Members of the COSCA Counselling tutor team

Centre for Lifelong Learning Certificate in Counselling Skills

The booking site for 2019/2020 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.

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 choose to apply for). Courses starting in late August/early September 2019 end in late June 2020. The compressed courses commencing in January 2020 end early in July 2020 and the full-day Thursday course commences early April and ends early December 2020.

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

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.

Course content

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.

Dates, times & locations

Courses 2019/2020

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

We are offering the following courses. Please indicate your course preference during the application process.

August/September 2019 commencement (full academic year):

  1. Tuesday evening #1, 18.30-21.00 from 3 September 2019. BOOKING CLOSED.
  2. Wednesday evenings, 18.30-21.00 from 4 September 2019 (includes some Saturday attendances). BOOKING CLOSED.
  3. Thursday evenings, 18.30-21.00 from 5 September 2019 (includes some Saturday attendances). BOOKING CLOSED.
  4. Friday mornings, 09.30-12.00 from 30 August 2019 (includes some Saturday attendances). BOOKING CLOSED.


       5. Tuesday evening #2, 18.30-21.00 from 3 September 2019. BOOKING CLOSED..

January 2020 commencement (compressed)

  1. Saturdays (full-day), 09.30-15.30 from 4 January 2020 (includes some Friday evening attendances 17.30-20.00). BOOKING CLOSED.
  2. Saturdays (full-day), 09.30-15.30 from 11 January 2020 (includes some Friday evening attendances 17.30-20.00). BOOKING CLOSED.

April 2020 commencement (compressed and spans two academic years).

  1.  Thursdays (full-day), 10.00-16.00 from 2 April 2020. This offering has a summer break between Modules 2 and 3 and Module 4 ends on 3 December 2020 (see timetable).   Apr-Dec Timetable 2020 - Malcolm   NOW ENROLLING. 

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

Fees & funding options

The full fee for the course is £1,480, payable over 4 modules (£370 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 £270 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 SAAS PTFG. This will fund a portion of the course fee (e.g. £428 in 2018/19). The PTFG application form for 2019/2020 is now available. Find out more about the fee grant.  (Note: The full-day Thursday course (April-December 2020) 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).

Note: The PTFG is applied to Modules 3 and 4 so cannot be relied upon to fund Modules 1 and 2.

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 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. 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.

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.

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 open for session 2019/2020.

If you wish to apply then please access the application using the link below. You will need to register/create an account in order to complete an online application.

Applications should be made online here: Counselling Online Application

Note that when you first access the application site you will be need to register/create an account, which will allow you to create your application and then to revisit it later, if you wish. You can also edit your responses to your satisfaction before final submission.

Please note you may be required to attend an informal interview 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.

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.

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).