Members of the COSCA Counselling tutor team

Centre for Lifelong LearningCertificate in Counselling Skills

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. Successful candidates are awarded a COSCA validated Certificate in Counselling Skills. This course is credit-rated by the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) and maps onto the Scottish Qualification and Credit Network (SCQF) with 40 SCQF credits at level 8. It is one of the entry requirements for the MSc in Counselling & Psychotherapy at Strathclyde.

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

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 care and 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.


Attendance and study

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.

Non-UK Applications

We regret that international applicants (Non-UK nationals), who are not domiciled in the UK, cannot be considered for any of the Counselling Skills courses as these are part-time, generally over 6-months in duration, and do not meet the minimum qualification level for a Student Visa at RQF level 7 (England, Wales and N. Ireland), or SCQF level 11 (Scotland). Applicants may be accepted under the Graduate route visa, so long as this is in place for course commencement and completion and all other requirements are met.

Exceptionally, if you are domiciled in the UK and you are an EU, EEA or Swiss Citizen and have indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or have been approved settlement, or pre-settlement status in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme then you can apply.

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.

If you have had a recent bereavement or a significant traumatic life event then please make this clear within your application.

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.

Online requirements for participation:

  • Suitable device e.g. PC, laptop, iPad or tablet (a mobile phone is not suitable)
  • Broadband with a reliable wi-fi connection
  • Private space to engage in Zoom meetings and skills practice
  • Zoom app (free 40 minute version) for skills practice – installed on your device.

In the week prior to course commencement, there will be an induction session delivered via Zoom. You will have the opportunity to meet your tutor and the administrative support team online and ask any questions you may have.

This session is fundamental to orientate you in the access and use of Myplace and the expectations of participants on the Counselling Skills course.

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, Sexuality, Psychodynamic Therapy, CBT, Transactional Analysis and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

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.

August/September commencing courses:

Please note that each course is limited to 12 places.

On campus courses:

CS01/02: Tuesdays (on-campus), 18.00-20.30, from 30 August 2022 (includes Saturday attendances (on-campus) & Monday evening Guest Speaker sessions (online via Zoom))

CS04: Thursdays (on-campus), 18.00-20.30, from 1 September 2022 (includes Saturday attendances (on-campus) & Monday evening Guest Speaker sessions (online via Zoom)).

CS07/08: Fridays (on-campus), 09.30-12.00, from 2 September 2022 (includes Saturday attendances (on-campus) & Monday evening Guest Speaker sessions (online via Zoom))

CS10: Fridays (on-campus), 13.00-15.30, from 2 September 2022 (includes Saturday attendances (on-campus) & Monday evening Guest Speaker sessions (online via Zoom)).


Online Courses (via Zoom)

CS03: Tuesdays (fully online via Zoom), 09.30-12.00, from 30 August 2022 (includes Saturday attendances & Monday evening Guest Speaker sessions).

CS05/06: Thursdays (fully online via Zoom), 18.00-20.30, from 1 September 2022 (includes Saturday attendances & Monday evening Guest Speaker sessions).

CS09: Fridays (fully online via Zoom), 09.30-12.00, from 2 September 2022 (includes Saturday attendances & Monday evening Guest Speaker sessions).

The 2022/2023 fee has been held at 2021/2022 levels. The full fee for the course is £1,628, payable over 4 modules (£407 per module). The modular fee is payable prior to commencement of each module.


From the date of formal offer, you have two 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 payment 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 on medical grounds and 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.


SAAS Part-time Fee Grant (PTFG)

If you earn £25,000 or less and are resident in Scotland, funding may be available to you through the SAAS PTFG. This will fund a portion of the course fee (e.g. £428). Find out more about the fee grant SAAS PTFG

PTFG Process:

  • Create an account using SAAS Account Registration
  • Submit a PTFG application via your account.
  • SAAS will email you to login and check the award status.
  • A provisional Award Notice will be uploaded to your account.
  • SAAS will contact CLL to endorse the award.
  • SAAS confirm the award in your account.
  • You download the confirmed Award Notice and email it to

  • CLL applies the funding from Module 3.

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 these modules. Apply only once the offer of a place has been made by CLL and you have accepted the place and paid your deposit.

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 until their funding is received from SAAS. Any excess payment due to the student will be reimbursed once the funding is received by CLL.


(Note: The April-December 2023 course 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, or other, sponsorship).

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 the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) 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.

The application site for August/September commencing courses is open.

If you are interested in courses commencing from January or April 2023 then please email and ask to be added to the alert list.

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.

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 later. Once you have edited your responses to your satisfaction then please submit your application.

Apply here: Counselling Skills Application Site

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

Where additional evidence is needed, then a conditional offer may be made in the first instance. E.g. documentary evidence or HMVI settlement/residency access code.

  • Of competency in comprehension, spoken and written English, if this is not your first language or you have not been educated wholly or primarily in English (IELTS).
  • Online access to evidence of UK residence status if you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, or are domiciled in the UK and have indefinite right to remain.

Once satisfied that all the entry requirements are met then a formal 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.


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

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