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


Our Counselling Studies and Therapeutic Communication course will help you if you are interested in starting a career in counselling, or want to develop and hone your existing professional skills. It offers theoretical knowledge and an academic foundation in counselling and for a variety of helping skills in professional contexts. The optional modules enable you to study the niche you would like to work in. This course has received recognition from a professional body, awarded the advanced training status from the National Counselling Society (NCS).

This course does not include professional practice hours, those students who wish to be on Government register for Counselling, upon successful completion of this course can apply for the PgCert Counselling and Therapeutic Communication with Professional Practice, which will provide client hours. The PgCert/PgDip/MSc Counselling and Therapeutic Communication with Professional Practice has been designed to contribute to the educational requirements of practising counsellors working towards professional accreditation. The practical course aims to recruit counsellors who are already working in a practice context towards professional accreditation. Only students who complete the supervised practice modules (100 client hours) 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 counselling. 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 use counselling skills in a range of practice 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.
  • 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 PQ accredited programme for the NI Specialist Award in Social Work.
  • The MSc meets three PQ requirements for the NI Leadership & Strategic Award in Social Work.

The course on its own does not qualify you to practice as a counsellor. However, the course provides approximately 200 taught hours of training that may be used to contribute to accreditation with professional bodies (please contact relevant professional body directly for guidance on accreditation policy).

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

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


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

The Course offers Exit Points at PG Dip and MSc levels.

Full-time: PgDip – one academic year (two semesters); MSc – three semesters.
Part-time:PgDip – two academic years (four semesters); MSc – three calendar years.

Start dates

  • September 2017
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

Requirements for admission as detailed below:

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


(ii) Be currently employed in or have recent experience (within the last five years) of employment either professionally or voluntarily in a role involving the use of counselling skills;


(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 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 counseling.

Careers & opportunities

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Career options

  • What areas of work are previous students now engaged in?

Previous students have developed their work activities in Counselling and associated areas. Additionally, past students have used the programme themes to support their existing work in areas including community work, youth work, education, and health care.

  • Will completion of the course qualify me as a counsellor?

The course currently would not enable you to practice as a qualified counsellor. However, as stated above the course can contribute towards accreditation with professional bodies.

  • What steps would I need to take to become a fully registered counsellor?

For further information contact a professional body directly for details on the eligibility criteria for counsellor accreditation.

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) –

National Counselling Society (NCS) -

  • Would the course provide me with the necessary training and accreditation to become a qualified counselling psychologist?

No, there are specific qualifications required to become a qualified counselling psychologist, for example you would need to have an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Please see contact further details: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) –

Work placement / study abroad



How to apply Request a prospectus

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

Start dates

  • September 2017

Fees and funding

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Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
View Ulster University’s 2017 fees policy

Northern Ireland & EU:

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

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


Deciding to study the MSc in Counselling and Therapeutic Communication was one of the best decisions I could have made for my career. Initially I wasn’t sure if I could fit it into my life, trying to balance work and study can be difficult but the course director was both supportive and flexible in helping make that decision and throughout the course. My academic background is in psychology and I have been working in the youth work sector for seven years. I always found myself in the position where people want to talk about personal concerns and this was my primary motivation for doing the course. I wanted to learn how to develop my natural abilities into more tangible skills and learn practical counselling skills which can be used across an array of situations. This course allowed me to do that and I also got to learn more about counselling as a profession and the different routes and training that are needed to become a professional counsellor.

I discovered and learned a lot about myself and completing this course has given me a tremendous sense of personal achievement. The labs were a great opportunity to practice the theory we were learning throughout the weeks and allowed you to reflect on yourself and learn from others. One of the most enjoyable parts of the course was getting to research what you are interested in. I conducted research around young men and mental health and was able to use develop and implement a programme at work for young men. This was something I didn’t anticipate but has been one of the best outcomes of doing this course.

For the moment I am happy working in youth work but becoming a professional counsellor in the future is something I would really like to do. This course acts as a great springboard to becoming a counsellor. Entering the counselling profession is personal commitment as it takes much training and time, what this course allows you to do is to explore the subject, learn new skills and help you decide what direction you want to follow.

Louise Lynch MSc Counselling and Therapeutic Communication, now completing PhD within the School of Communication in the area relating to Counselling