School of Nursing, Psychotherapy and Community Health

Doctorate in Psychotherapy

Course Code:
Course Type:
NFQ Level:
Delivery Modes
4 Years
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The Doctorate in Psychotherapy (DPsych) is a level 10 NFQ (240 credit) programme, delivered as a four-year part-time programme.

Years one and two of the programme comprise taught modules that critically reflect on theories, practices and philosophies of psychotherapy, develop psychotherapy supervision knowledge/ practice and advance understanding of research methodologies and skills.Candidates may apply to exit the programme with an MA in Psychotherapeutic Studies on successful completion of years one and two of the Doctorate in Psychotherapy programme.Years three and four of the programme involve completion of a research project and thesis.

This programme builds upon candidates current psychotherapy knowledge,competencies and skills to enable the development of an inquiry-based attitude to practice and will inform the implementation of research projects that advance the boundaries of psychotherapy knowledge and locates participants as an authority in their chosen area or field of interest. Participants in the Doctorate programme will exit with the knowledge and ability to work as senior psychotherapists and researchers.

Intake Process

There are several stages to the selection process for candidates who wish to enter the Doctorate in Psychotherapy, as follows:

Stage 1: Application


All Applicants must apply through DCU's Student Application Portal, applications for intake in September 2024 will open on March 8th 2024.

Applicants must provide evidence of prior academic achievements and clinical /practical experience. In addition applicants provide a personal statement outlining their interest in undertaking doctorate level study. Applications are reviewed by the Programme Admissions Panel and those meeting the criteria are invited for interview. At this initial stage the following is considered: 

  • academic award level and relevance
  • professional experience in clinical practice and supervision
  • personal development work
  • evidence that applicants are able to conduct research at doctorate level

Stage 2: RPL Board Approval

For those applicants who do not directly meet the entry criteria, a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Board assesses applications for equivalent prior learning regarding academic achievement and clinical/ practical experience. This Board comprises members of the Programme Admissions Panel. To ensure impartiality and consistency, the RPL Board is chaired by an independent member of the School Teaching and Learning Committee. After an application has been made on the Postgraduate Application System those applicants applying through the RPL route will be invited to complete a portfolio of evidence which is presented for consideration by the RPL board for entry to the Doctorate in Psychotherapy. The RPL board determines the next stage of selection.

Stage 3: Interview

Interviews are conducted by the Programme Admissions Panel with all applicants meeting the selection criteria or equivalent as determined by the RPL Board . The interview assesses applicant suitability using the following guidelines:

  • review of all documentation to ensure fit with academic, practice related selection criteria
  • discussion about research experience and exploration of area of research interest to be pursued at doctorate level
  • psychological and emotional robustness and readiness for this advanced level of study
  • a personal style what is compatible with an experiential group learning environment e.g. open and dialogic communication style, maturity, self-awareness, groundedness, motivation, compassion and human presence skills, good conflict management skills and a capacity for reflexive and ethical practice.

Stage 4: Offer

A place on the Doctorate in Psychotherapy is offered to each applicant who is successful at interview level. This is done through the applications system. Applicants are given a discrete period of time to consider the offer before formally accepting it. Applicants may defer their place for one rotation of the programme only (2 years) and following this time period must make a fresh application.

The objectives of the course are to enable candidates to acquire:

  • The capacity to integrate an advanced understanding of the best available and emerging research evidence and subjective personal inquiry to develop theory and inform innovative practice developments, including the use of technology
  • A unique and in depth portfolio of transferable competencies to advance the field of psychotherapy practice, supervision, education, training and research
  • Skills to complete an original and innovative research study that makes a significant contribution to the field of psychotherapy, advances the boundaries of knowledge and locates candidates as an authority in their chosen area-field of interest
  • The capacity to make, implement or challenge practice decisions based on a philosophical appreciation of psychotherapy, outcome research and subjective clinical experience in psychotherapy
  • The ability to combine personal awareness, reflexivity and informed intuition with professional adeptness to respond effectively to the changing needs of a diverse spectrum of client groups in a range of political and cultural contexts
  • An inquiry-based attitude and the capacity for critical awareness to coexist alongside non-critical awareness and open analytical thinking to practice that is founded on an integrative, flexible and robust theoretical framework
  • The ability to exercise autonomy in practice initiatives in complex professional contexts, taking account of moral, ethical and legal issues
  • Proficiency in discussing and disseminating the contributions of emerging theoretical principles and practice developments within the social, cultural and political academic, practitioner and educational communities

Note: for a small number of students NS623 may be offered as an alternative module to NS620 for those who have explicitly been approved by the Chair to do so.  In all other instances NS620 is a core module to the programme.


View the current course structure

Dublin City University is the only third level institution in Ireland which provides a Doctorate in Psychotherapy programme. This programme was designed to meets the needs of psychotherapists/ counsellors and supervisors working in the statutory, not-for-profit, educational, community and private sectors who wish to engage in professional and personal developmentand advance the boundaries of knowledge and practice in the field of psychotherapy through Doctoral (level 10) study.

The Doctorate in Psychotherapy enables candidates to become leaders in this field based on critical engagement with central philosophies and research in psychotherapy. Additionally, the clinical elements of the programme support candidates to become expert practitioners which a depth of understanding of contemporary approaches to psychotherapy supervision. Candidates can avail of opportunities to observe their own and other’s practice in a purpose-designed communication suite in the School of Nursing and Human Sciences, with extensive audio-visual recording and editing facilities.

The Doctorate in Psychotherapy provides opportunities for extensive reflective self-awareness and self-appraisal of what it means to be a senior psychotherapy practitioner in the delivery of safe and ethical practice that can transform the lives of vulnerable people and socially disadvantaged groups.

As senior practitioners, you will have the capacity to make, implement or challenge practice decisions based on outcome research and subjective clinical experience. You will have a unique and in-depth portfolio of transferable competencies to advance the field of psychotherapy practice, education, training and research and the expertise, breadth and depth of specialist skills to initiate, self-direct and evaluate practice based research project. This skills set will make candidates desirable in advanced practice, research and teaching settings.


As the intake for this programme is every 2 years, the next intake is 2024.

The Doctorate in Psychotherapy is an advanced post-graduate psychotherapy programme aimed at senior psychotherapy practitioners who are interested in developing their psychotherapy practice, supervision and research skills and knowledge.

Applicants must:

  • hold a primary degree or equivalent in a relevant area, such as in the humanities, health or education;

  • hold a Masters in Psychotherapy or equivalent; 

  • have a minimum of 2 years post-training psychotherapy practice experience working with a broad range of psychological problems; 

  • be personally suitable to undertake an advanced taught programme (e.g. motivated, reflective);

  • demonstrate evidence that they can undertake a research project at doctoral level;

  • successfully undertake a selection interview.

Due to the specialist nature of this programme, additional criteria may be used to assess suitability to undertake this programme. For further information, please contact the Programme Chair using the contact details above

Applicants who are applying on the basis of equivalence may be considered for admission to the course at the recommendation of the Programme Admissions Panel pending approval by the RPL Board (recognition of prior learning). Equivalence will be considered for one academic qualification only. 



Part time

EU Status Fee Part-time
€7,300 per annum in years 1 & 2; €3,302 per annum in years 3 and 4 (in line with postgraduate research fees for PhD)
Non EU Fee Part time
€15,000 per annum in years 1 & 2; €6,000 per annum in years 3 and 4 (in line with postgraduate research fees for PhD)

Next Steps

Applicants for the Professional Doctorate in Psychotherapy are required to complete this pre-application form to begin the application process.

Once this form has been reviewed, the applicant will be sent information via email around how to progress their application to DCU.

For further information on the application process, please see here for a guide to the postgraduate research application.  

The following will be required after approval of pre-application:

  • Academic transcripts for each and every year of study (with English translation where applicable) or RPL candidates must submit evidence of previous training, transcripts and accreditations
  • Certified copy of parchment / degree certificate, with certified English translations;

  • Please outline relevant academic and professional experience under each section of the application form detailing prior academic achievements and psychotherapy practice experience relevant to their application;

  • Demonstration of research knowledge in the form of a written submission outlining previous research training, previous research undertaken, current area of interest for doctoral level research. You will be required to download / upload the relevant supplemental form as part of the application process.

  • Details for one academic referee and one professional referee. Your nominated referees will be requested as part of the application process.

  • If applicable, provide evidence of competence in the English language as per DCU entry requirements.  Please see link

Suitable applicants will be invited to undertake a selection interview.

Application Submission Date

Entry to the Doctorate in Psychotherapy is offered every second year and the next intake will be September 2024.

Application Queries

For EU applicant queries, please visit or email

For non EU applicant queries, please visit or email

Application Deadlines

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the programme is full or until the following dates:

  • Closing date for EU applicants is 31st May 2024.
  • Closing date for non EU applicants is 31st May 2024.

Only applications that are completed by May 31st will be considered.

All entry requirements should be met before the commencement of the programme.

Commencement of Programme

The programme commences in September 2024.