Members of the COSCA Counselling tutor team

Centre for Lifelong LearningCertificate in Counselling Skills

The booking site for 2020/2021 is now open. Please read through all of the information before submitting an application.

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.

Undoubtedly the best thing I ever did. This is a must for anyone, not just those wanting a career in counselling. 

Certificate in Counselling Skills Student 2018.

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 will be supported by your tutor to ensure that your experience makes the most of your particular skills-set.

Students will be using their own life experiences for listening practice therefore applicants should consider if this is the appropriate time for them to undertake the course if they have recently experienced a serious emotional issue or traumatic event.


November 2020 Teaching (Plans A and B)

Start and end dates for courses commencing in November 2020 (Plan A) or January 2021 (Plan B) are available to view within ‘Dates, times & location’ below and will require more Saturday attendances in order to allow them to complete within one academic year. You will be enrolling for a November start but if face-to-face teaching cannot resume by then your application will be deferred to the January commencement.

Compressed Courses

We will not be offering our usual compressed course, which usually commences in January each year. This will be offered again within the next academic year 2021/2022.

April-December 2021 (Full-day Thursdays)

These will also be opened for booking at a later date and will commence mid-April and end in December 2021 (with a break over the summer). (Apr-Dec offerings are not eligible for the SAAS Part-time Fee Grant as they span two academic years.)

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.

International Applications (Non-EU/UK)

We regret that international applications cannot be considered for any of the courses as the University of Strathclyde does not accept Tier 4 visas for part-time study and short-term study visas do not cover the full duration of the courses.

No formal educational qualifications are necessary however; you should make it clear on the application form why you wish to take the course. Your reasons are important as a selection criterion. You may also be required to attend an informal interview as part of the selection process to clarify points raised in your application, or seek further information where little is given.

English language requirements

You will need a suitable minimum level of competency in the English language if your first language is not English or if you have not been educated wholly or mainly in the medium of English.

With the course emphasis on listening, on a variety of sensitive subjects, and responding clearly and with tact, in practice and assessment and including oral presentation and essay preparation, the Centre requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 with a minimum IELTS 5.5 in all skills, or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years and documentary evidence is required to support your application.

The course consists of four modules, each comprising 30 hours of formal instruction. Over the course duration, these are accumulated to gain the Certificate in Counselling Skills. The four modules each contain elements of skills, knowledge and self-awareness, which includes an element of self-reflection within a confidential environment. 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.

Formal instruction will be further enhanced by guest speakers, who are Counselling practitioners. The subjects of these talks are Person Centred Therapy (PCT), Sexual Exploitation, Psychodynamic Therapy, CBT and Transactional Analysis.

There are three elements in the assessment process:

  • skills assessment (based on performance criteria demonstrated within listening practices, audio and video)
  • 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. Video 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.

Courses 2020/2021

Courses are held on campus at Strathclyde's Centre for Lifelong Learning, George Street, in Glasgow city centre. Free on-campus parking is available to students attending in the evening and on Saturdays.

November commencement courses are all now full pending acceptance of offers. You can still apply but your application will be placed on a waiting list. If we offer further courses, or if places become available on the existing courses then we will contact you.

November 2020 commencement (compressed academic year) – Plan A:

  1. Tuesday evenings, 30-21.00 from 3rd November 2020. (Includes Saturday attendances). Full
  2. Wednesday evenings, 18.30-21.00 from 4th November 2020 (Includes Saturday attendances). Full              
  3. Thursday evenings, 18.30-21.00 from 5th November 2020 (Includes Saturday attendances). Full
  4. Friday mornings, 09.30-12.00 from 6th November 2020 (Includes Saturday attendances). Full

If face-to face teaching does not resume in November then these courses will be re-scheduled to commence in January 2021 (Plan B). Please view the timetables for each possibility.

April 2021 commencement (compressed and spans two academic years).Thursdays (full day), 10.00-16.00 from 16 April 2021. This offering has a summer break between Modules 2 and 3 and Module 4 ends on 2nd December 2021 (see timetable).   This offering is not yet open for bookings but will be released later. If you are particularly interested in this start option then please contact us and we will keep you informed of developments at .

Please view timetable.

April - December courses are not eligible for funding through the SAAS Part-time Fee Grant.

The full fee for the course is £1,552, payable over 4 modules (£388 per module).

From the date of formal 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 £288 for Module 1 is payable prior to Module 1 commencement and you will receive an email prompt with a deadline for payment.

*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 by SAAS Part-Time Fee Grant).

If you earn £25,000 or less, funding may be available to you through the SAAS PTFG. This will fund a portion of the course fee (e.g. £428 in 2019/20).

(Note: The full-day Thursday course (April-December 2021) 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).

PTFG Process:

  1. Read over the eligibility criteria on the SAAS website for PTFG.
  2. If eligible, tell CLL you wish to apply for SAAS PTFG funding.
  3. We will send you the PTFG application for completion.
  4. Complete and return this to
  5. We will extract the information provided and send this to SAAS in a Secure Zip file.
  6. SAAS will contact you directly and seek evidence of your income.
  7. If successful, you will be emailed an Award Notification by SAAS.
  8. Forward your email Award Notification to
  9. The funding will be applied to M3 and part of M4, as relevant (please see below).

All students applying for PTFG will need to pay for Modules 1 and 2. Potentially, you may also need to pay for Modules 3 and 4 if you have applied late and funding is not in place in time for commencement of M3 or M4. It is in the applicant’s best interest to apply as early as possible for the PTFG as SAAS funding is transferred to the University in late January, late March and in late June and students may need to pay for each of the modules till their funding is received from SAAS. Any excess payment due to the student will be reimbursed once the funding is received from SAAS.

Please contact us if you have any questions about funding.

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 8.

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 (generally, study at Diploma level also requires a degree level qualification). The certificate is also recognised by other institutions as a desirable qualification to gain prior to pursuing further study in the field of counselling or psychotherapy.

Further Steps in Counselling Skills follows on from the COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills and provides students with many opportunities to further develop their skills, knowledge and self-awareness. This is not intended specifically for progression on to the MSc and is not an entry requirement.

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

Application now open for session 2020/2021.

If you wish to apply then please access the application using the link below. If you are a first time applicant then you will need to register/create an account in order to complete an online application. If you are a returning applicant then please use your existing account and login. If you have forgotten your password then please use the password reset facility.

Applications can be made online here: Counselling Online Application

Note that when you access the application site you can start your application and revisit it later for editing before submission. In our experience, it is advisable to save your application responses to a separate Word document in case you have need of this at a later date. Once you have edited your responses to your satisfaction then please submit your application.

Please note you may be required to take part in an informal interview (online or face-to-face if practicable) before a place can be offered onto the course.

Where additional evidence is needed e.g. documentary evidence of competency in oral and written English, if this is not your first language, then a conditional offer may be made.

The Centre for Lifelong Learning is committed to promoting and improving opportunities for students with disabilities. We therefore welcome applications from those who have any needs which may affect their ability to complete the course successfully.  Please indicate this on your application form and then, if you are offered a place on the course, we will provide you with contact details to discuss the support you may need.

Please visit the University's Data Protection webpage for updated Privacy Notices for Students and Website Privacy Policy for information on how we will use your personal data and your rights under data protection legislation.

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.