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CBT PGDip programme overview

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has received wide-spread recognition from clinicians, researchers and more recently the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines for anxiety and depression.

This recognition stems from its emphasis upon evaluating its models and methods and thus the evidence base which has accumulated, its short-term nature and the economical use of resources that this implies, and its acceptability to clients.

Whilst many clinicians have had some exposure to CBT models and methods in professional training, few have had the opportunity to develop competency. The rapidity of the research development is also proceeding far ahead of the ability of clinicians easily to absorb these new developments into their practice.

The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience/King's and Royal Holloway/CNWL will provide the training. These higher education institutions (HEIs) have been selected based on their ability to demonstrate the capacity, knowledge and expertise to deliver the curriculum that has been developed for each training course. Students attend college/the training provider for lectures, workshops and supervision two days a week and undertake supervised CBT clinical practice in a talking therapy service for three days a week. Trainees will not have the option to choose which HEI they attend as training providers are linked to sites.

Recruitment and applications

Applications for the 2024/25 intake are now closed.

Keep in touch and we will let you know when applications open for the 2025/26 intake.


This course is currently part of the Department of Health’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies initiative. Trainees on the course will work in talking therapy services whilst being trained in evidence-based CBT for adults with depression and anxiety disorders.

The overall aim of the course is to provide practical, intensive and detailed training to facilitate skills development and competence in CBT. It aims to equip students to become skilled and creative independent CBT practitioners in accordance with BABCP guidelines. Students will also develop critical knowledge of the theoretical and research literature relating to CBT.

Course lecturers and workshop leaders will include many internationally known figures involved in developing and evaluating cutting edge cognitive behavioural treatments, in addition to a multi-disciplinary teaching team who are all actively involved in CBT practice and research developments in the Institute and in the various clinical units of the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust.

This course meets full requirements necessary for BABCP Accreditation. Successful completion of this course enables graduates to be eligible for registration as an accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with the BABCP.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapies, part of the Psychology department, is based at the Denmark Hill Campus of King’s College London. 

Entry requirements

The course is an academic postgraduate course requiring evidence of critical and independent thought. Preference will be given to candidates with demonstrable experience in systematic therapies with a commitment to the CBT approach.

Access to suitable CBT training cases, i.e. straightforward depression and anxiety, is essential.

Teaching is pitched at a postgraduate level so candidates need to be able to produce academic work to this level relatively independently.

Students on the course need to fulfill the following criteria:

    • A professional mental health qualification (e.g. clinical psychologist, mental health nurse, BACP accredited counselor) with relevant clinical experience. Clinical Psychologist applications are accepted without post-qualifying experience due to the nature of the Clinical Psychology training.
    • Those without a core profession who have at least three years’ experience, two of which are as a qualified practitioner, and are able to demonstrate they meet the required KSA criteria (only applicable to the October intake).

List of BABCP Core Professions:

    • Arts Therapists – HCPC Registered
    • Counselling – Accreditation with the BACP, IACP, COSCA, or FDAP (NCAC) - Registration with these organisations isn't sufficient
    • Medicine – Psychiatrist or General Practitioner, MBChB or MBBS, and usually PG training with membership of MRCGP, MRCP or MRCPsych
    • Occupational Therapy – BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, MSc Occupational Therapy, or Dip C.O.T and HCPC Registered
    • Psychotherapy/Psychotherapeutic Counselling – UKCP Registration
    • Registered Nurse – Mental Health (RMN), or Learning Disability (General Nursing and Enrolled Nursing is insufficient)
    • Social Work – CQSW, DipSW, MA Social Work, or BA/BSc Hons Social Work. Registered with one of four UK regulators - Social Work England (SWE), Social Care Wales (SCW), Northern Ireland Social CareCouncil (NISCC) and Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC)
    • Postgraduate Doctorate in Clinical/Counselling Psychology – accredited by the British Psychological Society and HCPC Registered as Practitioner Psychologist
    • Educational Psychology – Doctorate or QEPS - must have BPS Chartership (CPsychol) and HCPC Registration as Practitioner Psychologist
    • Health Psychology – QHP stage 2 - must have BPS Chartership (CPsychol) and HCPC Registration as Practitioner Psychologist
    • Forensic Psychology - QFP stage 2 - must have BPS Chartership (CPsychol) and HCPC Registration as Practitioner Psychologist

How to apply and selection process

For updates regarding Covid-19 Pandemic and study at the University, please refer to this webpage.

Selection process

Application Procedure – please read this document before attempting to apply (it will be available closer to the time of applications opening).

Places on the diploma course are highly sought after. As you can imagine this means that competition, even to be interviewed, is very high.

We use a strictly-applied scoring system to rate applications on a number of dimensions, including clinical experience within a formal healthcare setting and relevant prior introductory training and supervision in cognitive behaviour therapy (this diploma is not an introductory or foundation course and requires prior supervised CBT practice and basic training).

Applicants who score highest submit forms that provide evidence that they have:

  • Significant clinical training (for example, they are qualified as clinical psychologists, counselling psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors or senior nurses).
  • Several years post-qualification experience in adult mental health work within an NHS or equivalent mental health service.
  • Prior foundation training and supervision from a recognised CBT supervisor.
  • References from CBT supervisors that give detailed information on specific CBT experience and competency.

Applicants are scored highly if they demonstrate the above factors in their application forms and references.

The applicants interviewed provide detailed and extensive information on their clinical employment and prior training in CBT in the personal statement section of the application.

High-Intensity Trainee Band 6 Job Description

Clinical Site Descriptions (this will be avaiilable closer to the time of applications opening).

KSA Process

This document provides information about the KSA process. Please do not upload any KSA information with your application - it will not be reviewed. You are only required to provide KSA self statements if you are invited to interview.

KSA process for candidates selected for interview

The BABCP requires a KSA portfolio for all of the BABCP Core Professions listed above. However, there has been an update to the KSA portfolio and criteria required for assessment. For some professional groups there are some criteria which have already been met by holding the specified profession, which means that a condensed KSA portfolio will meet these requirements. Please click on the link below for more information:

Condensed KSA Portfolio and Criteria Required for Assessment



Answering your queries on entry criteria, applications and more for the CBT PGDip