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MSc Counselling

  • DeadlineStudy Details:

    MSc 2 years full time, 4 years part time

Course Description

Our MSc in Counselling at Bangor University aims to prepare you to take an active role as a member of the professional counselling/psychotherapy community.

This course explores a range of psychological approaches and therapeutic methods to provide holistic training in adult counselling. You will learn about the Humanistic approach and Person-Centred therapy, Psychodynamic approach and Psychoanalytic therapy, Behavioural approach and Behaviour therapy, and Cognitive approach and Cognitive therapy. In addition, you will be introduced to several integrative approaches (for example, we might explore Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, or Transactional Analysis). 

This Counselling Masters can be taken as a full-time two-year course or a part-time four-year course and there is more information on how that works in practice in the Course Content tab.

You will also take part in practical activities to develop your communication skills and integrate therapeutic techniques into your practice. You will engage in regular observed counselling skills sessions with your peers and this will prepare you for undertaking a placement of 100hrs of supervised counselling. Our skills lecturers and placement coordinator have an extensive counselling background working with clients in the NHS, and they will support you in developing your counselling skills and applying them in practice on placement. Our previous students have completed these placements with organisations such as the NHS Primary Mental Health Service, bereavement service CRUSE, Age UK, the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Service, etc.

Our course also has a strong academic core and we are proud of the way that we integrate Psychology and Research training throughout the course to ensure that our graduates are fully rounded practitioners. Our modules draw on the expertise of a range of practitioners in addition to counsellors - including clinical psychologists and researchers – to provide comprehensive training in mental health. Evidence-based practice is becoming increasingly in demand within this sector and we prepare our students for a career which may require them to draw on research skills and psychological knowledge, alongside applied counselling skills.

The extensive curriculum covered on our programme will equip you to work with clients across various settings, and provide you with a toolkit of evidence-based techniques and relationship-focused methods. This training programme is designed to provide you with an opportunity to graduate with all of the skills needed to apply for doctorate level study or work in an empirically-based practice.  

If you complete the MSc in Counselling with the counselling placement, then you will meet all of the requirements to apply for registered counsellor status with the National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society (NCPS) and/or the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Both of these professional bodies are accredited by the Professional Standards Authority under its Accredited Registers for Health and Social Care. Our course meets all of the requirements for you to become a student member of the NCPS and/or BACP while studying. After graduating from our course, you can then apply to become an Accredited Registrant with the NCPS and/or Individual Member of the BACP (moving to Registered Member after passing their online Certificate of Proficiency test). Membership of either of these professional bodies will place you in a strong position to apply for jobs in counselling or begin working towards establishing your own private practice.

This course is led by Prof Fay Short, who is a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society and a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and her teaching excellence has been recognised in a highly prestigious National Teaching Fellowship award. In her therapeutic work, she is an accredited hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner, Executive Coach and Mentor, and advanced practitioner of REBT, alongside her core training in counselling. Her dual role of counsellor and psychologist also enabled her to produce her textbook, Core Approaches in Counselling and Psychotherapy, which seeks to explain client work from both a therapeutic and psychological perspective. Prof Short draws on her extensive experience in academia and her practical work in the field to provide students on our MSc in Counselling with an in-depth insight into the theory and practice of modern counselling techniques. 

Find out more about the Psychology subject area

Entry Requirements

You must have one of the following academic qualifications:

  • 2ii or above undergraduate degree in psychology or counselling (or closely related) subject
  • OR 2ii or above undergraduate degree in unrelated subject AND certificate in counselling
  • OR relevant professional experience AND evidence of academic capability to postgraduate level

If the applicant has English as a second language, then they will also be required to hold an IELTS of 7 and exhibit clear evidence of communication skills through the medium of English in the interview.

Applicants will also be required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Applicants who have lived or worked outside of the UK for 12 months or more may also be required to submit a check appropriate to that country.

Applicants must pass a structured interview (including a small group activity), and acceptance on the course will depend on their fitness and suitability to practice counselling with vulnerable adults. This interview is an essential part of the assessment to determine suitability for placement, and the placement is a core requirement of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. The interview will be conducted online so the applicant must have access to a device with internet access, the capacity to download Microsoft TEAMS, speakers, a microphone, and a camera.

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Fees

For fees and funding options, please visit website to find out more

Student Destinations

One in four adults experience at least one mental health difficulty in any given year and mental health issues account for the largest single cause of disability in the UK (Mental Health Taskforce Strategy, Feb 2016).

The NHS committed to a transformation of mental health care across the UK and pledged to invest more than one billion pounds a year by 2020/21. As a result of this commitment and the increasing need for mental health support, employment opportunities in counselling are likely to expand in the near future. Graduates from this course will be particularly well equipped to succeed in this growing market.

Module Details

This course trains you in integrative counselling, and this means that your training will combine elements from different approaches and therapies around therapeutic principles:

  • A relationship between the therapist and client which incorporates the core conditions will provide a framework for therapeutic work leading to change;
  • Thoughts, feelings, and behaviour reflect past patterns of relating and can be reformed by exploring experiences within the boundaries of this therapeutic framework;
  • Cognitive schemas and behavioural patterns established in this past and reinforced in the present can be modified for the future through challenge and experimentation both within and beyond this safe therapeutic relationship.

Course Structure

This course can be studied full-time over 2 years or part-time over 4 years. On the full-time route during the first year of the course you will gain a comprehensive understanding of psychology, counselling, research, and mental health by covering topics including:   

  • Empirical research in therapy,   
  • Communication and counselling skills, 
  • Therapeutic process and context,   
  • Mental health and wellbeing, 
  • Different approaches and therapies (including Humanistic approach and Person-Centred therapy, Psychodynamic approach and Psychoanalytic therapy, Behavioural approach and Behaviour therapy, Cognitive approach and Cognitive therapy). 

During the second year of the course, you will have a unique opportunity to elect two modules from the wide range of options available in the School of Psychology. These options may include courses in Clinical Psychology, Neuropsychology, and Applied Behaviour Analysis (subject to availability). This additional specialised training will give you an extra advantage as a counselling graduate, and will further equip you with the skills needed to excel in your career. You will also complete a research project and compile a portfolio of placement experience.

Full-Time Study

  • In the first year, students will attend classes on a Monday and Tuesday. Students will also attend four Wednesdays across the year for assessments (dates will be provided at the start of the semester). Those intending to complete a counselling placement will also attend placement support sessions on a Wednesday morning, but these will be available to access remotely via videocall. 
  • In the second year, students will attend one morning per week of classes for research and practice. Students will also take two elective modules and the timetable for these will depend on the chosen modules.

Part-Time Study

  • In the first year, students will attend classes on a Monday. Students will also attend two Wednesdays across the year for assessments (dates will be provided at the start of the semester).
  • In the second year, students will attend classes on a Tuesday. Students will also attend two Wednesdays across the year for assessments (dates will be provided at the start of the semester).  Those intending to complete a counselling placement will also need to attend placement support sessions on a Wednesday morning in the second year, but these will be available to access remotely via videocall. 
  • In the third year, students will take two elective modules and the timetable for these will depend on the chosen modules 
  • In the fourth year, students will attend one morning per week of classes for research and practice. 
  • In addition to the above scheduled classes, there are also regular additional open-access support sessions available to all students after class on a Monday and Tuesday and in the morning on a Wednesday. Outside of the scheduled class times, students are free to engage with readings, complete assessments, meet the placement requirements, and fulfil any other obligations (such as part-time work, family commitments, etc.).

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Our MSc in Counselling will use a range of teaching methods to provide a challenging and engaging learning environment. You will attend lectures introducing the core theories, be supported through computer labs, watch video demonstrations of counselling in action, participate in workshops simulating counselling and supervision, debate important and controversial issues in the field, and receive regular one-to-one support from your personal and professional development tutor. Your assessments on the course will also be varied and diverse, and they will include essays, on-line quizzes, oral exams, presentations, and research reports. You will receive support and guidance for all of these assessments, as we work with you to ensure that every individual has an opportunity to excel.

Research Thesis

Our MSc in Counselling includes an empirical research project in the field of counselling. Our two-year course will provide you with enough time to develop your research skills, design a project, obtain ethical approval, run your study, and write up your research thesis. Research is an essential skill for a career in counselling, as more workplaces demand that their counsellors are able to empirically test their interventions and evidence their impact on clients. Our research training will help you to develop these skills and your research thesis will demonstrate that you are able to work as an empirically-based practitioner.

Counselling Placement

Our MSc in Counselling requires that you complete a core counselling placement of 100 supervised face-to-face counselling hours with adult (18yrs+) clients and 50 hours of work-based practice. After learning the foundations of ethics, boundaries, and communication skills in the first semester, you can begin your placement at the start of the second semester in your first year. You will need to complete all of your hours before graduating from the course in order to gain the MSc in Counselling. You will be provided with support and guidance in identifying a suitable placement, but the responsibility for obtaining a placement and completing all required hours remains with the student. You will also be responsible for ensuring that every month of practice is supported by at least 1.5 hours of supervision by an appropriate counselling supervisor (please be aware that you may need to pay for the services of a supervisor, if sufficient supervision is not provided within your placement). You will also be required to complete at least 15 hours of personal therapy while on the course (please be aware that you may need to pay for the services of a personal therapist). Supervised practice and work-based learning hours are a core requirement of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

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