You will study within a vibrant, stimulating and internationally-recognised research environment, where members of your teaching team have first-hand experience within the clinical setting.
  • Your learning experience will be enriched by nationally-recognised, innovative, clinical teaching approaches, designed to develop you on your terms.