The MSc by Research in Counselling Studies provides students with a comprehensive understanding of research design, data collection and data analysis for research in the field of counselling and psychotherapy.
It offers an advanced education to students interested in developing research skills, including qualified counselling and psychotherapy practitioners and social science researchers.
Counselling and psychotherapy specialise in qualitative, reflexive and critical approaches to research, and have particular expertise in practice-based research that draws directly on practitioners' own therapeutic work, on the client's experience of therapy, and in narrative, reflexive and auto-ethnographic methods.
We are especially keen to encourage research concerned with the interface between counselling, psychotherapy and social, cultural and political life.
Our research portfolio is highly interdisciplinary, integrating concepts, practices and scholarship from counselling and psychotherapy, psychology, sociology, philosophy, education, cultural studies, health and social care, and other social sciences.
Our interests include disability, gender, trauma, abuse, counselling children and young people, and sexualities.
You can read more about our research interests and publications on our website:
The programme aims to provide students with advanced understandings of research design, data collection and data analysis issues in counselling research.
The programme enables students to develop their understandings of debates about research, evidence and practice in relation to counselling and related practices.
Distinctive features of this degree include:
The degree may be taken as a free-standing MSc or as a foundation for PhD studies. Candidates must complete a programme of research training courses and submit a dissertation on an approved topic.
Teaching and learning methods include lectures, theory seminars, discussion groups and independent study.
Assessment is through essays and the dissertation.
Individual courses may have other learning and assessment methods such as student presentations, research projects and web-based learning.
The programme provides research training in counselling, opportunities to design research, a research-based appreciation of key elements of counselling practice, a critical appreciation of approaches to research in counselling and psychotherapy, and the ability to work across disciplinary boundaries.
You will complete a programme of research training courses and submit a dissertation on an approved topic. The MSc by Research can be taken as a stand-alone qualification or as a foundation for PhD study.
This programme provides training in counselling and psychotherapy to become eligible for the BACP (British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy) individual practitioner accreditation. This three year part-time postgraduate degree is especially designed to provide you with the skills, knowledge and expertise necessary to work in primary and secondary schools making a positive impact in children and young people’s mental health.
This course helps you to become a practitioner who is able to work with child and adolescent clients one-to-one, who present with diverse psychological issues in a variety of settings including both mainstream and special education, children’s hospitals and children’s and adolescent’s mental health (CAMHS). You will become critically reflective and develop an enquiring attitude to theory, research and practice in complex areas of counselling and psychotherapy especially in respect to working with children and adolescents.
Based on the approach for the Integrative and Counselling Psychotherapy course, our integrative approach, is at the forefront of counselling and psychotherapy theory, practice and research. It incorporates aspects from three main therapeutic traditions; person-centred, attachment-based and psychodynamic. You will be encouraged to explore psychological processes and experiences from these different perspectives, and recognise the theoretical, personal and cultural assumptions which influence your work.
This programme includes a focus on both child centred (based on Carl Roger’s person centred approach) and psychodynamic perspectives and integrates these within a framework for understanding psychological and mental growth. Throughout the programme, you will develop a high level of awareness of self and the demands of the therapeutic process. This will be achieved through your own personal therapy and via small group clinical supervision that runs parallel to the practice placements.
You will be taught by leading experts in the field who lead on cutting-edge research projects and who have excellent links to school based counselling and child and adolescent psychopathology underpinned by our research centres CREST – Centre for Research in Social & Psychological Transformations CARICAW- Centre for Applied Research & assessment in Child and Adolescent Wellbeing.
As well as cognitive and reflective skills, you will also learn practical ways of working with your clients in a therapeutic relationship to address conscious and unconscious needs and produce a change in emotional and cognitive processes and behaviour. This involves integrating complex and advanced skills, and responding creatively to complex, novel and unpredictable situations.
This MSc aims to encourage an integrated understanding of child development and a range of childhood disorders, and to give students an opportunity to apply this understanding in a clinical setting through a supervised placement in the second year within a mental health service.
The programme draws together theory, research and therapeutic thinking from a range of perspectives, including clinical and cognitive psychology, systemic thinking, psychoanalysis and neuroscience. In a workshop setting, students develop competencies in engagement, assessment and evaluation, and practical skills necessary for therapeutic work with children and families. These are then put into practice during the clinical placement.
This two-year MSc has a total value of 270 credits. Each year students complete modules to the value of 135 credits.
Year one: taught modules (135 credits). Year two: clinical skills modules (35 credits), a clinical practice in context module (15 credits) and the research dissertation (85 credits).
Year one core modules
Year two core modules
All MSc students undertake a research portfolio which may include both a developmental and a clinical focus, such as the evaluation and understanding of clinical and therapeutic services for children and young people. This culminates in a dissertation made up of an 8,000-word journal paper and a poster.
Teaching and learning
In year one students attend weekly lectures complemented by small group seminars. Modules focusing on clinical skills are classroom based. In year two, as well as taking further modules, students move into a 2-3 days per week placement in a child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) setting, supervised by an experienced clinician. Assessment is by a mixture of coursework, examinations and the dissertation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Developmental Psychology and Clinical Practice MSc
Since the MSc was established in 2011 graduates have gone on to work with children and families in various therapeutic settings, or to undertake further doctoral-level clinical training, such as clinical psychology, child psychotherapy, or counselling psychology. Some of our graduates also pursue research careers, including PhD study.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Completing this MSc will help you develop several core clinical competencies and provide direct supervised experience of work in a child and adolescent mental health service, placing you in a very strong position to proceed to a full clinical training, such as in clinical psychology or child psychotherapy.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
The programme is based at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in London, a world-renowned centre for research, training and clinical practice in the field of child mental health. Distinctive features include teaching by highly experienced clinicians and researchers working in the field of child mental health; the opportunity to develop clinical skills for working with children; practical training in conducting research in clinical settings.
Please note: during the course of the academic year 2018/19, the centre will relocate from Hampstead to a new, purpose-built campus near King's Cross Station.
You will also gain exposure to clinical work within NHS and/or voluntary sector organisations involving children, adolescents and families, under the supervision of an experienced clinician.
To read past students' testimonials, please visit the departmental programme page.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Division of Psychology & Language Sciences
83% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.