Systemic Practice (Foundation)

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
12 months part time
Entry requirements
Professionally qualified in mental health/social care discipline + in related employment.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in any component
UK fees
£3,250 (total)
International fees
£6,390 (total)

Course overview

Family therapy session

The Foundation Course in Systemic Practice introduces systemic principles, models of family therapy and their application to practice. Accredited by the Association for Family Therapy & Systemic Practice, our course will prepare you to transition into this specialist field where your new skills will be highly in demand.

Develop and connect

You will be introduced to key theoretical approaches in family therapy and the skills and techniques associated with them. The course is multi-disciplinary and is delivered through a combination of lectures and practical teaching, followed by theoretical and application discussions and skills practice in small groups facilitated by qualified family therapists. It offers opportunities to observe and to practise key skills in a class room setting.

The course is available as a stand-alone module or as part of the Postgraduate Certificate in Systemic Practice and is suitable for professionals working in psychology, nursing, psychiatry, social work, counselling, voluntary organisations and related fields.

The Leeds Family Therapy and Research Centre has been training therapists for over 22 years to help individuals, couples and families find ways of tackling their problems.

You can study this subject at other levels:

  • Systemic Practice (Intermediate),

  • PGCert Systemic Practice

  • MSc Systemic Family Therapy.

Please scroll down and read the essential Application Guidance before applying.

This course is accredited by the Association for Family Therapy & Systemic Practice and as such fulfils the training requirements for Foundation Level training in Systemic Practice. Read more on the Association website.

Course details

The course will introduce you to:

  • the basic theory and concepts of systemic family practice

  • theories of change and "schools" of systemic practice, from structural and Milan through to post-Milan constructionist and narrative approaches

  • family life cycles, developmental tasks and inter-generational patterns

  • approaches to systemic practice in different settings and with different client groups.

The course will also provide opportunities for you to examine your own personal and professional contexts from a systemic perspective and to acquire basic systemic practice skills. You will demonstrate through role play, a range of systemic skills such as genogram construction, circular questions and offering reframes or alternative perspectives.

On successful completion of this course you should be able to describe a range of systemic approaches to family and other relationships and give examples of their application, particularly in your own areas of work. You will be able to take a critical stance to systemic ideas and their value, and place systemic therapy in a historical context.

You will be able to use systemic ideas to promote anti-discriminatory practice and demonstrate an awareness of the impact of wider social context, with particular reference to race, gender and disability.

The course runs on approximately 18 Wednesday evenings (5pm to 8.30pm) in November – October, plus up to three full days. We aim to deliver the teaching on the University main campus although some elements may be taught online depending on social distancing guidance at the time of teaching.

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 Practice (Foundation) in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Foundation Course in Systemic Practice 30

Learning and teaching

You’ll be taught through lectures, practical classes, and group tutorials.

We make extensive use of IT and a wide range of material to enable students to study at their own pace and in their own time to enhance and extend the material taught formally.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


We monitor your progress through attendance, participation in lectures and tutorials, feedback on written assignments, a group presentation on an area of interest and a reflective learning journal completed during the year of the course.

The two written assignments focus on summatively assessing all learning outcomes relating to theoretical knowledge and application to your practice. The group presentation and reflective learning journal in which you discuss and critique your personal and professional development and skills will receive formative feedback.


Entry requirements

This course is specifically designed for graduate level professionals with a first professional qualification in a relevant mental health or social care area such as nursing, psychiatry, social work, clinical psychology or similar professions.

If you are working in a mental health or social care setting without a first professional qualification, you are welcome to apply for admission via our professional accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL).

Please read the essential Application Guidance before applying.

We select candidates on the basis of their professional experience and academic background

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.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Please complete and upload the course Supplementary Information Pack as part of your application.

Application deadline: 23rd August 2023.

Applications are considered on the basis of the applicant’s qualifications and experience. Applications may close before the deadline date if numbers accepted reach capacity.

A professional reference from your current employer is a standard requirement and should be submitted at point of application. If it would be problematic to request a reference from your current employer you should contact our Postgraduate Admissions Team at for advice.

The reference should be provided on a headed document with either a stamp from the institution or an electronic signature.

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page 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.

Selection principles

We select candidates on the basis of their professional experience and academic background.

Professional Reference: Please note the receipt of a satisfactory professional reference from your current employer is a standard requirement before an offer can be made for this programme. If it would be problematic to request a reference from your current employer you should contact our Postgraduate Admissions Team at for advice.

Admissions policy

School of Medicine Taught Postgraduate Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Medicine

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UK: £3,250 (total)

International: £6,390 (total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Part-time fees
Fees for part-time courses are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

Although there is no obligation to do so, students may wish to undertake systemic supervision of their clinical practice at this stage in their own work agency. In most situations the costs of supervision would be met by your employer, e.g. in NHS settings.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

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.

Workforce Transformation Budget (WTB) formerly known as SSPRD funding for West Yorkshire

The funding provided by NHS Health Education England focuses on the transformational requirements of Health and Social Care Workforce in West Yorkshire. This course is ratified by the West Yorkshire Health Education England Transformation Lead. It provides funding to eligible applicants to cover the fees. Funding may be available for 2022/2023, funding cannot be guaranteed for subsequent years in light of ongoing changes within Health Education England and local training priorities.

Career opportunities

Students who complete Foundation level training in Systemic Practice add theoretical knowledge and practical skills to their professional range, developing the extent to which they can work with clients in family and other relational settings.

Past students have progressed to training on our Systemic Practice (Intermediate) and Systemic Family Therapy MSc courses. Students who complete the MSc in Systemic Family Therapy are eligible to register with the UKCP as Systemic and Family Psychotherapists and to practice as qualified family therapists in the public and voluntary sectors, as well as privately.

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 about Careers support.