Postgraduate MSc/PgDip

Counselling and Psychotherapy (Professional Training)

School of Health and Society





Two year

Three year

Next enrolment

September 2021


In a nutshell

During this course, you will undertake an in-depth study of the person-centred approach to counselling. You will gain an overview of therapeutic models and current developments in theory and practice. There will also be an opportunity for you to take part in intensive skills development and supervision of practice, alongside widespread opportunities for personal development. This course provides a balance between academic work, skills development, professional practice, and individual personal development and self-awareness.

As a BACP accredited course, you are eligible to join the BACP professional register on completion of the Postgraduate Diploma.

If you successfully complete all aspects of the professional training and do not wish to progress onto the full MSc you can exit with a PgDip in Counselling and Psychotherapy. If you complete the dissertation module you will receive a full Master's qualification.

Please note: Due to the structure of this programme, it is not available to applicants who require a Tier 4 visa.

You will:
  • Qualify as a counsellor on a professional counselling training course accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • Combine counselling skills and theory, professional issues and personal development
  • Develop your knowledge of a comprehensive range of mental health models and constructs used with therapeutic contexts
  • Benefit from training opportunities in our in-house dedicated counselling suite

options available

Course accreditations
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

This is for you if...


You are fascinated by people


You want to work effectively with those in distress or in need of support


You are a graduate and have successfully completed a certificate in counselling


You wish to develop your skills further to become a professional counsellor


You have a track record of voluntary or paid work helping people


You are willing to reflect on your own personal development

Course details

All about the course

During the course, you will study modules such as Introduction to Person-Centred Theory and Practice, Introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Research Methods in Counselling and Psychotherapy and Mental Health for Counsellors. If you are studying towards the full master’s, you will complete a dissertation which gives you the opportunity to undertake an in-depth, evidence-based exploration of a key area relevant to your own practice.

MSc: three years part-time, studying two 30 credit modules per year and a 60 credit dissertation in your final year. 

PgDip: two years part-time, studying two 30 credit modules per year. 

Recent news from our Counselling and Psychotherapy department: 

New specialist service launches to support victims of domestic abuse

A new specialist counselling service is launching at the University of Salford to help support victims of domestic abuse in the local community.

Counsellors working in the new service have all received specialist training through a programme which was developed at the university. The training is based on client research looking at what is helpful and unhelpful in responding to people experiencing psychological difficulties as a result of domestic violence. 

The programme is based on research conducted over the last eight years by Dr Jeannette Roddy, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Salford.

Jeannette said: “We are delighted to be launching this new service at the University of Salford. The 10 practitioners (both qualified and trainee counsellors) come from a range of backgrounds and are united in their desire to provide a counselling service for all those who have experienced domestic abuse, irrespective of gender, age, sexuality or race. 

“The service will form part of the university’s research programme into domestic violence counselling. This means that individuals taking part in the research programme will be benefitting from previous research participants’ experiences, as well as contributing to future knowledge.”

Click here to read the full article

Year one

Introduction to Person-Centred Theory and Practice

This module is designed to enhance your knowledge, understanding and application in this important area and prepares you for undertaking a counselling placement. It covers counselling theory and professional issues. 

Research Methods in Counselling and Psychotherapy

This module provides you with a critical understanding of the research and prepares you for the dissertation.

Year two

Mental Health for Counsellors

This module gives you the chance to develop your knowledge of a comprehensive range of mental health models and constructs used within therapeutic contexts.

Introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

You will learn key concepts and theories of CBT and how the technique is used in modern day counselling practice. 

Year three


The dissertation module gives you the opportunity to undertake an in-depth, evidence-based exploration of a key area relevant to your own practice and is needed to graduate with a full Masters. 

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


This course is delivered on a part-time basis through a variety of:

  • Lectures
  • Skills work
  • Personal development activities

Find out more about certain aspects of counselling with our short two-minute psychotherapy lectures from Dr Mark Widdowson, lecturer in counselling and psychotherapy at the University of Salford.

Transactional Analysis

Life Script

Ego States


Assessment is by:

  • Skills work
  • Reflection on self and on the practice
  • Assignment

School of Health and Society

The School of Health and Society is a forward-thinking, dynamic school with a commitment to lifelong learning and real world impact.

We live in a rapidly changing world, and we’re keen to leave a productive legacy of helping people at all stages of their lives, improving their physical, psychological and social wellbeing.

Counselling Suite

We have a dedicated counselling suite which is used for training students to become professional counsellors and psychotherapists.

The suite, featuring therapeutic areas where one-to-one, family and group interactions can occur, is also available for members of the local community and the University is hoping to work with local charities which will be able to use the facility.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

Over the last few years there has been a gradual increase in the number of advertised counselling posts in the NHS, social services, education, the prison service and both commercial and voluntary organisations. There are opportunities for part-time and private work and widespread opportunities for you to study further at postgraduate level.

Students who have successfully completed the course have started their own business as a counsellor, acquired jobs within NHS, the voluntary sector and education.

A taste of what you could become

A Qualified Professional Counsellor

Career Links

We work with over 100 health and social care organisations so our links with industry are very strong. These relationships will be of direct benefit to you because our academic teamwork in practice in some of these organisations at a senior level so are able to keep you at the forefront of developments in the sector, which in turn help you provide a better service.

This course has particularly strong links with the NHS, voluntary and private sector because our students complete a counselling placement as part of the training within these organisations.


What you need to know


Applicants are required to have completed a certificate in counselling. This must be a taught course (not online) and be of at least 90 hours duration. The certificate can be a college or university level course and should be one that can lead directly to a diploma level professional counselling training. Certain counselling degrees also include the equivalent of a counselling certificate as part of the programme. The certificate in counselling or counselling degree must include assessment of counselling skills through assessed observation and/or assessed recordings to meet the entry requirements. Qualifications in other humanistic psychotherapies may be acceptable instead of the counselling certificate.

We offer a Graduate Certificate in Counselling course that fulfils the entry requirement to have completed a certificate in counselling when applying for the PGDip/MSc Counselling and Psychotherapy Studies. 

Please note that you can still apply for the PGDip/MSc Counselling and Psychotherapy Studies (Professional Training) while in the process of completing a counselling certificate as we can make an offer of a place conditional on the completion of a counselling certificate as course long as there is acceptable evidence of the completed qualification before the start of the programme.

If you have any queries about your eligibility for this course, please contact the admissions tutors on

All applicants are interviewed prior to being offered a place. The interview process involves a group interview and an individual interview.

DBS check
All applicants being offered a place after a successful interview must complete a new DBS check, which will be administered by the University. You will be contacted about this by email when an offer of a place is made.

English language requirements 

International students must provide evidence of proficiency in English - IELTS 6.5 band score or above are proof of this. If your current English language qualification is below this level, you may be able to take one of the many pre-sessional English courses.

Standard entry requirements

Undergraduate degree

Applicants are normally required to have the following:

  • Honours degree, normally 2.2 or above. The degree can be in any subject as we welcome applicants changing career.
  • Certificate in counselling of 90 or more hours in duration or recognised counselling degree.

Please ensure that all qualifications, including those that you are yet to complete, are added to your application. Failing to do this may lead to your application being unduly rejected.


Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the requirement for an honours degree but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully. We would usually expect applicants without an honours degree to have a minimum of a Level 5 qualification such as a professional diploma or HND.

Although you are welcome to apply for the course via APEL if you do not meet the requirement for an honours degree, you must still meet the requirement of having completed an acceptable Certificate in Counselling.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course, subject to BACP restrictions or requirements.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).


How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Part-time 2020/21 £1320 per 30 credit module
Part-time 2021/22 £1350 per 30 credit module
Additional costs

Additional costs may include supervision of counselling practice. For example, based on a typical number of 21 supervision sessions at a typical hourly rate of £35 there would be a total fee for supervision of £840. Please note that the actual number of supervision hours required will vary for each student and may be higher if it takes longer than usual to complete the required clinical practice hours.

It is also a course requirement for 20 hours of personal therapy which is likely to cost at least £800 based on 20 hours at a typical hourly rate £35. These are mandatory requirements, however, in some cases, the supervision hours will be provided as part of the clinical placement. Costs are approximated based on the current academic year.

We strongly recommend that students clearly ascertain what the cost of supervision and/or personal therapy will be from their respective supervisors and personal therapists before entering into a contract with them.

You should also consider further costs which may include travel, books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Student membership of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is also a requirement for being eligible for BACP membership on completion of the PG Diploma Counselling and Psychotherapy. The membership fee is £78 paid annually and so most students will pay total BACP fees of £156.

Apply now

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Enrolment dates

September 2021

September 2022