Advanced Practice in Psychological Wellbeing Grad Cert

Key information

Start date: May 2022

Attendance dates:

To be confirmed

Time commitment: 12 months


Six face-to-face taught days at: Stag Hill campus, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH

23 days remote learning

Why choose this course?

This course will introduce you to the assessment and treatment of patients with mild to moderate common mental health difficulties in a clinical setting. We’ll give you the skills to add value and make a real difference to patients' lives using evidence-based talking therapies.

Our teaching has been designed to meet the requirements of the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) standards for the education of Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners, and our clinical placements will give you hands-on experience in putting theory into practice.

The course is underpinned by the following core NHS values:

  • Commitment to quality of care
  • Compassion
  • Everyone counts
  • Improving people’s lives
  • Respect and dignity for all
  • Working together for patients.

On successful completion of this course, you’ll have the academic requirements needed to practice as a psychological wellbeing practitioner.

This course is ideal if you’re looking for a career change and have experience of working in a healthcare setting.

What you will study

You’ll learn how to effectively assess and treat patients presenting with mild to moderate mental health difficulties, using a range of low intensity cognitive behavioural therapy informed interventions. You’ll develop your competencies as a reflective practitioner who can critically engage with literature.

You’ll gain an appreciation of diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism, to enable you to effectively operate in an inclusive value driven service, that promotes recovery, and recognises and respects diversity.

We’ll prepare you for clinical settings by supporting you to explore the personal impact of working with clients in distress and the associated ethical concerns.

Course location

Study days

There will be six face-to-face taught days at the University of Surrey Stag Hill campus and the other 23 days will be remote.

Clinical placements

You’ll complete a clinical placement as part of this course. This will typically be in an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service in the local area, where you’re employed.


Examinations will be conducted remotely.


Our facilities have recently undergone a £5 million investment, giving you access to the latest equipment, including a six-room virtual reality suite to simulate real-life scenarios, and two observation labs. As one of our students, you’ll get access to 20 bookable project rooms, a breakout space, equipment lockers and a computer lab. 

Teaching staff

We have an evidence-based and clinical-led focus to our teaching, ensuring everything you learn is up-to-date and relevant to NHS employers. You’ll be taught by a team of experienced clinicians, including senior psychological wellbeing practitioners, high intensity therapists, clinical and counselling psychologists, and psychotherapists.

Class size

Our class sizes are typically 50 trainees.

Professional recognition

Grad Cert
Successful completion of the course makes you eligible for registration with the British Psychological Society (BPS) as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner. The programme is accredited by the BPS.

Careers and graduate prospects

We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.

The Department of Health’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme (IAPT) looks to improve access to evidence-based talking therapies in the NHS and other qualified healthcare providers, through the continuous growth of the psychological therapy workforce and services. As a graduate of this course, you’ll become part of this workforce.

On successful completion of this course, you’ll have the academic requirements needed to register to practise as a psychological wellbeing practitioner. Our alumni can be found working for NHS trusts and mental health organisations throughout the UK.

Course leader

Placeholder image for staff profile

Dr Laura Driesen

Senior teaching fellow & programme lead (advanced practice in psychological wellbeing)

Course structure

The programme is full-time. University taught days are typically Wednesdays and Thursdays and trainees are expected to attend 100% of teaching. Trainees are on placement on non-university days. Towards the end of the programme, the number of taught days reduce and placement days increase. 


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.

Important: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the 2020/21 academic year. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach. View detailed information on the changes.

The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:


A timetable is typically available one month prior to the course start date. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF)


Day-to-day learning

Your teaching will be delivered through a combination of:

  • Group work e.g. discussion groups
  • Lectures
  • Online learning
  • Role plays
  • Tutorials.

Outside of these, you’ll be expected to carry out independent study, including coursework, essays, reading and self-reflection activities.

When you’re out on placement

Throughout your placement, you’ll have a supervisor, who is a senior clinician. They'll guide you through your experience and feed into your evidence portfolio.

Your learning and development will be promoted through a combination of:

  • Observation
  • Supervised practice
  • Shadowing.

You’ll be expected to keep a log of your clinical activity and your supervision.

There may be occasions when the delivery of your teaching is supported by postgraduate research students. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.


We use a variety of methods to assess you, including coursework, an observed structured clinical examination, audio recordings of your clinical work, an oral presentation, essays and a written examination. When you’re out on placement, your clinical competence will be assessed by your supervisors.

Modules are assessed individually, and credits are awarded for the successful completion of each one. Check individual module information to see full details at a module level.

Contact hours

Check individual module information to see full details at a module level.

Entry requirements

Students will normally hold a previously accumulated credit volume of 120 FHEQ Level 5 credits and 120 FHEQ Level 4 credits. Students should be working, or have recent experience, in a relevant healthcare setting. If candidates do not have this, they might be able to apply for recognition of prior experience and learning if they have a minimum of three passes at GCE A Level (not including General Studies or Critical Thinking) or an equivalent qualification.

The course only accepts people who have secured a position as a trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner in a local IAPT service. Services often advertise posts months in advance on local and national websites e.g.

Fees and funding

NHS commissioned course

Current trainees are full-time salaried employees.

What these fees include

Tuition fees for eligible trainees are paid by Health Education England. No self-funded trainees are accepted onto the programme.

Additional costs

There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. 

  • Travelling expenses such as those incurred for travelling between their placement provider and the university. 
  • General programme related costs such as study materials. 

How to apply

All applicants should apply directly though the local IAPT service providers with joint interviews taking place with University programme staff.

We are unable to consider direct individual applications.

Please look out for advertisements for this role in the relevant service providers’ websites or NHS jobs website.

Once you have been recruited by a service provider, you will be automatically gain a place on this course at the University of Surrey.

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations and our terms and conditions. You are also confirming you have read and understood the University's prospective student privacy notice.

Further details of our terms and conditions will follow.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the commencement of the course. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.