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 clinical training: Foundation (PG Certificate), Intermediate (PG Diploma) and Qualifying (MSc Systemic Psychotherapy).
This MSc in Systemic Psychotherapy is designed for those who have completed Intermediate level training and who wish to qualify as a Systemic Family Psychotherapist and achieve full registration as a Family and Systemic Psychotherapist with the UK Council for Psychotherapy.
Please note that this course is not eligible for a Tier 4 visa.
Please note: intake for this programme is every two years, with September 2022 being the next intake.
Closing date for applications: Tuesday, 31st May 2022 at 4 pm. Late applications may be considered.
Systemic Psychotherapy highlights
The MSc constitutes years 3 and 4 of the four-year Systemic Family Psychotherapist training leading to full clinical qualification as a Family and Systemic Psychotherapist.
- This programme is accredited at ‘Qualification’ level by the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice in the UK (AFT), a member organisation of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). The course is recognised by the core professions’ continuing professional development arrangements.
- 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.”
Suzanne Mooney, Lecturer
This degree programme requires a major commitment over two years, involving a minimum of 1855 study hours, at least 480 of which are indirect contact with staff. A distinctive feature of this training is 300 hours of live supervised practice in a clinical placement. Students must also be able to evidence 200 hours of supervised systemic practice in their own work setting.
Course Details Core modules
Family Therapy and Systemic Thinking 1: Theoretical Perspectives
Family Therapy and Systemic Thinking 2: Theoretical Perspectives
Family Therapy Skills and Techniques 1: Practice Applications
Family Therapy Skills and Techniques 2: Practice Applications
People teaching you
Teaching takes place normally one day per fortnight at QUB. This includes lectures, seminars, small group work and case presentations. Supervised training clinics are provided on one day per week through each academic year.
This course provides knowledge and skills which are highly valued in both child and adult services across health and social care.
Systemic Practitioners and Systemic Family Therapists 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:
Students spend one day per week in a supervised practice clinic with other students and a supervisor, to achieve a minimum of 150 hours of direct or observed practice per year.
Assessments associated with this course are outlined below:
Assessment is by written assignment and oral presentation, including a case study and learning portfolio.
Students developing clinical practice is assessed during their supervised clinical practice placements by their supervisor and the portfolio of learning by course staff.
Students must also demonstrate 200 hours of supervised systemic practice in a current work setting or placement and access a minimum of 24 hours of individual supervision by a qualified Family and Systemic Psychotherapist.
The School is situated across a suite of three buildings in Belfast's Queen's Quarter. We provide student and staff common rooms, computer suites and designated study spaces.
Explore the teaching and social spaces in our School through our 360 Virtual Tour:
The Graduate School
Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Equivalent qualifications include the Pre-2007 Post-Qualifying Award in Social Work. Where this is not met, applicants must show that their experience and qualifications enable them to study at postgraduate level through the uptake of references and through completing a reflective assignment on their practice.
This two year pathway is suitable for applicants with a prior relevant professional qualification in a mental health or social care related discipline or equivalent (e.g. social work, nursing, clinical psychology, psychiatry) working in a range of service settings who wish to become qualified Systemic Family Psychotherapists. The course is accredited at Qualification-level by AFT, a member organisation of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). The degree is recognised by the core professions' continuing professional development arrangements. Applicants must have successfully completed Systemic Practice and Family Therapy training accredited by AFT at Foundation and Intermediate levels or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Those who have completed the CYP-IAPT (SFP) Practitioners Course are eligible to apply.
Applicants who do not hold one of the designated relevant professional qualifications, but who have completed AFT accredited Intermediate training (or equivalent) and would find the Qualifying level 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 and a discretionary interview may also be undertaken.
Applicants must be able to evidence 200 hours of systemic practice in their own work setting, and have access to suitable systemic supervision by a qualified Systemic Psychotherapist/Supervisor. Where systemic supervision is not available in their place of work, students may access independent systemic supervision to meet this requirement. The Programme Director will provide additional guidance and support in these circumstances.
At least two references will be sought, one of whom must be the student’s current employer. Additional references should be from someone with knowledge of the students’ systemic practice and another from a previous training course.
An individual and group interview constitute part of the selection process for this programme.
Applicants who score above the cut-off point at interview will be ranked in order of their score, and places will then be offered in rank order up to the maximum number of supervised clinical placements available. Any applicants who score above the cut-off point at interview, and who are not ranked sufficiently high to be offered a place, will be kept on a waiting list and will be offered a place (in rank order) if a supervised clinical placement becomes available.
Please note that this programme is only open to applicants who are working as Social Care Professionals within a suitable setting in NI/UK/RoI. Social Work applicants must have a recognised social work qualification and be registered with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council. It is important that Social Work applicants include their NISCC Social Care Registration Number in the Additional Information section of the application form.
Closing date for applications: Tuesday 31st May 2022 at 4pm.
Late applications may be considered.
Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal prior to the deadline stated on course finder. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.
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.
- 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) 1 £6,450 Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £6,450 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £7,250 EU Other 3 £17,700 International £17,700
1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.
2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements.
3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.
All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2021-22, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
NI, GB and ROI fees for 2022 entry will be published in December. International postgraduate fees for 2022 entry can be viewed here: www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-tuition-fees
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 Psychotherapy 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
When to Apply
The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.
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