Course Features

  • Provides rigorously supervised clinical training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy contributing to a professional qualification to practice
  • Requires engagement in one’s own psychoanalysis, the cornerstone of psychoanalytic practice
  • Provides weekly small group and individual clinical supervision
  • Provides a rigorous theoretical study of the principles underlying psychoanalytic practice
  • Includes participation at a weekly psychiatric case conference at St. Vincent's University Hospital which is a unique teaching forum bringing together psychiatric and psychoanalytic responses to mental illness
  • Includes both a research dissertation and a clinical paper testifying to practising psychoanalytically
  • Provides a four-year Special Modality Training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, which can fulfil ICP psychoanalytic professional body requirements for application for membership

Course Overview

Since its formal launch in 1984 in St. Vincent’s Hospital under UCD academic governance, the psychoanalytic teaching, practice, and experience of this programme has significantly contributed to the formation in clinical practice for many psychoanalytic practitioners and other clinicians who benefit from a psychoanalytic basis to their work

It is relevant for any mental health professional, including GPs, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, social care workers, therapists, chaplains, counsellors, and nurses. The programme also accepts applications from candidates from other backgrounds who are suitable for the programme based on their own prior experience of their own psychoanalysis.

This part-time four-year programme provides rigorous supervised clinical training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy contributing to a professional qualification to practice this therapeutic method with adults.

Another option to consider, where an applicant is not looking for psychotherapy professional body recognition, is the two-year MSc in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Studies. This programme consists of the modules (clinical and theoretical) from the first two years of the four-year Professional Masters. As with all of our programmes involving engagement with the psychoanalytic field, it is required that students on this two-year programme are in their own personal psychoanalysis. More information here.

Also for your consideration, where an applicant chooses not to take up clinical training at this point in time but is interested in engagement in their own psychoanalysis and formal structured psychoanalytic study, is the two-year Graduate Diploma in Psychoanalytic Studies. This programme consists of the theoretical modules of the first two years of the Professional Masters. As with all of our programmes involving engagement with the psychoanalytic field it is required that students on this two-year programme are in their own personal psychoanalysis.  More information here.

Programme Description

This part-time four-year programme provides professional clinical training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy founded on a student’s engagement in their own psychoanalysis. It launches the student in beginning to practice psychoanalytically under supervision. Clinical supervision is delivered in two modes - small group and individual. The programme fee covers both modes of supervision experience.

The programme’s module content develops an understanding of the principles underlying the clinical practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy, a discipline launched by the pioneering work of Sigmund Freud.

The programme content is strongly informed by the work of French Psychoanalyst and Psychiatrist, Jacques Lacan (1901 – 1981), whose seminars and writings elaborated Freud’s work.


The programme is delivered in 13 modules:

  • Years 1 and 2 together lead to an exit award MSc in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Studies which comprises 90 ECTS. Contact us for more information on this option
  • Attendance must be 80% or higher throughout the programme
  • Assessment is by continuous assessment for the taught modules and a mark for the thesis
  • Total credits awarded: 180 ECTS


Year 1

Trimester 1

Human Sexuality and Sexuation

Transference and the Interpretation of desire

Trimester 2

Ethics, Research Methodology and Clinical Applications


Trimester 1 & 2

Clinical Diagnostics and Research (Part I)

Supervision of Clinical Practice 1

Year 2

Supervision of Clinical Practice II

Clinical Diagnostics & Research II

The Symptom and The Dream 

Psychoanalysis in Context 

Psychoanalysis and language  

Psychoanalysis and the child

Year 3

Supervision of Clinical Practice 3

Clinical Placement 1

Research and Clinical Applications Tutorial 1

Psychoanalytic Discourse 1

Year 4

Supervision of Clinical Practice 4

Clinical Placement 2

Research and Clinical Applications Tutorial 2

The Psychoanalytic Discourse 2

Clinical paper



This is a four-year part-time programme which has intake on an annual basis, commencing early September for trimester one and continuing till early May.

Attendance is on Wednesday afternoon/evening (2.00 – 7.45pm) and Thursday morning (9.00 – 1pm) over four trimesters from early September to early May each year. The weekly contact hours are divided between formal teaching, including seminars (5½ hours), ‘small group’ supervision (1½ hours) and attendance at the weekly psychiatric case conference at St. Vincent’s University Hospital (1 hour).

Students are expected to have, at a minimum, the equivalent of at least one further day available for work related to the programme. This comprises of personal psychoanalysis (minimum two sessions a week), clinical practice with a minimum of two clients a week, attending weekly individual supervision and preparing and researching course work.

All teaching is carried out in The School of Psychotherapy at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Elm Park, Dublin 4, with the weekly psychiatric case conference taking place in the Education and Research Centre also at St. Vincent’s University Hospital.


The Professional Masters will be awarded upon successful completion of all assessment work as well as the following programme requirements:

  • Attendance at teaching sessions, at the case conferences, at both group and individual supervision, conducting a sufficient amount of clinical practice, confirmation of being in psychoanalysis for the duration of the programme
  • There will be no end-of-year examinations
  • Programme work includes essays, assignments, group assessments, weekly case conference reports and a research thesis of 7,500 words
  • To attain the Professional Masters, participants must-pass the Supervision of Clinical Practice and Clinical Diagnostics and Research and Dissertation modules
  • An expected learning outcome is the realisation of the necessity for a practitioner to continue in their own psychoanalysis for as long as they practice psychoanalytically

Currently professional bodies within the Irish Council for Psychotherapy (ICP) require a four-year period of training.

The Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Ireland ( and the Irish Forum for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy ( are members of the Psychoanalytic Section of the ICP and have ICP Standards as requirements for membership.

The Professional Masters in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy is a four-year clinical programme that fulfils these ICP requirements. The programme contributes essentially to the education and training of psychoanalytic psychotherapists.

Graduates have, over the years, successfully applied for membership of professional bodies representing this modality of psychotherapy.

Further information on criteria for application for membership of APPI are available here.

Further information on criteria for application for membership of IFPP are available here.

Psychoanalysis provides a clinical practice position that responds to mental disorder and anxiety and thereby contributes importantly to our understanding of contemporary major cultural concerns such as our presuppositions and prejudices concerning the normal and the pathological, deviancy, sexuality, gender, and violence. As well as being an essential field for mental health care professions (psychiatry, psychology, social work, social care, chaplaincy, teachers), its concepts inform diverse fields of academic and artistic enquiry which aim to articulate the suffering inherent in the human condition. Psychoanalysis is crucially relevant across many serious fields such as law, criminology, sociology, anthropology, psychology, psychiatry, philosophy, literature, the visual arts, and their critique.

In recent years its remit has broadened to accommodate a range of individuals from other professional backgrounds, ranging from the arts and academia, through to teaching, business, and the law.

Candidates are required to be able to demonstrate a commitment to study and practice in the psychoanalytic field as articulated in the work of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan.

Being in one's own analysis is the primary way of demonstrating this commitment. Previous psychoanalytic study is welcome but not a pre-requisite where there has been experience of psychoanalysis.

Previous clinical/relevant experience in other practices (psychiatry, psychology, social work, social care work, education, nursing, law) is welcome but not a pre-requisite.

Programme Requirements

Candidates should:

(a) be engaged in their own personal psychoanalysis with a reputable practitioner

(b) have a good honours degree/evidence of academic ability required for MSc level study

(c) be in a position to begin to practice psychoanalytically under supervision

It is required that students on the Professional Masters are in their own psychoanalysis/psychoanalytic psychotherapy for the duration of the programme and put in place arrangements to work with patients psychoanalytically.

International applicants should contact UCD Global to find out about their own specific eligibility for postgraduate study in Ireland on this programme.

A list of FAQs for international applicants is available here.


Deadline: Preferably by the end of May. Later applications may be considered at the discretion of the Programme Team.

There are two interviews as part of the application process, and these will be scheduled from April of the year of application.

Application for this programme must be made online at

For more information on the application process please visit the UCD Registry website here.

For information on programme fees please visit the Fees & Grants Office website here.

Since its launch in 1984 the Masters in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy has produced hundreds of graduates. Many continue to work in their primary professions using psychoanalytic principles to inform that work and provide a basis for their own management of the personal impact of the work.

Many graduates have set up their own private practice while remaining in personal psychoanalysis and supervision.

Some become psychoanalysts by remaining in personal analysis and by making a scholarly contribution to teaching, training, and research.

Graduates have hosted several international congresses. Since 2008, The School of Psychotherapy has organised a series of interdisciplinary conferences between psychoanalysis and psychiatry. See  for details.

Graduates of the MSc may separately choose to participate in the work of The Irish School for Lacanian Psychoanalysis (ISLP; ). ISLP was founded in 2007 by Dr Cormac Gallagher, founding Director of The School of Psychotherapy at St. Vincent’s University Hospital. It is modelled on Jacques Lacan’s Ecole Freudienne de Paris (founded in 1964). It is a structure that allows for psychoanalytic scholarship to thrive outside of the demands for qualification and professional recognition.

The School of Psychotherapy at St. Vincent’s University Hospital also publishes a peer-reviewed journal The Letter- Irish Journal for Lacanian Psychoanalysis which publishes international writers on psychoanalysis as well as the cartel work of members of ISLP.

Academic Programme Coordinator: 

Dr Gráinne Donohue

Module Co-ordinator

St Vincent’s University Hospital

Elm Park, Dublin 4


Key Information:

  • Major Code X993
  • Duration 48 months
  • Schedule Part-Time
  • Next Intake September 2024

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