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Counselling (MCouns/PgCert/PgDip)

Course Description

Programme description

This programme aims to foster the development of critically reflective practitioners who are able to work in a variety of settings with a broad range of people. It is founded in dialogue between the person-centred approach and psychodynamic perspectives in counselling.

The Master of Counselling is validated professionally by COSCA at Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma levels. It is a flexible, student-centred training process with a strong emphasis on practice, including a counselling placement.

A distinctive feature of this degree is its focus on the student’s individual counselling practice with clients, which normally begins in year two.

Programme structure

Teaching and learning methods include experiential group work, supervised practice, theory seminars and independent study. A distinctive feature is the system of individual tutorials.

Assessment methods combine essays with seminar presentations, self and peer assessments, placement-based assessment, the professional portfolio and the dissertation.

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

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete the programme will:

be reflective, self-aware, safe, accountable and competent counsellors
have a sound knowledge base of theories and research on the development of the person, group process, therapeutic relationships and processes, and the role of counselling in society
possess highly developed and transferable interpersonal, conceptual and analytical skills, including critical thinking, self-evaluation and research skills
The Master of Counselling allows students to gain employment in a variety of contexts where this unique combination of interpersonal, therapeutic, self-reflective and analytical skills is highly valued.

Career opportunities

Postgraduate Certificate

The Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies enhances your career prospects in a variety of fields that use listening skills, such as healthcare, social work or education. It is also an excellent foundation for further specialist therapeutic training in the UK or abroad. In addition, the general skills you gain (such as communication, research and project management) will be of use in any professional or academic role.

Postgraduate Diploma

The Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling is a professionally accredited programme that allows you to practise counselling and psychotherapy in the UK, and in other countries where equivalence in qualifications is recognised. Successful completion of this programme, followed by post-qualification practice and supervision, enables you to apply for individual accreditation as a counsellor or psychotherapist with a UK professional body.


Many employers today require masters qualifications for management positions in counselling and psychotherapy. With the Master of Counselling, you can join the many Edinburgh graduates who now hold senior positions in the field, and contribute to the development of counselling and psychotherapy in the UK and across the world.

As a graduate, you could also gain employment as a counsellor and psychotherapist working in the statutory, voluntary/non-government and private sectors. You can enter private practice, or use your counselling training and allied skills in communication and project management to enhance your career in a related profession, such as healthcare, social work, nursing or education.

Visit the Counselling (MCouns/PgCert/PgDip) 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 2:2 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, or other evidence of capacity to study at postgraduate level (eg references or relevant professional experience)

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