Why this course?
This three or four-year* joint honours programme offers a route for students to combine psychology and counselling studies. The course will prepare you for further postgraduate study in counselling, counselling psychology or psychology, or for employment in other professional roles (eg support work) which would benefit from counselling skills training and an understanding of counselling theory.
Person-centred-experiential counselling and psychotherapy is internationally recognised and one of the leading therapeutic approaches to mental health and well-being. The combination with psychology will enable students to approach a range of clients across a broad spectrum of psychological distress. It'll equip you with the skills to critically assess an evidence base and develop appropriate theoretical questions and methodology to further your professional development and knowledge.
Our current courses meet the requirements for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS), and a COSCA-accredited Certificate in Counselling Skills, and accreditation for this course is currently being sought. However, it will not in itself represent a professional qualification in psychology, counselling or counselling psychology.
*Applicants with A-level qualifications or equivalent may qualify for direct entry to Year 2. Other applicants will be required to successfully complete a foundation year on our BA Psychology programme.
What you'll study
Students on the four-year course will take Year 1 of the BA Psychology programme.
Year 2 classes: Social & Health Psychology, Cognition & Neuropsychology, Introduction to Research Design & Analysis
Year 3 classes: Research Methods in Psychology, Individual Differences, Social Psychology
Year 4 classes: Honours Development, Honours Cognition, Honours Psychobiology
Year 2 classes: Theories of Counselling/Psychotherapy, Positive & Humanistic Psychology, Abnormal Psychology (Varieties of Psychological Difficulty)
Year 3 classes: Person-Centred Theory, Personal Development, Counselling Skills Laboratory
Year 4 classes: Counselling Skills Practicum or Counselling Research Practicum
The Year 4 Dissertation is supervised by the School of Psychological Sciences & Health on a topic that is psychological in nature and focuses on aspects of clinical/counselling psychology and/or therapeutic/behaviour change interventions.
The Counselling Skills Laboratory contains a skills practice component which is part of the final assignment. Although this doesn't equip students to practice as therapists, it does appeal to employers and further training institutions, because it develops improved listening skills which are advantageous in a wide range of psychological interventions. The psychology dissertation requires a substantial empirical study in psychology or counselling, evidencing all aspects of the research process.
You'll have access to general computer and experimental labs as well as specialised labs including:
- customised counselling suite
- eyetracking labs
- driving simulator
- psychophysiological equipment
- motion tracking lab
Social & Health Psychology
Abnormal Psychology: Varieties of Psychological difficulty
This class introduces social psychological theories and research that provide insights into why people believe what they believe, and why they behave the way they do.
Topics covered include attribution theory, aggression, prosocial behaviour, group influence, norms, conformity, obedience, and attitudes.
It ends with an introduction to health psychology, demonstrating how social psychological principles covered earlier in the class are applied to pressing, real-world health issues such as dietary behaviour, smoking/alcohol-use, and suicide.
This class will provide students with an introduction to and a deeper understanding of the range of different forms of psychological difficulty, in both adults and children. It covers syndromes of psychological difficulty, the key theories for their aetiology, and the main methods for assessing, studying and treating the different forms of psychological difficulty.
Semesters 1 & 2
Introduction to Research Design & Analysis
Theories of Counselling/Psychotherapy
You'll be introduced to the main features of measurement, research design, and statistical analysis in psychology.
Following a general introduction, the course presents fundamental concepts, issues, and debates in the field of research methods.
You'll also become familiarised with the conceptual basis for inferential statistical testing, and introduced to different inferential statistics. Finally, a brief introduction to qualitative research methods takes place.
In this class, students are introduced to a range of approaches to counselling/psychotherapy, including important theoretical models such as Psychodynamic, Cognitive-Behavioural, Humanistic-Experiential, and Systemic models.
It will cover classic approaches and more recent variations and developments, as well as integrative/pluralistic approaches.
Each of these theoretical orientations approach the sources of human function and dysfunction from different perspectives and offer different understandings about how human beings overcome psychological difficulties and engage in productive psychological change.
Cognition & Neuropsychology
Positive & Humanistic Psychology
This class reveals how our understanding of higher mental functions has been enhanced through:
- theoretical and experimental studies of normal human cognition
- neuropsychological studies of how cognitive functions may be damaged as a result of brain lesions
Topics covered include disorders of the perceptual system, memory and attention, and the role of the frontal lobes in planning, motivation, emotion, and personality.
This class will cover a range of approaches to psychology that emphasise human experience and potential for positive adaptation, growth and happiness.
It'll cover both humanistic and positive psychology approaches. It'll first address classic forms of humanistic psychology, including existentialism, self-actualisation, human potential, phenomenology, the person-centred approach, and gestalt therapy. Then it will turn to recent developments in positive psychology, which emphasises factors that contribute to human flourishing, including character strengths and virtues, positive emotional states, mindfulness, and meaning/purpose.
Research Methods in Psychology
This class builds on year 2 and equips you with a broader, more advanced set of methodological and analytic skills. These skills are essential for carrying out the year 4 dissertation and for being able to read and understand articles published in academic journals.
Semesters 1 & 2
This class will explain, explore and critically evaluate the principal theoretical approach adopted by the counselling component of the course: the person-centred-experiential approach to counselling skills.
Counselling Skills Laboratory
This class builds on the more general foundation theory classes from Year 2 of the course. Counselling skills consist of three components:
- knowledge: theory and conceptual frameworks that guide action
- experience: self-awareness, self-acceptance and resilience under stress, including encountering diverse and difficult experiences and personal blocks
- action: putting theory and experience into practice
Each of three classes in the Counselling track of Year 3 focuses on one of these components. The Personal Development class focuses on two main strands of the experiential component of counselling skills: Discovering and confronting attitudes that inhibit the course member's functioning; and moving towards becoming more self-accepting and having greater confidence in personal congruent functioning.
The Counselling Skills Laboratory consists of three components:
- knowledge: theory and conceptual frameworks that guide action
- personal development: self-awareness, self-acceptance and resilience under stress, including encountering diverse and difficult experiences and personal blocks
- interpersonal skills: putting theory and experience into practice
You're encouraged to think scientifically about conceptual and practical issues related to the study of individual differences, with specific reference to intelligence and personality. You'll gain the chance to put this knowledge into practice by designing your own measurement instrument.
This class allows you to consider current ideas and positions within social psychology. Four themes drive the class
- Attitudes and attitude change, covering the Theory of Planned Behaviour and the Health Belief Model
- Identity, with a focus on social, personal and group identities
- Prejudice, connecting both attitudes and identities, and covering a broad range of areas such as social representations, stereotyping, prejudice and conflict
- Epistemology, where consideration is given to the theory of knowledge, how social psychological knowledge is produced, and to what effect
Practical Experience: Counselling Skills/Research
This class will focus on key developmental issues across infancy, childhood, and adult life. Infant development will cover language development, attachment, perceptual development, and cognitive development. For childhood and adolescence, issues of problem solving are explored as is social development.
Concerning adult development, we focus on the influence of healthy ageing on the brain and cognition, pathological ageing processes (dementia), and successful ageing.
Theory pertaining to all aspects of the course will be presented and critiqued in light of available empirical research.
This class is intended to provide continuing practical experience in counselling skills and/or counselling research. There are two possibilities here: first, students can elect to volunteer in a community setting in which they can apply the counselling skills they learned in Year 3 (eg Samaritans, Childline).
Second, they can volunteer to work on a counselling research project, most commonly in the Research Clinic, using the research methods skills they learned in Years 2 & 3.
Semesters 1 & 2
This compulsory class provides students with the opportunity to conduct an independent piece of research, under the guidance of a supervisor, within any area of psychology.
It demands the integration of research methods training, literature reviewing skills and an understanding of ethical considerations that students should have developed in the first three years of their Psychology degree.
Undertaking an empirical project/dissertation is a core requirement of the British Psychological Society Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership.
This class will introduce students to some of the core topics in face and object recognition, perception, language, thinking, learning and memory, and to explore the key theoretical debates within these areas.
The purpose of this class is to provide the opportunity for students to learn the basic principles of brain function, and to encourage students to address the implications of this understanding for their own view of how behaviour is generated.
This will allow students to develop a model of brain function that will allow a more critical evaluation of psychological theories in other areas of psychology.
Assessment methods include:
- written exams
- multiple choice exams
- presentation skills
Learning & teaching
The psychology course content is primarily lecture based, supported by tutorials, laboratory practicals and supervised research work.
The counselling part is delivered using a combination of large group formats (lecture/workshop/group work) and small group formats (tutor groups/skills practice) plus online learning inputs. Students will be expected to supplement class time with directed and self-directed learning. Students will also be required to conduct a listening session that demonstrates their listening skill with someone in the community.
Applicants who hold appropriate qualifications will be allowed direct entry to the Year 2. In all cases, applicants whose first language is not English, shall be required to demonstrate an appropriate level of competence in the English language.
The minimum requirement for entry will usually be BBB-ABB at ‘A’ level or international equivalent, and who meet the University’s English language requirement (IELTS (Academic): 6.5 overall (no individual band less than 5.5).
Applicants with Highers will usually be required to have a minimum of AAAA at the first sitting, or AAAAB at the second sitting.
National 5 Maths or National 5 Lifeskills Maths or Intermediate 2 at Grade C or above. Higher English plus at least one subject from the following:
- Classical Studies
- Modern Studies
- Religious Moral & Philosophical Studies
We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.
Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.
Find out entry requirements for your country.
Degree preparation course for international students
We offer international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the International Study Centre. To find out more about these courses and opportunities on offer visit isc.strath.ac.uk or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future.
You can also complete the online application form, or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.
Fees & funding
How much will my course cost?
All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.
Rest of UK
Bachelor degrees at Strathclyde will cost £9,250 a year, but the total amount payable will be capped at £27,750 for students on a four-year Bachelors programme. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes – for example MSci, MEng and MPharm – will pay £9,250 for the Masters year.
Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.
How can I fund my studies?
Students from Scotland and the EU
If you're a Scottish or EU student, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.
For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.
Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland
We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales
This course provides students interested in a more applied focus to their psychology degree with foundation training in counselling skills and theory.
Such a background will allow graduates to:
- proceed to postgraduate education in Psychotherapy/Counselling or Counselling Psychology, or Psychology
- enter the workplace in support work or other roles that require a basic psychological helping skills, referred to as 'embedded counselling' roles
Students who gain a Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership with the British Psychological Society, will be eligible for research assistant and assistant psychology roles or access to further professional training in psychology.