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What makes Integrative Counselling at Exeter special?

The programme is designed to qualify competent, confident and creative counsellors, who stand out from the crowd as highly professional graduates, well resourced for entering the workplace. The programmes are exiting, vocationally relevant and with a clear focus on up-to-date counselling theory and practice.

The FdA in Integrative Counselling prepares graduates to practice as professional counsellors, and resources those who are aiming for future personal accreditation with the BACP. Graduates will also be eligible for direct progression onto the BA (Hons) Integrative Counselling, to top up to a full honours degree in just one year of study.

The BA (Hons) in Integrative Counselling is open to FdA graduates, and also open to experienced applicants who may have qualified as a counsellor many years ago, and who wish to refresh and update their professional skills and gain an advanced university validated qualification in one year (see entry criteria).


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Key features

  • This advanced, two year, professional degree programme is delivered at Iron Mill College, in Exeter.
  • Focuses attention on the importance, quality and depth of relationship as the central component of therapeutic work. 

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry requirements

To be eligible for this course you must:

  • Have completed at least 30 hours of preliminary counselling training. Applicants not meeting this requirement will be recommended to take the Iron Mill Certificate in Counselling course or as an entry requirement or alternatively, if you can also demonstrate suitable further experience and skills, the Iron Mill Blended Learning Certificate in Counselling and Psychotherapy course. 
  • Possess 4 GCSEs (Grade C/4 or above) including English, and one A level (or equivalent) at Grade C or above, or 32 UCAS tariff points (2017 tariff). The points above are the new UCAS tariff, which will be used for courses starting from September 2017. See the new UCAS tariff page for more information.
  • Be willing to undertake a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, plus an occupational health check, during the application process.

If you are interested in this course, you may wish to first book onto one of Iron Mill College’s Open Days or Open Evenings to find out more. If you are new to Iron Mill College, you might also find the Taster Days a useful way to experience what it's like to study at Iron Mill College, before applying.

Other information

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):

Applicants can claim academic credit for relevant previous study or learning experiences ("prior learning"). If you can demonstrate that you have already achieved learning which is equivalent to one or more modules, or to a whole year or level of study, relating to the course you wish to apply for at the University of Worcester, then you may make a claim for recognition of that prior learning. This applies to both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Claims are not automatic; they have to be assessed by the University. Claims should be agreed at the point of entry to a programme, and are normally discussed and assessed alongside the application process. If your claim is successful it means that you do not have to take the modules for which credit has been awarded, or you may be able to enter directly to a higher level of study or into the second or third year of a course.

There are three forms of recognition of prior learning:

  • a) Credit transfer - recognition of credit or qualification at HE level (4 or above) awarded by a UK higher education degree-awarding body in accordance with the relevant higher education qualifications framework;
  • b) Recognition of prior certificated learning - (such as professional development awards or employment-based awards) which is a higher education level but which has not led to the award of credits or qualifications positioned on the relevant higher education qualifications framework;
  • c) Recognition of prior experiential or informal learning. Details of how to apply for RPL, and the relevant forms, can be found on the University of Worcester's applications web page.

Details of how to apply for RPL, and the relevant forms, can be found on the University of Worcester's applications web page.

Course content

What will you study?

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. 

Year 1

  • IMIC1001: The art of relationship (15 credits)
  • IMIC1002: Professional competence (30 credits)
  • IMIC1003: The neuroscience of relationship (15 credits)
  • IMIC1004: A sense of self (30 credits)
  • IMIC1005: Professional development 1 (30 credits)

Year 2

  • IMIC2001: The ‘here and now’ encounter (30 credits)
  • IMIC2002: Creative arts therapies (15 credits) 
  • IMIC2003: Counselling in context (30 credits)
  • IMIC2004: The process of change (15 credits)
  • IMIC2005: Professional development 2 (30 credits)
  • IMIC2006: Professional practice (0 credits)


Foundation Degree (FdA) in Integrative Counselling (Levels 4 and 5) with 240 credits (for successful completion of both Years 1 and 2). This award qualifies you to practice as a professional counsellor, and meets the application requirements for full membership of the BACP (MBACP status).

HE Certificate in Integrative Counselling (Level 4) with 120 credits (for successful completion of Year 1 only). This award does not qualify you to practice as a counsellor, but will help enhance skills of those in a helping profession.

Teaching and Assessment

How will you be taught?

Teaching and Learning

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 formal lectures, creative activities, experiential exercises, group process, presentations, skills practices and applied learning, large and small group activities and reflective practice.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year and three occasions in each of the other years of a course. You will be encouraged to keep in regular contact with your tutor throughout your studies. In addition, you will have the opportunity to develop your skills through your counselling placement and Work Based Learning.

Contact time

In a typical week you will have around 6.25 contact hours of teaching, although this will vary. Typically, class contact time will be structured around:

  • 3 hours: lectures, workshops, group activities and experiential exercises
  • 3 hours: skills practice, counselling skills/ supervision applied learning activities, and/or group process, assignment support sessions and group tutorials.

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 22 hours of personal self-study per week.  Typically, this will involve

  • reading of text books and journals
  • journal writing
  • professional portfolio activities, organisation and writing
  • work based learning
  • placement – a minimum of 100 hours across the programme
  • supervision of counselling placement practice – a minimum of 1.5 hours per month
  • personal therapy – a minimum of 40 hours across the two years
  • preparation for assignments

 Time spent on the above activities will vary from student to student but all of the above must be included in the process.

There are additional costs related to most counselling programmes, such as professional body membership fees, supervision if not provided by the placement, and personal therapy costs. For a breakdown of expected additional costs on this programme, please see the ‘Fees’ tab on the FdA page of the Iron Mill College website.

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. 

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 teaching is delivered by experienced practitioners who are registered with MBACP, and/orUKCP, and who are also in ongoing supervised practice as therapists. The academic team aim to create a colourful and varied learning experience, combining up to date theory, experiential activities, practical work, and reflective opportunities. All lecturers associated with the course have teaching qualifications and substantial teaching experience at HE level, with three members of the team being Fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). You can learn more about our staff by visiting our Staff Profiles on the Iron Mill College website here.


The course provides opportunities to enhance and assess 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.

There are no written exams on this course. Assessment methods include essays, presentations, portfolios, interviews, creative exhibition, case studies, oral exam and skills assessment.

Year 1:
2 essays (1 x 1500 words and 1 x 4000 words)
1 interview assessing ‘Competence to Practise’
1 presentation
1 portfolio
1 Case Study Analysis

Year 2:
1 essay (4000 words)
1 Exhibition
1 Presentation
1 Practical assessment
1 Oral Exam

In addition, students will need to complete and evidence 100 counselling placement hours, 40 hours of personal therapy, and undertake Work Based Learning (approx. 30-50 hours per year in both Year 1 and Year 2).


Feedback is an important aspect of your learning. We provide opportunities for you to receive feedback in the following forms:

  • Verbal documented feedback provided in your 1:1 tutorial sessions
  • Written comments from your tutor, usually attached to your assignments
  • Verbal comments from your tutor associated with your work
  • Generic feedback from tutors covering particular strengths/ weaknesses found in the work of a particular student group
  • Comments from other students about your work (peer feedback)
  • Your own comments and reflections on your work (self-assessment and feedback)

You will receive feedback on your assignment and a provisional mark within twenty working days from the submission date.


Where could it take you?

The Foundation Degree (FdA) in Integrative Counselling programme provides the opportunity for advancement in a variety of counselling-related careers, and for counselling practitioners to advance beyond their current role. Possible career opportunities include:

  • NHS initiatives e.g. Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT).
  • Educational institutions: schools, colleges and universities.
  • Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPS).
  • Local Authority employee services programmes.
  • Charitable agencies.
  • Private practice. 

The programme provides valuable links with employers through both the placement and work based learning components, as well as networking opportunities within the community.


How much will it cost?

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students registering in the academic year 2019/20 will be £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international (non-EU) students registering in the academic year 2019/20 will be £12,400 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 UK and EU students registering on this course in the academic year 2019/20 will be £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20 credit module and £2,313 per 30-credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

There are additional costs related to most counselling programmes, such as professional body membership fees, supervision if not provided by the placement, and personal therapy costs. For a breakdown of expected additional costs on this programme, please see the ‘Fees’ tab on the FdA page of the Iron Mill College website.


How do you apply?

Applying through UCAS

Integrative Counselling FdA: B9K0 FdA/IC

UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.



Apply now via UCAS

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.

Admissions Office

01905 855111