Postgraduate Taught

MSc Play Therapy



This course is for professionals with experience of working with children and families. It will enable you to train as a play therapist. It is available part-time over three years and includes a number of placements which will enhance the learning experience and better prepare you for your future career.

The MSc Play Therapy is a new collaboration between With Kids (a Scottish charity) and the MSc Art Psychotherapy (International) at QMU. The course aims to educate the next generation of play therapists to enable them to work safely and therapeutically with complex children and families.

Why QMU?

  • This is the only play therapy training validated by a Scottish university in collaboration with a Scottish charity.
  • Course content is delivered by qualified and experience BAPT registered Play Therapists, who bring teaching to life with clinical experience and case material.
  • The course leads to a qualification that allows you to register as a Full Member of the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT).
  • Weekly teaching means that learning from practice placement is interwoven with, and consolidated through ongoing and regular theoretical input, experiential opportunities and small group tutorials.

Course overview

The MSc Play Therapy is a new collaboration between With Kids (a Scottish charity) and the MSc Art Psychotherapy (International) at QMU. The course aims to educate the next generation of play therapists to enable them to work safely and therapeutically with complex children and families.

The key purpose of the profession of play therapy is defined by British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT):

“Play therapy is the dynamic process between child and play therapist in which the child explores at his or her own pace and with his or her own agenda those issues, past and current, conscious and unconscious, that are affecting the child’s life in the present. The child’s inner resources are enabled by the therapeutic alliance to bring about growth and change. Play therapy is child-centred, in which play is the primary medium and speech is the secondary medium.”

Through a variety of modules and learning experiences, students on the course will gain a thorough understanding of the fundamental inter-relatedness of the child’s physical, social and emotional world, and will develop the skills to work effectively and therapeutically to enhance emotional wellbeing and transform life chances. You will work directly with children and families of increasing complexity on practice placement and two modules include clinical observation of a child/ children from infanthood to adolescence.

Applicants should possess qualities that enable them to undertake study in an appropriate manner and at the appropriate academic level. Thus the students recruited to this course will be committed, diligent, enthusiastic and possess the skills, curiosity and drive to enhance their knowledge base.

Exit awards

MSc 180 credit)/ PgDip (120 credits)


To obtain a specific postgraduate award at QMU you must complete a number of credit bearing modules. You can opt to study for the full MSc or a PgDip.

Teaching, learning and assessment

The teaching and learning approaches used encourage you to be an independent, participative learner. These approaches will engage you in lectures, problem-based learning, workshops, small group discussion, seminars, observation and skills practice. The course team aims to enable students to learn from and with others through supportive peer assessment and feedback, guided by the tutor. 

Assessment methods include case study analysis, collaborative presentation, observation analysis and play therapy practice placement portfolio. While as a postgraduate student you will predominantly be working independently, there is a strong structure for academic support.

Normally, there are fewer than 20 students in the class ensuring that individuals receive excellent support and benefit from interaction with other students.

Teaching hours and attendance

The course runs over three years part-time. Students attend the learning centre at With Kids in the east end of Glasgow one day a week over the first two years. Students will also undertake play therapy practice placement, observations and attend clinical supervision individually or in small groups. Students are expected to attend their own personal therapy for the duration of the course, and 100% attendance is expected at all elements of the MSc Play Therapy.

Class sizes

Normally, there are up to 16 students undertaking the course each year.


  • Clinical Skills, Process and Practice 1 (10 credits)
  • Clinical Skills, Process and Practice 2 (10 credits)
  • Clinical Skills, Process and Practice 3 (10 credits)
  • Developmental, Clinical and Play Therapy Theory 1 (30 credits)
  • Developmental, Clinical and Play Therapy Theory 2 (30 credits)
  • Research Methods (30 credits)
  • Clinical Project (60 credits)

The modules listed here are correct at the time of posting (September 2018), but are subject to change. In the event that modules have to change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact to students. Please check this site for any updates.

Links with industry/ professional bodies

This course is accredited by the British Association of Play Therapists.


You will complete three practice placements. Placements can take place in the student’s place of work, local schools, nurseries or other agencies which offer services to children. Students can set up their own placements, with support form With Kids, or With Kids can allocate a placement for them.


Play therapists practice in many environments, including: NHS, social services, primary, secondary, further and special education, charities, private practice. They also work with people of all ages (not just children) living with a wide range of emotional or physical conditions. As of 2015 the overall majority of play therapists in the UK work in health and the voluntary sector; a significant number of them work in schools and nurseries. For further information

Entry requirements

Applicants should either:

  • be professionals with relevant qualification and /or degree in a related discipline together with a minimum of two years of post qualifying experience in, for example, social work, teaching, educational psychology, clinical psychology, nursing, or
  • have a minimum of five years relevant prior experience and learning. Relevant experience means working face to face with children, young people and their families/carers.

International: Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at no less than IELTS 7.0 and no individual component score below 6.0.

Interview: Individual, and group interviews form part of the selection process.

Criminal records/ other check: A satisfactory criminal records check will be required.


Application deadline


More information and contacts

Please contact With Kids at


Please contact With Kids at

Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2019/20 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

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Course Overview

At With Kids, QMU and on practice placement
Part-time: 3 years
Start Date
September 2019
Study Abroad
School of Health Sciences
Fees & Funding