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What makes Counselling MSc at Worcester special?

If you're passionate about therapeutic care, our Counselling MSc will bring you a step closer to a career in counselling or clinical psychology. You will strengthen your theoretical knowledge, debate issues and hone your research skills, all of which you can apply to your career in healthcare. The course will prepare you for a range of therapeutic occupations across the statutory, private and voluntary sectors.

You have the option to study part-time, providing you with a flexible degree that can fit alongside your busy life. After you've completed the course, you'll be able to register for professional training or further study. Whatever your career interests may be, we will support you to become a confident and experienced counselling practitioner.



Key features

  • Available as a full-time (one year) or part-time (up to six years) course.
  • An opportunity to complete relevant work experience, or to obtain first level counselling skills qualifications alongside the course as a result of the block teaching format adopted.
  • A combination of teaching methods including group seminars, lead lectures, individual tutorials and online resources.
  • Staff with extensive experience in a range of psychology and psychotherapeutic settings.
  • Progress to further study on a Clinical or Counselling psychology Doctorate courses. 

Register your interest

Enter your details below and we will keep you up to date with useful information about studying at the University of Worcester.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

An honours degree (normally a minimum of lower second class) preferably in an associated subject or equivalent professional qualifications.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPEL) is considered for prospective students who do not hold a first degree but have gained extensive experience and skills which are transferable. All applications are considered individually on a case-by-case basis. This course can aid career change for those seeking a new direction.

We particularly welcome applications from Counsellors, Social Workers, Teachers, Teaching Assistants, Osteopaths, Occupational Therapists, Sports Therapists and those who have therapeutic or clinical experience working with patients and clients.

Other information

International students must hold a qualification equivalent to a UK first or second class honours degree.

The IELTS score for international applicants is 6.5 (with no less than 5.5 in each component). Other English Language qualifications will be considered. For more information, please view our International English Language Qualifications document.

The University of Worcester is committed to widening participation to candidates from diverse backgrounds, abilities and ages. The programme is open to those already in counselling practice and to those with the appropriate background who wish to pursue a career in counselling.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the Admissions Office on 01905 855111 or email for advice.

Course content

Course content

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 


  • Advanced Research Analysis 2
  • Theory for Practice: Towards an Integrative Approach
  • The Professional, Political and Social Context of Counselling
  • Psychology of Mental Health
  • Developments in Evidence-Based Counselling Practice
  • Therapeutic Practice and Skills Integration
  • Professional Skills Development
  • Dissertation

Frequently asked questions about Counselling MSc

What is the difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?

Counselling is typically designed to be a short-term intervention and to deal with the “here and now”. It is often “integrative” and therefore tends to incorporate a variety of different therapeutic approaches and techniques.  Psychotherapy is typically designed to be a longer-term intervention, to deal with issues in depth and psychotherapists often specialise in one particular model of therapy (e.g., CBT, Psychodynamic, Gestalt).  There are exceptions to this, but this is historically how the training for the two disciplines has been separated.  The UKCP has been better known for Psychotherapy accreditation whilst the BACP has been better known for Counselling, however again, there are some exceptions to this.

Does this course enable me to practice as a Counsellor upon completion?

The MSc at Worcester is not accredited by a UK Professional and Statutory Regulating Body (PSRB). In order to practice as a Counsellor, you need to have completed a training programme/course which is accredited by a UK based governing body (i.e., PSRB).  The main two PSRBs within the Counselling discipline are the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).  Training programmes which are accredited by these two PSRBs must have a placement component which enables trainees to gain a minimum of 100 supervised practice hours.  The MSc in Counselling at the University of Worcester does not include a placement element and, therefore, does not enable graduates of the programme to register as Counsellors directly following completion of the course.

If I want to become a Counsellor, is this course for me?

Despite the fact that the course does not provide graduates with a qualification that enables them to practice as a Counsellor after completion, we have had students on the course who want to be Counsellors and who chose the course because some counselling training programmes only cover the basics of theory and research. The course at Worcester provides students with a thorough understanding of and grounding in the theoretical underpinnings of counselling practice and enables students to develop research skills that are vital to future work as an evidence-based practitioner.  If you have any interest in developing a deeper theoretical basis for a counselling skills training, and/or if you like the idea of designing and carrying out research or being part of the research community in Psychology then the MSc in Counselling is an appropriate course for you to embark on!  Some students have chosen to undertake their level 2/3 Counselling Skills Training alongside the MSc in Counselling and this can work well because the MSc is delivered in a block taught format across a total of 32 contact days (16 Fridays and 16 Saturdays) over the course of the academic year.  There are a number of local institutions which offer level 2/3 Counselling Skills Training including Evesham College and Worcester College.  Levels 2 and 3 can also be completed online at a number of UK based institutions.  Level 2/3 counselling skills courses can help focus on counselling skills themselves, whilst the MSc counselling can help to underpin these skills by grounding students in theory and research.

I am applying because I want to be Counselling Psychologist or Clinical Psychologist

  • To become a Chartered/Registered Counselling or Clinical Psychologist you need to complete Doctoral level training which is ONLY accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). This is because Counselling Psychology and Clinical Psychology sit within a different academic discipline (Psychology) whereas Counselling and Psychotherapy sit within their own discipline (Counselling and Psychotherapy).  Counselling and Clinical Psychologists differ from Counsellors and Psychotherapists in that their training has a stronger focus on competencies in conducting research and skills required to take on complex or longer-term clients.
  • Many of our applicants apply for our MSc in Counselling because they want to be accepted onto one of the Counselling or Clinical Psychology doctorates and see our course as a steppingstone to being accepted onto a doctorate programme. All of the Clinical Psychology doctorates and many of the Counselling Psychology doctorates require a BPS-accredited Psychology degree with a minimum of a 2:1 degree classification (and some require a first class degree) and most doctorates require previous clinical experience OR a level 7 qualification (i.e. MSc) or counselling skills training.  This is where the MSc at Worcester can fit in and can help students to enhance their profile ready for applying for a doctorate whilst also providing graduates with an excellent grounding in the theoretical perspectives and research evidence that inform counselling practices.

How do I know which course is best for me?

  • If you are working towards a career as a Counsellor and want to have an excellent theoretical underpinning to your future practice, then the MSc in Counselling is for you. You will need to complete 100 hours of supervised practice in addition to the MSc (either during or after completion of the MSc) in order to be qualified to practice as a Counsellor. 
  • If you want to become a Counselling or Clinical Psychologist, then the MSc can be a great steppingstone to helping you achieve this aim, but completion of the MSc in Counselling alone will not qualify you to practice as a counselling or clinical psychologist. If you are interested in becoming a Counselling or Clinical Psychologist, you may wish to look at the BPS website
  • If you are interested in becoming a Counsellor, you may wish to look at the BACP website
  • If you are interested in becoming a Psychotherapist, you may wish to look at the UKCP website 
  • If you are interested in becoming a Family Therapist, you may wish to look at the AFT website
  • If you are interested in becoming Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, you may wish to look the BABCP website for relevant training courses
Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement. A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.


You are taught through a combination of on-campus lectures and self-directed study tasks. All lectures are held on a Friday and Saturday, the date depends on your module choice. The days involve engaging with different learning activities, such as lectures, practical tasks (individual and/or group), discussion and reflection.

In addition, meetings with your allocated personal academic tutor and your research supervisor are scheduled when required and in line with the module handbook.

Contact time

The programme is taught across two-day blocks on a Friday and Saturday, each 15-credit module being four days in total, and the 30-credit module being eight days in total. Full time students complete all eight taught modules across two semesters, four modules per semester, plus the dissertation within a third semester in one academic year. Part time students select which modules and how many they want to complete in each year, with their dissertation in the final year. 

In the final semester when students will normally be undertaking the dissertation, they will have less classroom contact time in order to do more independent study. Individual supervision will be provided on a one to one basis of a total of 8 hours.  

In a typical week, students will have around 37 hours engaged in study which will, in a normal week, include a combination of taught sessions and independent study.

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, full time students are expected to undertake around 24 hours of personal self-study per week. Part time students are expected to undertake around 6 hours of personal self-study per module per week. Typically, this will involve further reading on each module and additional reading and research to complete each module's assessments. Assessments may consist of written essays, individual presentations, poster presentation and case study work.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including The Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources. There is also additional reading and resources on the module's Blackboard site, which will be available once you register for the module.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes counselling psychologists, counsellors, psychotherapists and specialist professionals in a variety of therapeutic treatments.

Teaching is informed by the research and consultancy, and all of our lecturers are practitioners with significant training and skills in their area of expertise.


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments, which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

Assessment methods include a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, role play of counselling skills, project plan, presentations and a dissertation. Submission of assignments and feedback is managed electronically through Blackboard.

The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the mandatory and optional modules taken, but a typical formal summative assessment pattern, for a full-time student, for each year of the course is: 

Semester 1

  • 1 Conference paper with Audio Presentation
  • 1 Qualitative analysis report
  • 1 Essay
  • 1 Research Proposal 

Semester 2

  • 1 Case study
  • 1 Role Play with Process Report
  • 1 Reflective Workbook
  • 1 Essay

Semester 3

  • Dissertation


You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Intermediate awards

Two intermediate awards are available if you are unable to commit the time required to gain the Masters award:

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies (successful completion of three modules)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling (successful completion of six modules)

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

Meet the team

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.

Dr. Tanya Carpenter

Tanya is an HCPC registered and BPS Chartered Counselling Psychologist. She is also an Associate Fellow of the BPS with 13 years of clinical and managerial experience at the Priory hospital North London. Tanya has also been in clinical practice within the NHS, private practice and university counselling services.

Tanya also has experience supporting people with Asperger’s, and, as well as having written articles on Mindfulness, she facilitated Mindfulness Groups for 5 years

Samantha Holt July

Samantha Holt

Samantha is currently conducting her thesis research for completion of a Doctorate in Counselling Psychology & Psychotherapy by Professional Studies. She has 18 years NHS experience as well as Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice experience working with and supporting victims, witnesses and offenders. Samantha also works in an inpatient ward treating patients with acute complex mental health. 




Our programme will prepare you for a range of therapeutic occupations across the statutory, private and voluntary sectors.

You can also progress to further study, providing a strong platform for a Clinical or Counselling psychology Doctorate courses.

Dr Gabriela Misca and Dr Peter Unwin with their book

New Book Aims to Get Behind the Headlines to Offer New Insights for Social Workers and Psychologists

Thursday, 09 February 2017

A new book, written by two academics at the University of Worcester, aims to encourage social workers to get back to the ‘personal’ touch.

Social work has become increasingly depersonalised in an era of managerialism and performance management, with many aspects of what were once known as the ‘personal social services’ having been lost.

Psychology and Social Work, is a timely reminder for social workers and other professionals that the personal and the individual should still be at the centre of everything they do. It brings together, in a genuine multidisciplinary approach, contributions from applied psychology arenas – such as clinical, health, forensic and organisational psychology - to social work theory and practice, in light of cutting-edge research and theoretical debates.

Professor Erica Bowen

Professor Calls for More Research into Domestic Violence Programmes

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Programmes to tackle domestic violence in England and Wales are too varied with little evidence that they work, says a leading academic. 

Professor Erica Bowen, of the University of Worcester, said there was almost no evidence or research available to support the use of many interventions and has called for a change in the system.

“Most local authorities will have programmes to try to deal with domestic abuse, and that is fantastic,” she said. “But the problem is that there are many different programmes operating across the UK and most have never been fully evaluated to see if they actually have any impact on reducing domestic abuse.”

Imogen Healey

Imogen Healy

Imogen Healy has graduated with a Masters in Counselling and hopes to become a counselling psychologist.

"I want to help other people understand how they can improve their mental health as I think that struggles with mental health are part of being human,” said Imogen.

Imogen is now studying for a Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology at York St John University. Upon completion of her doctorate, Imogen plans to apply for work as a Counselling Psychologist in the NHS. This will involve working with children, adolescents and adults that are struggling with psychological problems. 


Fees and funding

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time home and EU students enrolling on MA/MSc/MBA/MRes courses in the academic year 2024/25 is £9,000 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students enrolling on MA/MSc/MBA/MRes courses in the academic year 2024/25 is £17,400 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time home and EU students enrolling on MA/MSc/MBA/MRes/PGCert/PGDip courses in the academic year 2024/25 are £750 per 15-credit module, £1,500 per 30-credit module, £2,250 per 45-credit module, and £3,000 per 60 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fees for part-time international students enrolling on MA/MSc/MBA/MRes courses in the academic year 2024/25 are £1,450 per 15-credit module, £2,900 per 30-credit module, £4,350 per 45-credit module, and £5,800 per 60 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying. The amounts vary between courses.

If your course offers a placement opportunity, you may need to pay for an Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Chestnut Halls' at £131 per week to 'Oak Halls' at £221 per week (2024/25 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

Postgraduate loans

The Government will provide a loan of up to £11,836 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2022 per eligible student for postgraduate Masters study. It will be at your own discretion whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs.

For more details visit our postgraduate loans page.

How to apply