Centre for Lifelong Learning Counselling

Please note that we have ceased enrolling for 2018/2019 as all courses are now full. If you wish to be alerted when bookings open for 2019/2020 then please email cll-counselling@strath.ac.uk and ask for your name and email address to be added to our alert list. The 2018/2019 information remains visible for your general information but will be refreshed with dates and times for 2019/2020 later in April 2019.

The Certificate in Counselling Skills course is designed, in association with Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland (COSCA), for people for whom counselling skills could be useful in their normal day-to-day work or as the starting point for a change in career.

I knew someone who had done the course and said everyone should do it. Now I’ve done it I really understand what she meant – it’s a great experience.

Certificate in Counselling Skills Student 2017/18.

As well as familiarising participants with the counselling approach and a range of counselling skills, the course will also examine a number of key theories of counselling practice. Successful participants will gain an enhanced understanding of the human condition and human problems.

Is this course for you?

This class will benefit a wide variety of people working in business, industry and the public sector, including:

  • personnel & welfare officers
  • nurses & NHS support staff
  • social workers
  • mental health workers
  • teachers
  • workplace & employee counsellors

It's also suitable for people looking for personal or career development.

The counselling course is delivered by experienced tutors who have many years of experience of both teaching and working as practitioners. Throughout your studies, you'll be supported by your tutor to ensure that your experience makes the most of your particular skills-set.

The course requires between two-and-a-half and five hours attendance each week (with some Saturday or evening workshops, dependent on which course you chose to apply for). Courses starting in late August/early September 2018 and in January 2019 end in late June. The full-day Thursday course commences 4th April and ends 6th December 2019.

COSCA requires at least an 85% attendance on each module of the course in order to facilitate progress and an award on completion. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are able to meet this requirement and attend classes regularly; particularly sessions where filming, skills practice or presentations are taking place, as it will not be possible to rearrange these.

In addition to timetabled class session(s) each week, you should aim to commit a further minimum of three hours study per week to complete the course.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this course; however, you should make it clear on the application form why you wish to take the course. This will be used as a selection criterion. You may also be required to attend an informal interview as part of the selection process, if necessary, to clarify points raised in your application.

Course content

The course consists of four modules, each comprising 30 hours of formal instruction. Within the academic year, these are accumulated to gain the Certificate in Counselling Skills. The four modules which make up the course each contain elements of skills, knowledge and self-awareness (which includes an element of self-reflection within a confidential environment) throughout the exercises. There are four themes associated with the modules:

  • Module One: listening
  • Module Two: responding
  • Module Three: self-reflection
  • Module Four: integration

These themes allow for an understanding to be developed of how counselling skills can be applied in a variety of situations such as relationships, managing change, stress, and bereavement and loss. The syllabus provides an important perspective on the difference between Counselling, a professional activity, and Counselling Skills which could prove valuable for people in many occupations.

COSCA (Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland) provides a Certificate in Counselling Skills Information Leaflet.


There are three elements in the assessment process:

  • skills assessment (based on performance criteria demonstrated within listening practices)
  • oral assessment (individual presentation)
  • written assessment at the end of each module

Oral assessment and written work enable the tutors to decide if participants have developed an acceptable level of understanding of the knowledge content within the course. They also provide tutors with evidence of the participant’s level of self-awareness.

The use of counselling skills is generally assessed by observation of competence. DVD and audio recordings are used to decide whether participants have reached the competence in counselling skills laid down in the performance criteria set by COSCA.

Dates, times & locations (updated 20/08/18)


Courses 2018/2019

Courses are held on campus at Strathclyde's Centre for Lifelong Learning, George Street, in Glasgow city centre, as follows:

We are now offering 7 courses - 4 commencing in August/September 2018, 2 compressed courses commencing in January 2019, and a new full-day Thursday course (Apr-Dec 2019).  You will be asked to indicate your course preference during the application process.

  1. Tuesday evenings, 18.30-21.00 from 4th September 2018 (includes Saturday attendances). FULL.
  2. Wednesday evenings, 18.30-21.00 from 5th September 2018 (includes Saturday attendances). FULL.
  3. Friday mornings, 09.30-12.00 from 31st August 2018 (includes Saturday attendances). FULL.
  4. Saturdays (full-day) compressed course #1, 09.30-15.30 from 5th January 2019 (includes some Friday evening attendances)FULL.
  5. Thursday evenings, 18.30-21.00 from 13th September 2018 (includes Saturday attendances). Timetable to be advised. FULL.
  6. NEW - Saturdays (full-day) compressed course #2, 09.30-15.30 from 5th January 2019 (includes some Friday evening attendances)FULL.
  7. NEW - Thursdays (full-day) compressed course #3, 10.00-16.00 from 4th April to 5th December 2019 (includes a break from 28th June to 5th September when classes resume for Modules 3 and 4)FULL. (Note: this offering is not eligible for SAAS PTFG funding as it spans two academic years. Students must therefore self-fund and/or be in receipt of Employer’s sponsorship).

Full details of dates and times for 2018/2019 are available in the Counselling Course Timetables and Counselling Compressed Course Timetables (pdf).

Fees & funding options

The full fee for the course is £1,408, payable over 4 modules (£352 per module).

From date of offer, you have 2 weeks in which to pay a £100 deposit* to secure your place on the course. This payment is deducted from the cost of the first module. The balance of £252 for Module 1 is payable prior to Module 1 commencement and you will receive an email prompt with a deadline for payment.

*Please note this deposit is non-refundable unless medical evidence is provided.

Subsequent fees (modules 2-4) are payable prior to the start of each module.

If you withdraw from the course after the start date of any of the modules, we will retain the full fee for that module (unless funded through the SAAS Part-Time Fee Grant).

If you earn £25,000 or less, funding may be available to you through SAAS’s Part-Time Fee Grant (PTFG). This will fund a portion of the course fee (£428 in 2018/19). The PTFG application form for 2018/19 is now available. Find out more about the fee grant.  (Note: The full-day Thursday course (April-December 2019) is not eligible for SAAS PTFG funding as it spans two academic years. Students must therefore self-fund and/or be in receipt of Employer’s sponsorship).

Please contact us if you have any questions about funding.

What qualification is awarded and what can I do next?

Successful candidates are awarded a COSCA validated Certificate in Counselling Skills. This course is credit-rated by Edinburgh Napier University and maps onto the Scottish Qualification and Credit Network (SCQF) with 40 SCQF credits at level 7.

The Certificate in Counselling Skills is self-standing and is used by participants as a means of enhancing their work performance, it is not a licence to practice as a counsellor. If you wish to train as a professional counsellor, the certificate is recommended as a foundation study to lead on to a Diploma in Counselling. It is also recognised by other institutions as a desirable qualification to gain prior to pursuing further study in the field of counselling or psychotherapy.

The University of Strathclyde now offers the MSc in Counselling and Psychotherapy for which the Certificate is one of the requirements for entry.

How to apply

Application is now closed for session 2018/19.  Application will open here for session 2019/20 in April 2019.

If you wish to be alerted when bookings open for 2019/2020 then please email cll-counselling@strath.ac.uk and ask for your name and email address to be added to our alert list.

Complaints Handling Procedure

In the interests of public protection, COSCA sets standards for the complaints procedures of organisational members.

Full information on our procedure is available on the University's Complaints Procedure webpage.

An outcome report will be submitted to COSCA at the conclusion of any complaints proceedings.

Complainants who are not satisfied with the outcome once the complaints procedure is exhausted may submit a complaint to COSCA under its Complaints Procedure (see the COSCA website - Complaints section for further information and contact details).