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Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 0.5-1 year

UK fee

£2,520 (2020/21)

International fee

£2,520 (2020/21)

Course level



University Advanced Diploma

Start dates

January, September, May



Online course description

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is designed to help people who may be experiencing a range of mental health difficulties to manage emotions and behaviour that may be causing distress or ill health.

This University Advanced Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Studies and Skills is one of a few CBT qualifications that can be studied online. With a focus on therapeutic relationships, it is a perfect entry level course if you are looking to apply up-to-date, evidence-based theoretical approaches and practical skills informed by cognitive behavioural theory into your practice, or if you simply want to learn more about cognitive behavioural theory.

Our course could be your first step toward becoming an accredited psychotherapist. This qualification alone will not give you a licence to practice but may help you decide if this is a career you wish to pursue. Alternatively, as a mental health nurse, social worker or occupational therapist, you can bring an additional dimension to your role, benefiting both you and your patients.

This diploma course consists of three 20-credit modules that will enable you to learn the most up-to-date applications of cognitive behavioural theory, ensuring the needs of practitioners working in this field of study are met. It also incorporates mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and compassion-focused therapy, allowing you to learn how these new interventions have developed, as well as how these approaches can be applied within the mental health field.

A high quality online cognitive behavioural course

This online Cognitive Behavioural Studies and Skills (Not a license to practice) University Advanced Diploma course is Quality Checked by the National Counselling Society (NCS). This course alone is not a route to the Accredited Register nor does it fully equip a graduate to practice as a qualified counsellor.

The NCS is a not for profit organisation whose primary purpose is the advancement of counselling and psychotherapy.

The National Counselling Society Quality Checked Course logo

An ideal introduction to CBT

A diverse range of people take this course, which makes for interesting online discussions and debates. Students are typically from mental health, nursing, social work and occupational therapy backgrounds and education, from all over the world. You will need a related qualification but you might be an aspiring therapist or counsellor or already have years of experience in such a role.

Learn practical transferable skills

Through studying this course, you will learn the theoretical, ethical and legal underpinnings of cognitive behavioural approaches and their application to practice settings. This will give you the ability to appraise CBT in the wider context of psychopathology and as an alternative or adjunct treatment to pharmacological approaches.

Whether you are studying this course for personal interest or to enhance your practice, you will learn to critically reflect on your own personal values, behaviours, attitudes and beliefs within the context of cognitive behavioural theory. The module content has been designed specifically to enable you to evaluate the clinical application of cognitive behavioural theory within a social and cultural context.

100%agree that their personal tutor provided them with the support and guidance they needed**UoD Survey 2020
Goldstandard teaching**Teaching Excellence Framework
100%agree that they are satisfied with the quality of the course**UoD Survey 2020

Plenty of opportunities to practice

You may be surprised to learn that CBT can be studied online. However, through our use of specially designed, interactive teaching methods, you’ll participate in virtual classrooms and online discussion forums where you can discuss and debate relevant topics with fellow online students. So, in many ways, it can feel a less daunting environment in which to learn.

Studying online gives you the flexibility to study at the most convenient time and place for you. Course modules still operate within a fixed 10-week trimester but you can choose to study during the day, in the evenings or at the weekend rather than having to attend fixed lectures.

A talk from our Academic Lead

Our Academic Lead for Counselling, Yasu Kotera, talks about our Cognitive Behavioural Studies and Skills University Advanced Diploma in this video.

Yasu Kotera talks about the online Cognitive Behavioural Studies and Skills University Advanced Diploma course

View the introduction to our online Cognitive Behavioural Studies and Skills University Advanced Diploma video transcript

What you will study

We will advise you of your study plan - the running order and availability of the modules - when you are invited to enrol.

Stage 1Stage 1

Code: 6CL512

Contemporary Approaches within Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

This module will be studied by practitioners who are specialising in integrating insights and skills from CBT within their current practice.

In this specialist module, you will choose one of the contemporary approaches within CBT to focus upon, such as compassion focused therapy (CFT) or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). You will study the approach in some depth and consider the contribution that it has made to our understanding of human problems and distress. Distinctive to this module is the chance to use small learning groups in order to choose and then use some of the relevant skills and knowledge. You will also have the opportunity to create a plan by which you could go on to integrate your use of the skills and insights within your current professional practice.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of this module, you will be able to:

  1. Critically analyse the contribution that one area of contemporary CBT approaches has made to our understanding of human problems
  2. Critically apply skills and theoretical insights from an area of contemporary CBT approaches into their practice

Module content

During this module you will all briefly study all the contemporary approaches currently available within the module. You will also choose the approach you will focus upon and will both study this in greater depth and then practice with aspects of the approach in videoed sessions with peers, in triads. You will offer each other feedback and also peer supervise for this practice.

The approaches in this module are likely to include CFT and MBCT. Each approach will be presented in terms of (at least):

  • The main concepts, insights and ideas
  • The main aspects available for you to use and practise using
  • Appropriate beginnings and endings
  • Evidence which supports the approach
  • Cautions and limitations 
  • Ethical and legal considerations
  • Planning, monitoring and evaluating use of the approach within your current practice

You will also further develop your focus on yourself, your origins, your attitudes and values, prejudices and biases that influence how you work with different people and groups. You will continue to consider different aspects of your self-awareness, your personal development and reflection, and you will also make sense of integrative helping practice.

You will address what you need to do to ensure you can create healthy boundaries (with others), self-care strategies, and also have adequate forms of mentoring, clinical supervision, personal therapy and continuous professional development, dependent upon your practice area. In addition, you will consider ethical principles and dilemmas and also ruptures to and repairing a helping relationship.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 6CL514

Relationships Informed by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

This module is located within health and social care-related programmes. Thus, the module may be studied by a wide range of practitioners and professionals involved in different caring roles.

In studying this module you will learn some important components of what it is to be a practitioner who can integrate knowledge and skills from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) approaches into your current practice. In short, you are becoming a CBT informed helper who can make safe decisions about when to work using knowledge and skills from CBT and when not to. You will learn about how CBT practitioners make sense of and also the use of therapeutic relationships and skills. In addition, you will analyse in interviewing and assessment skills. You will then go on to determine how you may integrate this knowledge and skills into your current professional practice.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of this module, you will be able to:

  1. Evaluate your participation in self-development and peer supervision activities
  2. Identify how the learned skills and insights from CBT approaches can be integrated safely within your current practice
  3. Critically analyse the use of relational and interviewing skills in work with others that is informed by CBT approaches

Module content

During this module you will work with other learners in order to explore the importance of the therapeutic relationship within CBT approaches. You will discover the crucial role that your own self-awareness and self-development has in this. You will learn about the different skills (informed by a CBT approach) that may be employed in forming and developing therapeutic relationships and also in interviewing, assessing and formulating with people. In addition, you will have the chance to work with peers to critically reflect on your own practice and assess how the above ideas and skills maybe appropriately and safely integrated within your own current practice.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 6CL515

Working with People with Distress and Disorder

This module is located within health and social care-related programmes. Thus, the module may be studied by a wide range of practitioners and professionals involved in many different caring roles.

In studying this module you will learn about how all people can experience a range of different forms and degrees of emotional and psychological distress and disorder. There is an even wider range of historically, politically and socially, and culturally informed ways of making sense of this experience. You will study a range of the issues and debates in how we have, and now do, diagnose and then treat people. In addition, the module will also enable you to critically reflect on your work role and your workplace and on how you and your colleagues can work with people who experience distress and disorder in a facilitating way.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of this module, you will be able to:

  1. Critically analyse a range of different ways of making sense of complex forms of emotional, physical and psychological distress
  2. Critically evaluate the possible causes of, and treatments for people who experience specific distress, disorders or psychopathologies
  3. Critically reflect upon your role, when using insights from CBT approaches to therapeutically support people who are considered to have a mental disorder

Module content

During this module you will work with learners from different health, nursing and social care courses in order to study a range of what we may currently term mental and emotional distress or disorder. You will pay particular attention to a range of historical and cultural ways in which humans have identified and categorised these areas of experience, and reasons why we may have done so. You will study mainstream approaches such as DSM (APA 2013) and ICD (WHO 2010), alongside ideas from critical psychology and anti-psychiatry. Within these, you will consider issues around power, diversity, equality and personal (as opposed to just clinical) recovery. You will analyse a wide range of ideas about what may cause different disorders and distress and an even wider range of possible treatments, medications and therapies that may treat, help and support people in different ways. Finally, you will make sense of what you have learnt in terms of a specific workplace setting. You will focus on information sharing, risk assessment and management, and also referral and signposting.

More information
20 Credits

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

Pace of study

We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester. If you aim to study two modules in one trimester, we recommend 40 hours of study per week.

Assessment method

This course is assessed through 100% coursework with a range of methods, such as essays, research reports, presentations, group work and practical reports.

Who will teach you

Yasu Kotera smiling

Yasuhiro Kotera
Programme leader

Academic Lead in Counselling, Yasuhiro Kotera, has been Academic Lead for online Counselling and Psychotherapy courses since 2014 and has been researching into mental health and neuro-linguistic programming.

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How you will learn online

Our Cognitive Behavioural Studies and Skills University Advanced Diploma course taster will give you an idea of how online learning works. It includes a selection of content from a course module so you can see what some of our learning material looks like.

You will need to complete a short form to access the course taster.

Try our course tasterTry our course taster
Student wearing headphones at a laptop participating in an online webinar

Study Mental Health and Psychotherapy Online Webinar

Friday, 4 December 2020 16.00 - 17.00

Join this webinar to discover more about studying Counselling and CBT online at Derby. The webinar includes a 30 minute presentation from Yasuhiro Kotera, Academic Lead for Counselling.

Book your webinarBook your webinar

Entry requirements

You will need:

English language qualifications

If English is not your first language you will need an English language qualification. For this course you will need at least one of the following:

*If you have a minimum of IELTS level 4.5, you can study our Certificate of Credit in English for Academic Purposes, which we will accept as evidence that you are able to perform at a suitable level of IELTS 6.0. We will also accept the Certificate of Credit as evidence that you can perform at GCSE level.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2020 and August 2021.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £840 3 £2,520

2021/22 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2021 and August 2022.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £840 3 £2,520

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.

However, please also note that you can receive a 5% discount if you either:

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from three payment plan options:

How to apply

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply now

Documents to support your application

You'll need to provide:

*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:

A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website.

Application deadlines

All of our online courses have set start dates throughout the year. We require time to review your application and get back to you with a response before your course starts. Take a look at information regarding applying for an online course to see full details of deadlines and term dates.


Becoming an accredited cognitive behavioural therapist

In order to become an accredited cognitive behavioural psychotherapist with the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP), you'll need to complete four years of training. This University Advanced Diploma course is the first step and accounts for one year of that training.

To complete the final three years of training, you may apply to undertake our Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy MSc. Many of our students who have chosen to stay on to do this course find it helps them become highly skilled cognitive behavioural psychotherapists.

As a mental health nurse or practising counsellor, this course can provide you with additional skills to enhance your current job, as well as CPD (continuing professional development) credits. 

What our students say

"This course provided me with a very good introduction to the world of cognitive behavioural psychotherapy, and it has helped me to reassess my career options and where I want to take my life." John Aitken, who has now progressed on to our Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy MSc 

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course. It provided a sound introduction to the world of cognitive behavioural psychotherapy and confirmed my desire to become an accredited cognitive behavioural therapist.” Farishta Jalal

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

Contact usContact usFrequently asked questionsFrequently asked questions

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