Bachelor of Science with Honours
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
School of Communication and Media
Offers practical skills and a robust understanding of the importance of effective communication within counselling, health and other contexts.
This interdisciplinary and skills-focused degree programme:
•Provides students with a theoretical, empirical and experiential understanding of applied communication studies within interpersonal, professional, social and cultural contexts.
•Offers students an introduction to counselling theories, skills and ethical-decision-making.
•Equips students with knowledge to identify opportunities to plan and undertake interdisciplinary research in the fields of communication, counselling studies and mental health.
•Develops students’ organisational, observation, analytical and reflective skills for continuing personal and professional development, all of which are a prerequisite for training or working as counsellors, psychotherapists or other healthcare professionals.
•Teaching is by an award-winning team of lecturers, researchers and practitioners with experience in the applied field of mental health, including counselling, psychotherapy and health communication.
•Holds Advanced Training Status for counselling studies from the National Counselling Society (NCS).
While this course is not formal counsellor training, it does provide a solid academic grounding for students who wish to pursue professional counselling or psychotherapy training and accreditation following graduation. It is also an excellent platform for graduates who wish to pursue further training in a range of professions, e.g. social work, social care, nursing, youth work, medicine, community work, law, business, human resources, and teaching.
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The emphasis in this course is on developing an understanding of the emotional and psychological development of the person within family, social and cultural settings. The course also emphasises the importance of rigorous and reflective ethical decision-making practices for working with vulnerable populations and clients within counselling and healthcare settings. Students take a range of core and optional modules which provide a firm grounding in theories, practices, skills and capacities needed for effective communication in interpersonal and professional contexts. Each module combines lectures, seminars and group tasks to facilitate students gaining a comprehensive intellectual knowledge, while learning from experience.
Our programme facilitates participation and interaction. Thus, this course also offers students opportunities to apply theory to practice in the composition of a range of assignments (case studies, work-based learning report, reflective journal, essays, presentations, dissertation). Students will be encouraged and supported to become independent learners 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 a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Students' learning experience will be supported via the allocation of a study skills advisor who will provide students with individual support and guidance throughout their studies. The School also has innovative recording practice labs, which allow students to practise 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.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until near the start date and may be subject to change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days of attendance will often be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Masters courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have four learning outcomes, and no more than two items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6 (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Masters degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
This course is team-taught by staff across the School of Communication and Media, all of whom are highly-experienced, internationally-recognised experts in their respective fields of study: Counselling and Health Communication, Communication Studies, Media and Cultural Studies, and Language and Linguistics. The course team includes practitioner and researcher members of a range of professional clinical and scholarly bodies, including the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the Irish Council for Psychotherapy, the Northern Ireland Institute of Human Relations, the British Psychological Society, the Association for Healthcare Communications and Marketing, the UK Council for Psychotherapy, the Association for Nutrition, the College for Psychoanalysis and Jungian Analysis, the Institute of Clinical Research, the Association for Psychosocial Studies, the Science Council, the Higher Education Academy, and the British Psychoanalytic Council. The team also includes the Vice-Chair of the NHS Research Ethics Committee, Office of Research Ethics Committees for Northern Ireland.
The award-winning Counselling and Health Communication Team, which directs and manages the course, has a strong commitment to providing civic engagement activities, including CPD for counsellors and other professionals. The Team co-directs the Mental Health and the Arts interdisciplinary, cross-border initiative. The Team also has an active Twitter account (@UlsterCHC) connecting with organisations, professional bodies, practitioners, students and alumni.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (20%) or Lecturers (55%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advanced HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2021-2022.
The Belfast campus is situated in the artistic and cultural centre of the city, the Cathedral Quarter.
High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.
At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.
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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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.
The module provides students with a range of theoretically relevant psychological and sociological 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.
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.
This module introduces students to key concepts in relation to media representations of mental health and the role of the therapist in popular culture.
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.
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 will introduce students to the field of counselling, how it has developed as a profession and its components, including clinical assessment and case formulation. The module will focus on three approaches to counselling: person-centred therapy, psychodynamic therapy and cognitive-behavioural therapy. Students will read a range of clinical writings in the field of counselling, and discuss a number of case studies to link theory to practice.
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
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 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.
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.
This practical module provides students with valuable opportunities to use counselling skills 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.
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.
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.
This module will introduce students to the interdisciplinary field of psychosocial studies and its relevance for counselling. Research in psychosocial studies focuses on how a person's subjectivity, sense of self and identity are formed through the interaction of internal and external factors. The field of psychosocial studies is underpinned by psychoanalysis, emphasising the development of observation and analytic skills, self-reflectivity and insight.
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.
This module is optional
This module introduces students to a cultural studies approach to examining the role of popular media forms (in film, television, advertising and photography) in the construction of gendered identities (masculinity and femininity). It does this through key examples and case studies from the 1960s to the present day and post feminism. It also provides students with examples of alternative feminist practices.
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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Applicants should satisfy the University General Requirements e.g.
1. Provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE English Language grades A-C/ 4-9 or equivalent); and
2. Provide evidence of passes in five subjects, two of which must be at A level (grades A-E) and three at GCSE level* (grades A-C/4-9); or
3. Provide evidence of passes in four subjects, three of which must be at A level (grades A-E) and one at GCSE level* (grades A- C/4-9); or
4. Provide evidence of an approved qualification at an equivalent level such as a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma or Access to Higher Education qualification or equivalent; or
5. Provide evidence, for a process of formal accreditation by the University, of learning you have gained through work or other experience.
* GCSE English Language (grades A-C/4-9) may be used as part of the GCSE requirement.
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 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.
Students enter into first year. Transfer may be possible between full-time and part-time modes of study.
In this section
While this course is not formal counsellor training, it does provide a solid academic grounding for students who wish to pursue professional counselling or psychotherapy training and accreditation following graduation. It is also an excellent platform for graduates who wish to pursue further training in a range of professions, e.g. social work, social care, nursing, youth work, community work and teaching.
The course can be used as a route into the area of more generic graduate schemes. It is ideal for graduate entry into careers, such as the civil service, police, retail management or human resource management. Graduates will be in a strong position to apply for a Masters degree and later a Doctoral degree by PhD research.
Stuents will have opportunities to engage with our Careers Development staff for advice and support. Careers and Employability staff provide tailored classes specifically for students on the BSc Hons Communication and Counselling Studies, to support them with their career goals and aspirations. Careers and Employability staff will help students to identify the skills and experience they need to gain along the way to enhance their CV and employability.
The Course includes a module on Reflections on Workplace Experience, which is team-taught by members of the Counselling and Health Communication Team. This practical module provides students with an opportunity to begin thinking about the career they would like to pursue and the training, skills and experience they need to acquire in order to achieve their aims. Each skills-based workshop provides practical guidance and the emphasis is on discussion. Students are introduced to a range of different career paths for people who graduate with a BSc Hons Communication and Counselling Studies, as well as the tasks required to successfully gain and complete an interview and be offered a job.
Fees for entry in 2023/24 have not yet been set. See our tuition fees page for the current fees for 2022/23 entry.
The price of your overall programme will be determined by the number of credit points that you initiate in the relevant academic year.
For modules commenced in the academic year 2022/23, the following fees apply:
|Credit Points||NI/ROI Cost||GB Cost||International Cost|
NB: A standard full-time undergraduate degree is equivalent to 120 credit points per year.
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.
There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.
See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.
Course Director: Dr Maggie Long