Systemic Family Therapy MSc

Year of entry

Masters Study and Funding online event

Watch on demand to receive expert advice on how to fund your Masters and invest in your future. Book your place

Start dates
September 2025
Please note there is only one intake for this course every two years. Applicants will not be able to submit an application for this programme until September 2024.
Delivery type
On campus
24 months part time
Entry requirements
Professionally qualified in 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
£12,250 (Total)
International fees
£27,500 (Total)

Course overview

Family therapy session

The MSc Systemic Family Therapy is accredited by the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice as a qualifying level training in Systemic Psychotherapy or Family Therapy. Read more on the Association for Family Therapy website.

Successful graduates of the course are eligible to apply to the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) for registration to practice. Graduates are employed in the NHS, social care agencies or work in independent practice as a Family Therapist/Systemic Psychotherapist.

Training as a Family Therapist

The Leeds Family Therapy and Research Centre at University of Leeds has been training family therapists for over 25 years to work with individuals, couples, kinship groups and families experiencing distress. You will develop the theoretical knowledge, clinical skills and personal professional development needed to practice systemic psychotherapy.

The MSc Systemic Family Therapy is the final two years of training and is preceded by Foundation and Intermediate level systemic practice training courses. These can be undertaken over two years part time at the University of Leeds in the PGCert Systemic Practice. The Foundation and Intermediate level courses can also be studied as standalone courses for professionals to develop their practice to each level. Entry to the training programme for all professionally qualified students is at Foundation/PGCert level.

For qualified Family Therapists, the Advanced Training in Systemic Supervision is also offered – contact us for more information.

Please consult the 'Applying' section for application guidance before applying.

This course is accredited by the Association for Family Therapy & Systemic Practice and fulfils the training requirements for qualifying level as a Family Therapist (also known as a Systemic Psychotherapist). Read more on the Association for Family Therapy website.

Course details

The MSc is a part-time course approximating to two-and-a-half days of study and practice each week. There are two full-day teaching sessions per month at the University of Leeds campus and a weekly four-hour clinic placement with the NHS. You'll receive supervision for your therapeutic work with families. There are currently supervision clinics located in Leeds, Bradford, Hull, Sheffield, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Northampton.

To meet the clinical hours required for registration, you will also be required to engage in systemic practice in your own work agency or on an alternative placement.

On this professional training course, you will gain an in-depth knowledge of systemic family therapy theory and cybernetics; from its origins in cybernetics and systems theory to the post-modern social constructionist ideas which inform contemporary family therapy practice. You will gain understanding of the main therapeutic models in the systemic field; structural, Milan, post-Milan, narrative, collaborative and dialogical psychotherapy. You will be trained in the skills and competencies associated with these models.

You will learn how to work with individuals, couples, relational groups and families affected by issues including serious mental health conditions, relationship and communication difficulties and the effects of trauma and loss.

The course teaches a critical understanding of issues of societal and professional power and issues of marginalisation in the many contexts and relationships of people’s lives. This is considered central to systemic psychotherapeutic practice. In personal and professional development groups on university days, you will be encouraged to identify and respond to the range of influences on their practice. This could be from your own family, educational and professional experiences to those held in wider social discourses. You will develop a capacity for self-reflexivity in practice and see it as part of ongoing professional discipline.

The course provides a systemic perspective on individual psychological development, the family life cycle and cultural and societal contexts, where difficulties can be understood in the context of interpersonal relationships and wider social and cultural discourses.

You will develop a working knowledge of other psychological and psychotherapeutic approaches that may be related to systemic work or offer alternative options for your client group.

You will be able to use systemic skills in work with teams and other professionals in a collaborative and coordinated manner. You will develop an appreciation of the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice Code of Ethics and Practice and to be able to respond to issues of risk and safety for clients.

The course will develop your ability to make use of published systemic theory and to be able to critique current research in family therapy. You will develop skills in working with a range of research methodologies and in the conduct of research in clinical practice.

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 Family Therapy MSc in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Theories of Change and Practice I 20
Introduction to Research Methods 15
Family Therapy Skills I 25
Systemic Supervision and Case Presentation I 30

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Theories of Change and Practice II 20
Advanced Research Methods 15
Family Therapy Skills II 25
Systemic Supervision and Case Presentation II 30

Learning and teaching

You will be taught through lectures, practical classes, tutorials, seminars and supervised problem-based learning research projects.

We make extensive use of IT and a wide range of materials 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.


You will be assessed using a variety of methods in accordance with the learning outcomes of the modules specified for the year/programme.

We monitor your progress through attendance which is expected to be a full attendance, and participation in lectures and tutorials and clinical supervision of your practice with individuals couples and families. Assessment is by written assignments, assessed group based research projects and seminars and presentations of clinical practice, an online examination in the first year and extended case study in the second year. Students receive formative feedback on each session of their clinical practice.


Entry requirements

  • You will already have professional training (normally at graduate level) in mental health or social care, eg social work, nursing, clinical psychology, psychiatry, or relevant equivalent professional experience. Further details can be found in the APEL document (Accreditation of Prior Experience and Learning).

  • You will already have successfully completed Intermediate level training in Systemic Practice or equivalent.

  • While you are studying with us, you will be required to undertake 200 hours of systemic practice in your own agency setting during the two years of the course and this should be supervised by a qualified family therapist/supervisor. Your workplace may be able to provide or support this or you may need to consider a placement for this practice and the course team can advise you on this.

  • You are advised to plan for the study requirement of the course which amounts to 2.5 days per week. This includes an estimated 635 hours of private study, 18- 20 course days and 40 x 5-hour (weekly) clinic placements per year. Additional time may be required to fulfil statutory and mandatory training in your placement NHS service and travel to and from your clinical placement.

  • You will need the support of your current manager in enabling your study and in consent to undertake your systemic practice requirements and reference this work in your assessments (with full attendance to client confidentiality). Our experience is that this training offers considerable benefits to your workplace and population you serve. The support of your manager is an important contributor to this process and the MSc Professional Application includes a letter for your manager which outlines the training and asks for their support for your application. It you are unable to gain support at this stage, it is important that you contact the course team to discuss this as early as possible.

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

The next intake of the course will be in September 2025.

Applications will not open until September 2024.

If you are planning to apply for this course you are encouraged to be in contact with the course team now to ensure that you receive timely information about course open events and for the opportunity to discuss any specific questions that you may have related to training at University of Leeds.

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.

Admissions policy

School of Medicine Taught Postgraduate Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Medicine

Contact us

School of Medicine Postgraduate Admissions



UK: £12,250 (Total)

International: £27,500 (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

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.

Studying in the School of Medicine at Leeds is an amazing opportunity, but we know that the cost can be difficult for many people to meet. If you are keen to join us, a range of funding opportunities are available.

Career opportunities

Successful graduates are able to register with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and apply for family therapy posts. Some Family Therapist posts specify a prior professional qualification and graduates who do not have this (APEL students) may not be eligible for application to these posts.

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.