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MSc Systemic Family Therapy

Key facts

Start date September 2017

Duration/mode 24 months part time

UK/EU fees £9,500 (total)

International fees £20,500 (total)

Entry requirements Professionally qualified in health/social care discipline + in related employment.

Language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in any component


The MSc in Systemic Family Therapy is a part-time course over 24 months that is an accredited Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice course. Successful completion of the course makes graduates eligible to register with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

The course is appropriate for a wide range of mental health professionals: psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, teachers and counsellors. The use of systemic family therapy for treatment of psychological difficulties is increasingly represented in NICE Guidelines and this is attended to in the course. It is designed for people who wish to work in the NHS as well as for people who seek employment in other agencies or independent practice.

More information

The Leeds Family Therapy and Research Centre has been training therapists for over 20 years to help individuals, couples and families find ways of tackling their problems. This programme has been running since 1996. The MSc programme is preceded by the Foundation and the Intermediate level courses, so that people can have prior experience to determine whether the systemic approach suits them and their area of work.

You can study this subject at other levels:

  • Foundation course in Family Therapy
  • Family Therapy (Intermediate)
  • Systemic Practice PGCert
  • Family Therapy and Systemic Supervision – contact us for more information


This course is accredited by the Association for Family Therapy and as such fulfils the training requirements for qualifying level as a Family and Systemic Psychotherapist. Read more on the Association for Family Therapy website.

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Course content

The MSc is a part time course and has one or two day-long teaching sessions per month. There are supervision clinics located in various parts of northern England, currently in Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Keighley, Runcorn and Newcastle. Students are thus able to do the most significant amount of work closer to their own locale. Clinic locations for 2017/2019 cohort will be confirmed in Spring 2017.


Once you successfully graduate from the programme, you will be eligible to register with the UKCP. As a systemic therapist you should then be able to have a level of responsibility as an independent practitioner in the NHS, Social Services or other mental health agencies.

From the programme, you will have gained a depth of knowledge of systems theory, cybernetics, constructivism, and social constructionism. You will have an understanding of therapeutic models contained in the systemic field (Structural, Milan, Solution Focused, Narrative, Collaborative Dialogic) and the skills associated with them. You will have acquired a wide range of approaches to draw upon and will work with client preferences and strengths. You should be able to work with individuals and groups of people (and families) who hold different perspectives and may be drawn to different actions. The programme will enable you to develop the skills to work with more severe emotional / behavioural/ situational presentations and with cases that contain multi agency complexity.

Upon successfully completing the programme, you will have an appreciation of individual psychological development and family life cycle and the way in which these stages impact upon and are influenced by significant others. People and their difficulties should be seen in the context of interpersonal relationships and wider institutional and cultural discourses. You will have developed a working knowledge of other psychological and psychotherapeutic theories (psychodynamic, attachment, cognitive behavioural) such that they may be incorporated in the systemic work or posed as an alternative.

As a graduate you are able to work with teams and other professionals in a collaborative and coordinated manner. You will have developed an appreciation of the code of ethics and practice within the profession and an awareness of the large scale and smaller operations of power and attend to these in practice. You will be responsive to issues of risk and safety for clients. You will have developed a capacity for self-reflexive practice and see it as part of ongoing professional discipline.

The programme will raise your awareness of professional journals in the field and you should be able to critique current research in family therapy. You should develop a high level of ability in articulating theory and practice in relation to case material. Graduates of the programme will have skills in teaching others systemic ideas and some basic experience in supervision. Written material will also be of an appropriately sophisticated level.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

For more information on typical modules, read Systemic Family Therapy MSc in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

You will be taught through lectures, practical classes, tutorials, seminars and supervised research projects. We make extensive use of IT and a wide range of materials to enable students to study at their own pace and in their own time to enhance and extend the material taught formally.


Achievement for the degree of Master will be assessed by a variety of methods in accordance with the learning outcomes of the modules specified for the year/programme.

We monitor your progress through attendance, participation in lectures and tutorials, clinical supervision, feedback on written assignments, exam, video review, teaching practice, case presentation etc.

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Applying, fees and funding

Entry requirements

* You will already have professional training (normally at graduate level) in mental health or social care, eg social work, nursing, clinical psychology, psychiatry, or relevant equivalent professional experience. Further details can be found in the APEL document (Professional accreditation of prior experiential learning).

* You will already have successfully completed Intermediate level training in Systemic Practice.

* You will need to be employed in a situation where you can apply your clinical training. You will be required to conduct 200 hours of agency based practice using systemic approaches; a minimum of 100 of the hours will be need to be in relation to families and/or couples.

* While you are studying with us, you are advised to participate in systemic supervision by a qualified family therapist / supervisor and your work place may be able to provide or support this. If this is not possible you need to ensure that your supervisor and manager are supportive of your practice developments and your work is supervised in general clinical terms.

* You will have the support of your current manager. Our experience is that this training offers considerable benefits to your work place and population you serve. The support of your manager is an important contributor to this process and we have enclosed a letter for your manager in the Application Pack which briefly outlines the training and asks for their support for your application. It you are unable to gain support at this stage, it is important that you contact the course team to discuss this as early as possible.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Part of the training includes clinical practice with families in NHS training clinics and you will be working by honorary contract. It is important to note that the NHS cover would not cover all aspects of any claim made against you. It is therefore a requirement that you have professional indemnity cover or other appropriate insurance and you can demonstrate this on commencement of the course.

International qualifications

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences Admissions Team.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.


How to apply

The application period for this course is now finished.

Documents and information you'll need

  • Before applying, please read the Application FAQs.
  • Eligible applicants will be invited to a 2-hour application interview.
  • A compulsory supplementary information sheet (please upload a complete Supplementary Information Sheet from the Application Pack to the "Supporting Documentation Upload" area of your online application)
  • A managerial support form to show that you have support for your application and to undertake 200 hours of agency based practice using systemic approaches (please upload to the "Supporting Documentation Upload" area of your online application a scanned copy of signed managerial support form in the Application Pack)
  • A professional reference
  • An academic reference (or a 2nd professional reference)
  • If applicable, a sponsor letter (for students whose training fees are paid in full or part by their work agency) to be uploaded to the "Funding Document Upload" area of your online application. OR if you seek for HEYH (Health Education Yorkshire and Humber) bursary (please refer to the Application Pack), you must upload a scanned copy of completed and signed of the form to the "Funding Document Upload" area on your online application.


This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.


UK/EU fees: £9,500 (total)
International fees: £20,500 (total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Health Education Yorkshire and Humber (HEYH) funding through the University of Leeds

If you are employed by an organisation providing NHS services in the Yorkshire and Humber, you may be eligible for the funding through the University. Psychiatrists and GPs are not eligible but may contact the Deanery.

If you are eligible please upload to your online application a completed HEYH bursary application form (Please refer to the Application Pack).

This funding is limited and is allocated shortly after the application closing date. If you want to be considered for funding, please make sure that we receive your application well before the deadline.

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Career opportunities

Successful graduates are able to register with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and apply for family therapy posts.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

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