Play Therapy: Frequently Asked Questions

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

How competitive is it to get onto the course?

We receive approximately 80-90 applications each year. Preparing thoroughly is important in order to ensure that you have the required skills, abilities and experience (see further information below).

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

We look at each application very carefully to see if an applicant is suitable for our programme. On occasion, we accept special entry applicants who do not hold a degree or professional qualification. Applicants without a degree need to have worked professionally in a relevant field for a considerable amount of time (e.g., 10+ years) and can demonstrate the ability to engage successfully in, and manage the demands of, Master’s level training. In such special cases, candidates may also have extensive clinical experience and be able to demonstrate the essential qualities expected of a play therapy trainee, including a high level of self-awareness and insight.

What if I don’t have a discipline-relevant degree?

If you have a degree that is not directly related to training as a play therapist (e.g., an undergraduate degree in theatre or art) but you would like to train as a therapist, 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. Candidates may find it helpful to undertake an Level 3/4 counselling course (CPCAB has further information) before applying for the MA Play Therapy training.

What is relevant work experience?

You need to work directly with children (ideally between the ages of 5-11) and their families who experience emotional, psychological and/or behavioural difficulties. Your work might involve assessing, planning and undertaking interventions to promote change for the children and their families. This should also involve experience of working or liaising with different professionals (e.g., health, social services, education) in some way or another. Some possible work settings might be schools, family centres, voluntary agency projects, social care support teams, pupil referral units, CAMHS teams, etc. Work may be voluntary but such cases should be consistent and involve clear duties and responsibilities. 

N.B. You will need a minimum of two years’ full-time work experience following an undergraduate degree if you have a professional qualification/discipline-relevant degree.

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 (500-1,000 words) section of your application, you should aim to cover the following main areas:

  • What has led you to want to train as a therapist; you should demonstrate some insight into how your life experience has led to this application.
  • A reflective account of your experience of work with children and their families, particularly with client groups with whom play therapists generally work (such as children with emotional, psychological and/or behavioural difficulties; other areas of work may also be relevant). Such experience is a mandatory pre-requisite for training.
  • Your creative/playful background and your understanding of its relationship to understanding self and others.
  • Your understanding, so far, of the nature of play therapy as a distinctive discipline (in particular as practised in the UK). You should mention relevant courses, conferences and reading, any meetings with play or other therapists, personal therapy/development etc. Please be ready to discuss this at interview.

Your personal statement is also an indication of how well you express yourself in writing and should therefore demonstrate:

  • A standard of written English adequate to support postgraduate study
  • Academic ability sufficient to support postgraduate study
  • Personal maturity, self-awareness and a reflective capacity.

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. 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 on their personal development and life experience. An appreciation of, and readiness for, the demands of master’s level study will also be discussed.

Can I do my placement where I work?

No. Work and placement demands can be very difficult to manage simultaneously and our experience is that 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 essential for your therapeutic learning and support during your training.

Can I transfer credits from another Play Therapy training?

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 run a rolling admissions process. 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, you will need to budget for further external expenses. These include:

  • Weekly personal therapy throughout the training with a minimum of 30 hours per year; please refer to BACP and/or UKCP websites to find out current fees charged by therapists;
  • External clinical supervision (minimum of 35 hours in Year 2); please see the BAPT website for fees charged by BAPT-approved clinical supervisors , approximately £45+ per hour);
  • Annual BAPT Student membership (£38 + one-off £10 administration fee);
  • Travel to placement;
  • Personal indemnity insurance;
  • DBS registration;
  • Purchase of some play therapy resources for placement;
  • Use of a video camera for placement recordings;
  • Ongoing costs, such as printing/book purchases, travel to placement, etc.

Is there any funding available?

The vast majority of home/EU Play Therapy students are self-funding or access government loans. More information about funding opportunities can be found on our finance pages via the following link:

How can I get a taster?

For a taster in our approach we run one-day Introductory Days twice a year (spring and sutumn) and a 5-day Summer School 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 website.

N.B. It is possible to do some of the above online but it should be noted that the MA Play Therapy is only offered as an on-campus training.

What percentage of alumni find subsequent employment in play therapy?

Many play therapy graduates go on to establish rewarding careers as play therapists. Due to the demanding nature of the work, some prefer to find employment on a part-time basis and maintain some work in their other professional capacity, e.g., as a social worker. Many graduates create their own independent practice, establishing contracts with schools, fostering and adoption agencies, charities, etc. This enables them to work flexibly and in ways that suit their circumstances. Play Therapy is a growing profession in the U.K. and with increased awareness of the mental health issues affecting children and young people, it is an exciting time to be part of this developing field.