Counselling, Health and WellbeingCertificate 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 Credit and Qualification Network (SCQF) with 40 SCQF credits at level 8. It is one of the entry requirements for the MSc in Counselling & Psychotherapy at Strathclyde.

Do it, do not hesitate. I would do it again in a heartbeat; my only regret is that I waited so long in life to do this course. Janet McKay, COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills 2022. 

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
  • voluntary workers in the community
  • personal 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.

Experiential course and emotional triggers

Please be aware...students will be using their own life experiences for skills practice and therefore applicants should consider if this is the appropriate time for them to undertake the course if they have recently experienced or have unresolved serious emotional issues or a traumatic event which may trigger strong emotional responses.

Please also be aware that this is a beginners training environment where the focus is on developing listening skills. Listeners are not trained or equipped to hear of especially traumatic experiences and speakers are cautioned not to treat the skills practice sessions as therapy. Moderation in sharing is a requirement of skills practice.

Attendance and study

Minimum attendance requirement (per module)

COSCA requires at least an 85% minimum attendance on each module of the course in order to facilitate progress and an award on completion. Therefore, if you miss more than two units, then you will not meet this minimum requirement and would be obliged to leave the course. 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. Each module consists of twelve units.

Additional work for missed units:

Where students miss two units within a module and are still within the attendance requirements, then they will be asked to complete an additional piece of work for each unit they have missed to evidence private study and understanding of the missed topics. There may also be the requirement to arrange a further skills practice.

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 (domiciled in the UK), 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 been approved settlement, or pre-settlement status in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme then you can apply, and we will require an HMVI Sharecode if you receive an offer of a place.
  • If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss Citizen then you can also apply but must evidence your right to remain in the UK e.g. a British Residence Permit (BRP).

No formal educational qualifications are necessary; however, you should make it clear on the application form why you wish to take the course, by answering each question fully, as your reasons are important as a selection criterion. Brief responses may be detrimental to your application.

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.

If you have had a significant traumatic life event or a recent bereavement, 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 Attendance

Online requirements for participation. This is for online courses and for attendance at online guest speaker sessions thus you must have:

  • A 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, free from interruption and to maintain confidentiality.
  • The 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 develop an understanding 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 COSCA Counselling Skills Information Leaflet


Guest Speakers

Formal instruction will be further enhanced by guest speakers, who are Counselling practitioners. These sessions will be delivered online via Zoom on Monday evenings from 6.30-8.00pm.

The subjects of these talks are:

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
  • Attachment Theory
  • Sexuality (Gender)
  • Person Centred Therapy (PCT)
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Transactional Analysis (TA).



There are three elements in the assessment process for each module:

  • 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 2024 commencing courses are available for booking from WEDNESDAY 3rd APRIL 2024 at 9am. (see under How do I apply?).

The deadline for applications is WEDNESDAY 24th JULY at 5pm, after which the booking site will close.


Online condensed courses are:

CS01: Fully online, Tuesdays (full day) 10.00am-3.45pm, commencing 27th August 2024 to 18th March 2025. (See timetable).

CS07: Fully online, Saturdays (full day) 10.00am-3.30pm, commencing 31st August 2024 to 22nd March 2025. Includes three Sundays (full days), same times. (See timetable).

CS08: Fully online, Fridays (full day) 10.00am-3.45pm, commencing 30th August 2024 to 21st March 2025. (See timetable). NEW


On campus courses are:

CS02: Fully on-campus, Tuesdays (evenings) 6.00-8.30pm, commencing 27th August 2024 to 24th June 2025. Includes Saturday attendances 10.00am-3.30pm. (See timetable).

CS03: Fully on-campus, Wednesdays (mornings) 10.00am-12.30pm, commencing 4th September 2024 to 28th June 2025. Includes Saturday attendances 10.00am-3.30pm. (See timetable).

CS04: Fully on-campus, Thursdays (evenings) 6.00-8.30pm, commencing 29th August 2024 to 26th June 2025. Includes Saturday attendances 10.00am-3.30pm. (See timetable).

CS05: Fully on-campus, Fridays (mornings) 10.00am-12.30pm, commencing 30th August 2024 to 21st June 2025. Includes Saturday attendances 10.00am-3.30pm. (See timetable).


Guest speaker sessions take place on some Monday evenings (online via Zoom) from 6.30-8.00pm (see timetable).


Courses for January 2025

If your interest is in the courses commencing from January 2025 then please email and ask to be added to the alert list and you will be informed when the courses are about to become visible for booking.


SAAS Part-time Fee Grant Funding

Courses are eligible for the SAAS Part-Time Fee Grant (PTFG), which was £428.00 in 2023/2024.


Saturday and Sunday attendance

Most courses have some Saturday attendances and CS07 has some Sunday attendances so please check the relevant timetable to confirm that you are available to attend (you cannot miss any more than two units per module, otherwise you would need to leave the course). Each module consists of twelve units.

The full fee for the course is £1,956.00, payable over 4 modules at £489.00 per module and prior to commencement of each module.

Offers (including refund information)

  • From the date of an offer being made, you have one week in which to pay the Module 1 fee of £489.00* to secure your place on the course and provide any supporting documentation that is required.

*Note: £100.00 of the fee is the deposit element for Module 1 and this deposit is non-refundable if you should withdraw before the module commences, unless on medical grounds and evidence is provided to confirm this.

  • If you withdraw from the course after the start date on any of the modules, we will retain the full fee for that module.

  • Subsequent fees (Modules 2-4) are payable prior to the start of each module and are paid by card through the University’s Online Shop.

  • Invoice payment can be arranged if your employer is funding the course for you in full or in part.


If you earn £25,000 or less and have been resident in Scotland for the past three years, then funding may be available to you through the SAAS PTFG. This will fund a portion of the course fee (i.e. £428.00 to be applied to Module 3. Find out more about the Part-time fee grant here SAAS PTFG.

PTFG Process:

  • Apply only once the offer of a place has been made by CLL and you have accepted the place and paid your Module 1 fee.
  • Create an account using the SAAS Account Registration function.
  • Submit a PTFG application via your account.
  • Once processed, 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 i.e. CLL confirms that you are registered on the course.
  • SAAS will then confirm the award in your account.
  • You need to download the confirmed Award Notice and email it to CLL at
  • CLL will then apply the funding to Module 3 (PTFG = £428.00) and the student pays the remaining balance (i.e. £489.00-£428.00 = £61.00).

All students applying for the 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.

You can apply for the PTFG up to six months after your course commencement date.  

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.

Please contact us if you have any questions about funding.

Credits and qualification level

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 Credit and Qualification Network (SCQF) with 40 SCQF credits at level 8.

Progression routes

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 (some Diploma providers may require 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.

The University of Strathclyde offers the MSc Counselling & Psychotherapy for which the Certificate is one of the requirements for entry. If you want updates on this course, then you should sign up for the newsletter on the MSc website.

Market Stall event

Although we cannot advise on your Diploma progression route, we do hold a market stall event will be held around Module 3. Diploma providers are invited so students can research further study at Diploma level and specialisation in different modalities. The progression onto the Diploma and choosing a modality is a personal journey which differs according to individual preference. Students need to conduct their own research on this.

August/September 2024 courses:

The booking site opens for applications on WEDNESDAY 3rd APRIL at 9am.

The deadline for applications is WEDNESDAY 24th JULY at 5pm, after which the booking site will close.

If you are interested in the January 2025 intake, then please email to register your interest.

Application Process

  • The Application link will take you to an online application form which you should complete and submit.
  • Please give full answers to the questions as minimal information may disadvantage your application.
  • The application form will not save so if you partially complete it then leave it then you may lose all your input. Try to complete and submit it in one sitting or refer to the questions given below to pre-prepare your answers off-line. These are the questions which will need more thought and excludes the routine such as your personal details.
  • All applications will be pre-reviewed as they are submitted and if additional information is needed then you may be invited for a short, informal interview. We may also seek evidence of IELTS or right to remain in the UK.
  • Offers will not be made until the submission deadline has passed and all applications are in and a full review completed, i.e. during week commencing Monday 29th
  • When an offer is made you will have a week in which to respond i.e. to accept the offer, pay the Module 1 fee and submit any other information needed (IELTS or evidence of right to remain in the UK).
  • If you do not respond within the week then the offer will expire.


Questions for you to prepare answers to on a Word document prior to your  application:

Please give full answers to each question. You can copy and paste your pre-prepared responses into the MS application form. 

  • What is your understanding of what ‘counselling skills’ are?
  • What motivated you to apply for this course?
  • What skills and qualities will you bring to the course?
  • Do you have prior experience of using or receiving counselling skills or experience in a related field? If yes, you will need to provide details.
  • How would you describe yourself within a group situation?
  • The course is emotionally demanding and at times challenging. How comfortable are you sitting with a range of different and challenging emotions, both in yourself and others?
  • The course covers a range of topics that are designed to develop your self-awareness. Sometimes, people will have very different views to your own. How would you deal with any conflict?
  • Please detail any traumatic experiences that may affect your emotional engagement on the course.
  • What support do you have in place to help you balance the demands of the course alongside other commitments?


Waiting lists

If your preferred choice is not available, then we will place you on the waiting list in case a place becomes available. We may contact you if a place is available elsewhere to see if this is suitable instead.

APPLY HERE: Application Form



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 and accept a place on the course, we will provide you with contact details to discuss the support you may need.


If your disability is mobility related (in full or in part) then please indicate this in the application. A Personal Emergency Egress Plan (PEEP) will be drawn up so that we can assist you safely from the building in the event of a fire alarm or other emergency.

Data Protection

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.



COSCA Organisational Member