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MSc in Counselling Psychology (Professional Training)

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Keele University
School of Psychology
Contact Provider
(See Description)
School of Psychology, Keele University, Keele, ST5 5BG, Staffordshire, United Kingdom


Keele University, along with the University of Reading, was the first higher education institution to offer counsellor training and has been delivering programmes in counselling since the 1970s. The current Masters course is available on a full-time or part-time basis, and provides a professional training in counselling. The full time programme is a British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists’( BACP) Accredited Route of Training. The course contact hours on the part time route may, at the BACP’s discretion, be counted towards meeting part of the criterion of the BACP’s accreditation requirements.

This MSc programme in Counselling Psychology is an Integrative Humanistic programme founded on a person-centred view of personhood and person-centred ways of being. In this we view the relationship in counselling as central, and support Rogers’ belief in the ‘self-therapeutic capacity and wisdom of clients’. However, we also take a strong anti-‘schoolism’ stance which reflects our sincere respect for other, nonperson-centred practices and practitioners. Our starting point for the Keele Counselling Model is thus a unifying ethos which enables us to respect and welcome a diversity of professional skills and orientations. The MSc Counselling Psychology programme is a BACP accredited Professional Counsellor Training route and qualifies students to practice as counselling practitioners.

We employ a wide variety of teaching and learning strategies including lectures, large group work, community meetings, tutorials and small group work. Within this framework students are introduced to a range of practices which are related to relevant philosophical traditions including existentialism, phenomenology and poststructuralism. Throughout the course students are supported to establish a sense of coherence in their own position. The centrality of a secure and constantly reviewed ethical position, based on the BACP Ethical Framework for Good

Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, is presented to the programme members as a major personal responsibility. We accept the overwhelming evidence of the theorists that the major factor in helping human beings change in desired, positive directions is a relationship in which they feel safe, valued and challenged.

Aims of the Course

The programme aims to equip successful students with the knowledge and expertise to support their work as professional humanistic counsellors. It aims to integrate

students’ counselling skills practice with academic study at Masters Level and to facilitate student learning in the three areas of psychology practice: counselling skills, counselling related theory and self-development.

The programme offers to students a thorough theoretical grounding in Counselling Psychology and an introduction to research methodology. The principles underpinning the programme are empowerment, holistic development, relationships and community.

Entry Requirements

The course is open to graduates with a degree or equivalent, for example, professional qualifications. In some cases where students have significant relevant experience, this requirement may be waived. In addition, applicants for the Part Time Route must have successfully completed the Keele Certificate in Counselling or equivalent.

All successful applicants will demonstrate emotional

maturity and a capacity for sustained self-directed study,

the ability to present written exposition of information

and argument, to work experientially as a member of a

small group, an awareness of self and an awareness of the nature of prejudice and oppression.

Applicants will need to address these points in their personal statements in the

application form. Normally applicants will be interviewed. In addition, applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS score of at least 7.00 with at least 6.5 in each sub-test (or equivalent).

Course Structure and Content

The course is taken full-time over one year or two years part-time. All Masters students are required to take four 30-credit taught modules (120 credits at level 4), plus a research training module (15 credits) and a 60-credit dissertation., see below

All modules must be passed for the award to be made (total

of 195 credits).

Students who successfully complete only the four 30-credit taught modules (120 credits) may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma, and those successfully completing

only the two modules indicated * below (60 credits) may exit with a Postgraduate Certificate.

Taught Modules

• Exploration in counselling (30 credits)*

• Understanding in counselling (30 credits)

• Integration in counselling (30 credits)

• Practicum (30 credits)*

• Research methods (15 credits)

• Dissertation (60 credits) 15,000-20,000 words

The preparation and submission of a dissertation will give students the opportunity to research, in-depth, a counselling topic or issue of interest to them.

In addition, all students have tutor-led training in the practical skills of counselling,

as well as access to DVD recording equipment for counselling practice with peers and for the production of case material for critical analysis.

Students must complete 100 hours of supervised counselling practice and have a minimum of 8 hours of personal therapy. Students may have to pay for their own counselling supervision and personal therapy and are required to arrange these for themselves. However, our Placement Officer will be happy to help and advise students with this. Some students find it difficult to complete their 100 hours of counselling within the academic year but are entitled to continue with this requirement until the September after the taught element of the programme is completed. The award is withheld until this requirement is met. If students do take longer to meet this requirement, this may have financial implications, especially for overseas students. They may decide to spend an extra year in the UK to finish their counselling hours. Alternatively, if the completion of a counselling placement is not a requirement for a student’s future plans i.e. they intend to pursue a career in a counselling related field, then they are entitled to transfer to the MSc in Counselling Psychology Studies.

The programme begins with compulsory attendance at a residential weekend and a two week induction. Attendance at the annual counselling conference is also compulsory.


All modules are assessed on the basis of coursework.

The pass mark for a module is 50%. The dissertation is a piece of independent research . Masters students attaining exceptional performance (course average of at least 70% including 70%+ for the dissertation) may be awarded a distinction.


Most students will be self-funded, though some may receive a contribution to their fees from their employers. Students should be aware that in addition to their fees they may also be responsible for the payment of their counselling practice supervisor and therapist.

Career Destination Information

Successful Masters Students will seek professional counselling posts in a wide range of fields such as the NHS, private industry, public service and private practice.


All fees include the costs of the residential weekend, (15 & 16 Sept 2012) followed by a 2 week induction and attendance at the annual conference, which are both compulsory elements.

Full Time: Home & EU £6,500 Overseas: £13,750 for 2014/15

Part Time: Home & EU £3,575 per year for 2014/15

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