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Counselling Studies (MSc)


Course Description

Programme description

The programme offers advanced academic study of counselling and related practices. It aims to foster the development of critical reflection on the field by professionally qualified practitioners.

It complements professional training in counselling by providing students from a range of backgrounds with critical perspectives on counselling and related practices.

This programme firmly locates the practice of counselling within the field of social science enquiry. Its distinctive features include close links with professional training in counselling and with social science research concerned with counselling and society.

It includes the professionally validated Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies, three other substantive taught courses and a dissertation based on empirical research.

This MSc is not a full professional training in counselling. The latter is offered through the Master of Counselling (Interpersonal Dialogue), two years full-time, or the Master of Counselling, four years part-time.

Programme structure

Teaching and learning methods include lectures, theory seminars and independent study. Assessment is through essays and the dissertation.

The Postgraduate Certificate component involves experiential group work, practice-skills workshops and individual tutorials, with self and peer assessment and portfolio work, complementing essay-based assessment.

The programme provides a high level of student-tutor contact and close supervision of both listening practice and research, in line with professional and academic requirements.

Learning outcomes

The MSc in Counselling Studies provides:

in-depth knowledge of the theories informing counselling and psychotherapy;
social-science perspectives on debates about counselling and psychotherapy;
critical appreciation of the key debates, research methods and professional issues in counselling and related fields;
transferable interpersonal, conceptual and analytical skills, including critical thinking, self-evaluation and research.

Career opportunities

Graduates of the MSc Counselling Studies use the degree in a variety of ways. For some it opens up employment opportunities in a range of fields, including education, policy, research and development on health and illness, emotional health and wellbeing, and counselling, often in combination with first degrees or other professional training.

The degree also enhances the career prospects of professionally qualified counsellors and practitioners. Many graduates use the MSc as a foundation for undertaking further specialist therapeutic training in the UK or abroad.

Others enhance their careers by using newly developed conceptual, analytical and research skills and may use the MSc to embark on doctoral research.

Visit the Counselling Studies (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Candidates should possess either: a UK 2:1 honours degree or its equivalent if outside the UK, in any subject, or a good lower second class degree together with a strong personal statement, normally including relevant experience and/or references confirming aptitude for study at a postgraduate level, or professional qualifications equivalent to an honours degree. You should demonstrate high levels of motivation through your personal statement, indicating why you wish to study counselling and demonstrating an understanding of counselling and the capacity to reflect on personal aptitude for work in this field.

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