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Study trauma-informed psychotherapy at Sydney

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This course is available to be studied in several different study modes, including online or face-to-face. Check study modes offered in the 'course details’ section below.

In response to COVID-19, the University of Sydney has also reviewed the availability of the face-to-face version of this course, and this will be available for students to study remotely whilst the Australian border remains closed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

About this course

The Master of Science in Medicine (Trauma-Informed Psychotherapy) teaches an approach that helps people with personality or anxiety disorders, dysthymia, chronic depression, somatisation and other conditions in which trauma is a contributing factor.

The program is designed to train clinicians to treat people for whom chronic, complex trauma has played a contributing role in the development of psychological disorders or stress, or where conventional psychotherapies have failed. It uses an evidence-based approach to psychodynamic psychotherapy and offers supervised training across the different lengths of treatment, from acute to brief and longer term, suitable for public and private settings.

This course is suitable for clinicians with mental health experience, such as social workers, psychologists, nurses, psychotherapists, counsellors and school counsellors and may be of interest to others such as speech pathologists and dentists. 

The program is delivered in close liaison with the Western Sydney Local Health District and practising clinicians to ensure that the skills taught are practical and relevant to real-world psychotherapy practice settings. Clinical content includes short and longer-term interventions and the integration of psychotherapy with other treatment modalities.

Subject areas
Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your entry criteria

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission requirements’ section on this page.

Your fee

Your funding & scholarships

How to apply

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Applications are made directly to the University and assessed by the Faculty and include an interview.

Applying for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP)

There is no separate application required to apply for a CSP. Once you apply for admission, if you are successful in securing a CSP, you will receive notification via an offer of admission.

A Commonwealth supported place (CSP) is not guaranteed as there are a limited number of CSPs available for postgraduate courses. The number of available CSPs for a course can change each semester/year.  CSPs are also not automatically awarded for course transfers and upgrades.

CSPs are awarded for the duration of a course based on academic merit determined by the University and eligibility criteria specified by the Australian Government. Learn more about CSPs. If you do not qualify for a CSP you may be offered a domestic fee-paying place.

Standard application closing dates:

Semester 1 – 31 January of the commencing year

We strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible, offers are made on a rolling basis and places are limited. Separate scholarship deadlines apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February)

Not available to student visa holders or to offshore international students. International students in Australia on other visas with study rights may apply.

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Applications are made directly to the University and assessed by the Faculty and include an interview.

Application closing dates

Semester 1 15 January of the commencing year

We strongly encourage international applicants to apply as early as possible to allow time for visa and travel arrangements. Separate scholarship deadlines may apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February)

What you'll study

The master's degree requires the completion of 48 credit points of units of study including:

  • 12 credit points of compulsory units of study;
  • 24 credit points of stream specific units of study; and
  • 12 credit points of stream specific or general elective units of study.

The degree comprises of coursework, supervised clinical work and a capstone experience of the scholarly creation of a paper suitable for publication.

You will complete this course part-time, usually over three years, and the course structure allows for a slower progression and longer time completion if necessary.

Teaching in this course centres on an active learning approach including grand rounds, previewing and pre-reading, active participation in seminars or online discussions as well as clinical practical work, clinical supervision, and assessment.

Explore the Medicine and Health Postgraduate Handbook to learn more about what you will study as part of this degree: 

Units of Study

Capstone (compulsory project)

A capstone experience comprises two units of study designed to provide students with an opportunity to draw together the learning that has taken place during the award, synthesise this with their prior learning and experience, and draw conclusions that will form the basis for further investigation, and intellectual and/or professional growth.

All master’s students complete the units of PSTY5211 and PSTY5212, culminating in an essay submission of 4,000 words on an aspect of psychotherapy, suitable for publication.

Admission criteria

Admission to the Master of Science in Medicine (Trauma-Informed Psychotherapy) requires: 

  • successful completion of the requirements of the embedded Graduate Certificate in Science in Medicine or Graduate Diploma in Science in Medicine with a minimum credit average; or
  • a bachelor degree with honours in a health or science-related discipline from the University of Sydney or an equivalent qualification; or
  • a bachelor degree plus a postgraduate degree in a health or science-related discipline from the University of Sydney or an equivalent qualification; or
  • a pass bachelor degree in a health or science-related discipline from the University of Sydney or an equivalent qualification.

The following are also required:

  • minimum 12 months’ experience in a clinical area related to mental health;
  • current professional indemnity insurance to practise psychotherapy in NSW; and
  • satisfactory performance at an interview as required.

The academic requirements that are displayed are applicable to currently available courses only, and are updated annually and may be changed without notice.

Credit for previous study

For more information about the University’s credit policy, please see the Credit for Previous Studies page.

Course options

The trauma-informed psychotherapy program is available through two pathways - the Master of Medicine (for medical graduates), and the Master of Science in Medicine (for non-medical graduates). The programs are embedded, allowing you to step from one to the next at your own pace.

Available to medical graduates:

Available to non-medical graduates:

Degree progression

Year one of the program will equip clinicians with fundamental knowledge and skills in providing psychodynamic psychotherapy, focussing on ultra-brief psychotherapy, and short-term interventions and Trauma-Informed Care (TIC). Students who have enrolled in the graduate certificate will exit at this point.

Students who enrol in the graduate diploma will complete another year of coursework that includes an introduction to research methods as well as training and supervision in the longer form of psychotherapy.

Masters students will complete a third and final year of coursework, that includes the capstone units, culminating in a scholarly paper while completing a final year of training and supervision in longer-term psychotherapy.

Professional accreditation

Upon successful completion of the Master of Medicine (Trauma-Informed Psychotherapy) graduates will have achieved proficiency as psychotherapists to the point of gaining professional recognition with the Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychotherapy (ANZAP). Please note that concurrent personal psychotherapy during training and further supervision post qualification is necessary for full membership of ANZAP.

Future study options

Outstanding graduates may be eligible to pursue a higher degree by research in the following courses: 

A research degree provides students with the opportunity to prepare a substantial piece of work which represents a significant contribution in a particular field of study and to gain transferable skills in general research methodology.

Learn more about our research degrees and research capability.

Short courses and non-award study

We offer a wide range of short professional development courses for health professionals. Many of the courses offered are pre-accredited for Continuing Medical Education (CME) points, and other courses may be awarded CME points on request to your relevant association or professional body.

Learn more about short courses in medicine

Career pathways

The Master of Science in Medicine (Trauma-Informed Psychotherapy) aims to train clinicians to deal effectively in a trauma-informed and specific way with people presenting for psychotherapy, including those suffering from psychological disorders not aided by the more traditional psychotherapies.

Contemporary psychotherapy teaches techniques that aim to improve mental health and well-being for those with personality disorders, traumatic and dissociative disorders, anxiety disorders, dysthymia, chronic depression, somatisation and conditions in which chronic complex trauma is a contributing factor. It also offers a broad person-centred and trauma-informed approach in many other acute, brief and ongoing conditions and treatment settings where psychological factors are important and a good therapeutic alliance is crucial.

The therapeutic approach is based on the Conversational Model, but also incorporates concepts from other schools and theories including self-psychology, intersubjectivity, development, attachment, trauma and memory systems and neuroscience. These ideas are all centred on concepts of the self, notions of boundary formation, the empathic mode of listening, a focus on subjective experience, and unconscious traumatic memory systems. All are informed by practice and emerging neuroscience.

Our graduates and affiliates have become leaders and change champions in this area.

This is the University of Sydney

Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.