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Psychiatry (MSc)

  • Duration: 3 years
  • Mode: Part time distance learning

Course options See other modes of study
Start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

The course is suitable for medical and other health professionals wishing to gain an in-depth knowledge of current thinking and practices within psychiatry.


Interactive teaching content

Content includes novel e-presentations by subject experts, live tutorials, expert interviews, discussion groups and access to eBooks


Flexible e-learning programme

Distance-learning, online format enables flexible learning at your own pace.


Evidence-based learning

Teaching and flexible assessments designed to enhance clinical reasoning and research skills through application to real-world scenarios


Research opportunities

Opportunities to network with world-leading research and clinical staff in the areas of psychiatry and psychological medicine


Student-centred learning

Course content designed to meet students' learning needs, with dissertation module allowing further exploration or personal area of interest

Psychiatry is a fascinating and important area of medicine.  Due to the nature of psychiatric illness (which may often be present/co-morbid with other conditions and/or affect the way people behave in a variety of situations), improved knowledge of psychiatry would benefit professionals working in fields supplementary to psychiatry and/or likely to come into contact with psychiatric illness on a regular basis. 

  • The programme will be of benefit to such professionals and also to medical doctors training to be psychiatrists or psychiatric specialists. 
  • The programme aims to provide students with:
  • An in-depth knowledge of the basic science, characteristics and presentation of psychiatric illness. 
  •  An understanding of how psychiatric illness is managed and the appropriateness of specific management plans. 
  • The ability to critically appraise, synthesise and evaluate research relating to psychiatric illness. 
  • A developing critical independence and intellectual integrity with specific reference to psychiatry. 

The programme is a valuable and detailed introduction to the main types of psychiatric illness but does not at any stage entitle anyone enrolled or graduating from it to call themselves a psychiatrist or psychologist or to prescribe drugs or to otherwise manage psychiatric illness (if they could not previously do so as specified by their specific registration or licence to practice). 

Where you'll study

School of Medicine

We are of the largest medical schools in UK, committed to the pursuit of improved human health through education and research.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2068 7214
  • MarkerUniversity Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN

Admissions criteria

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided.

With your online application you will need to provide:

  1. A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved a 2:2 hours degree in a relevant subject such as biological science, healthcare, medicine, nursing, or psychology awarded by a recognised institution. If your degree certificate is pending, please upload any transcripts or provisional certificates.
  2. A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as an undergraduate degree studied in the UK, please supply this in place of an IELTS.
  3. Two references which demonstrate your suitability for the programme. Please provide one academic and one professional reference. If you graduated within the last three years, two academic references will be accepted. If you graduated more than three years ago, two professional references will be accepted. References should be signed, dated and less than six months old at the time you submit your application.

If you do not have a degree in a relevant area, your application may be considered on the basis of at least two years professional experience. Please provide additional evidence to support your application such as signed and dated employer references.

Application Deadline

We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible.

Selection process

We will review your application and if you meet all of the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

This part-time MSc runs over three years. During this time, you will take six compulsory 20-credit modules and complete a 60-credit research dissertation.

As a part-time student, you will be expected to dedicate 10-16 hours a week to your studies. This includes time spent watching and interacting with recorded lectures and videos, consulting supplementary materials, engaging with online tutorials and working on your module coursework.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

Year one

You will take three compulsory 20 credit modules in year one, providing you with a solid base for the next two years of your degree Programme.

Year two

You will take three compulsory 20 credit Modules in year two.

Year three

You will take one compulsory 60 credit Module in year three which involves the research for and the writing of a 20,000 dissertation.

Module titleModule codeCredits
DissertationMET45460 credits

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

The course is taught entirely online, and course material will be delivered using our Virtual Learning Environment. The principal method of teaching is by simulated patient interviews and doctor-doctor discussions based on clinical cases. These are the starting points for you to question your existing understanding and extend your knowledge and skills through active and continuous learning. 

These videos are supplemented by online lectures, links to eBooks and a range of external web sites.

Virtual tutorials and other live support sessions will be scheduled during all taught modules, with live sessions providing the opportunity for students to explore material in greater depth with course lecturers and tutors.  

How will I be assessed?

The assessments have been designed to ensure that the intended learning outcomes for the course are met and will provide you with the opportunity to enhance your clinical and research skills.

The coursework assignments developed for each module have been designed in line with the latest research and will enable you to develop the necessary skills to apply in a range of clinical, research and academic settings.

During each of the six taught modules, you will have three coursework assignments to complete and submit at the end of each respective module.

The nature of the coursework varies between modules but will include clinical case reports, academic essays, group (multidisciplinary) projects and personal reflections.

Upon successful completion of the taught modules, you will progress to the dissertation stage, where you will be assigned a supervisor and expected to submit a research dissertation project of 15,000 – 20,000 words.

The classification of your degree will be directly influenced by your performance throughout the year, as assessed through the coursework assigned during each of the taught modules and your final dissertation.

The taught modules combined and the dissertation project carry equal weighting, with the six taught modules combined contributing 50% to your final award and the dissertation contributing to the remaining 50%.   

How will I be supported?

All modules within the programme are delivered entirely as distance-learning via our virtual learning environment (VLE) Learning Central, where students will find course materials, links to related materials and assessments.

The first week of the course consists of an introductory unit. This will take you through all aspects of the course and includes basic psychology, basic pharmacology and basic psychiatry to bring all students up to speed. During this week there is a live online tutorial with the Course Tutor again aimed at making sure you can access the course and understand how it all works.

In addition to e-mail and online tutorials, you will be supported by a personal tutor for help and support with academic and pastoral needs. There is extensive online material and handouts and links to eBooks and external web resources. You will be assigned to a group tutor who will act as the first line of contact and answers all academic queries or passes them on to the course team.

One-to-one discussion with the course tutor is available by e-mail at any time and by Skype with prior arrangement. The course tutor will be available to answer questions on any aspects of the course.

You will be allocated a nominated supervisor when undertaking your dissertation, who will correspond regularly to discuss progress, provide advice and guidance, and give written feedback on drafts.

We will also support you by:

  • being responsive to your enquiries
  • being available for support and advice
  • giving feedback and delivering marking in a timely manner
  • providing course materials that are clear, appropriate and correct
  • assessing course work both comprehensively and accurately
  • monitoring your progress with the aim of helping you to overcome any difficulties
  • stimulating you to think and learn!

Formative Feedback

Formative feedback is feedback that does not contribute to progression or degree classification decisions.  The goal of formative feedback is to improve your understanding and learning before you complete your summative assessment. More specifically, formative feedback helps you to:

  • identify your strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work;
  • help staff to support you and address the problems identified with targeted strategies for improvement.

Summative Feedback

Summative feedback is feedback that contributes to progression or degree classification decisions.  The goal of summative assessment is to indicate how well you have succeeded in meeting the intended learning outcomes of a Module or Programme and will enable you to identify any action required in order to improve.  All feedback should directly link to the Module grading/assessment criteria.

Summative feedback will be given following the completion of all coursework.

What are the learning outcomes of this course/programme?

The Learning outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you and academic staff will focus on precisely what they want you to achieve within each Module. 

Knowledge & Understanding:

Students completing the Programme will demonstrate:

  1. An ability to explain basic science related to the presentation and management of mental illness including behavioural science, human development, neuroscience, genetics and psychopharmacology.

Intellectual Skills:

Students completing the Programme will demonstrate:

  1. An ability to explain the incidence/prevalence, aetiology, classification and progression of these illnesses.
  2. Recognition and evaluation of the signs and symptoms presented by a patient and determine the differential diagnoses and most likely illness.
  3. The ability to select the most appropriate management plan from a given range of possible options, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological, for these illnesses, justify their choice and explain the likely outcome.
  4. The ability to critically appraise psychiatry literature, including appraisal of statistical methods, related to all aspects of these illnesses. 
  5. The ability to synthesise and evaluate a wide range of research material of different quality and conclude what the true state of knowledge in a specific area is.

Transferable/Key Skills:

Students completing the Programme will demonstrate:

  1. The ability to successfully undertake academic medical writing and work independently to study a specific area of Psychiatry.

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Due to the duration of this programme only Welsh and EU domiciled students who meet residency requirements (English domiciled students are excluded) are eligible for a postgraduate loan. See more information about eligibility for UK Government Postgraduate loans.

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £5,725 None
Year two £5,725 None
Year three £1,908 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £9,450 £2,500
Year two £9,450 None
Year three £3,150 None

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs



Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

You will need a reliable computer with high speed internet access (and up-to-date virus and malware protection) and appropriate software.”

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.


Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Careers and placements

This programme is particularly suitable for those wishing to increase their knowledge of psychiatry. Psychiatric clinical trainees in the UK will find this course helpful when studying for the MRCPsych exams.

Graduates of the programme have reported that they have gone on to pursue PhDs, further training in preparation to be clinical psychologists, and a range of jobs relevant to psychology and psychiatry.

This MSc programme enables you to demonstrate that you are taking the opportunity to develop your abilities in critical analysis, problem-solving, decision-making, finding and using evidence and in dealing with complex issues. Whilst we do not formally assess clinical skills or competencies in a face-to-face context (so the programme is not a substitute for a formal specialty training programme), studying at this level should help successful students demonstrate numerous academic skills that should be highly regarded in relation to their career development and progression.

In particular, the programme offers opportunities to demonstrate the development of knowledge and skills in relation to the application of evidence-based medicine and the potential enhancement of services and governance frameworks. As such, it should provide evidence of commitment and potential that may assist you in relation to taking on greater responsibilities or perhaps seeking management, research, scholarship, or leadership roles.

Please note that completing this course does not qualify you to practice psychiatry or call yourself a psychiatrist in the UK or elsewhere (as the ability to practice psychiatry is awarded by the relevant regulatory body in your location).


There are no formal placement or study abroad opportunities associated with this programme.

Next steps


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Register for information about our 2023 dates.

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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.