Why choose this course
- Be introduced to the assessment and treatment of patients with mild to moderate common mental health difficulties and acquire the skills to add value and make a real difference to patients' lives using evidence-based talking therapies.
- Spend part of your training in clinical placements to practise your skills in healthcare settings under the supervision of qualified practitioners.
- Study a syllabus designed to meet the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) programme accreditation standards for the education of psychological wellbeing practitioners, and underpinned by the following core NHS values:
- Commitment to quality of care
- Everyone counts
- Improving people’s lives
- Respect and dignity for all
- Working together for patients.
- Get the academic requirements needed to register with the BPS as a psychological wellbeing practitioner.
- Embark on a career change using your existing experience working in a healthcare setting.
What you will study
You’ll learn how to effectively treat patients presenting with common mental health difficulties using a range of low intensity cognitive behavioural-based interventions. You’ll develop your competencies as a reflective practitioner who’s able to critically engage with literature.
You’ll gain an appreciation of diversity, inclusion and multi-culturalism to support you to effectively work in an inclusive value driven service. We’ll prepare you for clinical settings by introducing you to the personal impact of working with clients in distress and the associated ethical concerns.
You’ll complete a clinical placement as part of this course. This will usually be with an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service in the local area, where you’ll typically be employed. Throughout your placement, you’ll have a supervisor who’s a senior clinician. They'll guide you through your experience and feed into your evidence portfolio. You’ll be evaluated on your clinical competence as part of your practical learning experiences.
Our facilities have recently undergone a £5m investment, giving you access to the latest equipment, including a six-room virtual reality suite to simulate real-life scenarios and two observation labs. You’ll also have access to 20 bookable project rooms, a breakout space, equipment lockers and a computer lab.
You’ll be taught by a team of experienced clinicians, including senior psychological wellbeing practitioners, clinical and counselling psychologists, and psychotherapists. This will help to ensure that everything you learn is up-to-date and relevant to employers.
Your university-based teaching will be delivered through a combination of:
- Group work (e.g. discussion groups)
- Online learning
- Role plays
Outside of these, you’ll be expected to carry out independent study, including coursework, essays (remotely) and reading.
When you’re on placement
Your teaching will be delivered through a combination of:
- Supervised practice
You’ll be expected to keep a log of your clinical activity and supervision.
There may be occasions when the delivery of your teaching is supported by graduate teaching assistants. 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 your competence. These include 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.
Check individual module information to see full details at a module level.
Our class sizes are typically up to 60 trainees.
PGCert - British Psychological Society (BPS)
Accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) against the requirements for qualification as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner.
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. Our graduates have lifetime access to Surrey Pathfinder, our online portal for appointment and events bookings, jobs, placements and interactive development tools.
The Department of Health’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme looks to improve access to evidence-based talking therapies within the NHS and through other qualified healthcare providers, by continuous growth of the psychological therapy workforce and its services. As a graduate of this course, you’ll become part of this workforce.
On successful completion of this course, you’ll be eligible to register your qualification with the British Psychological Society (BPS) to work as a psychological wellbeing practitioner. 99% of our psychology graduates go on to employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes survey 2020, HESA). Our alumni work for NHS trusts and mental health organisations throughout the UK.
Learn more about psychology careers on the BPS website.
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 revised its courses to incorporate the ‘Hybrid Learning Experience’ in a departure from previous academic years and previously published information. The University has changed the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes. Further information on the general principles of hybrid learning can be found at: Hybrid learning experience | University of Surrey.
We have updated key module information regarding the pattern of assessment and overall student workload to inform student module choices. We are currently working on bringing remaining published information up to date to reflect current practice in time for the start of the academic year 2022/23 This means that some information within the programme and module catalogue will be subject to change. Current students are invited to contact their Programme Leader or Academic Hive with any questions relating to the information available.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45, 75 and 120 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:
Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Teaching takes place on a Wednesday and Thursday and you’ll be in practice for the remaining days of the week. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.
While many PWPs are psychology graduates this is not a necessity. Applications are welcomed from people with experience working in mental health or similar services who may not have been in education recently. Services will also have individual person specifications you are required to meet. For further details please visit the NHS careers website.
Accumulated credit volume of 360 FHEQ Level 4-6 credits (achieved to 2:1), of which at least 120 will be at FHEQ Level 6. Students should be working/ have recent experience in a relevant healthcare setting.
Other entry requirements: Each student that is employed by the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service is subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) Section 4 (2) (Exemptions) Order 1975 and DHSS Circular HC (88)9 guidelines regarding police checks and child protection.
Students will normally hold a previously accumulated credit volume of 120 FHEQ Level 5 credits and 120FHEQ Level 4 credits. Students should be working/ have recent experience in a relevant healthcare setting. Students who do not have the above academic profile should seek advice as it may not exclude them from applying for our modules and programmes of study. However, in this case the trainee will need a minimum of three passes at GCE A Level (not including General Studies or Critical Thinking) or an equivalent qualification (having been provisionally offered a job in an IAPT service) and they will need to go through the university's accreditation of prior experience and learning process to check that they are able to demonstrate their ability to work at the appropriate academic level. Part of this will involve writing an academic essay. Please contact the Admissions team to discuss this further if this applies to you.
All applicants should have experience working with people with mental health problems and have a desire to empower people to manage their difficulties. You will have good organisation skills to manage the high volume caseload. Additionally you will be able to communicate clearly verbally and in writing to patients, carers and other professionals.
International entry requirements by country
Do I meet the requirements for this course?
We require you to submit a full application so that we can formally assess whether you meet the criteria published. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an outcome based on an enquiry (via email, webform enquiry, phone or live chat).
English language requirements
Academic IELTS: 6.5 overall including 6.0 in each category.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
Application link is provided to apply post internal trust interview with University of Surrey representative. Applicants should apply through NHS jobs initially.
The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.
Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.
Start date: May 2022
Full-time - 1 year
UK To be confirmed
Overseas To be confirmed
Start date: October 2022
Full-time - 1 year
UK To be confirmed
Overseas To be confirmed
- These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2022-23 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually.
- If you are on a two-year full-time Euromasters or MFA programme, or a two-year or three-year part-time masters programme (excluding modular/self-paced/distance learning), the annual fee is payable in Year 1 and Year 2 of the programme.
- Annual fees will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements.
The full cost of tuition fees for eligible trainees are paid by Health Education England.
Scholarships and bursaries
We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.
How to apply
All applicants should apply directly though the local IAPT service providers with joint interviews taking place with University programme staff. There are two cohorts per year that typically start in May and September.
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 the PCT/service provider, you will be automatically sent to the University of Surrey for training on the above course.
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. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View an example of our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will generally be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course and changes for the specific academic year.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. 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.
Further, 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 academic year 2022/23. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach during 2022/23. Detailed information on all changes is available at our dedicated course changes webpage. This webpage sets out information relating to general University changes, and will also direct you to consider additional information relating to specific programmes.
Campus locationStag Hill
Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught.
You’ll be expected to attend clinical placements off campus. Please see the placements section for more details.
You’ll have 6 face-to-face teaching days at our Stag Hill campus in Guildford. For the remaining 23 teaching days, you’ll study remotely.