Play Therapy: Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the common questions asked by potential students. If you have any additional questions, please email

What if I don’t have a degree and/or professional qualification?

We have three categories of entry requirements:

  • academic qualifications
  • professional qualifications
  • work experience

We look at information about each of these to see if an applicant is suitable for our programme. If you don’t meet all of them ‘perfectly’ then we look at the overall balance of what you have, to ensure that overall what you will bring to the programme will be enough.

For example:

  1. You don’t have a degree but have worked in a relevant field for a considerable amount of time (minimum five years) and can show us that you will be able to keep up with the academic requirements (e.g., you have just completed some work-based training), then we will consider your application.
  2. You don’t have a professional qualification (e.g., social work, nurse, teacher, etc.) but you have a relevant degree and a minimum of two years' post-degree work experience in a related field, then we will consider your application.

What if I don’t have a psychology or related degree?

If you have a degree that is not related to psychology (e.g., media and design) but feel that you would like to re-train, you will need sufficient relevant work experience (see below) and demonstrate on your application form that you have enough psychological knowledge and insight to compensate for not having formally studied within this field. Also, you would need to show that you can apply such knowledge in the workplace.

What is relevant work experience?

You need to work directly with children and families who experience emotional, psychological and/or behavioural difficulties. Your work will involve assessing, planning and undertaking interventions to promote change for the children and their families. Ideally, this will also involve experience of working or liaising with different professionals (e.g., health, social services, education) in some way or another. Look at social services nurseries or family centres; voluntary agency projects; social services support teams; school pupil support teams; Child and Adolescent community teams etc.

Each of these have websites for jobs (e.g., SureStart, Extended schools, Action for Children, NSPCC, Women’s Aid, Barnardos, and The Place2Be) and Community Care and The Guardian on a Wednesday also carry job adverts. Work may be voluntary. Please note that you will need a minimum of two years’ fulltime equivalent if you have a professional qualification/discipline relevant degree and five years if you don’t.

Am I too young or too old?

Each application is assessed according to our minimum entry requirements and age is not a factor. 

What should I include in my personal statement?

When completing the personal statement section of the application pack, you should aim to demonstrate the following:

  • A standard of written English adequate to support postgraduate study
  • Academic ability sufficient to support postgraduate study
  • A capacity to reflect on learning gained from personal and professional experience to date
  • Your understanding so far of the nature of play therapy (particularly as it is practised in the UK) and a clear rationale for wanting to become a play therapist
  • Personal maturity, self-awareness and a reflective capacity

You should mention any relevant courses or conferences you have attended as well as meetings you may have had with play or other arts therapists and whether you have engaged in personal therapy and/or personal development.

What happens at the interview day?

The selection process aims to ensure that students admitted to the programme are likely to complete it successfully. The MA Play Therapy programme will place high demands on students, their abilities and their personal resources. Therefore the selection process has to be thorough and rigorous.

The interview day will involve a presentation to candidates about the programme and an opportunity to ask questions, so as to see how your expectations fit with what we offer. Candidates will also participate in group sessions involving both the capacity to use creative metaphors and to engage in critical discussion of a theoretical paper. Subsequent individual interviews will take place with members of the programme team. Candidates will be invited to focus on their work experience, their rationale for wanting to become a play therapist as well as to reflect openly on their personal development and life experience. An appreciation of, and readiness for, the demands of Master’s level study will also be discussed. Since the programme is demanding in so many ways discussion and reflection on your health and resilience under stress may also be relevant. We have a responsibility as an education provider approved by BAPT to ensure the suitability of students' conduct, character and health.

What is the time commitment for this programme?

You are required to attend the University two full days per week – Mondays and Tuesdays - for five terms (Autumn, Spring and Summer of Year 1; Autumn and Spring for Year 2). Teaching starts promptly at 10am and finishes at 5/5.15pm. In the sixth term of Year 2, you will be mainly working from home to complete your second placement and to carry out work for your research project; in this term, there will be occasional dissertation tutorials at the university as required.

For some of the APT shared modules there will also be a requirement to attend a compulsory three day block delivery early in the Autumn term each year, and for up to four additional evening /weekend 2-3 hour workshops in the second year. These will be co-taught along with students from other Arts & Play Therapies disciplines. Dates for this additional teaching will be ascertained at the earliest possible convenience.

Other weekly elements of the programme, including child observation, personal therapy plus two Play Therapy placements, take place off site to suit your own timing. You would need to allocate a further 1-2 days per week for these, although it may be possible to arrange some elements such as personal therapy to take place in the evenings or at weekends so as to fit around other commitments.

For Placement 1 (terms 2 and 3 of Year 1), clinical supervision is held on campus as part of the two-day timetable at the University. However, in Year 2, clinical supervision for Placement 2 (terms 4, 5 and 6) takes place externally (set up by the student) so you need to account for this extra weekly time commitment in the Year 2.

You will also need to plan time for studying and writing: we recommend a minimum of one day per week. When you are completing your M.A. dissertation in the final term of Year 2 year, we recommend that you keep at least two days per week free for this. 

We believe it is feasible for students to continue some paid employment to support their training. However, we strongly advise students that this is NOT MORE than 1-2 days per week. Applicants are reminded that it is a FULL-TIME programme and, as such, may find that the demands of the training require them to work less than two days a week, particularly during Year 2.

NB: Block teaching with other Arts and Play Therapies programmes

For 2020-2021, block teaching dates will be Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, either 7th, 8th & 9th or 14th, 15th &16th October 2020 for the module Human Development and Growth (TBC as soon as possible). All students will be required to attend on all three days and the usual Monday/ Tuesday teaching will not take place that week.

In the second year (2021-2022), block teaching dates are likely to be in late September 2021 for the Research Methodologies and Methods module. All students will be required to attend on all three days. The Interprofessional Learning and Practice module will be delivered during week days, weekday evenings and some weekends early in the academic year 2021/22. Students will be required to select workshops in modalities different to their own. Students will be able to select workshop dates that may be different to their formal training days.

Can I do my placement where I work?

This would need to be discussed individually with the programme coordinator. Some roles that students have at work (e.g., teacher, social worker) mean that it is not possible as the children you work with and your colleagues may become confused about your role. Also, work and placement demands can be very difficult to manage simultaneously and it is better for students to have clear distinctions between the two.

I have already had therapy - do I need to have it again?

Yes. Being in personal therapy while you are training is a different experience and essential for your therapeutic learning. It is important to select a therapist who is an Accredited Member of one of the appropriate professional bodies (e.g. BACP, UKCP, HCPC).

I have already completed infant observations, do I have to do them again?

Yes. Our infant observations are closely linked to working therapeutically and are a required element of the programme.

Can I transfer credits from another Play Therapy training?

No. The usual credit transfer system between universities does not apply to therapy training at Roehampton, with the exception in some cases of the other BAPT-accredited programmes at the University of South Wales or Queen Margaret’s University, Edinburgh.

Shall I wait for all my documents before I apply?

The application process takes some time so you can submit your initial application and obtain references and copies of documents while this is being processed. However, any offer of a place is conditional upon submission of all the evidence. 

Interview days are held approximately on a monthly basis during the year and we will continue selecting for interview until our target of 20 places is reached. In the past, applications received after June of the year of entry have not always been successful since places on the programme have been filled. Candidates interested in applying for the course are invited to attend the Open Afternoon/Evening events for the Arts and Play Therapies programmes which held twice a year. Further details can be found via the following link:

Are there additional costs to consider?

In addition to the tuition fees (listed on the course page) you will need to budget for further external expenses. These include: weekly personal therapy (30 hours per year at circa £35- £45 an hour); external clinical supervision (minimum of 35 hours in Year 2 – approx. £30-£45 per hour); annual BAPT Student membership (£38); personal indemnity insurance; purchase of some toy resources; video camera and ongoing printing costs.

Is there any funding available?

The vast majority of home/EU M.A. Play Therapy students are self-funding. More information about funding opportunities can be found on our finance pages.

How can I get a taster?

For a taster in our approach we run one-day Introductory Days twice a year (Spring and Autumn) and a 5-day Summer School in August of each year. There is also an annual 20-week Foundation Course (Wednesday evenings at Roehampton, Thursday evenings at a venue in Northampton) which run from November to April. 

Please see the short courses webpages.