2019/20 Part-time Postgraduate course
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
School of Psychology
AFT-accredited foundation level training in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice.
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The programme is fully accredited for Foundation Level Training with the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice. It therefore forms the first step in training to become a fully qualified Family Therapist. Graduates of the course can go on to undertake the next stages in this training - that of Intermediate Level and Masters Level. In addition to this, students working in a variety of work contexts will also benefit from supplementing their own professional skills with the systemic theory and skills learned on the course. Given the broad appeal and applicability of systemic therapy principles, this course will inform and enhance students' understanding and approach to supporting individuals, couples and organisations, as well as families.
*Please note: This PgCert programme is the same PgCert Family Therapy and Systemic Practice programme that has run on the Magee campus of the University - it is moving to the Coleraine campus and will run there from September 2018 onwards.
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The course aims to:
At the end of the course, successful students will be able to:
The course runs from September to June.
The course is taught as two modules:
Module 1 is conducted as one full day (Thursdays) of teaching and seminar work per week across Semester 1 (September to December).
Module 2 runs in Semester 2 (January to June). It is composed of 6 teaching/workshop days (10.00am – 4.30pm), and 5 Peer Group/seminar days (9.30am – 1.00pm). The teaching days and Peer Group days alternate each week (on Mondays).
In addition to the above days on campus, you will be expected to spend at least one day per week throughout the programme in your placement or work context (pre-arranged by you), where you will apply the theory and skills from your training.
Please note:While unlikely, the above details are subject to change.
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, workshops, and student-led peer groups. The peer groups promote experiential learning on the programme via role-play and group tasks, designed to develop students' clinical skills and understanding.
Assessment takes the form of essays, reflective diaries, and presentations. There are no written examinations on the programme.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
The feeling of community at our Coleraine campus makes for a warm and welcoming student experience.
A laid-back campus at the heart of a global tourist attraction.
Our Campus in Coleraine boasts a variety of indoor and outdoor facilities that are open all year round to students and members of the public.
At Student Support we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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In this module students will be introduced to family therapy and systemic practice theories and will be able to understand how problems, mental ill health and distress may be explained through the lens of systemic thinking. The main models of structural, strategic and Milan theories, along with their historical development will be explored. The process of systemic psychotherapy will be explained with opportunity to practice a systemic assessment, hypothesising and use the relevant intervention techniques, with example case studies. Issues relating to culture, the therapeutic relationship, power and gender in systemic practice will be discussed, along with case examples of how family therapy and systemic practice can be applied in various clinical settings.
In this module students will be introduced to family therapy and systemic practice theories and will be able to understand how problems, mental ill health and distress may be explained through the lens of systemic thinking. The main models of structural, strategic and Milan theories will be reinforced, and key practice-related issues will be explored. The process of systemic psychotherapy will be explained with opportunity to practice systemic skills and use the relevant intervention techniques, with example case studies. Issues relating to bereavement, domestic abuse, and child-focused practice will be discussed, along with case examples of how family therapy and systemic practice can be applied in various clinical settings.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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Applicants must hold a degree or equivalent (either an existing health and social care qualification, or have completed a psychology degree) or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior learning. In order to maximise access to training in systemic practice, entry requirements for foundation level training are kept to a minimum. They are:
Applicants are required to provide two satisfactory references, outlining their suitability to undertake the course.
All applicants, regardless of qualifications, are advised to use the space provided in the personal statement/additional information section of the online application process, to detail any experience that may be relevant to studying a PgCert in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice.
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Applicants may be exempt from certain elements of the course if they have already undertaken some professional training in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice. Any application for the accreditation of prior learning can be discussed with the course team.
Typically we require applicant for taught programmes to hold the equivalent of a UK first degree (usually in a relevant subject area). Please refer to the specific entry requirements for your chosen course of study as outlined in the online prospectus. We consider students who have good grades in the following:
|Level 12 English Lang in HSD|
In this section
This course is fully accredited for Foundation Level Training with the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice. It therefore forms the first step in training to become a fully qualified Family Therapist. Graduates of the course can go on to undertake the next stages in this training - that of Intermediate Level and Masters Level. In addition to this, students working in a variety of work contexts will also benefit from supplementing their own professional skills with the systemic theory and skills learned on the course. Given the broad appeal and applicability of systemic therapy principles, this course will inform and enhance students' understanding and approach to supporting individuals, couples and organisations, as well as families.
The clinical placement associated with this programme is arranged by students themselves. The training presents a number of opportunities to connect clinical placement with studies on campus, through exploring and assessing students' clinical experiences in this area of practice.
In this section
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
Northern Ireland & EU: £1,967.00
Travel Expenses associated with placement – placements are arranged by students themselves on this MSc route (as opposed to being arranged by the course team), and so travel costs will depend on where their placement setting is located.
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Course Director: Professor Gerry Cunningham
From graduates of Foundation Level training:
“I think one of the things that I found most helpful about this course is the fact that it is conveyed in such a way that it can be applied in real situations. It’s one thing learning family systems theories, but it is another thing altogether when it’s applied. Hearing stories, told with a sense of humanity (and humour) made it easier to make up my mind about where I might apply it.”
“I think family therapy and systemic practice continues to influence my assessment, formulation and intervention in clinical practice. I think this training enabled me to be more flexible in sessions, more aware of the power dynamic of therapy and to more fully appreciate the family as experts of their own experience.”
“I think that the reflective elements of the course really allowed me to grow and develop personally and as a therapist. I also feel that I particularly benefitted from the videos we watched of Family Therapy in practice and from the role-play scenarios… The Foundation Course has given me great confidence in this way of working.”