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Start your journey to become a qualified counsellor

Applications for Year 1 entry to the BA (Hons) Humanistic Counselling will open in January 2024.

4 years Part Time
Bishop Otter Campus (Chichester)

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Counsellors play a key role in helping people find clarity and resolve feelings in often complex situations.

During this BA (Hons) Humanistic Counselling degree, you will become a practising counsellor on successful completion of the professional and academic requirements of years one and two. Your critical understanding of professional and ethical practice, and of yourself as an independent practitioner, will then be developed through the third and fourth years of the BA. You will practise counselling in a variety of contexts to support you to become a robust and thoughtful practitioner. You will attend university for 1 day per week, complete supervised practice placements, and receive 20 hours of personal therapy each academic year.

This four-year, part-time degree combines Humanistic theory with professional and ethical practice. You will explore how you can contribute to the contemporary and growing field of counselling and psychotherapy, interact with peers, and cultivate new ways of understanding therapy and yourselves.

The course has an emphasis on professionalism, employability, and personal development. You will work towards a total of 300 hours of work experience as part of the course, gaining 100 hours by the end of Year 2 and an additional 200 hours by the end of Year 4.

80% of our graduates are working as counsellors.


BA (Hons) Humanistic Counselling is a British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Accredited Course to the Gold Book curriculum standard. This means the full four-year course includes professional training to become qualified as a counsellor and enables you to apply for Individual Accreditation through the BACP training route after you graduate.

You need to meet additional criteria to earn personal accreditation and qualify as a counsellor after you graduate, such as having an active BACP membership and completing 450 hours of work experience. The 300 hours of work experience you complete during this degree make up a large portion of this. You can purchase a BACP student membership during your studies.

If you complete all four years of this BA (Hons) Humanistic Counselling degree you will complete the requisite training hours and topics, you need to show on your BACP Individual Accreditation application. If you choose to exit the degree after two years (or take a non-Accredited course elsewhere) you will need to demonstrate how you have made up the rest of the training hours when you apply for accreditation.

BACP accredited course

The Course

What you will study

The course uses the following philosophy and principles:

  • People have inherent worth and deserve respect,
  • People have an innate tendency towards growth, change and realising their individual potential.
  • People are naturally creative and unique.
  • All aspects of the human experience have the potential to be a resource.

We aim to create an environment which facilitates hope, possibility, autonomy, resilience and personal/professional transformation and embrace the diverse range of humanistic therapeutic approaches based on these philosophies.

You will study a selection of core modules in each year. Each module is worth a number of credits and is delivered differently depending on its content and focus of study.

This modules list is indicative and subject to change.

Select a year

Client Issues

You will research a particular issue such as eating disorders, sexual abuse, bereavement, addiction, transitions, self-harming, body dysmorphia and obsessive-compulsive order. You will be assessed through a 1750 word essay.

Human Development

You will be introduced to the rationale and major theories of life-span development from childhood to old age and explore the influence of such elements with reference to well-known writers in the field.

You will study theories of Developmental Psychology such as:

  • The advances in neuroscience
  • Attachment in infant development
  • Post-structuralist/post-modern thinking on agency and human development.

You will consider these topics in relation to human development and across diverse cultures as you learn to reflect on your own psychological development to support your counselling practice.


You will be assessed through a 3500 word essay.

Humanistic Frameworks

You will be introduced to the rationale and theory behind Humanistic counselling, with reference to well-known writers in the field.

You will explore Person-Centred, Gestalt and Transactional Analysis models and discover the core beliefs of all Humanistic practitioners.


You will be assessed through a 1750 word essay.

Personal and Professional Development: Group One

This module focuses on group sessions, the content of which are determined by each individual group.

The research of group theory will be undertaken by you throughout and used to understand group process and drawn upon in the reflective journal and through the use of optional self-assessment process sheets.

Personal and Professional Development: Group Two

This module focuses on group sessions, the content of which are determined by each individual group.

The research of group theory will be undertaken by you throughout and used to understand group process and drawn upon in the reflective journal and through the use of optional self-assessment process sheets.

Skills Four: Counselling Skills in Context

You will report on and critically review your casework in the group setting. You will continue to practise giving and receiving peer feedback with a focus on the quality of your therapeutic work, ethical or diversity issues and professionalism.

Skills One: Counselling Skills

You will discuss and practice counselling skills appropriate to the humanistic approach, and analyse the rationale behind skills and their use.

You will debate and evaluate ethical issues as they arise in experiential work and consider issues such as confidentiality, equal opportunities and boundary setting.

You will explore codes of ethics such as BACP and be introduced to the PCEPS Scale.

Skills Three: Understanding the Therapeutic Process and Ethical Awareness

You will report on and critically review your client work in a group setting.

You will have on-going practise giving and receiving effective feedback and be encouraged to develop an understanding of the areas of responsibility of the professional counsellor. These areas include responsibility to:

  • Clients
  • Colleagues
  • Agencies
  • Associations
  • To society
  • To yourself

You will be encouraged to explore where conflicts might occur regarding responsibility and to use ethical problem-solving techniques to reach conclusions.

Skills Two: Counselling Skills With Ethics

You will discuss and practise counselling skills appropriate to the humanistic approach, and explore the rationale behind the skills and their appropriate use.

You will debate and evaluate ethical issues as they arise in experiential work and consider issues such as confidentiality, equal opportunities and boundary setting.

You will also consider the study of the code of Ethics such as BACP /UKCP and will continue to study the PCEPS Scale.


You will be introduced to the rationale and theory behind supervision with reference to well-known writers in the field.

You will explore supervision skills such as creating contracts and presenting to clients, as well as self-supervision and peer feedback.


You will learn to reflect on your own use of supervision to support your counselling practice and be assessed through a 1750 word essay.

Brief Therapy

You will be introduced to the history of brief therapy and the characteristics of the main schools.

You will explore the brief therapy humanistic beliefs about people and their potential and be introduced to some of the main ways of working in brief time frames, noting the differences between these and ‘budget therapy’.

You will be invited to check how this approach works with your own therapeutic philosophy and practice, and to consider its efficacy, uses and application in the contemporary therapeutic context.

Critical Thinking in Humanistic Counselling

This module will deepen your critical understanding of Humanistic theory as you consider whether you can coherently integrate aspects of non-Humanistic theory into your Humanistic base.

You will explore humanistic counselling in its historical context and make comparisons between the Humanistic model, the Psychodynamic model and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as you analyse similarities and differences in the models’ varying theoretical perspectives and practices.


You will be assessed through a 1750 word essay.

Diversity in Society

You will be introduced to the phenomenology of perception and discover how we form judgements and prejudice. This module covers Systems Theory and explores diversity and difference in groups in British society as trigger for and as a result of prejudice.

You will examine Health and Social policies and projects that aim to support mental health provision and choose a research topic to focus on. You could research social attitudes to key aspects of:

  • Ageing
  • Disability
  • Sexuality
  • Gender
  • Culture
  • Religion
  • Abuse
  • Substance misuse
  • Illness

You will be assessed through a 1750 word essay.

Expressive Arts Therapies

You will discover the historical developments of the expressive arts with links to psychological modalities. You will analyse the debates surrounding the flexibility of the expressive arts for particular groups and client needs, and explore the efficacy of using the expressive arts for those with limited verbal expression. This includes non-verbal and pre-verbal members of society. You will experience a range of expressive arts therapies and explore their relationships to auto-ethnographic research. Your assessment will be a 3500 word diary analysis.

Independent Case Study

You will be introduced to a range of methodology and methods undertaken in counselling research. You will employ a method of a counselling case study dissertation and learn how to apply methodology theories and counselling themes and theories to deepen your awareness of process and develop your professional practice.

Person Centred Therapy

You will develop your understanding of Rogers’ ‘Conditions Statement’ and explore the ‘Tribes of the Person-centred Nation’ including the classical approach, focusing, experiential work, existential ideas and integration.

Personal and Professional Development: Group Four

This module runs throughout the year and you will continue to develop your skills in self-awareness. As in Year 3, the overall aim of this module is to deepen those skills using the group experience. The focus of self-reflection will continue to be ‘How do I experience myself and relate to others within the group?’. Within this final year a key requirement is to deepen and consolidate your awareness of your practice style and growing edges as a Humanistic therapist.

Personal and Professional Development: Group Three

This module focuses on group sessions, the content of which are determined by each individual group. the research of group theory will be undertaken by you throughout and used to understand group process and drawn upon in the reflective journal and through the use of optional self-assessment process sheets.

Professional Counselling Practice

This module in an opportunity to review and clarify the practice issues raised in previous modules, and a chance for you to continue to develop your ethical and professional awareness as well as your employability. You will discuss aspects of employability such as developing your CV, preparing for interviews and answering job applications, and have the opportunity to review and clarify your values and beliefs in relation to professionalism, assessment, outcome measures and contemporary developments in the world of counselling. You will be assessed through a 3500 word essay.

Teaching and Assessment

How you will learn

You will be taught interactively and encouraged to engage with all study material and learn through discussion.

This course uses a variety of types of teaching and learning. During your degree you will complete independent study, receive coaching in practical skills, complete personal development activities and work with clients.

You will complete several types of study modules including:

  • Theory modules to equip you with knowledge of counselling theory, client and diversity issues and specialist Humanistic theory.
  • Skills and professionalism modules to develop your mastery of therapeutic interventions and professional awareness.
  • Personal development modules.
  • Research modules to introduce you to research methods.
  • Placements where you will work with clients.
  • Personal counselling.
  • One-to-one tutorials.

You will be assessed through observed skills practice, written assignments, supervisor’s reports and the completion of placement and personal counselling hours. This course has no exams.


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Work Placements

Gain practical experience

You will complete supervised practice hours in counselling placements. You could work in areas including addiction, young adults, bereavement, sexual trauma and abuse victims, and with people with disabilities.

You will work towards a total of 300 placement hours as part of the course, completing 100 hours by the end of Year 2.

You need a total of 450 hours (an additional 150 hours after completing the hours required on the course) to apply for BACP Individual Accreditation.


BA (Hons) Humanistic Counselling
"I chose to study this course at Chichester because I found that this course was highly regarded in the counselling sector. The best feature of the course was the chance for experiential learning. Working in pairs and groups and interacting with others has helped to encourage and deepen my confidence and enhance my learning. I loved working with my placements which has given me the experience of working with real clients. Once again this has built my confidence and self-esteem. The course has created a profound change for the positive within me and given me the career of my dreams. The advice I would give to anyone applying for the course would be, don’t hold back, trust yourself and the university. They have your best interests at heart, they will help you through it and it can be life changing."


Where you could go after your studies

80% of our graduates are working as counsellors.

Routes past graduates have taken include:

  • Accredited Counsellors (after meeting the requirements of individual accrediting bodies such as BACP)
  • Counsellors in private practice or schools, universities, the NHS, for EAPs, colleges or companies
  • Youth and community workers (usually with further training)

Further Study

You may choose to continue your studies with a postgraduate degree after you graduate.


BA (Hons) Humanistic Counselling
"Chichester came highly recommended for this course. It is the only course I have ever participated in my lifetime that has changed my life and given me a direct route into my chosen career, it has essentially created that career for me. I am working in a private counselling practice, and this course has not only given me the skills to be successful and additionally the confidence and courage to step out of employment into self employment. I think the changes people have seen in me personally, as well as the success in my new career is the biggest recommendation that can me made."

Course Costs

Course Fees 2024/25

UK fee

Personal counselling

Personal counselling is a requirement of the programme. It is seen as essential to the practice of professional counselling because it supports the student’s personal and professional growth. The requirement of the programme is that students undertake a minimum of 20 sessions (50 mins/1 hour per session) in each year of the programme.  Before you begin the BA, we will provide you with details of the specific criteria for selecting an appropriate counsellor.

For further details about fees, please see our Tuition Fee page.

For further details about international scholarships, please see our Scholarships page.

To find out about any additional costs on this course, please see our Additional Costs page.

Entry Requirements

Typical Offer (individual offers may vary):

To apply to enter Year 1:

  • You need to provide evidence of foundation level training in counselling is essential, such as our Certificate in Counselling Skills or a similar course (see the FAQs below).
  • You also need to either demonstrate the equivalent of 120 Level 4 credits, OR demonstrate accreditation of prior experiential learning (instead of the credits), which is available through the completion of a portfolio task following a successful interview.


To apply to enter Year 3:

  • You need a Diploma in Counselling and 100 placement hours, plus 120 Level 4 and 120 Level 5 credits (usually from your Diploma). If you do not have a previous L5 qualification you can apply using a portfolio, following a successful interview.


You will also need:

  • IELTS 6.0 overall with no element lower than 5.5 if you are an international student.
  • An enhanced DBS check.


Offers are subject to interview.

If you are interested in this course and would like to learn more please email counsellingadmin@chi.ac.uk.


Frequently asked questions

How do I apply?

Applicants can apply via the ‘Apply Now’ button on this page from January 2024. You will need to complete a full online application form, which includes a supporting personal statement, a reference and details of your foundation-level counselling skills training.

Please note that we will not be able to consider applications that are submitted without all of the above information.

Which counselling certificates do you accept?

The certificate course can be at level 2, 3 or 4 PROVIDED it lasts for around 20 weeks or sessions, contains some Humanistic theory, and is ‘live taught’. This means you must be in a class of peers and broken into groups to practise skills and techniques with each other.

The delivery can be face-to-face or online as long as it is synchronous (you all attend at the same time) rather than a correspondence course you work through on your own.

How does the selection process work?

We accept applications for a short period at the start of each year. Once we have enough applications, we send out invitations to attend group interviews which take place in the Spring.

When our main cohort becomes full with people that we consider to be ready to begin this kind of training, we start to fill a waiting/reserve list of people who receive an offer for the following year, but who may be called if a place becomes available in the current year.

What are the 120 Level 4 credits and what happens if I don't have them?

Our degree is part-time and starts at Level 5 rather than Level 4, which means we accept previous Level 4 study to contribute to your award via a ‘Recognition of Prior Learning’.

You might have completed the first year of a degree or gained 120 Level 4 credits another way, which we need to see evidence of. If you don’t have this, after your interview we will ask you to write two essays which reflect on different aspects of your previous counselling study instead.

As long as the 120 credits are in place by either method prior to starting the course, it is fine.

How many students get on the course each year?

We take 36-38 students at the start of each year and no more.

This is for a number of reasons: there are only so many placements in the local area; we need to keep the classes small enough to be able to get to know everyone and to train you ethically; the whole profession of counselling could suffer if too many practitioners qualify and all need paid work each year.

We appreciate that this makes the spaces on the course hard to obtain, but if you are driven to become a counsellor, it is worth waiting for if you have to.

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