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MSc Systemic Family Therapy

Key facts

Start date September 2019

Duration/mode 24 months part time

UK/EU fees £10,500 (total)

International fees £22,750 (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, accredited by the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice. Successful completion of the course makes graduates eligible to register with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

The course is designed for those who wish to work in the NHS or seek employment in social care agencies or independent practice.

The course is also appropriate for a wide range of mental health professionals including; psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, teachers and counsellors.

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. The MSc course has been running since 1996 and is preceded by the Foundation and the Intermediate level courses, helping students to determine whether the systemic approach suits them and their area of work.

You can also study this subject at other levels:

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

Please scroll down and read the essential application guidance before applying.


This course is accredited by the Association for Family Therapy and fulfils the training requirements for qualifying level as a Family Therapist (also known as a 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 and weekly four-hour clinic placement. There are supervision clinics located in various parts of northern England, currently in Leeds, Bradford, Hull, Runcorn, Sheffield, Stalybridge, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, and Wakefield. This means students can do the most significant amount of work closer to their own area. Clinic locations for 2019/2021 cohort will be confirmed in Spring 2019.

Once you successfully graduate from the course, 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 course, you will have gained a depth of knowledge of systems theory, cybernetics, constructivism, and social constructionism. You will have an understanding of the main therapeutic models 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 families, individuals and groups of people who hold different perspectives and may be drawn to different actions. The course 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 course, 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 will be understood 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 related to systemic work or posed as an alternative.

As a graduate you will be 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 course 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 course 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

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 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 or equivalent.
  • While you are studying with us, you will be required to maintain your practice in your own agency setting and are advised to participate in systemic supervision by a qualified family therapist/supervisor. 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 MSc Supplementary Information Document 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

* Essential reading before applying: Application Guidance Systemic Practice & Family Therapy 201920 (available from January 2019)

* Download MSc Supplementary Information Document for completion (available from January 2019)

Application deadline: Friday 6th April 2019

Eligible applicants will be invited to an interview for which preparation will be required.


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.

Admissions policy

Link to admissions policy document


UK/EU fees: £10,500 (total)
International fees: £22,750 (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.

Specialist Skills and Post Registration Development (SSPRD) funding by Health Education England in Yorkshire and the Humber

If you are an NHS employee working for an approved provider in the Yorkshire & the Humber region, you may be eligible for the Specialist Skills and Post Registration Development (SSPRD) funding for the cost of your course fees.

For more information about the funding, please refer to the Application Guidance Systemic Practice & Family Therapy 201920.

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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.

Some Family Therapist posts specify a prior professional qualification and graduates who do not have this (APEL students) may not be eligible for application to these 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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