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A stack of balancing stones

MScCounselling & Psychotherapy

Why this course?

This is the only one-year full-time MSc course on person-centred counselling and psychotherapy in the UK.

Person-centred-experiential counselling and psychotherapy is internationally recognised. Evidence suggests it's one of the leading therapeutic approaches to mental health and wellbeing, and it continues to develop important practical applications and theoretical knowledge.

Our long-established postgraduate courses in counselling have offered a unique opportunity to gain in-depth experience of the Person-Centred-Experiential methods applied in counselling and psychotherapy, to Masters level. Our courses have an international reputation and attract students from the UK, Europe, Canada, the USA, China, and India.

The course has been restructured to meet evolving standards for evidence-based practice, rising educational standards, increased professional regulation, and rapid social and economic change. You'll gain a solid grounding and thorough integration of theory, research and practice, as well as a capacity to engage with the wider field of human distress and wellbeing, including private, public and third sector mental health agencies.

You’ll study

The emphasis is on person-centred therapy throughout the programme. You'll undertake counselling training, including theoretical, personal and professional development and practical/skills-based components, over an 11-month period (September to August).

The counselling practice element of the training includes the following classes:

  • The Therapeutic Relationship
  • The Therapeutic Process
  • Personality Theory
  • Counselling Case Analysis
  • Counselling Practicum
  • Personal & Professional Development

The Research Dissertation class involves training in counselling research methods and a write-up of a small empirical study, practical case study, or review of research.

Work placement

You'll receive intensive skills training to prepare you to undertake a minimum of 100 hours of counselling experience. This counselling practice is undertaken with real clients across a range of placements within third-sector organisations, voluntary agencies and other health service educational and community settings.

You'll develop your skills and capacity to practice as a professional therapist leading to accreditation with professional bodies such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and COSCA.   

Major projects

The Research Dissertation involves training in the main counselling research methods and four options for research projects: a quantitative study, a qualitative study, a systematic case study or a systematic review. 

Facilities

We have dedicated teaching space especially set up to foster collaborative learning in groups.

The Counselling Unit at Strathclyde has developed one of the most diverse and innovative databases of counselling opportunities in the UK. You'll be supported to organise your own counselling work placement opportunity by our team.

Course awards

The MSc course run by the Counselling Unit received the Charlotte and Karl Bühler award from the Society for Humanistic Psychology in 2010, given to key organisations that have made outstanding and lasting contributions to humanistic psychology. 

Student competitions

In 2013 and 2015, two of our MSc students received the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy Outstanding Research awards.

In 2016, one of our MSc Students received the PCCS Books student prize for the winning paper presented at the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy research conference.

Guest lectures

The Counselling Unit has a long tradition of guest lectures, particularly the annual Mary Kilborn Lecture. In 2016/17 Professor Stephen Joseph will give a lecture entitled, ‘Building Bridges between Positive Psychology and the Person-Centred Experiential Approach’.

Course content

Semester 1 classes

The Therapeutic Relationship

This class provides you with an essential entry point into the person-centred approach, the core model of the course, and provides the theoretical framework to help you focus on the relational qualities which the course aims to develop, namely accurate empathy, unconditional positive regard, genuineness and therapeutic presence.

Personality Theory

You'll learn the theoretical foundations of the person-centred approach, including the nature of human function and dysfunction, as well as how people overcome their difficulties. You'll gain the conceptual tools to support your practice as a person-centred counsellor, leading to greater confidence and clarity in your work with clients.

Semester 2 classes

The Therapeutic Process

You'll learn how to track your moment-to-moment working during counselling sessions. This ability to critically analyse practice is fundamental to effective, ethical work with clients. You'll also be asked to link within-session to broader person-centred theory.

Counselling Case Formulation

You'll develop the ability to work together with your clients to develop shared understanding of their difficulties, as these evolve over the course of therapy. This provides the basis for effective, reflective practice and also enables counsellors to communicate effectively with other mental health practitioners.

Semester 1 & 2 classes

Personal & Professional Development

This class has three main aims:

  • encountering one another and learning to prize personal diversity of experience
  • developing acceptance and resilience in the fact of difficult processes in self and others
  • learning how to resolve interpersonal difficulties.
Counselling Practicum

You have the opportunity to put the other elements of the course into practice with real clients in a mental health treatment setting. The rationale is that the theory, skill development and personal development need to be integrated in practice. As well as in-course group supervision, the your practice is supported by external one-to-one supervision.

Counselling Research Dissertation

The aim of this class is to enable you to apply your knowledge and skills to a research project on some aspect of counselling. It involves training in counselling research methods and four options for research projects: quantitative, qualitative, systematic case study, or systematic review.

Learning & teaching

The MSc will be delivered on a full-time (one-year) basis and delivered using a combination of large group formats (lecture/workshop/groupwork) and small group formats (supervision, personal and professional development groups) plus pre-recorded/streaming blended learning inputs.

You'll be expected to supplement class time with directed and self-directed learning and placement experience working with clients in community settings. The research class will be delivered with a combination of lectures on the main research methods in counselling research, and small group tutorials and independent work.

Assessment

Assessment is through summative written assignments and formative assessments which draw on interactions within all the aspects of the course.

Entry requirements

  • A first or upper second-class Honours degree from a UK university or a qualification deemed by the Head of School, acting on behalf of Senate, to be equivalent
  • COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills or the equivalent

English language 

For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (no individual test score below 6.0) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.

Pre-sessional courses in English are available.

If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Visa and Immigrations (please check most up-to-date list on the Home Office website) or you have successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you do not need to present any additional evidence.

If you are from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Visa and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.

 Entry to the course will also be partly determined by interview. 

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

To find out more about the courses and opportunities on offer visit International Study Centre and discuss your education future. You can also complete the online application form. To ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.

Fees & funding

2018/19

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Scotland/EU

  • £6,750

Rest of UK

  • £9,250

International

  • £17,700

How can I fund my studies?

To recognise academic achievement, the Dean's International Excellence Award offers international students a merit-based scholarship of up to £3,000 for entry onto a full-time Masters programme in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Check our Scholarship Search for more help with fees and funding.

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students starting in 2017 may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England can apply for Postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Wales

Postgraduate students starting in 2017 who are ordinarily resident in Wales can apply for support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. We are waiting on further information being released about this support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students starting in 2017 who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland can apply for support from Student Finance NI. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. We are waiting on further information being released about this support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

International students

We have a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

Careers

Graduates from our training courses have the potential to move into full-time or part-time positions. However, the more typical pathway is for students to continue within their placements, adding to their client experience.

Most UK employers are looking for client-contact hours greater than the minimum 100 hours gained during training. Many students quickly gain part-time employment in agencies offering telephone counselling and also in employee assistance programmes offering short-term counselling to their employees.

We encourage our graduates to work towards professional accreditation which also affords professional registration and recognition. A therapist requires 450 hours of practice to begin the accreditation process and the majority of counsellors also engage in advanced professional development to broaden their professional profile while working towards accreditation.

Ultimately, most counsellors work in a mixture of part-time settings, such as paid part-time work in the NHS or voluntary sector, plus some private practice and/or gaining a qualification to do group work or professional supervision. Other choose to mix their practice with non-counselling employment.

BACP Accreditation

If you graduate from this course with your Postgraduate Diploma, you will not be awarded accreditation status. To qualify for full BACP accreditation you must complete the full Masters programme. Further information is available from BACP.

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Counselling and Psychotherapy

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2018, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

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