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A practical and theoretical counselling and psychotherapy programme, which aims to assist students to understand and apply the approaches to clients.


Study Counselling Studies and Therapeutic Communication at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

This programme will assist and support students/practictioners who are interested in starting, developing or progressing a career in counselling and pyschotherapy. It will also be of relevance to therapeutic practictioners who wish to enhance their existing professional skills. It offers students a strong theoretical and practical foundations which draws from an integrative psychotherapy and counselling famework.

On completion of the Pg Dip/MSc students wishing to further their professional status can apply to undertake the linked programme PgCert in Counselling and Therapeutic Communication with Professional Practice. This consists of two supervised practice modules and requires the student to undertake an integral placement of 100 hours. This programme also contributes to the requirements of students working towards professional accreditation.

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About this course

In this section


This course is specifically designed to assist students to develop key counselling and psychotherapy approaches. The theoretical orientation of the programme draws from is the humanistic and integrative framework. This is a flexible model that lends itself well to the complex demands of contemoprary counselling and psychotherapy practice. The learning in this programme is delivered in various experiential formats, with students been provided with ongoing opportunities to develop practice based skills & techniques. The learning objectives of the programme is designed to provide students with a tangible experience of counselling and psychotherapy delivery. This is facilitated in lectures, workshops, clinical seminars and tutorials. A key strength of this programme is how the learning is applied to clinical practice. Competence in this area is achieved by the ongoing utilisation of the university’s specialised skills labs, here students will be supported to gain confidence in practice skills and applications.

In the second year of the programme students will gain clinical practice by securing a student counselling placement. The student on placement is also supported by a clinical supervisor and a mentor. The weekly attendance at university involves a series of specialised clinical seminars focused on critical practice issues An important part of developing competence in counselling is the development of reflective skills, this is facilitated in university by attendance at a process group. The end product of this is that it assists the student in the development of confident professional self. Overall this programme offers both the seasoned practitioner and interested student an opportunity for further professional development in the growth area of counselling and psychotherapy practice.


This programme is available both full-time and part-time.

Start dates

  • September 2016
How to apply

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

A relevant honours degree (second class lower or above). Some experience and understanding of counselling and psychotherapy application in a work context (voluntary or paid) would be advantageous.

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.

Teaching and learning assessment

The objective of the teaching, learning and assessment centres around assisting students to develop practice competence. This experiential focus of the teaching is geared to this end. This is achieved through several mediums: interactive lectures; seminars; tutorials; workshops and integral part of the programme is directed towards developing skills enhancement and practice 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 and psychotherapy 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 and psychotherapy practice.

Careers & opportunities

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Career options

What areas of work are previous students now engaged in?

  • Previous students have gone on to develop careers in counselling and psychotherapy. The course would also be especially relevant to therapeutic practitioners wanting to develop a high degree of competence in counselling application. Especailly to practictioners in the areas of mental health, social work or community work and pastoral work. The course aims to provide students with a high degree of competence in the application of counselling and psychotherapy approaches to potential client populations

Will completion of the course qualify me as a counsellor?

  • The course aims to provide students with the ability to apply the practical application of counselling and psychotherapy. An important caveat is that on exit of the programme you would not be a qualified counsellor. The orientation of course is aimed a developing counselling competence and may contribute towards accreditation with BACP or other professional bodies.

What steps would I need to take to develop futher as counsellor?

  • As highlighted, the course is aimed a developing practice based counselling and psychotherapy comptence, and it forms part of a continum for students wanting to progress towards a carrer in professional counselling. The BACP website provides details on the eligibility criteria for counsellor accreditation.

Academic profile

This course director is Michael McGibbon who is a senior accredited clinical psychotherapist and counsellor. Michael is still actively involved in practice, supervision and research. Michael has had many years of direct practice in senior psychotherapy roles in Ireland and the UK. He has served as an advisor and consultant to both statutory and voluntary bodies on the area of psychotherapy and counselling provision and development. Michael has worked extensively as a senior clinical psychotherapist, counsellor and also as a principal social worker in child and adolescent mental health.

Michael has also worked as a senior clinical psychotherapist/counsellor in the area of adult mental health, specialising in the area of complex trauma. Michael's own research interest is in assisting practitioners to effectively use the most import tool in therapy which is the self of the therapist. Michael has published extensively on this subject and has developed a model to assist in the process of therapist development of self.

Other experienced practitioners and academic staff will also provide input and teaching on specialist areas throughout the programme.


Please apply at

How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2016

Fees and funding

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Fees (total cost)

Northern Ireland & EU:

Additional mandatory costs

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel and normal living are a part of university life. 

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them in the online prospectus. 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.


Course Director: Michael McGibbon

T: +44 (0) 28 9036 6719