MSc/PGDip Primary Mental Health Care pathway - APIMH / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

Common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression, account for one-third of all primary care consultations in the UK. The impact of these on individuals, families, communities and healthcare resources is recognised at a global level.

Our part-time MSc in Primary Mental Health Care (a pathway of the Advanced Practice Interventions for Mental Health (APIMH) programme) aims to equip primary care professionals with the knowledge and skills to improve services for these individuals.

A key strategy to address current and future challenges of this immense area of need is to equip those working in primary care in both existing and new roles with relevant knowledge and skills to increase access to and deliver effective services through evidence-based, innovative approaches.

Our course is directly relevant to clinical practice and uses a bio-psychosocial framework so you can develop knowledge and skills in evidence-based interventions delivered through a range of methods (eg face-to-face, telephone, computerised).

You will learn how to offer high-quality, evidence-based interventions and contribute to service developments that promote socially inclusive mental health care for individuals, families and communities.

The first year of the pathway (PGCert) meets the national competencies for IAPT Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs) and is a mandatory requirement, funded through an NHS contract, for newly appointed PWPs.

Please note: the PGCert can also be completed as a graduate certificate and also meets national competencies for becoming a psychological Wellbeing Practitioner. Please contact us about completing the qualification at graduate level.

PhD with integrated master's

If you're planning to undertake a PhD after your master's, our Integrated PhD programme will enable you to combine your postgraduate taught course with a related PhD project in biology, medicine or health.

You can also visit this page for examples of projects related to integrated master's courses.


The course aims to equip you with the advanced knowledge and skills necessary to deliver patient-focused, low intensity interventions outlined in the National Institute of Clinical Excellence's guidelines for people experiencing common mental health problems (PGCert), as well as contribute to innovations and developments in mental health care and service delivery (PGDip/MSc).

Teaching and learning

You will participate in a range of teaching and learning methods, including lectures, small group work, student-led seminars, problem-based learning scenarios, online learning and clinical simulations.

There is a strong emphasis on skills development through the use of role play, experiential exercises and analysis. Supervised practice and clinical hours are essential to achieve practical skills outcomes for the course.

In addition, you will undertake independent study to further develop and consolidate your learning. All pathways involve sessions by users and/or carers who are seen as essential contributors to student learning as experts by experience.

The course involves attendance at the University for part of the week and the rest is spent in clinical practice. You are required to identify a suitable practice supervisor/mentor to oversee and assess the clinical and/or practice work required for the programme and pathway.

Student trainees working within an IAPT service are expected to receive supervision from supervisors who have completed IAPT Supervisor Training. This is an accredited five-day training programme currently provided by the University.

Coursework and assessment

We use a variety of assessments within each course unit and across the course as a whole. All assessments require you to integrate knowledge and understanding and apply this to your own area of practice relevant to the outcomes of each unit and the focus of each pathway.

Assessment methods include essays, case studies, seminar presentations, literature reviews, recorded clinical simulations and/or recordings of actual client interactions. You are also required to submit practice supervision and clinical hours records.

Course unit details

The course consists of units on the following themes:


  • Engagement and Assessment of Patients with Common Mental Health Problems
  • Evidence based low intensity interventions in Primary Mental Health Care
  • Values, Diversity and Context


Core course units are shared with students studying other pathways and programmes but retain a pathway-specific focus through group work and assessments. Core course units focus on the following themes:

  • Advanced Evidence Based Practice and Leadership
  • Long Term Conditions (LTCs) in Primary Mental Health
  • Developing Practice and Managing Change

On completion of the taught units (PGDip), successful students who meet progression requirements are able to continue onto their research dissertation for the MSc.


The Year 3 dissertation consists of a 12,000 to 15,000-word dissertation that undertakes an extended literature-based review/proposal for practice development.

The dissertation enables you, with the support of an individual supervisor, to undertake an extended written piece of work that focuses on a specific aspect of primary mental health care practice in the form of an extended literature-based review.

Scholarships and bursaries

For the latest scholarship and bursary information please visit the fees and funding page.

Course collaborators

This course has been designed in collaboration with practice colleagues and is delivered by nationally renowned and published experts in the field. The pathway has an excellent track record of working with service user and carer organisations as an integral part of the teaching team.


You will have access a range of facilities throughout the University.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service .