Postgraduate MSc/PgDip

Counselling and Psychotherapy (Professional Training)





Two year

Three year

Next enrolment

September 2024


In a nutshell

Please note, this course is now closed for September 2024 entry. The next entry is September 2025. 

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 British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (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 Student 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

BACP (accredited course) logo

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

Professional Counselling training at the University of Salford first started in 1992 and now comprises a range of counselling and psychotherapy training offered by the Counselling and Psychotherapy department.

The MSc/PgDip in Counselling and Psychotherapy (Professional Training) comprises two taught years (studying two 30-credit modules per year) leading to a postgraduate diploma award, and a third (final) year to complete an MSc award (completing a 60-credit dissertation). Both awards qualify graduates to work as professional counsellors, as defined by the BACP, in the public and voluntary sectors and in private practice. The awards are both accredited by the BACP and we adhere to BACP’s Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions (2018).

These programmes aim to produce practitioners who:

  • are capable of working effectively with a wide range of clients, together with a range of psychological problems of varying degrees of severity.
  • are capable of making autonomous professional decisions in complex circumstances.
  • are capable of offering online/phone therapy to clients.
  • have a critical understanding of the theoretical knowledge which underpins practice.
  • have the ability to critically appraise research evidence.

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.

The mode of study is part-time. Students are required to attend classes on one day per week (either Monday or Tuesday, depending on year of entry). There are 30 teaching weeks in our academic year. Classes normally start in September and end in June. Please be advised that there is an 80% attendance for all scheduled classes in all years of the programme. The structure of a typical course day for the PgDip is:

13:00-15:00 - Lecture/Seminar
15:00-15:30 - Break
15:30-17:30 - Skills Groups and/or Group Supervision
17:30-18:00 - Break
18:00-19:30 - Personal Development Groups

Additionally, students are required to attend their placement (usually counselling three clients per week), supervision and personal therapy. Students may need to set aside one other day for these activities. Applicants should be aware that there will be an online/phone therapy training day facilitated online. Applicants are advised that suitable technology/devices (including adequate internet connection); technical ability to work online; and a private space to attend online training sessions and online/phone therapy sessions will be required.

All programme staff are qualified counsellors, registered with BACP, UKCP or HCPC and many have their own private practice. As part of BACP accreditation, more than half of the team are also accredited and all undertake significant CPD over the academic year. Small group skills and supervision and PD facilitation are a part of the course and staff professional experience lends greatly to the learning experience. 

Year one

Introduction to Person-Centred Theory and Practice

This module is designed to help you enhance your knowledge and understanding of person-centred theory and of its applications in working therapeutically with a range of clients.  The module content covers counselling theory and professional issues with an emphasis on developing skills in anti-oppressive and reflexive counselling practice that responds to a diversity of needs. You will be encouraged to think critically about counselling practice and about working with often complex psychological processes. Additionally, this module aims to prepare you for undertaking a counselling placement. As part of this, you will attend personal development sessions, and skills and group supervision sessions that aim to further support and enhance your development as a mature, autonomous and reflexive practitioner.

Contemporary Perspectives in Counselling and Psychotherapy Research

Contemporary perspectives in counselling and psychotherapy research: This module seeks to develop your knowledge of how counselling and psychotherapy is advanced through research. You will be introduced to principle research approaches and their use in counselling and psychotherapy in order to develop a systematic understanding of the design and conduct of counselling research. In addition, the module will invite you to consider issues related to the application of research findings to counselling practice.

Year two

Mental Health for Counsellors

This module develops a comprehensive knowledge and critical perspectives of a range of mental health models and constructs within therapeutic contexts. Mental health inequalities and anti-discriminatory practice are explored. You will demonstrate an ability to practice ethically on clinical placement with common and more complex issues, utilising supervisory support. You will attend lectures, personal development sessions and group supervision sessions to continue your professional development as a clinical practitioner.

Introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

This Module aims to introduce you to the philosophy, theory and skills of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy when working with clients who present with mild to moderate Depression and/or Anxiety.  You will learn key concepts and develop a comprehensive understanding of the theory and practical application of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), whilst exploring the utilisation of CBT skills. Our objective is to introduce you to a CBT framework with a view to integrating elements of this approach into your work and therapeutic practice in the future AFTER qualification as a Counsellor/Psychotherapist.

Year three


Students complete a dissertation over a period of 12 months, either a piece of original research in counselling and psychotherapy, or a literature review of existing research answering a question related to counselling and psychotherapy. Students have their own individual supervisors as well as lectures on research and literature review methodology. 

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

The 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,

and more...

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 helps you provide a better service.

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


What you need to know

Applicant profile

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 an 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 Postgraduate Admissions Tutors:

Please note that this is a very popular MSc programme and we are closing to new applications earlier each year. Therefore, please apply early for the next intake.  

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

For those who meet our entry criteria and we then invite to interview, this does not indicate a place can be offered for the coming September as, especially later in the academic year, we may be approaching our maximum number of offers at that point and offers made will then be for the following September.

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

  • 2:1 Degree in any subject + 1 year experience in a helping role.
  • 2:2 Degree in a health-related subject + 1 year experience in a helping role.
  • 2:2 Degree in any subject + significant (more than 1 year) experience in a helping role.
  • 3rd class Degree or Level 5 + significant (more than 1 year) experience in a helping role – May be eligible for Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning route.
  • Masters level Degree in any subject + 1 year in a helping role.


Definition of a helping role

The following list is given as a guide only and is not exhaustive:

  • Mentoring/befriending
  • Helplines – Samaritans, Childline, Kooth etc.
  • Volunteering work in the community e.g. charity shop, fundraising
  • Teaching/teaching assistant
  • Pastoral roles in an education setting
  • Coaching
  • Emergency services
  • Hypnotherapy / CBT / other therapeutic work
  • Care work
  • Mental health support work
  • Social work
  • Nursing/healthcare assistant
  • Support worker e.g. family support, contact centre
  • Public-facing support roles e.g. Citizen’s Advice, job centre
  • Public-facing local council/government roles

Please contact with any queries about your specific qualifications/experience. 

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 Higher National Diploma.

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
Full-time home 2024/25 £8,820.00per year
Part-time 2024/25 £1,470 per 30 credit module
Full-time home 2025/26 £9,100.00per year
Part-time 2025/26 £1,515 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 £35-50 there would be a total fee for supervision of £735-£1,050. 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. 

There is also a course requirement for 20 hours of personal therapy through private practice, which is likely to cost at least £700-£1000, in total, based on 20 hours at a typical hourly rate of £35-£50. 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 Postgraduate Diploma Counselling and Psychotherapy. Please visit the BACP website for additional information and fees

Apply now

All Set? Let's Apply

Still have some questions? Register for one of our Open Days or contact us:

By email:
By phone: +44 (0)161 295 4545

Enrolment dates

September 2024

September 2025