MSc Counselling & Psychotherapy

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Accreditation: BACP (British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy)
  • Application deadline: end of February
  • Study mode and duration: 12 months full-time
  • Interviews: see apply section.

Study with us

  • focus on person-centred therapy throughout the course 
  • learn to apply one of the leading therapeutic approaches to mental health and wellbeing
  • opportunity to undertake work placements with clients in a range of health treatment settings
I gained the confidence to apply the counselling skills and theories I learned directly into my practice. The research skills and international academic studies were also valuable. The tutors combined theoretical knowledge with their clinical experience – a teaching method I found effective and thought-provoking.

Vicki, MSc student from Shanghai, China

How could the Covid-19 pandemic affect my studies?

Covid-19: information & FAQs
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Why this course?

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 MSc Counselling & Psychotherapy 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.

 bacp accredited logo

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

Interested in postgraduate study?

At the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, our friendly and knowledgeable team will be available to provide you with all the information you need to kick-start your postgraduate journey at the University of Strathclyde.

Check out our upcoming monthly postgraduate taught and Professional Graduate Diploma in Education drop-in sessions.

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What you'll study

The emphasis is on person-centred therapy throughout the Counselling & Psychotherapy Masters 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.

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.

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 services, 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 (BACP) and Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland (COSCA).  

Counselling & Psychotherapy student Sam Pattison
Working with clients really does underpin my passion for person-centred therapy, I have watched clients grow and work through presenting issues and issues that come up throughout the course of therapy. My experience of placement has really driven me forward and increased my drive, but it has also enabled me to be confident professionally.
Sam Pattison

Strathclyde Counselling & Psychotherapy Research Clinic

The Strathclyde Counselling & Psychotherapy Research Clinic has become an established and vital mental health service open to adults aged 16 years or older across the central belt of Scotland. You'll be supported to organise your own counselling work placement opportunity by our team.

Strathclyde Counselling & Psychotherapy Research Clinic
Our dedicated teaching team are all active researchers, experienced trainers and counsellors in practice. We are proud that our students will be working closely with our excellent counselling placements where they can become immersed in the work of the service as well as their clients.

Lisa McGilvary, Programme Leader & Teaching Fellow

Lisa McGilvray, Programme Leader of MSc Counselling & Psychotherapy

The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.

We're shortlisted for University of the Year 2021 by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide

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Course content

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.

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.

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

Guest lectures

The Counselling Unit has a long tradition of guest lectures, particularly the annual Mary Kilborn Lecture.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements/experience

For entry to our MSc you must have a:

  • 2:1 or above Undergraduate degree or a Master’s degree.
  • Certificate in counselling skills; completed or in the process of completion. This could be the COSCA certificate or the equivalent. The equivalent must contain at least 40 hours of counselling skills practice in triads, teach the basics of person-centred counselling and make use of large or tutor groups for processing. 
  • Strong personal statement about why you've chosen to work with the person-centred approach.

We do receive more applications than we have places to offer and the calibre of applicant is high.

If your application passes the initial selection process you'll be invited for a three-hour interview. This will be held at the end of February or the beginning of March. At your interview you'll be observed by two tutors and expected to:

  • Participate in a small group discussion to observe your communication skills
  • Demonstrate your counselling skills in a short triad exercise
  • Share why you've applied for the course to observe your personality and interests

For international students it will be as above. However, if the time zone does not permit you attending a group interview you'll be offered an individual interview with two tutors to make up the triad. The procedure will be similar to the above and will last up to one hour.

The aim of the interview is also for you to ask questions about the course to see if it's right for you.

If you're successful at this interview you'll be made an offer of a place on our MSc. You'll need to reply to that offer within three weeks to secure your place on the course.

Due to stiff competition for funded places deferral is not normally offered.

English language requirements

Please check our English requirements before making your application.

Pre-Masters preparation course

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

Upon successful completion, you'll be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

Map of the world.

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are per academic year unless stated otherwise.

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland




Additional costs

Most books can be borrowed from the University library. Students may decide to buy a limited number of key text and minimal photocopying may be required.

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish postgraduate students

Scottish postgraduate students 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.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to 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.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate 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. 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.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. 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.

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International students

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

Strathclyde Alumni

We are delighted to offer our Strathclyde graduates a 15% tuition fee discount on postgraduate taught courses running in September 2021 and January 2022. All alumni will be eligible for the discount, including those who have studied at Strathclyde on an exchange or study abroad programme. Terms and conditions apply.

Find out more about our alumni discount
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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.

Our students

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!

Find out all about life in Glasgow
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We are no longer accepting applications for 2021 entry for those from Scotland or the rest of the United Kingdom. Applications are still open to international students.

If you're successful in the first stage of the selection process you may be invited to interview to determine your suitability for the programme. Interview dates for 2022 are:

  • Monday 21 February, 2pm-5pm
  • Tuesday 22 February, 10am-1pm
  • Monday 14 March, 10am-1pm
  • Tuesday 15 March, 2pm-5pm

Start date: Sep 2022

Counselling and Psychotherapy

Start date: Sep 2022

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Contact us

Register your interest and find out more about the programme

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak our team are working from home and can be contacted via our online enquiry form.

Have you considered?

We've a range of postgraduate taught and Masters courses similar to this one which may also be of interest.