Important notice – campus change This course will move to the Belfast campus. Students will change campus part way through this course. Find out more
An innovative approach to studying counselling combined with communication as it is applied in therapeutic and helping contexts.
This is an innovative course which has been designed to meet the needs of students who wish to undertake the study of communication with a specific focus on its application within therapeutic and helping contexts.
This creative programme is for people who are interested in:
- Learning more about themselves and other people
- Developing their understanding of the areas of human growth and development; personal development; mental health and well-being
- Studying how we communicate as individuals and as groups
- Developing relationship building skills
- Gaining an understanding the complex nature of counselling as a professional activity and the contexts in which it occurs
- Acquiring a knowledge of therapeutic orientations and the philosophies and ethics which underpin them
- Gaining knowledge of the skills practised within counselling
- Developing their ability to undertake research projects
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About this course
In this section
The creativity of the programme aims to facilitate the development of comprehensive and critical understanding of the complex nature of counselling as a professional activity; the contexts in which it occurs; relationship building; knowledge of therapeutic orientations; the skills based practice within counselling; research; monitoring, evaluation and reflective practice. It also aims to develop students’ understanding of human growth and development; personal development; mental health and well-being; philosophy and ethics; developing the therapeutic alliance and research evidence, with the outcome of developing a critical understanding of the interplay between these factors within the therapeutic setting. Students will also study key aspects of communication processes with a particular focus on interpersonal relationship interactions, group processes and language and communication.
Teaching and assessment within the School take place through a variety of methods and contexts. During your degree you will participate in lectures, seminars, small group work, examine case studies and undertake practical exercises in our communication labs. Our programmes facilitate participation and interaction and you will be encouraged and supported to become an independent learner who can understand, evaluate and challenge new ideas and concepts. We believe that this supportive environment caters for the diverse range of learning styles students bring with them to the university.
Within the School we pride ourselves on the friendly and supportive atmosphere. Teaching will be delivered by research active academic staff, many of whom are practising counsellors and members of various professional bodies. Your learning experience will be supported via the allocation of a study skills advisor who will provide you with individual support and guidance throughout your studies.
Communication has innovative recording practice labs which allow students to practice communication and counselling skills within a safe and secure environment. The University boasts a state of the art Learning Resource Centre with library staff dedicated to faculties and subject areas.
Between four and six years part-time.
Two semesters per year.
One or two modules per semester (a maximum of four modules per year).
Each module usually involves two hours of lectures plus a one hour seminar each week. In addition, students are required to undertake substantial directed independent learning.
- September 2018
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.
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Social Psychology of Communication
This module is designed to introduce students to key Social Psychology theories and concepts directly related to the study of Interpersonal Communication. It explores social behaviour and interaction in a variety of social contexts, and is concerned with both how we as individuals understand ourselves, and how our social environment shapes us. Students are introduced to the fields of social psychology and communication, exploring key aspects of the interactive process and encouraging students to apply this knowledge base to everyday situations.
Understanding Ourselves and Others
The module provides students with a range of theoretically relevant psychological frameworks which can facilitate personal and academic development. Students are offered opportunities to develop an understanding and acceptance of "self" through experiential learning, reflection and evaluation, and through goal setting. Theoretical learning and practical applications will be facilitated through a combination of lectures, student-led seminars focusing on personal experience.
Nature and Contexts of Counselling
This module introduces students to the nature and purposes of counselling as a professional activity. It introduces students to a range of practice contexts through the study of counselling in action. It also identifies key professional ethical and legal issues.
Communication and Language
The module explores the complex relationship between language and communication, focusing on competing models of communication and the multi-layered multi-faceted nature of meaning in communication involving language. It explores how understanding features of language informs the study of communication and how reflecting on communication aids reflection on the complex nature of language and meaning.
Interpersonal Communication: Skills and Strategies
This module introduces the students to the concept of interpersonal communication as skill and strategy. It introduces the idea of different approaches to communication performance and the importance of context in selecting an appropriate or effective approach. It presents and discusses a series of core communication skills used in interpersonal interaction. The emphasis throughout is on the application of theory to practice and on developing skills of behaviour discrimination, self-awareness, critical analysis and skill enhancement.
This module draws upon a range of developmental psychology theories and relates this to real life experiences and the counselling process. Theoretical learning and practical applications will be facilitated through a combination of lectures, seminars and student-led presentations.
Advanced Interpersonal Communication
This module extends the study of interpersonal communication by examining advanced interpersonal skills relevant to specific professional contexts. It offers the opportunity to explore underlying theories and concepts, which in turn provides knowledge and understanding of situationally specific communication processes. Behaviour analysis, critical reflection and skill enhancement are the heart of the module. A special feature is the use of CCTV laboratories in the Communication Skills Centre of the University.
This module introduces students to core counselling theories and to critically compare and contrast the utility of these models in relation to counselling practice. Core counselling skills employed across a range of helping models will be considered and specific counselling skills aligned to core theoretical models will be examined. Key professional issues relating to the counseling process will be explored and reflected upon.
Communication in Relationships
Communication and Relationships is a module designed to provide an insight into the communicative dynamics of a variety of interpersonal relations which we all encounter in some way throughout our lives. It is designed largely around the following four stages of relationships: Relationship Development; Maintenance; Ending & Reconciliation. It explores the strategies and factors which may be involved throughout each of these stages, e.g. attraction; conflict (management); self disclosure; deception; skills of reconciliation & forgiveness
Mental Health and Well-being
The module will provide students with a knowledge and understanding of the complex nature of mental health, illness and well-being. This will include the knowledge and understanding of the key theories and models, and exploring the challenges and communication issues within mental health. A range of case studies will be employed to aid understanding throughout the lectures and seminars, supported by online resources.
Reflections on Workplace Experience
This module provides students with valuable opportunities to reflect on and learn from practical experiences they have gained within the workplace. This process will support students in identifying and developing skills required by future employers and as such enhance their future employability.
This module has been designed to enable students to develop their skills in designing, executing and writing up quantitative and qualitative research projects. It provides an important foundation for the final year Project.
This module is optional
The module considers the theoretical and conceptual trends that appear to be shaping future notions of the study of communication. The module extends the conceptual and theoretical appreciation of the student and enables them to engage with the disputes and debates out of which the future of the domain will emerge.
Groups, Identities and Relations
This module is optional
The module focuses on the study of inter-group communication and the way in which this relates to both personal identity processes and macro-level societal and cultural issues such as prejudice, discrimination and conflict. Throughout, there a strong emphasis on empirical research applications.
Researching Talk and Social Interaction
Building on CMM320, this module engages students in detailed examination of the sequential organization of talk-in-interaction. They will develop a firm understanding of both the analytical constructs of CA and the ethnomethodological underpinnings that distinguish Conversation Analysis from other approaches to social interaction. Students will also put that understanding into practice through a supported research project.
Professional Issues in Counselling
This module provides students with an understanding of one of the major areas of applied communication. The module will enable students to gain an overview of the major theoretical and empirical literature in the area of counselling and psychotherapy. The wider issues relating to professional, legal and ethical matters will also be addressed. The module is assessed by coursework and examination.
Psychosocial Issues in Psychotherapy & Counselling: Difference & Diversity in the Consulting Room
This interdisciplinary module introduces you to the field of psychosocial studies and its relevance for clinical work in the consulting room. The field of psychosocial studies is informed by psychoanalytic and psychodynamic thinking, with an emphasis on facilitating the development of self-reflectivity and insight in the therapist. We will explore different aspects of our identities, as well as the impact of social media and digital technologies on how we relate to ourselves and others.
The project enables students to apply methods and techniques to exending and applying their knowledge and understanding of Communication and allows them to further develop their conceptual, rational and creative thinking within the field of Communication. It incorporates all aspects of completing a research project, from topic selection through to writing up and builds upon research skills acquired in Years 1 and 2.
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.
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The Subject Committee will consider a range of qualifications, experience and other evidence of ability to complete the course satisfactorily when considering applications for part-time study.
You must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass in English Language at grade C or above (or equivalent).
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
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.
Exemptions and transferability
Students enter into first year. Transfer may be possible between full-time and part-time modes of study.
Careers & opportunities
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Our overall aim is that students develop knowledge and skills to enhance their prospects for employment, academic progress and continuing professional development.
The Therapeutic Communication & Counselling Studies programme in itself is not counsellor training and will not provide the graduate with a professional counselling qualification but rather is concerned with equipping students with a knowledge base of therapeutic communication and associated counselling skills which can be built upon after graduation.
The programme provides an excellent springboard for students who wish to pursue professional counselling accreditation following graduation or who wish to pursue careers in range of therapeutic or helping roles. Additionally the degree can be used as a route into the area of more generic graduate schemes. It is ideal for graduate entry into careers such as civil service, police, retail management, human resource management. Students will also have opportunities to apply for doctoral level research.
During your time at Ulster you will have opportunities to engage with our Careers Development staff for advice and support . They will help you identify the skills and experience you need to gain along the way to enhance your CV and employability.
Fees and funding
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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:
Additional mandatory costs
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.