Skip to main content

Counselling and Psychotherapy Studies (Professional Training)


School - School of Health and Society

Subject area - Counselling and Psychotherapy

Start Date(s): September


MSc (three years part-time)
PgDip (two years part-time)

Fees 2018-19:

2019-20 fees will be displayed shortly.

Part-time - £1,260 per 30 credit module

In Brief:

  • Qualify as a counsellor on a professional counselling training course which is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • Combines counselling skills and theory, professional issues and personal development
  • Includes a counselling placement
  • A part-time only course
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity
  • Clinical placement opportunity

Course Summary

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.

Students who successfully complete all aspects of the professional training and do not wish to progress onto the full MSc can exit with a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Those who complete the dissertation module will receive a full Masters qualification.

Awards and Accreditation

You can choose to study over 3 years (with 2 semesters per year) or 2 years (teaching continues into the summer trimester).

Year 1, Semester 1  

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.      

Year 1, Semester 2  

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

Year 2, Semester 1  

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

Year 2, Semester 2  

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

Year 3  

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.

Entry Requirements

Applicants are normally required to have the following (see below for further details):

  • Honours degree, normally 2.2 or above
  • 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.

Applicants are required to possess an honours degree, normally a 2.2 or above. The degree can be in any subject as we welcome applicants changing career.

Applicants are also 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 Skills 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. Click here for full details. 

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 the admissions tutors:

Leigh Gardner Tel 0161 295 7163 and Amanda Ryding Tel 0161 295 2376

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).

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.

Suitable For

Professionals who are graduates and have successfully completed certificate in counselling and wish to develop these skills further to become a professional counsellor. Once qualified you will be able to work as a professional counsellor in private practice, public and voluntary sectors.

You are an ideal applicant if you are fascinated by people and are willing to develop your own skills so that you can develop relationships with people in distress or in need of support.

We expect you to have demonstrated your commitment to helping others through your track record of voluntary work or employment in a role that involves helping people. We also expect you to be able to reflect on your own personal development – how your attitudes and abilities have changed and grown with your life experience.

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.

Fees 2019-20

Fees for entry in 2019 will be displayed shortly.

Fees 2018-19

Type of StudyFee
Part-time£1,260 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 £45-50 there would be a total fee for supervision of £945. 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 £40. 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.

Scholarships and Bursaries

For more information please see our funding section.


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 practice
  • Assignment


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.

Links with Industry

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 team work 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.

Further Study

You may wish to pursue a research degree after completion of the course.


We have recently developed a brand new special counselling suite which will be 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, will also shortly be 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.

Not the course you're looking for?

If this course isn't for you then please retry our course finder below.


Visit our A-Z list of courses.

A-Z courses