MSc 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.

The program is entirely conducted online, eliminating the need for any travel. Course content is delivered through our virtual learning environment, utilising the latest version of Moodle, the globally renowned content management system for education. The weekly commitments are around 12 hours per week and include reading and watching course materials, participating in forums at your convenience, and attending a one-hour live seminar with your group (scheduled collaboratively among group members and facilitated by a tutor). Throughout each module, you will receive guidance and support from an experienced tutor.

The programme aims to:

  • Familiarise students with the range of interdisciplinary ideas and theories that are common among psychotherapy modalities and enable students to critically evaluate the ideas encountered.
  • Develop expertise in existential philosophy and psychotherapy.
  • Develop an advanced ability to communicate theoretical understanding from a variety of perspectives and critically apply this understanding to themselves and their work with others, particularly the therapeutic relationship.
  • Deepen knowledge and the ability to apply accurate and appropriate interpersonal, ethical, and cultural sensitivity and empathic understanding.
  • Develop research skills relevant to psychotherapy theory and practice.


Application Deadlines:

  • January Cohorts - application deadline is the 30th November
  • September Cohorts - application deadline is the 1st August

This course follows the Middlesex Research Degree Regulations available here:

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 Perspectives on Human Issues

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

Assignment: 2000 word essay

  • Theories of Personal Change

This module provides students with an opportunity to develop an individual understanding of personal change. Furthermore, the module critically evaluates the modern concept of personality as an explanation for many Western theories of personal change.

Assignment: 2000 word essay

  • Wellbeing and Health

This module provides 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.

Assignment: 2000 word essay

  • Development Through the Lifespan

This module provides 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 and psychotherapy. Development stage theories will be evaluated in the context of the existential reflections on the purpose of development and an unfolding project.

Assignment: 2000 word essay

  • Overview of Research Methods

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

Assignment: 2000 word research proposal

  • Conflict and Reconciliation

This module provides 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.

Assignment: 2000 word essay

  • 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. This module will also ask students to consider how we encounter difference which is essential in building awareness of unconscious bias and in developing cultural competence.

Assignment: 2000 word essay


  • Research Supervision and Final Project (15,000 words)

Beginning with an asynchronous online course to narrow down a research topic and find a supervisor, 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 produce a well-written final research project of 15,000 words to Masters’ standards, which contributes to the literature. Research projects can either be based on the literature or students are able to conduct a small scale study interviewing around 3 participants.

Optional Modules

During your course programme, you are able to choose one elective module from the modules listed below.

  • Working with Disability and Aging

Successful completion of this module will lead to a reduction of discriminatory opinions and practices towards people with disability or people who are older; an enhanced ability to change the discriminatory opinions and attitudes of others; an enhanced ability to collaborate with people with disability or people of an older age; and the ability to train others to provide a more enabling environment, including making reasonable adjustments for disability or age-related limitations. 

Assignment: 2000 word essay

  • Working with Ethnic, Racial, Religious, and Other Cultural Differences

Race and ethnicity are some of the most refractory sources of discrimination and inequality having their origins in ancient justifications for slavery, enlightenment justifications for colonialism, and more modern pseudo-biology fuelled by the eugenics movement.  Implausible racial differences have justified wars, genocide, hatred, atrocities, persecution, and oppression, not to say structural inequalities. The aim of the module is to undermine these categorizations in order to replace them with more complex ones that enable the student, of whatever ethnicity or culture, to face up to their own racist presumptions. In the process, the student will learn more about the religious, pseudo-scientific, and cultural resistance to accepting the facts about ethnicity, race, religion, and culture, ensuring that on qualification, the student may effectively train others in overcoming discriminatory practices towards people who are from diverse ethnicities or religious backgrounds. 

Assignment: 2000 word essay

  • Gender, Sex and Sexuality.

The aim of this module to explore contemporary theories of gender, sex and sexuality recognising the range and complexity of current debates around these topics.  These topics will be explored through a cultural, biological and social lens and from a phenomenological perspective. By the end of the module students will be able to effectively challenge themselves and others to overcome discriminatory practices around sex, sexuality or gender. 

Assignment: 2000 word essay

  • Ethical Dilemmas and Ethical Practice

This module will cover both philosophical and practical aspects of ethical practice, and teach students how to deal with the various ethical dilemmas that might be encountered in their professions. On a philosophical level, students will refresh their knowledge about different approaches to ethics (e.g. utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics) that have been taught in the social, culture and ethics module and will explore these using thought experiments to evaluate their own philosophical position and understand their ethical boundaries.

Assignment: 2000 word essay

  • 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.

Accreditation and Careers

This course is suited to those who already have a professional qualification such as the UKCP, BACP, NCS or COSCA and who wish to add a Master’s degree to their qualifications and develop their knowledge further.

However, it is also suited to those who are meeting the training requirements of other training organisations or who have some experience in psychotherapy, counselling, advice, or guidance work

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 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.

Fees 2024-25

Year of course 

Units to be completed in year 

Fee payable per year  

(if no units have to be repeated) 

5 units over 3 terms 


6 units over 3 terms 



Validated Courses Additional Charges  

Application Fee 

£50 non-refundable 

Acceptance Deposit 

£100 which will be deducted from the initial invoice when you start the course. It is non-refundable if you do not start. 


Fee is only applicable if your claim for prior learning is approved and will replace the tuition fee for that unit. 

£200 per submission 

Instalment Plan 

£20 per Unit 

Late changes to Course Plan  


Professional registration 

At own expense  


At own expense 


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

Entry Requirements

  • A second-class first degree in any subject or an equivalent professional qualification
  • Practical experience in psychotherapy, counselling, advice, or guidance work, alternatively the student must be in training as a counsellor, psychotherapeutic counsellor or psychotherapist, as appropriate to their chosen training route.
  • Personal suitability, to be demonstrated at interview and through personal statement
  • If the student has not studied in English, then evidence of English language ability is needed on the application. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is needed (with minimum 6.0 in all components).
  • Recognition of prior learning (RPL) and accreditation of prior experience and learning (APEL) is permitted.

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

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.

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

MIddlesex University