Systemic practice and family therapy helps people in close relationships to better understand and support each other. It enables individuals and family members to express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, understand each other’s experiences and views, appreciate each other’s needs, build on family strengths, and work together to make useful changes in their relationships and their lives.
Systemic family therapy has been found to be effective across the life course in helping children, young people, adults, couples and families struggling with a broad range of difficulties and circumstances.
Systemic practitioners, and family and systemic psychotherapists work in many health and social care settings such as children’s services, older people’s services, physical health and disability, substance misuse, justice and mental health services.
Our multidisciplinary Systemic Practice and Family Therapy programmes are suitable for professionally qualified staff who wish to enhance their skills of working with families, couples, individuals, other systems and relationship networks.
There are three levels of systemic practice training: Foundation (PG Certificate), Intermediate (PG Diploma) and Qualifying (MSc Systemic Psychotherapy).
This one-year Postgraduate Certificate provides students with an introduction to the theoretical principles underpinning systemic practice, and the opportunity to develop systemic practice skills and apply these in their current practice context.
Please note that this course is not eligible for a Tier 4 visa.
Systemic Practice and Family Therapy highlights
A limited number of places are also commissioned by the Health and Social Care Board.
- The Systemic Practice and Family Therapy programmes have been accredited by the Association of Family Therapy (AFT) and recognised by the relevant professions’ continuing professional development frameworks.
- On these pathways there will be restricted access to relevant data by employers, the NISCC, DHSSPS, HSC Boards and any successor bodies.
“We aim to provide students with excellent learning experiences to enhance their skills in both child and adult service settings. We hope students will leave the courses feeling better equipped to work compassionately and effectively with the many struggles individuals and families seek help with.”
Dr Suzanne Mooney, Programme Director
Three modules are taken, providing a balance of academic theory, skills development, and personal and professional development. It requires a minimum of 180 study hours, including direct contact with QUB staff and independent study.
The PG Certificate has 15 taught days, organised in two-day blocks, approximately once per month during the academic year.
The Postgraduate Certificate in Systemic Practice and Family Therapy is awarded to students who successfully complete taught modules amounting to 60 CATS points.
Course Details The PG Certificate is accredited at Foundation Level (Year 1) by the Association for Family Therapy (UK).
Introduction to Systemic Theory, Research and Practice
Personal and Professional Development in Systemic Practice
Systemic Practice Skills and Their Application to the Work Setting
People teaching you
This PG Certificate programme provides knowledge and practice skills which are highly valued in both child and adult services across health and social care.
Systemic practitioners, and family and systemic psychotherapists work in many health and social care settings such as children's services, older people's services, physical health and disability, substance misuse, justice and mental health services.
Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes help our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.
Learning and Teaching
Learning opportunities available with this course are outlined below:
Consolidation and Learning
Students have regular small group sessions to consolidate and apply course learning.
Lectures, seminars and workshops are provided by experienced Family and Systemic Psychotherapists.
Assessments associated with this course are outlined below:
Assessment is by written assignments, including a case study and learning portfolio.
The Graduate School
1.This is a multidisciplinary pathway with applications welcome from applicants with prior relevant professional training in a mental health or social care related discipline or equivalent as designated by the Association of Family Therapy (e.g. Social Work, Nursing, Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology). Normally one year's post qualification experience is required. Applicants who do not hold one of the designated relevant professional qualifications, but who would find a Foundation course useful to their work may be accepted in accordance with the AFT training standards. This is at the discretion of the Programme Director and will be decided in consultation with AFT course requirements. Additional information and a full CV will be required to demonstrate equivalence.
2. Applicants must have the opportunity to apply systemic ideas in a current practice context. Please note that this programme is only open to applicants who are working in suitable contexts within NI/UK/RoI.
3. All Social Work applicants from NI/UK must have a recognised social work qualification and have successfully completed the Assessed Year in Employment. Social work and social care applicants must be registered with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council and should include their NISCC Social Care Registration Number in the Additional Information section of the application form.
3. Applicants should normally have a 2.2 Honours degree or above or equivalent recognised qualification. Equivalent qualifications include the Pre-2007 Post-Qualifying Award in Social Work. Where this is not met, applicants must show their ability to study at postgraduate level through evidence of previous postgraduate training or completion of a reflective practice assignment.
4. At least two references will be sought, one of whom must be the applicant’s current employer. At least one referee should be professionally qualified and be able to comment on the applicant’s current practice.
N.B. Please note there are different entrance requirements at each level of the suite of Systemic Practice and Family Therapy programmes at Queen’s. Should you be accepted onto the PG Certificate programme (Year 1 Foundation), this does not automatically guarantee entry to the PG Diploma programme (Year 2 Intermediate) or MSc Systemic Psychotherapy Qualifying level training. Further information may be sought to ensure eligibility.
Closing date for applications: Friday 31st July 2020 at 4pm.
Late applications may be considered.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.
For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Academic English and Pre-sessional courses online only from June to September 2020.
- Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) £2,047 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £2,300 Other (non-UK) EU £2,047 International £5,633
All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2020-21. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.
Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.
If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.
Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.
There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Systemic Practice and Family Therapy costs
There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.
How do I fund my study?
The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.
A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.
How to Apply
Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.
Fees and Funding