MSc in Psychotherapy Studies

Course Description

The MSc in Psychotherapy Studies is a unique, online programme designed to provide in-depth theoretical knowledge about the practice of psychotherapy. This course is based on an existential approach which is first and foremost philosophical. It is concerned with the understanding of people’s position in the world and with the clarification of what it means to be alive. Existential psychotherapists are committed to exploring issues of truth and meaning with a receptive attitude, rather than a dogmatic one. As such, this programme explores psychotherapy and counselling widely and deeply, by considering the research evidence in related fields of psychology, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and medical science.

Professor Digby Tantam and Professor Emmy van Deurzen created the programme alongside other colleagues at NSPC in 2003 and new units have been added and old units revised continuously since then. The programme has been taught in 13 Universities, in 11 different European countries, and 10 training institutes with the teachers being taught and supervised by NSPC staff. 600 students have been enrolled so far, from 38 countries around the world.

The programme is wholly online and so no travel is required. Material is presented on our virtual learning environment based on the latest version of Moodle, the most widely used content management system for education in the world. There has been substantial research on the impact of the programme, and on students’ satisfaction with it that have shown that even students who have little previous experience of using the internet have been able to make use of the online materials, particularly as they are backed up by intensive online tutoring. Students have been more satisfied with the programme than with comparable face to face programmes.

For further information on possible learning adaptions we can offer neurodivergent students and students with a disability or chronic health condition, contact [email protected]

Programme of Study

Modules are self-contained in that they can be taken in any order during your programme (dependent on the term in which you begin the programme).

Existential & Human Issues

This module will provide students with an overview of the existential approach and the philosophical and psychological underpinnings of human values, meaning and creative responses to anxiety.

Wellbeing and Health

This module will provide students with an understanding of the role of positive psychology and other theoretical approaches to well-being within an overall strategy of improvement of quality of living.

Development Through the Lifespan

To provide an overview of developmental theories, demonstrating how physical, emotional, cognitive, and social development interact and how theories of development, and developmental stages, can be applied to counselling psychology. Development stage theories will be evaluated in the context of the existential reflections on the purpose of development and an unfolding project.

 Overview of Research Methods

This module will provide an understanding of the contribution of research to the growth of knowledge and the effectiveness of practice. It will give the student a grounding in research approaches, with particular attention to the strengths and weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative approaches.

Conflict and Reconciliation

This module will provide students with a typology of conflict and conflict resolution. Students will consider methods of conflict resolution or termination through mediation, reconciliation, therapy, arbitration, legal force, and murder or genocide.

Social, Cultural and Ethical Issues

This module will enable students to be able to make appropriate decisions about consent, confidentiality, discrimination, exploitation, fairness, duty of care, and other ethical and moral quandaries in professional practice.

Theories of Personal Change

This module will enable students to develop a common theory of personal change, with special relevance to psychotherapy, counselling, coaching, and self-development. Studies will also identify the aims and methods of some of the main Western approaches to symptomatic, short-term, motivational, and longer-term psychotherapies. Finally students will critically evaluate the modern concept of personality as an explanation for many Western theories of personal change.

Research Supervision and Final Project (15,000 words)

NSPC will provide supervision of the student’s independent research towards their final project. Students will research an aspect of Psychotherapy Studies that is of personal and professional interest to them and to produce a well written final project of 15.000 words to Masters’ standards, which makes a contribution to the psychotherapy literature.

Accreditation and Careers

This programme is quality assured by Middlesex University (subject to review) and you will receive a Middlesex award on successful completion. You can view the Middlesex Research Degree Regulations here.

On its own, the programme is not a practice qualification and will not confer registration with a counselling or psychotherapy regulatory body. However, it does form part of the Existential Academy’s Existential Training Pathway which leads to accreditation as an Existential Psychotherapist with the UKCP. More details about this can be found here:

This course is also suited to those who already have a professional qualification with UKCP or BACP and who wish to add a Master’s degree to their qualifications and develop their knowledge further. It may also be suitable for those who are meeting the training requirements of other training organizations.

Fees 2023-24

Year of course 

Units to be completed in year 

Fee payable per year  

(if no units have to be repeated) 

4 units over 3 terms 


7 units over 3 terms 



Per submission 


*NB Students may want to buy books from our recommended reading list. 

There is a £50 non-refundable application fee for all courses, to cover administrative costs. An interview with a member of the course staff will only be arranged once this has been received.   

A registration Fee of £150 will be paid when you accept your place on the course. This is non- refundable. 

For a more detailed list of financial terms and conditions please click here.

Please note : Students on validated programmes are not eligible for Student Finance or DSA

Entry Requirements

  • An undergraduate degree in any subject (equivalent experience may be acceptable)
  • Fluent English: IELTS level 7 or above in all categories (or equivalent)
  • Personal suitability to be determined at interview
  • Reliable internet connection

How You Study

The programme is delivered completely online and no travel is required. Each week you will be required to read material and you will be required to post in forums (in your own time) and attend a one-hour live seminar with the rest of your group (organised between group members and facilitated by a tutor). For each module you will be supported by an experienced tutor.

Research supervision is provided from year 2 and can be done in a number of ways depending on what best suits both student and supervisor, but usually takes the form of email and video chat.

Students may take up to 4 years to complete should they need additional time.

It is possible to exit the programme early with either a PGCert or PGDip award, however, this may affect professional registration and you will need to check the requirements of your regulatory body.

Words from Our Graduates

I am so thrilled and so grateful to have done this course. I got so much out of it.

Everyone was so helpful and responsive and the reading suggestions and materials were so interesting.

I hope to continue a relationship with you all.

Graduate of the PGDip in Psychotherapy Studies

MIddlesex University