This two year full-time programme integrates theoretical learning, clinical skills and in-depth personal development to prepare graduates for clinical practice, predominantly with children, as a professional play therapist within the public and private sectors.Based on a humanistic person-centred model of therapy, this course emphasises the use of play within a therapeutic relationship between the therapist and client to facilitate therapeutic change. The course encompasses theoretical, practical and experiential learning. With our holistic approach to teaching, you will be provided with thorough and systematic knowledge, experience, skills and the confidence to work as a professionally qualified play therapist. At the end of the course, you will be able to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of therapeutic techniques and approaches that are required for professional registration purposes.
This course leads to a qualification that entitles you to registration as a Full Member of the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT) whose register is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). You will be taught by experienced practitioners who are practising play therapists and will bring the teaching on the course to life by drawing upon their own clinical experiences and case materials.
All students are required to be in personal therapy for the duration of the course and will complete two specified periods of supervised clinical placements alongside their studies. Key areas that you will study include human development and growth, play therapy theory and skills and young child observations (attachment theory). Integral to the programme is your own personal development which will be supported by personal therapy and experiential process groups.
This intense, rigorous and comprehensive programme is made up of ten modules that encompass the theoretical, practical and experiential learning experience required to become a professional play therapist. All modules are designed to prepare you for child-centred therapeutic practice that is theoretically sound and emotionally aware, complying with the core competencies of a play therapist as specified by the British Association of Play Therapists.
The clinical placements are a central component to the training in this programme. In your first year, the modules will include experiential learning to prepare you for your first work placement, as theoretical understanding will give you a strong grounding for your clinical practice. Your professional development is inter-related with the development of theoretical knowledge, skills and personal awareness. Within the clinical placements you will synthesise, integrate and apply all aspects of your learning into practise.
In the second year, you will build upon your play therapy skills and knowledge from your first year modules. You will have the opportunity to develop and explore your understanding of the theory and practice of play therapy in relation to working with different client groups and more complex needs. You will also synthesise your theoretical knowledge and clinical experience to pursue your research interest in the Research Portfolio module. A clinical issue, your own clinical work or a professional issue may provide the inspiration for this research project. Recent research areas have included: child-centred play therapy and the use of therapeutic boundaries, play therapy and unresolved bereavement issues, play therapy in schools, and play therapy and different cultural beliefs.
We also offer introductory courses that provide a useful background to those working in related professions or anyone simply wishing to find out more about the work.
See answers to frequently asked questions about the MA Play Therapy.
Compulsory and Required modules
Compulsory and/or required modules may change when we review and update programmes. Above is a list of modules offered this academic year.
Optional modules, when offered as part of a programme, may vary from year to year and are subject to viability.
"The passionate staff are all play therapists and I found that the modules complement each other well. The focus on personal development in addition to the child-centred theory helps equip you with the skills you'll need as a therapist."
MA Play Therapy
We also offer weekend introductory courses, 5 day Summer Schools, and 20 week part time evening Foundation Courses which provide a useful background in related professions. For more information, see our Psychology Short Courses.
The University is currently undertaking a review of the curriculum of this programme to ensure it continues to reflect the latest updates and new developments in the subject area. This will mean that the content and structure of the programme will be different from that described above. Please contact us for more information.
1a) Professional Qualification: Applicants hold a relevant professional qualification relating to working with children. These include:
1b) Academic Learning: Applicants hold a good second-class honours degree (or above) in Psychology or related subject.
2) Professional Experience: Applicants must have considerable experience of working directly with children and families. This must include a minimum of two years post qualifying experience (from professional qualification or degree).
3) Applicants must be at least 23 years of age at start of the Programme.
4) Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure: Applicants must present an appropriately clear and up-to-date Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) (formally CRB) check prior to starting the Masters in Play Therapy. All applicants must successfully complete an interview with academic staff. For non-native speakers of English, IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required.
If you are not sure that you are ready to embark on a full masters' degree we also offer introductory courses that provide a useful background to those working in related professions or anyone simply wishing to find out more about the work.
Although there is no official opening or closing deadline, the Play Therapy MA admissions panel have commenced assessing applications for 2017 entry with a view to selecting the most promising candidates for interview starting in early March. Applicant selection for interview will continue at approximately monthly intervals and offers made until all 20 places are filled. It is envisaged this process is unlikely to continue beyond July so applications received after this date may be held over to the following year of entry.
Only apply for the year of entry in which you intend to commence your studies. However, in exceptional circumstances, a deferred place may be considered.
2 years (full-time)
£7,140 (2018; full-time UK/EU) per year
£595 per ten credits (2018; part-time UK/EU)
£9,468 (2018; full-time International) per year
£804 per ten credits (2018; part-time International)
For further fee information see our finance pages
Lisa Gordon Clark
+44 (0)20 8392 3699