Psychological Intervention: IPT (Interpersonal Psychotherapy) MSc

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Why Surrey?

Our stimulating MSc in Psychological Intervention: IPT (Interpersonal Psychotherapy) offers flexible training for individuals who want to become qualified Interpersonal Psychotherapists.

Our programme will develop your theoretical understanding of mental health issues, equip you with skills in working with the IPT model, enable you to work effectively with clients, and give you the opportunity to conduct research in the theory or practice of IPT.

This is delivered through a rich range of learning experiences, including the opportunity to integrate theory with practice. This ensures that, as a graduate of this programme, you are able to provide a high quality therapy to service users.

Programme overview

Our School of Psychology has a reputation for providing high quality IPT training to therapists who are already in practice and want to add this model to their repertoire.

This Psychological Intervention MSc programme has been designed to be responsive to the needs of people who do not already have a therapy qualification who aspire to become qualified practitioner in a NICE-recommended psychological therapy.

The programme meets an identified training need for therapists in this specific approach. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend IPT as a treatment for depression and eating disorders and IPT has also been part of the Government’s provision to increase the availability of talking therapies through the Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT provision).

At present, our programme is the only programme in the UK that offers the opportunity for appropriately experienced individuals with no previous therapy qualification to undertake IPT training.

Programme structure

This programme is studied part-time over three academic years. Students with equivalent/sufficient qualifications/credits will be able to join the programme at year two or three.

The full MSc three year (part-time) programme comprises of nine modules with a total of 180 credits.

The first year comprises of four modules of 15 credits each. Each module comprises of 150 hours of learning, including student contact, private study, skills practice either on placement or in the classroom and assessment. In order to achieve the Postgraduate Certificate in Psychological Intervention: IPC (Interpersonal Counselling) students must complete all four modules and complete 60 credits at FHEQ Level 7.

In order to achieve the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Intervention: IPT (Interpersonal Psychotherapy) students must complete 120 credits at FHEQ Level 7. The second year comprises of three modules, two of 15 credits each and one of 30 credits. The 30 credit module includes a substantial allocation of student learning time to placement activities.

In order to achieve the Masters in Psychological Intervention: IPT (Interpersonal Psychotherapy), students must complete 180 credits at FHEQ Level 7. The third year comprises of two modules, a 15 credit module in Research methods and a dissertation module of 45 credits.

In order for students to progress they must achieve a minimum average of 50 per cent.

Example module listing

Year one

  • Psychological Theory and the Fundamentals of Adult Mental Health
  • The Therapeutic Relationship
  • Introduction to Assessment, intervention and Ending Skills
  • Supervision of Client Work

Year two

  • IPT Theoretical and Research base: client groups; modes of delivery; adaptations
  • Clinical Practice in IPT
  • Supervision of Client Work: IPT

Year three

  • Quantitative Research methods
  • Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Research project


Specialist knowledge relevant to the subject area will be delivered using a variety of methods, including lectures, experiential workshops, micro skills teaching, audio-recording reviews, clinical supervision, group discussions, and through the interaction of the student with coursework assignments. 

Clinical practice with application of their learning to client work will be supervised closely and students will be required to keep a log of their clinical activity as well as supervisory activity and will be evaluated on their clinical competence.

Students who have access to clients in their ongoing job role whilst studying may incorporate part of this work as their practice placement, subject to agreement with their manager and the University. Otherwise students will be supported to obtain a suitable practice placement.

The strength of this programme lies in the integration of classroom learning and clinical practice learning and development. The personal impact of working with clients presenting with distress will be explored as well as ethical issues. Students will develop their skills in applying theory and technique to real life client situations in supervision sessions at the University via discussion and micro-teaching.

The feedback process is designed to be ongoing, in that comments and reflections from these sessions will provide an escalator of personal learning for the student.  At critical points there will be summative learning points to provide a marker for the student as to their progress against the benchmark standards being expected.  Formative and summative feedback will be provided as appropriate to help students develop their skills in these areas of practice.

The associated research evidence bases will be integrated into all aspects of the teaching. 

In the final year, students will receive individual supervision for the research project during which they will receive one-to one support and guidance in the development of their research skills.

Educational aims of the programme

The first year of this programme will enable professionals to develop core counselling skills in IPT (IPC) to enhance their effectiveness with clients, further their psychological skills and increase their understanding of mental health issues. The second year (PGDip) leads to a full therapy qualification. The third and final year (MSc) is a research year which results in a Master’s qualification.

Programme learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  • Have an understanding of psychiatric classification and of those conditions most frequently met in clinical practice
  • Understand the role of medication in the treatment of mental health problems
  • Understand the difference between the therapeutic alliance, the real relationship and the transference relationship and their contribution to the therapeutic relationship
  • Understand their own relationship to and work with difference and diversity
  • Understand the function of the therapeutic frame
  • Develop a critical understanding of Attachment Theory and its derivatives as it is applied to IPT
  • Understand the neurological underpinnings of psychopathology
  • Understand the role of social factors in the development of mental health problems
  • Have knowledge of and critically evaluate the research base in IPT
  • Undertake IPT clinical practice as a qualified IPT practitioner
  • Provide students with philosophical knowledge underlying qualitative psychological research
  • Provide students with knowledge of a range of qualitative approaches to data collection and data analysis
  • To give the opportunity to students to apply qualitative research methods knowledge to a topic
  • Develop qualitative research question/s

Intellectual / cognitive skills

  • Critically assess different models of the underpinnings of psychological health
  • Understand the role of Attachment and Attachment Theory in the development and treatment of mental health difficulties
  • Understand how the brain is structured and the impact of early experience on its development
  • Understand the role of Social and Lifespan theories in the development and treatment of mental health difficulties
  • Have knowledge of and critically evaluate the research base and individual studies in IPT
  • Identify appropriate methods of data collection and data analysis to help answer the research question/s
  • Conduct a qualitative interview and other sources of data collection

Professional practical skills

  • Select appropriate clients and plan an intervention
  • Undertake completed pieces of time-limited (short-term) interpersonal clinical interventions under supervision
  • Use the Interpersonal Counselling (IPC) model to deliver complete short therapeutic interventions
  • Manage challenges in the therapeutic relationship
  • Facilitate clients in developing and maintaining a strong therapeutic relationship
  • To use appropriate measures to evaluate the success of treatment
  • Understand and work within the professional context of psychological therapy, including ethical practice
  • Be able to use Attachment Theory to guide clinical interventions in IPT
  • Use Social and Lifespan Theories to guide clinical interventions in IPT
  • Enable students to undertake an IPT assessment including diagnosis, suitability for treatment and therapeutic needs
  • Enable students to use the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised Questionnaire (ECR-R) to inform IPT formulation and interventions
  • Make links between their theoretical understanding of IPT and its clinical practice to guide interventions
  • Enable students to formulate within the bio-psycho-social model used in IPT
  • Enable students to select and appropriately use the strategies and techniques of IPT interventions, including working with affect and the therapeutic relationship
  • Enable students to prepare the client for the end of therapy
  • Use the concepts and skills of the IPT model to support the structure and delivery of IPT interventions including assessment, clinical interventions and ending
  • Develop the therapeutic competences required to deliver model-adherent IPT through the supervision of casework
  • Understand and work within the professional framework within which they work, including understanding the role of supervision
  • Understand the requirements of and work within their chosen professional context
  • Practice IPT as a reflective practitioner
  • Analyse qualitative data
  • Write a qualitative research report

Key / transferable skills

  • To reflect on their development as a psychological practitioner
  • Enable students to reflect on their work and development as an IPT therapist
  • Reflect on their development as an IPT practitioner and use that reflection to critically evaluate four pieces of clinical work
  • Reflect on challenges faced in clinical work and their relationship to the organisations in which they work
  • Evaluate critically qualitative research
  • Reflect critically on personal interpretative framework

Professional recognition

The course is designed in order to meet the accreditation requirements of a well-known professional counselling body. Because this is a new programme, the accreditation process will take place after the first cohort has completed. If successful, accreditation is awarded retrospectively thus allowing the first cohort of students to become a registered with this professional body.

Recognition is also being sought from IPT-UK, the organisation that accredits therapists in this particular model of therapy.

Additional costs

There are associated costs with this programme:

  • General/ programme additional costs: £2300 approx. - Trainees will be expected to pay separately for individual supervision of three of the four pieces of IPT client work they will undertake in the Diploma year. 

Grand total: £2300 approx.



Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Part-time Sep 2017 £4,750 £9,500

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/2018 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Related departments/schools

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Programme leader

Ms Louise Deacon

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General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

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Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
MSc Part-time 24-36 months Sep 2017

* Subject to validation

Subject to validation

This programme is subject to approval. This means that it has received initial agreement from the University and is currently undergoing a detailed final approval exercise, through the University’s quality assurance processes. These processes are a requirement for all Higher Education Institutions within the UK, to ensure that programmes are of the highest standard. Occasionally there may be instances where the University may delay or not approve the introduction of the programme. In these instances applicants will be informed by no later than 5 August.

Entry Requirements

24 month programme

Educational: Bachelor’s degree, lower second or above (or equivalent).

Experiential: Either: 1) successful completion of Year 1 / an equivalent PGCert in a psychological therapy from an accredited professional training recognised organisation. Or 2) an accredited recognised therapy training e.g. Counsellor

A satisfactory check by the Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS), formerly known as the Criminal Record Bureau (CRB), is also required.

36 month programme

Educational: Bachelor’s degree, lower second or above (or equivalent).

Experiential: Minimum of nine months’ experience (or part-time equivalent) of working directly and in a helping role with people who are experiencing psychological distress and or who have mental health difficulties. Examples of roles are psychological wellbeing practitioner, psychiatric nurse; bereavement counsellor, support worker; Samaritan; social worker; psychology assistant; occupational therapist.

A satisfactory check by the Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS), formerly known as the Criminal Record Bureau (CRB), is also required.

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English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 7.0 overall, 6.5 in each component (or equivalent).

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Loans, scholarships and financial support

There are many streams of funding for postgraduate students including awards, scholarships and loans. Learn more.


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Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees.

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Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

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

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