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A professional practice counselling course, which aims to assist students working towards professional registration and accreditation.


Our Counselling and Therapeutic Communication with Professional Practice course has been designed to contribute to the educational requirements of those working towards professional registration and accreditation. The course aims to recruit counsellors who are already working in a practice context towards professional accreditation. The course includes two supervised practice modules wherein students are expected to complete 100 supervised client-contact hours. Only students who complete the supervised practice modules can receive the award of PgCert/PgDip/MSc Counselling and Therapeutic Communication with Professional Practice.

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About this course

In this section


A central strength of the course is the teaching team, consisting of academics with both practice and research experience in the fields of counselling and counselling psychology. Staff members ensure that the content of the course is continually updated based on innovations in practice and research.

The course provides:

  • Structured Continuing Professional Development opportunities for individuals who practice counselling in a range of contexts.
  • Flexibility through optional study to allow students to pursue specialist areas of interest.
  • A good balance of theoretical and skills training relevant to student need.
  • A well balanced grounding in the theoretical and practical study of communication in the applied counselling context.
  • A solid grounding in research methods and skills that will enable students to carry out independent research, for students who undertake the MSc.
  • An understanding of key contextual areas relevant to students’ work experience and the ability to evaluate their own professional practice.
  • Some modules are available in block teaching format
  • The Pg Diploma is a Professional in Practice approved programme for the NI Specialist Award in Social Work.
  • The MSc meets PQ requirements for the Professional in Practice NI Leadership & Strategic Award in Social Work.
  • The course is accredited by the National Counselling Society (NCS)

Students can complete modules as part of a CPD pathway, PG Certificate, PG Diploma or Masters programme.


This programme is available only as part-time

Morning, afternoon and evening classes

Start dates

  • September 2018
How to apply


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Research Methods

Year: 1

This module aims to provide information that will enable students to make appropriate and considered research decisions. It is designed to develop students' understanding of the nature of research, key research traditions, the research process and the range of methods available to the researcher, including, qualitative and quantitative approaches. It also aims to help students acquire a critical understanding of the issues and methods in the generation and analysis of data and in the communication and evaluation of research findings.

Cancer Counselling and Communication

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module provides students the opportunity to improve their counselling skills for working with patients with cancer and their families. A range of theoretical perspectives across the domains of context, theory and practice are introduced. A variety of teaching strategies is employed including lectures, seminar discussion and workshops. The module is assessed through presentation and write-up a personal case study and application of an Integrated Humanistic model to a case study.

Human Growth and Transition

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module draws upon a range of developmental and transitional psychological theory and seeks to relate it to personal learning and the counselling process. Theoretical learning and practical applications will be facilitated through a combination of lectures, student-led seminars and presentations focusing on personal experience.

Critical Perspectives on Counselling: Clinical Approaches to Therapeutic Work

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module introduces you to the field of counselling, which can take place on a one-to-one basis, with couples or in groups. There are a number of different approaches to counselling. We will focus on three in this module: person-centred practice, psychodynamic practice and cognitive-behavioural practice. We will look at these approaches individually at first and then explore how they are similar to and different from one another. We will also think about the process of clinical assessment and case formulation. The emphasis in this module will be on the development of self-reflectivity and insight.

The Counselling and Therapeutic Framework

Year: 1

This module is optional

The module examines the Egan problem management model of counselling in depth and develops competence in practical skills. It examines the fundamental nature of counselling practice and explores key ethical and professional issues. The historical and cultural background to contemporary practice is considered and skills in ethical decision making developed.

Fundamentals of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Theory and Practice

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module is designed to develop a basic knowledge of the theoretical and empirical underpinnings of cognitive-behavioural approaches to counselling. The functional analysis process and treatment options are evaluated in relation to current research and future developments in clinical practice identified and evaluated. Teaching methods include lectures and student led seminars. Formal lectures will provide students with an overview of theoretical and empirical underpinnings of the model and practice sessions will enable students to develop basic CBT skills relevant to the practice of counselling for mild to moderate presentations. Comparative models of counseling will be assessed in relation to the theoretical and empirical basis of CBT in order to develop critical thinking skills and promote reflective practice. Asssessment is by coursework which incorporates individual research and analysis of current issues.

Trauma management

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module aims to provide a conceptual understanding of psychological trauma, significally focusing on early trauma. The module also aims to equip students wity evidence base therapeutic techniques in working with clients manifesting sighns of trauma.

Working with Children and Young People

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module provides students the opportunity to improve their counselling skills for working with adolescents and young people. A range of theoretical perspectives across the domains of context, theory and practice are introduced. A variety of teaching strategies are employed including lectures, seminar discussion and workshops. The module is assessed through presentation and write up of a real life case study

Introduction to Counselling for Depression

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module provides students with an introduction to CfD. It will enable students to develop an in-depth understanding of its evidence base, the development of the model based on person centred and experiential counselling approaches and the specific skills and techniques that are characteristic to this way of working with clients presenting with mild to moderate depression.

Humanistic Counselling

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module focuses on the key theoretical concepts and techniques which underpin the Humanistic approach to counselling. Focusing on the importance of the relationship this knowledge will be useful those whose work involves communication and understanding others. Additionally this theory will provide a foundation for the study of various integrative approaches to counselling in the Foundation degree.

Psychodynamic Approaches: The Clinical Application of Psychoanalytic Concepts

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module introduces you to a range of psychoanalytic concepts and explores how they might be applied psychodynamically in therapeutic work. In order to look at how psychodynamic counsellors might utilise psychoanalytic concepts, we need to first look at them within the context in which they are formulated and developed: clinical psychoanalysis. We will explore a number of key psychoanalytic concepts: the unconscious, object relations, the facilitating environment, the good-enough mother, transference, countertransference, the transitional object, the paranoid-schizoid position, the repetition compulsion, the symptom, psychical defence mechanisms, the depressive position and containment.

Introduction to Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module provides students with an introduction to a specific evidence based, manualised psychological therapeutic intervention for the treatment of moderate depression. Specific techniques and competencies related to the delivery of IPT will be outlined. An understanding of the context of the delivery of this intervention will provide students with an awareness of current service delivery issues.

Year two

Supervised Practice 1

Year: 2

This is the first of two modules only available to students enrolled on the Professional Practice pathway. Learning is largely workplace based but is supported by structured academic input. Assessment is by coursework designed to further enhance reflective practice and the integration of theory with practice

Supervised Practice 2

Year: 2

This is the second of two modules only available to students enrolled on the Professional Practice pathway. Learning is largely workplace based but is supported by structured academic input. Assessment is by coursework designed to further enhance reflective practice, the integration of theory with practice and the application of evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence to counselling practice.

Year three


Year: 3

The Communication dissertation aims to enable students to design and carry out an independent piece of research. It is intended that this will strengthen their ability to interpret and apply research data to a work environment. The research will focus in depth on one area of communication.


Bryman, A. (2012). Social Research Methods 4th ed, China: Oxford University Press.

Henn, M., Weinstein, M., Foard, N. (2009). A Critical Introduction to Social Research, Wiltshire: Sage Publications Ltd.

McQueen, R., Knussen, C. (2002). Research Methods for Social Science: An Introduction, Harlow: Pearson Education.


Creswell, J.W. (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative & Mixed Methods Approach. (3 ed) (2009). USA: Sage.

Davies, M.B. (2007). Doing a Successful Research Project using Quantitative or Quantitative Methods. China: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dawson, C. (2009). Introduction to Research Methods: A Practical Guide to Anyone Undertaking a Research Project (4th ed). Trowbridge, Wiltshire: How to Books Ltd.

Foster, J.J. (2001). Data Analysis for Windows - Using SPSS, London: Sage. Greenhalgh, T. How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-based Medicine (3rd), UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Hart, C. (2002). Doing a Literature Review, London: Sage.

Matthew, B., Ross L. (2010). Research Methods: A Practical Guide for the Social Sciences. Italy: Pearson Education Ltd.

Silverman, D. (2010). Doing Qualitative Research, London: Sage.

Wray, A., Trott, K., Bloomer, A. (2003). Projects in Linguistics: A Practical Guide to Researching Language, London: Arnold.

Wrench, J.S., Thomas-Maddox, C., Richmond, V.P., McCroskey, J.C. (2008). Quantitative Research Methods for Communication. USA: Oxford University Press.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

Entry Requirements

(i) Hold an honours or non-honours degree or demonstrate ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning;


(ii) Must be working (employment or voluntary) within a counselling related post, e.g. working in a counselling, health or social care setting in a counselling role to secure supervised client hours;


(iii) Attend for interview to show evidence of having the personal qualities necessary to undertake counselling training.

The closing date for applications is normally 31st July, with interviews for potential applicants scheduled in May and August. Late applications may be considered until 31st August (with applicant interviews in early September). However, where possible applicants should apply before the July deadline.

English Language Requirements

The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5.

Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Teaching and learning assessment

The objective of the teaching, learning and assessment centres around assisting students to develop competence within the area of counselling. This experiential focus of the teaching is geared to this end. This is achieved through several methods: interactive lectures; seminars; tutorials; workshops; placement – supervised client-contact hours; and integral part of the course is directed towards developing skills enhancement and competence. This is accomplished by an ongoing utilisation of the University's specialised skills labs, which will assist the student in translating this learning into counselling practice. This approach aims to foster confidence in the student so that they can effectively conceptualise and work therapeutically with client populations.

The assessment is orientated toward helping the student further enhance practice competence. This is achieved by several methods: skills and practice reviews and focused case studies. The assessments are constructed in such a manner that it encourages the student to engage with the ethical, theoretical and practical applications of counselling.

*The full range of optional modules is regularly updated and will vary in availability in any academic year.

** Research Methods is compulsory for students who wish to undertake the Dissertation, to be awarded the MSc Counselling and Therapeutic Communication with Professional Practice.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

The programme has been designed to meet the needs of Counsellors who are working towards professional registration and/or accreditation.

Work placement / study abroad

In order to meet professional and academic requirements, students must complete 100 hours of clinical placement - supervised client-contact hours.


How to apply Request a prospectus

Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.

Start dates

  • September 2018

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information Fees illustrated are based on 18/19 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees

Northern Ireland & EU:
£13,680.00  Scholarships available

Where the postgraduate course selected offers multiple awards (e.g. PG Cert, PG Dip, Master’s), please note that the price displayed is for the complete master’s programme. Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are charged at a pro-rata basis. Find out more

Additional mandatory costs

In year two, students will have two additional costs to consider. Students will have to arrange their own indemnity insurance, which is approx £70-100 per year. Students will also have to arrange clinical supervision which is required to be at the ratio of 1 hour of supervision for every 5-8 hours client work. Some supervisors offer a reduced student rate of approximately £35 per hour.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.


Faculty Office

T: +44 (0)28 9036 6184

Course Director: Dr Anne Moorhead


T: +44 (0)28 9036 8905

For more information visit

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School of Communication and Media