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Course content

This course is an exciting development that will provide students with a level of knowledge and skills in counselling which will equip them to develop as counsellors, and once they have gained further experience and client hours will open up a range of professional opportunities. For students with a first degree in psychology (which is Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) accredited) further postgraduate training opportunities will include doctoral training on British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited courses in Counselling Psychology.

The course will also provide students with a range of skills that will be highly relevant to those wishing to undertake further training in a range of related careers and specialisms. In addition to careers options, the degree will provide a range of communication skills and personal development skills that will be highly valued in a range of organisations and situations. Most of all, this course enables students to feel that they belong to a process of development that enriches them as human beings. A passion develops throughout for a subject that enables not only personal growth but interest in all the knowledge that will be embedded throughout study.

The course consists of examining differing counselling theories and presenting issues. It also concentrates on skills work and therapeutic competencies in organisational settings. Importantly, the course offers the opportunity to maximise self-awareness and reflect on self-process and that of others. The placement allows students to take their competencies to organisations to work with clients.

Throughout, students will be encouraged to develop a critical, evaluative approach to the knowledge which underpins present-day professional practice and will develop skills in critical reflective thought and the ability to make evidenced based decisions. Current issues within counselling and therapy will be considered critically with particular emphasis on their relationship to client practice.

Course modules (16/17)

-Counselling Theory and Practice
-Counselling Skills and Process
-Self-Awareness and Reflectiveness
-Placement and Supervision
-Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods
-Dissertation and Research Methods
-Clinical Hours

Methods of Learning

-Lectures, workshops, one-to-one, private study, group work, role play.
-‘Counselling Theory and Practice’ and ‘Counselling Skills and Process’ each involve approximately 144 formal taught hours, 75 hours preparation for assessment, and 81 independent study hours
-‘Self-awareness and Reflectiveness’ involves approximately 75 formal taught hours, 75 hours preparation for assessment, 40 hours of personal therapy and 113 independent study hours;
-‘Placement and Supervision’ involves approximately 135 practice and supervision hours; 75 hours preparation for assessment and 90 independent study hours.


Formal teaching takes place on one full day per week in the first year and one full day approximately every other week in the second year for part-time students; and on one to two full days per week for full-time students. In addition, there is a three day taught intensive session for all students three times per year (first year only). In addition to this, students will be expected to attend one-to-one tutorials at least twice per trimester.

There is a minimum 80% attendance requirement across each element of the course.

Length of study

Full time: 1 year. Part time: 2 years.


Coursework and Dissertation.

Facilities and Special Features

It is important that those attending this course are prepared to carry out a placement when they will be working with clients. Therefore, individuals on this course will need a high level of critical self-awareness and a willingness to reflect on their own process.

On-course requirements

To count towards a professional body accreditation, such as UKCP or BACP, the course requires students to undertake a supervised placement practice of a minimum of 100 hours plus supervision and a minimum 40 hours of personal therapy with an approved and registered or accredited counsellor or therapist. A student membership of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is advised and professional indemnity insurance and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be required. All of these requirements involve additional costs of top of the course fee.


The career opportunities for counsellors are many. For example, students may wish to work within NHS settings or schools, or further or higher educational counselling settings. Various opportunities are available within organisational settings and police settings, as well as in continuing professional development (CPD) work. The government agenda for Improved Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) offers good opportunity for trained counsellors. There are also many other establishments that have some paid positions.

Visit the Counselling MSc page on the University of Northampton website for more details!





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