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Systemic Practice (Foundation)

Key facts

Start date September 2018

Duration/mode 12 months part time

UK/EU fees £2,750 (total)

International fees £5,500 (total)

Additional cost information

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

Language requirements

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


The Foundation Course in Systemic Practice introduces systemic principles, models of family therapy and their application to practice. You will be introduced to key theoretical approaches in family therapy and the skills and techniques associated with them. The course is multi-disciplinary and is delivered through a combination of lectures and practical teaching, followed by theoretical and application discussions and skills practice in small groups facilitated by qualified family therapists. It offers opportunities to observe and to practise key skills in a class room setting.

The course is available as a stand-alone module or as part of the Postgraduate Certificate in Systemic Practice and is suitable for professionals working in psychology, nursing, psychiatry, social work, counselling, voluntary organisations and related fields.

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.

You can study this subject at other levels: Family Therapy (Intermediate), Systemic Practice PGCert, and Systemic Family Therapy MSc.

Please scroll down and read the essential Application Guidance before applying.


This course is accredited by the Association for Family Therapy & Systemic Practice and as such fulfils the training requirements for Foundation Level training in Systemic Practice. Read more on the Association website.

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Course content

The programme will introduce you to:

* the basic theory and concepts of systemic family practice

* theories of change and "schools" of systemic practice, from structural and Milan through to post-Milan constructionist and narrative approaches

* family life cycles, developmental tasks and inter-generational patterns

* approaches to systemic practice in different settings and with different client groups.

The course will also provide opportunities for you to examine your own personal and professional context from a systemic perspective and to acquire basic systemic practice skills. You will demonstrate through role play, a range of systemic skills such as genogram construction, circular questions and offering reframes or alternative perspectives.

On successful completion of this course you should be able to describe a range of systemic approaches to family and other relationships and give examples of their application, particularly in your own areas of work. You will be able to take a critical stance to systemic ideas and their value, and place systemic therapy in a historical context.

You will be able to use systemic ideas to promote anti-discriminatory practice and demonstrate an awareness of the impact of wider social context, with particular reference to race, gender and disability.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Systemic Practice (Foundation) in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

You’ll be taught through lectures, practical classes, and group tutorials. We make extensive use of IT and a wide range of material to enable students to study at their own pace and in their own time to enhance and extend the material taught formally.


We monitor your progress through attendance, participation in lectures and tutorials, feedback on written assignments, a group presentation on an area of interest and a reflective learning journal completed during the year of the course.

The two written assignments focus on summatively assessing all learning outcomes relating to theoretical knowledge and application to your practice. The group presentation and reflective learning journal in which you discuss and critique your personal and professional development and skills will receive formative feedback.

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Applying, fees and funding

Entry requirements

This course is specifically designed for graduate level professionals with a first professional qualification in a relevant mental health or social care area such as nursing, psychiatry, social work, clinical psychology or similar professions.

If you are working in a mental health or social care setting without a first professional qualification, you are welcome to apply for admission via our professional accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL). Further details can be found in the APEL document.

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.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

If you need to study for longer than 10 weeks, read more about our postgraduate pre-sessional English course.

How to apply

* Essential reading before applying: Application Guidance Systemic Practice 201819

* Download Foundation Supplementary Information Document

The usual applications period for this course has now closed. However, occassionally places are still available after this date. For further information, please contact the Course Leader - Kate Hall K.Hall1@leeds.ac.uk


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.

Selection principles

We select candidates on the basis of their professional experience and academic background.

Admissions policy

Link to admissions policy document


UK/EU fees: £2,750 (total)
International fees: £5,500 (total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

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

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

Although there is no obligation to do so, students may wish to undertake systemic supervision of their clinical practice at this stage in their own work agency. In most situations the costs of supervision would be met by your employer, e.g. in NHS settings.

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.

Specialist Skills and Post Registration Development (SSPRD) funding through the University of Leeds

If you are an NHS employee working for an approved provider in the Yorkshire & the Humber region or your employing organisation offers service directly to the NHS, you may beeligible for the Specialist Skills and Post Registration Development (SSPRD) funding for the cost of your course fees. Subject to availability, the funding is provided by NHS Health Education Yorkshire and the Humber within the University. The SSPRD provision within the University is not available to medical staff, e.g. GPs and Psychiatrists.

To apply for the funding, please complete the SSPRD funding application form in the Supplementary Information Document.

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.

Please note that NHS Health Education Yorkshire and the Humber has not confirmed the SSPRD funding available for 2018-19 so this advice is subject to change.

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Career opportunities

Students who complete Foundation level training in Systemic Practice add theoretical knowledge and practical skills to their professional range, developing the extent to which they can work with clients in family and other relational settings. Past students have progressed to training on our Systemic Practice (Intermediate) and Systemic Family Therapy MSc programmes. Students who complete the MSc in Systemic Family Therapy are eligible to register with the UKCP as Systemic Psychotherapists and to practice as qualified family therapists in the public and voluntary sectors, as well as privately.

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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