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Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas


Course type


Course Summary

Course overview

This is the UK's first Psychoanalytic Studies course. It has long-established roots in the British School of Psychoanalysis and the Tavistock model of infant and young child observation. This course will offer you direct experiential learning through observation alongside psychoanalytic theory and the application of psychoanalytic ideas to culture and society. When you study this course on a part-time basis, you will complete the taught units in years one and two. You will study on Tuesday afternoons and attendance is required for one evening seminar a week in the autumn term of year three to help you prepare for writing your dissertation.

Please note that this course is also offered on a credit accumulation basis andWe offer this course at a Post Graduate Certificate, Post Graduate Diploma or Master's level.

Course outline

Alongside the in-depth study of the origin and development of psychoanalytic concepts you will learn through observation and explore the application of psychoanalysis to aspects of culture and society. You will be encouraged to use your own emotional responses to help you make sense of the ideas that you will be studying. After completing the first year of the course, you can leave the programme at the end of year two with a Postgraduate Diploma.

The course consists of three strands:

psychoanalytic theory
psychoanalytic theory as a mode of enquiry into culture and society.


The observation strand of this course is taught in weekly seminars over one year. You will observe an infant or a young child at home or in a nursery setting and attend a small weekly seminar led by an experienced child psychotherapist. Weekly observations allow for the detailed study of the unconscious process that shape a baby or young child’s personality as they develop within the context of relationships within the family or the nursery.

Infant observation is an important aspect of an initial psychoanalytic education, as it provides students with a context in which psychoanalytic ideas become connected to a significant human experience, engaging students’ emotions as well as minds. It is widely taught as a first stage in psychoanalytic and psychotherapy trainings.

Your observation will be written up in detail and discussed in weekly seminars with a senior child and adolescent psychotherapist. All our seminar leaders are experienced teachers of Psychoanalytic Observation, a method of study which originated at the Tavistock, which remains a pioneer in infant observation research.

The much acclaimed Journal of Infant Observation and much of the literature in this field has been produced by Tavistock-trained child psychotherapists. Developments in Infant Observation edited by Sue Reid and Surviving Space: Papers on Infant Observation edited by Andrew Briggs explore developments in the Tavistock observational method. To learn more about the observational approach students may want to look at the International Journal of Infant Observation.

Full-time students will undertake two observations in their first year.

Different course options

Study mode

Part time


3 years

Start date



The aim of the Dissertation (between 12000 and 14000 words) is to develop an application of psychoanalytic ideas and approaches to a subject of interest, which will enable it to be understood in a new way. You may draw on any of the materials from each strand studied during the first two years of the course. Your particular dissertation topic may come from outside the Psychoanalytic Studies programme, but be linked to its approaches.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

In order to undertake this course, we ask that you: have a degree, or other qualification of equivalent level. We also welcome your application if you don’t have a standard educational background, or if you are currently engaged in, or wish to pursue, academic study rather than related professional work.