MSc in Counselling & Psychotherapy

University of Stirling

Program Description

MSc in Counselling & Psychotherapy

University of Stirling

MSc in Counselling & Psychotherapy

This MSc provides advanced study in professional counselling which has been accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. It is designed to suit the adult learner who has commitments during the week, making weekly attendance difficult: for that reason most of the course takes place at weekends or week-long blocks over three years. It benefits from being largely residential allowing regular periods of intense and focused work. As part of the diploma students will be required to do 150 placement hours over the two years.

The course provides the opportunity, environment, resources and support for students to undertake accredited training in professional counselling. There is a primary focus on the central concepts and theories of the person-centred approach in counselling and this then extends to include other theories of human growth and development and their related therapeutic approaches, models of psychopathology and related mental health issues.

It provides a structure within which students consider their own internal processes, reactions, thoughts and feelings in support of their development as reflective as well as evidence-based practitioners. The course also supports the development of student's competence in their clinical practice by focusing on the integration of:

  • counselling skills
  • underpinning knowledge of therapeutic processes
  • personal reflectiveness and understanding of intra-psychic and interpersonal processes

Structure and content

Certain aspects of the course are presented in lecture form and there are presentations by external specialists covering different topics relevant to counselling. Interactive workshops are the principal learning environment for exploring specific themes and issues. Other structures used include: Encounter Groups, Study Groups and the Course Community Group. Supervision Groups also form a key part of study. By providing opportunities for counselling work to be linked to course work, students gain a broader understanding of certain client issues they may not have the chance to work with directly. In addition, it allows students to give and receive feedback to each other. Students meet in small groups with supervisor-trainers throughout the course.

During this MSc, students develop their competence as counsellors through a range of different activities; some of this work is video/audio recorded and discussed by small groups with the support of a member of the course staff. This provides both a useful learning opportunity and also a helpful record of the development of the students' counselling work.

Outwith the course, there is a requirement for students to arrange their own counselling practice opportunities. Staff advise on the suitability of a counselling setting and do their best to assist students who are having difficulty, but ultimately it is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that they are able to meet the minimum Diploma requirement of 150 hours of supervised counselling practice.

The course supports and monitors the counselling work undertaken by students but it is also a requirement that students engage a separate personal supervisor who has been approved by the course. Students are expected to meet with their supervisor regularly.

Delivery and assessment

Each module requires the submission of at least one written assignment.

Students are also required to submit a minimum of four recordings of client sessions.

Assignments vary in length from 2,000–5,000 words.

There is also one collaborative presentation required by students within their study groups

Module titles

There are six modules leading to the Postgraduate Diploma and two further modules leading to the completion of the MSc.

The course has two academic terms each year.

  • Module 1 The Theory and Practice of Therapeutic Change
  • Module 2 Personality Theory, Psychological Wellbeing and Psychopathology
  • Module 3 The Reflective Practitioner and Evidenced-based Practice: the Associated Clinical and Research Issues
  • Module 4 Difference, Diversity and Integration in Therapeutic Provision
  • Module 5 Clinical Competence and Practice Development
  • Module 6 Reflective Practice and Processing
  • Module 7 Psychotherapeutic Integration and Depression
  • Module 8 Researching Psychotherapy and Counselling

Career opportunities

Graduates of these courses have gone on to work within the NHS, schools and dedicated counselling organisations.

The status of psychotherapy and counselling in the UK is such that employment opportunities do exist but are not plentiful. In specific areas (such as Employee Counselling Services, Student services, Schools) counselling provision continues steadily. In health settings there is considerable variation depending on the policy of the local NHS trust.

In every case where jobs are advertised it is expected that, as a minimum, applicants will have completed a recognised course of study which has been professionally accredited (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, COSCA) and academically validated. This course meets those criteria.

Academic requirements

Students will have completed a recognised Certificate in Counselling Skills (one-year course). They will also have an additional qualification or appropriate and extensive relevant experience in the helping professions.

Please note: If you are a student from overseas and applying with a Tier 4 student visa, we unfortunately can not accept your application for this course as it falls into the category of being part-time, delivered online or a distance learning course.

English language requirements

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated August 16, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
3 years
Part time
Start date Aug. 2017
United Kingdom Stirling, Scotland
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 3 years
Price Request Info