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Counselling MSc/PGDip/PGCert


Course facts

  • Name: Counselling
  • Qualification: MSc/PGDip/PGCert
  • Duration: Two years as a full-time student

Our MSc in Counselling at Bangor University aims to prepare you to take an active role as a member of the professional counselling/ psychotherapy community. This course explores a range of psychological approaches and therapeutic methods to provide holistic training in adult counselling. You will learn about the Humanistic approach and Person-Centred therapy, Psychodynamic approach and Psychoanalytic therapy, Behavioural approach and Behaviour therapy, and Cognitive approach and Cognitive therapy. You will also be introduced to several integrative approaches, such as REBT and TA. In addition, you will take part in practical activities to develop your communication skills and introduce therapeutic techniques into your practice. This extensive curriculum will equip you to work with clients across various settings, and provide you with a toolkit of evidence-based techniques and relationship-focused methods. This course will also include a solid foundation in Psychology and Research, so that you will graduate with all of the skills needed to apply for doctorate level study or work in an empirically-based practice.

Student Comments and Profiles

Our graduates last year completed placements with the Primary Mental Health Service in the NHS, RASA, and CAIS to provide one-to-one counselling for over a hundred clients across north Wales. Here are some of their comments about the course and placement experience:

"I feel that this course has allowed me to develop my communication and listening skills that are most valuable in both my personal and professional life. My friends and family have expressed how I present myself as more confident now than I was before I started the counselling course."

"This course helped me to develop my soft skills such as teamwork, self-management, written and verbal communication skills. I believe these skills, combined with my improved abilities to regulate my emotions by critically reflecting upon my experiences and perspective-taking, greatly increased my future job prospects."

"Beyond the academic training of the course, the process of the course has taught me more about how I can better help myself in order to help others."

"I have gained perspective, whilst recognizing that I am only just moving out from a sheltered bay and into an expecting ocean, where all encounters behind and before me are grist for the mill."

"The element of the course I value the most is the confidence I’ve gained through facing my fears and the newly gained confidence I have to face future ones."

Course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change.

Course Content

Our MSc in Counselling at Bangor University trains you in integrative counselling, and this means that your training will combine elements from different approaches and therapies around therapeutic principles:

  1. A relationship between the therapist and client which incorporates the core conditions will provide a framework for therapeutic work leading to change;
  2. Thoughts, feelings, and behaviour reflect past patterns of relating and can be reformed by exploring experiences within the boundaries of this therapeutic framework;
  3. Cognitive schemas and behavioural patterns established in this past and reinforced in the present can be modified for the future through challenge and experimentation both within and beyond this safe therapeutic relationship.

Course Structure

During the first year of the course, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of psychology, counselling, research, and mental health through the following modules:

  • PCP4001 Research Skills (10 credit) Core and Compulsory
  • PCP4005 Research Methods and Statistics (10 credit) Core and Compulsory
  • PCP4002 Therapeutic Process and Context (20 credit) Core and Compulsory
  • PCP4003 Counselling Skills 1 (10 credit) Core and Compulsory
  • PCP4007 Counselling Skills 2 (10 credit) Core and Compulsory
  • PCP4004 Approaches and Therapies 1 (20 credit) Core and Compulsory
  • PCP4008 Approaches and Therapies 2 (20 credit) Core and Compulsory
  • PCP4006 Mental Health and Wellbeing (20 credit) Core and Compulsory

During the second year of the course, you will have a unique opportunity to elect two modules from the wide range of options available in the School of Psychology. These options may include courses in Clinical Psychology, Neuropsychology, and Applied Behaviour Analysis (subject to availability). This additional specialised training will give you an extra advantage as a counselling graduate, and will further equip you with the skills needed to excel in your career. You will also complete a research project and compile a portfolio of placement experience.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Our MSc in Counselling will use a range of teaching methods to provide a challenging and engaging learning environment. You will attend lectures introducing the core theories, be supported through computer labs, watch video demonstrations of counselling in action, participate in workshops simulating counselling and supervision, debate important and controversial issues in the field, and receive regular one-to-one support from your personal and professional development tutor. Your assessments on the course will also be varied and diverse, and they will include essays, on-line quizzes, oral exams, presentations, and research reports. You will receive support and guidance for all of these assessments, as we work with you to ensure that every individual has an opportunity to excel.

Research Thesis

Our MSc in Counselling includes an empirical research project in the field of counselling. Our two-year course will provide you with enough time to develop your research skills, design a project, obtain ethical approval, run your study, and write up your research thesis. Research is an essential skill for a career in counselling, as more workplaces demand that their counsellors are able to empirically test their interventions and evidence their impact on clients. Our research training will help you to develop these skills and your research thesis will demonstrate that you are able to work as an empirically-based practitioner.

Counselling Placement

Our MSc in Counselling requires that you complete a core counselling placement of 100 supervised face-to-face counselling hours with adult (18yrs+) clients and 50 hours of work-based practice. After learning the foundations of ethics, boundaries, and communication skills in the first semester, you can begin your placement at the start of the second semester in your first year. You will need to complete all of your hours before graduating from the course in order to gain the MSc in Counselling. You will be provided with support and guidance in identifying a suitable placement, but the responsibility for obtaining a placement and completing all required hours remains with the student. You will also be responsible for ensuring that every month of practice is supported by at least 1.5 hours of supervision by an appropriate counselling supervisor (please be aware that you may need to pay for the services of a supervisor, if sufficient supervision is not provided within your placement). You will also be required to complete at least 15 hours of personal therapy while on the course (please be aware that you may need to pay for the services of a personal therapist). Supervised practice and work-based learning hours are a core requirement of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Modules for the current academic year

Module listings are for guide purposes only and are subject to change. Find out what our students are currently studying on the Counselling Modules page.

Entry Requirements

You must have one of the following academic qualifications:

  • 2ii or above undergraduate degree in psychology or counselling (or closely related) subject
  • OR 2ii or above undergraduate degree in unrelated subject AND certificate in counselling
  • OR relevant professional experience AND evidence of academic capability to postgraduate level

If the applicant has English as a second language, then they will also be required to hold an IELTS of 7 and exhibit clear evidence of communication skills through the medium of English in the interview.

Applicants will also be required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Applicants who have lived or worked outside of the UK for 12 months or more may also be required to submit a check appropriate to that country.

Applicants must pass a structured interview (including a group activity), and acceptance on the course will depend on their fitness and suitability to practice counselling with vulnerable adults. This interview is an essential part of the assessment to determine suitability for placement, and the placement is a core requirement of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Applicants will have to attend Bangor University to take part in interviews - due to the professional requirements of the course it is NOT possible to have Skype, telephone, or remote interviews.  


Admissions to the programme are made using Bangor’s online application system.

Applications will be accepted throughout the year, but we advise you to apply before 1st June after which we will start to shortlist and schedule interviews. This course has a maximum capacity and, once that is reached, no more applications will be able to be considered for the next year of entry, though we may offer future places if they become available due to withdrawal/deferral.

For applications received by 1st June:

  • Week of 1st June: All applications received to date will be reviewed together.
  • Week of 7thJune: Selected applicants will receive an invite to interview and applicants not selected for interview will be notified (please check emails/post).
  • Week of 1st July: Interviews will be held in Bangor. Although we cannot guarantee the ability to reschedule for allocated time, we are committed to making every reasonable attempt to be flexible for those with real problems in making their original date. All applicants (including overseas applicants) will have to come to Bangor for interview as we can NOT offer remote interviews via Skype etc.
  • Week of 7thJuly: Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified.
  • Ongoing: Applications received after the 1st June will be considered in the second recruitment round if places are still available and interviews will take place in late August / early September.

International Students

For information and further detailed guidance on entry requirements for International Students, including the minimum English Language entry requirement, please visit the Entry Requirements by Country pages on the International Education Centre section of our website.

If you want advice or a general chat about what’s available contact the International Education Centre on +44 (0) 1248 382028 or email

Careers and Employability

One in four adults experience at least one mental health difficulty in any given year and mental health issues account for the largest single cause of disability in the UK (Mental Health Taskforce Strategy, Feb 2016). The NHS has committed to a transformation of mental health care across the UK and pledged to invest more than one billion pounds a year by 2020/21. As a result of this commitment and the increasing need for mental health support, employment opportunities in counselling are likely to expand in the near future. Graduates from this course will be particularly well equipped to succeed in this growing market.


Research / Links with Industry

The academics teaching on this course are either fully qualified counselling practitioners or PhD qualified psychology researchers. This course draws on expertise from across the School of Psychology and invites a diverse range of guest speakers from the field of mental health, including clinical psychologists, counsellors, and researchers. Our close collaboration with the Primary Mental Health Service (NHS) in North Wales ensures that our course content remains closely aligned with the current needs of the mental health sector.



There are School funded achievement scholarships for first class students, international scholarships and information on other funding sources on our scholarships School page.

Fees for this programme vary over the two years and there are additional costs to take into account. Please see the University Fees page for more details.  

Additional Costs

Additional costs may also be charged as follows:

  • Enhanced DBS check (approx. £45) plus any additional checks needed for students who have lived or worked outside of the UK for 12 months or more.
  • 1.5hrs supervision for every month of practice/placement (hourly costs vary based on a number of factors, but will typically fall within a range of £35 to £75 per session)
  • 15hrs of personal therapy to be completed during the two years on the course (hourly costs vary based on a number of factors, but will typically fall within a range of £35 to £75 per session)
  • Student membership of BACP (approx. £80)
  • Should also consider travel (including to and from placement), books, stationery, printing, binding, and general subsistence on trips and visits

Please note that all additional costs quoted are approximate at time of publication and subject to change by the external organization concerned.

Further information

Next steps