MSc Play Therapy

The Masters in Play Therapy course is accredited by the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT) and provides professional training in play therapy. Successful graduates of this Play Therapy course will have completed the formal elements of the training required to practise as a play therapist. As well as meeting core requirements for play therapy training, the MSc Play Therapy course introduces you to therapeutic interventions with different client groups including children and young people with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. You will develop the skills needed to practise as a professional in a responsible and demanding clinical environment.

The MSc Play Therapy course provides theoretical and practical knowledge relating to play therapy, drawing on the experience and skills of qualified psychologists and play therapists, as well as other creative therapists and counselling staff. The course team is actively engaged with practitioner work and related research. Read our Essential Guide to find out more.

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 2 Years September Newport City C
Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 2 Years September Newport City C

This is a demanding course and acceptable applicants will be interviewed to assess suitability for training. Students are also required to undertake their own personal therapy (60 hours) and clinical supervision (50 hours) as part of the professional requirement for registration as a Play Therapist. Students are expected to meet these costs in addition to the course fees.

The MSc Play Therapy course offers placement opportunities in a variety of settings, including schools, children’s centres, charitable organisations and multidisciplinary agencies. What’s more, there are opportunities for suitable students to undertake part of their clinical practice hours in the PAWB Wales clinic.

You will study the following modules:

  • Child Development
  • Play Therapy Skills
  • Advanced Play Therapy Skills
  • Research Methods
  • Working with Children and their Families
  • Clinical Practice & Personal Therapy 1
  • Clinical Practice & Personal Therapy 2


Attendance is required on one day a week during term time, as follows:

Full-time: 9-6 Tuesdays in Year 1; 9-3 Thursdays in Year 2

Part-time: 9-1 Tuesdays in Year 1; 2-6 Tuesdays in Year 2 and 9-3 Thursdays in Year 3

Teaching is through lectures, seminars, workshops, reflective diaries, research project work and specialist guest speakers.


Assessment uses a variety of methods, including essays, diaries, research reports, presentations, portfolios of observations and clinical notes. Clinical work placements are available as part of this course.


Psychology students have access to the latest learning technologies, facilities and equipment, including excellent designated facilities.

These include observation and interview rooms equipped with two-way mirror, CCTV and audio and allow research and interview practice sessions to be conducted and recorded onto DVD. We also have a custom-built air-conditioned PC laboratory which provides access to specialist software for running psychology experiments and conducting careers guidance interviews. More specialist equipment is also available in our cognitive suite and more details about this are given below.

Cognitive Suite
The Cognitive Psychology Suite houses specialist psychology equipment. This includes eye tracking equipment which is capable of studying the eye movements of individuals whilst they complete cognitive tasks. The suite includes EEG (electroencephalogram) and ECG (electrocardiogram) facilities for recording electrical activity in the heart and scalp. There is also a driving simulator which is currently being used by postgraduate students to complete a study which examines the effects of stressors on driving performance.

Psychology Clinic Facility (PAWB Wales)
As well as our excellent dedicated teaching facilities, the School of Psychology offers a wide range of psychological services to the general public. These are offered through our PAWB Wales clinic facility and include play therapy, behaviour analysis, health and sport psychology interventions. The clinic activities support our wide range of postgraduate opportunities and undergraduate students can also get involved in some of the clinic’s work.


Applicants for the MSc Play Therapy course are expected to have a good honours degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant discipline in addition to one of the following:

Graduates with a degree which is also a professional qualification such as teaching (fully qualified), social work, occupational therapy, pediatric nursing etc are required to have a minimum of two years post-graduation work experience.


Graduates whose degree is relevant (such as psychology, childhood studies, early years development, social science) need also to have at least five years experience working face to face with children, young people and their families of which the majority of this experience should be undertaken after graduation.

Applicants who meet the entry requirements for the course will be invited to interview.

The course welcomes international applicants and requires an English level of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. Successful applicants owill be required to undergo an enhanced DBS check. Please note that we do not accept deferred entry on to this course.

The selection process will consist of an essay (500 words) on “What do you understand is the value of Non-Directive Play Therapy” which will be written in advance and brought by the applicant to the interview, a group activity and an individual interview.

Please read our Essential Guide for more detailed information.

All fees are per year. Once you have started your course, your fee will remain the same for each year of study.

August 2017 - July 2018 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • Full-time International: TBC

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Additional assessment or memberships: Professional body student fees * £45
Years 1-2
Clinical Supervision * £35 - £50
Years 1-2
Therapy £30 - £50
Costs are per session, years 1-2.
DBS * £57.2
This fee includes £44 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
DBS Updating Service £13
Whilst optional it is strongly recommended signing up for this service especially if you are likely to have placements each year and wish to persue a career post University where a DBS check is a requirement. Please note the service has to be joined within 19 days of receipt of your enhanced DBS certificate.
Other: Professional Indemnity Insurance £45 - £75
Years 1-2
Other: Placement travel *
Students have to fund their own travel costs to their placement. Costs vary, depending on location.
Other: Infant Observation travel *
Students have to fund their own travel costs to their infant observation placement. Costs vary, depending on location.

Career opportunities for play therapists exist in many stimulating areas, such as community groups, social services, education services, the National Health Service and private clients.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.