Master of Studies in MBCT – applications open 1st Sept

Master of Studies in MBCT – applications open 1st Sept

The University of Oxford Master of Studies in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy is a two-year, part-time degree which offers experienced clinicians and practitioners from a range of professional backgrounds a unique opportunity to develop in-depth specialist knowledge and skills in MBCT. Applications for this popular course will open on 1st September 2017 and close in January 2018.

The course is offered by the Oxford Mindfulness Centre at the Oxford University Department of Psychiatry, in collaboration with the University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education. Our aim is to foster a community of practitioners with the expertise to deliver high quality MBCT, and to contribute to the development and dissemination of this innovative approach to mental and physical healthcare.

If you are interested in learning more about the Master’s programme, please see the Continuing Education website for full details of the entry requirements, course content and fees. All applications must be made online, and you can find further details of how to apply in the application guide.

For more background information on the course, including other stories from previous graduates and answers to Frequently Asked Questions, you may also be interested in the MSt in MBCT blog.

“What I loved most was the continual weaving together of theory and practice, and time for discussion and reflection”

A personal experience of the Masters courseClare McLusky

Clare McLusky completed the Masters course in 2012 and now works as a mindfulness teacher at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and for the cancer charity Yes to Life. Below, Clare discusses her decision to apply for the Masters, her experiences of the course, and how she has used the skills and experience she acquired during her studies in her personal and professional life:

Embarking on a Masters in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

When I heard about the Masters in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) I was really excited.  Here was an opportunity to bring my personal and professional life together.  I had been practicing meditation for about 3 years, was trained as an occupational therapist and was working for a cancer charity.   I knew for myself how the simple practice of meditation, created space in my life that allowed me to make wiser choices in each moment.  The practice, and insights gained from Buddhist texts, were key to turning a life challenge into a healing journey.  I was passionate to offer this wonderful practice and teaching to people going through similar challenges and I was ready to deepen my own practice.  Furthermore, I felt I needed help with the discipline of daily practice.  I looked to the masters to provide the rod!

I was ecstatic when I achieved a place on the course.  However, on the first day and for quite a while afterwards I was thrown back in touch with that old familiar voice “I’m not good enough”.  We were warned at the matriculation ceremony that many students experience this at Oxford University.  I compared myself with my course colleagues who were very bright and accomplished professionals, some with long held mindfulness practices. Thankfully, the course was taught with great gentleness, wisdom and humour and I never felt uncomfortably put on the spot.  And of course, it was the perfect subject matter to help me gradually be able to see these habits of thoughts for just that, habits of thought.

The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of HeavenJohn Milton

I did feel very privileged to be in a cohort of just 14 people with the constant presence and input of a teaching team of four experts including Professor Mark Williams.  What I loved most was the continual weaving together of theory and practice, and time for discussion and reflection.  Learning from these experts, and from books and papers, whilst at the same time being curious about my own experience within the practice itself and in my daily life, really allowed for purposeful learning during this time.  It was perhaps this aspect that I found most valuable but also being able to study in more depth areas of particular interest. Doing the project in year 2 was an incredible experience.  I designed and delivered an adapted MBCT course for people living with cancer.  It was a journey of growth as I committed to open myself up to my own pain and suffering in order to be present to that of others.  The written project, describing the design, delivery and evaluation, and my reflections on it, is something I still draw on now.

And afterwards

Since gaining my masters, I have enjoyed being able to offer mindfulness courses to people living with cancer through various cancer charities, to my friends and neighbours. I have an ongoing weekly meditation group at my house with friends I taught 3 years ago and others who have been practicing like me for a while.  Three years ago, I joined the teaching team at OMC, teaching on the public courses.  This was quite a different experience to the size of groups I was used to.  There are normally 25 participants and 2 teachers.  It is a wonderful learning experience co-teaching with more experienced teachers and gradually developing in confidence and trust in the teaching itself.  It is so inspiring to see the insights and shifts that people make in just 8 weeks.  And for me too – each time I prepare for and teach a course it is as though I begin again and I may suddenly experience something at a different level.

“You teach best what you most need to learn”

The teaching and practices are an incredible gift that I am more and more able to give myself to stay grounded in the present moment when it is uncomfortable, when often it feels an easier choice to suppress or avoid it.


Other routes to teaching

We also offer a Foundational training programme, which prepares you to begin teaching MBCT under supervision through the development of practical teaching skills, with an understanding of the theory and intentions of MBCT. We offer Foundational training both in an intensive residential format, or through an 11 month programme. Read more on the different routes to teaching.