Postgraduate study

Psychotherapy and Counselling DPsychotherapy

Awards: DPsychotherapy

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Programme website: Psychotherapy and Counselling

The Doctorate in Psychotherapy and Counselling is an advanced professional training, meeting recognised standards for psychotherapy and counselling training and education.

Designed to meet the needs of both international and UK full time and part time students, the programme provides a route to a qualification in psychotherapy and counselling at doctoral level.

Qualification to practise

It contains a recognised qualification to practise as a psychotherapist or counsellor, and combines theoretical insights from the psychodynamic and person-centred traditions with practical experience gained in a range of psychotherapy and counselling agencies and advanced research engagement.

Learning experience

Studying at a world-class institution, you will benefit from outstanding resources to support your learning on this established and recognised programme.

Learning is facilitated by core tutors who are experienced practitioners of counselling and psychotherapy, as well as by clinical tutors and practice supervisors who help students reflect on their therapeutic work.

Practice experience

A distinctive feature of this programme is the opportunity to gain practice experience at a range of counselling agencies, including our own dedicated placement agency, Hope Park Counselling Centre, one of very few such research and practice centres in the UK.

This doctoral degree incorporates professional validation within the field of counselling and psychotherapy. It is offered full time over four years or part time over seven years.

The programme provides academic support and close supervision of practice and research, in line with professional and academic requirements.

The programme also allows for alternative exit awards for students who are unable to complete either the academic or the professional components of the programme.

Students who successfully complete the Doctorate in Psychotherapy and Counselling will:

  • be reflective, self-aware, safe, accountable, competent and experienced counsellors and psychotherapists
  • have a sound knowledge base of theories and research on the development of the person, group process, therapeutic relationships and processes, and the role of counselling and psychotherapy in society
  • possess highly developed and transferable interpersonal, conceptual and analytical skills, including critical thinking, self-evaluation and research skills
  • have specialist knowledge and expertise within a selected area of practice-based research and scholarship
  • be well-placed to take up positions in the professional practice field and the field of professional education in counselling and psychotherapy

The Professional Doctorate of Psychotherapy and Counselling is the highest level of qualification available in this area.

It enables graduates to practise as counsellors or therapists in the UK, and in other countries with equivalent professional and academic standards.

Graduates will be in a position to gain positions such as:

  • practitioners
  • counselling educators
  • managers
  • academics working in a range of settings - including private, statutory and voluntary or non-government sectors

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.

For full time students this is an accelerated professional training programme, which requires entrants to be both personally and professionally suitable for counselling training and ready to begin counselling practice within six months of programme commencement. The entrance requirements therefore combine personal suitability requirements with professional experience and academic requirements.

UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a subject relevant to counselling and psychotherapy. You should also have substantial relevant experience of working in helping roles in counselling or a cognate area, such as education, social work, nursing, mental health practice, applied psychology or equivalent.

In exceptional circumstances, we will also consider a UK 2:2 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a subject relevant to counselling and psychotherapy with evidence confirming your aptitude for study at doctoral level. Such evidence may include a strong performance in postgraduate education, academic references or research experience.

If your undergraduate degree is not relevant to counselling and psychotherapy, you may be admitted at the discretion of the programme director as long as you meet the personal and professional suitability and relevant experience requirements laid down by the British professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy.

As this is a professional training programme, students are subject to the University's Fitness to Practise policies and processes.

Entry to the full-time programme is subject to passing the professional suitability interview. For the part-time programme, progression from Year 1 to Year 2 is subject to passing the professional suitability interview.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups

All successful applicants will be required to join Disclosure Scotland's Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme before starting the programme. In addition, all applicants who don't live in the UK, or who have spent more than a year abroad, will need to provide equivalent verification from the relevant national authority.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Additional programme costs

Professional supervision

Students on the DPsychotherapy programme are required to undertake a minimum of 40 hours of professional supervision in relation to their placement practice.

You may need to pay for this supervision of your counselling practice.

See the programme website for further information:

Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

Tuition fees

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Health in Social Science
  • Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG

Full-time applicants

There are two stages to the application process.

Stage one requires you to submit an online application.

More information about the stage two application process, and all deadline dates, can be found on the programme website.

Part-time applicants

Applicants for the part-time professional doctorate follow a different process. Applicants should complete the online application only.

If accepted onto the programme, you will be invited to complete the stage two application during your first year of study. Full information about the stage two process is provided at the start of the second semester of study.

Please submit your stage one application online.

Full-time applicants who are selected following stage one will be invited to proceed to stage two. The relevant documentation for stage two will be emailed to those applicants.

Stage two allows us to assess professional and personal suitability for the programme. You will be asked to provide a personal statement and a professional reference. Stage two also includes an interview which will be conducted online.

More information about the stage two application process, and all deadline dates, can be found on the programme website.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Health in Social Science
  • Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG