BSc Hons Psychology & Counselling


Key facts

  • UCAS Code: C8B9
  • Accreditation: provisional COSCA (Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland)

  • Study mode & duration: 36 months or 48 months full-time

Study with us

  • study psychology with an applied focus
  • benefit from training in Person-Centred Counselling
  • gain broad-based knowledge of the core domains of psychology and training in counselling skills
  • the degree meets the requirements for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership with the British Psychological Society
  • develop enhanced interpersonal communication skills. Gain the award of a COSCA-accredited Counselling Skills certificate
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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 is embedded within this course. 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.

Female therapist has a discussion with client.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

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, Mental Health Difficulties

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.

Major projects

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

How to become a psychologist

Find out all you need to know including what a psychologist does, the different types of psychologist and the steps you need to take to become one.

How to become a psychologist
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Course content

Semester 1

Social & Health Psychology

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.

Introduction to Mental Health Difficulties

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

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.

Theories of Counselling/Psychotherapy

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.

Semester 2

Cognition & Neuropsychology

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.
Positive & Humanistic Psychology

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.

Semester 1

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

Person-Centred Theory

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.

Personal Development
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.

Counselling Skills Laboratory

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

Semester 2

Individual Differences

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.

Social Psychology

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

Semester 1

Honours Development

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.

Practical Experience: Counselling Skills/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

Psychology Dissertation

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.

Semester 2

Honours Cognition

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.

Honours Psychobiology

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.

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.


Assessment methods include:

  • written exams
  • multiple choice exams
  • reports
  • presentation skills
  • dissertation
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Entry requirements

Required subjects are shown in brackets.


Standard entry requirements*:

  • 1st sitting: AAAA
  • 2nd sitting: AAAABB

(Higher English, Maths/Applications of Mathematics National 5 B, or equivalent)

In addition to Higher English, at least one Higher should come from the list below**.

Minimum entry requirements***:

  • 1st sitting: AABB
  • 2nd sitting: AABBB

(including English C plus one other B from approved list, and Maths National 5 C)

A Levels


Year 2 entry: AAA-ABB

(GCSE English language 6/B or Literature 6/B, GCSE Maths 4/C)

International Baccalaureate

Year 1 entry: 32-30
Year 2 entry:  36-32

International students

View the entry requirements for your country.

Deferred Entry

Not normally accepted

*Standard entry requirements

Offers are made in accordance with specified entry requirements although admission to undergraduate programmes is considered on a competitive basis and entry requirements stated are normally the minimum level required for entry.

Whilst offers are made primarily on the basis of an applicant meeting or exceeding the stated entry criteria, admission to the University is granted on the basis of merit, and the potential to succeed. As such, a range of information is considered in determining suitability.

In exceptional cases, where an applicant does not meet the competitive entry standard, evidence may be sought in the personal statement or reference to account for performance which was affected by exceptional circumstances, and which in the view of the judgement of the selector would give confidence that the applicant is capable of completing the programme of study successfully.

**Higher subject list
  • Classical Studies
  • Drama/Economics
  • French
  • Gaelic
  • Geography
  • German
  • History
  • Italian
  • Modern Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Moral & Philosophical Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish

***Minimum entry requirements

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

Widening access

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.

Degree preparation course for international students

We offer international students (non-EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

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 for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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2023/24: TBC
2022/23: £1,820

Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland are subject to confirmation by the Scottish Funding Council. Scottish undergraduate students undertaking an exchange for a semester/year will continue to pay their normal tuition fees at Strathclyde and will not be charged fees by the overseas institution.

England, Wales & Northern Ireland


Assuming no change in RUK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2023/24, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and integrated Masters programmes). MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.



University preparation programme fees

International students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Available scholarships

We have a wide range of scholarships available. Have a look at our scholarship search to find a scholarship.

Additional costs

PVG scheme

Must pay for own PVG (£59) if 4th Year placement requires one but students can choose placements without this requirement.

Visa & immigration

International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

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?

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Students from Scotland

Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland, 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.

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Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland

We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales:

You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.

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International Students

We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. 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.

Life in Glasgow

Gallery of Modern Art, Royal Exchange Square.

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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 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.

Chat to a student ambassador

If you want to know more about what it’s like to be a Humanities & Social Sciences student at the University of Strathclyde, a selection of our current students are here to help!

Our Unibuddy ambassadors can answer all the questions you might have about courses and studying at Strathclyde, along with offering insight into their experiences of life in Glasgow and Scotland.

Chat to a student ambassador
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Start date: Sep 2023

Psychology & Counselling (1 year entry)

Start date: Sep 2023

UCAS Applications

Apply through UCAS if you are a UK applicant. International applicants may apply through UCAS if they are applying to more than one UK University.

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Direct Applications

Our Direct applications service is for international applicants who wish to apply to Strathclyde University at this time.

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