PGCert Professional Studies in Mental Health student in class

Prepare to support people with a range of mental health issues

4 years Full Time
Bishop Otter Campus

Top 10

University for Psychology

1. Guardian University Guide 2022


for research intensity out of 101 UK Psychology departments

2. Complete University Guide League Tables 2021


for student satisfaction

3. National Student Survey 2021


Counselling psychologists support people with a range of mental health problems. They work as part of a team to understand the mental health diagnosis an individual is given, and support people by using medical and scientific context. They make decisions to support the individual, empower them to recover, and to minimise stress they may be experiencing.

On this BSc (Hons) Counselling Psychology degree you will learn how to be a psychologist by using an evidence based perspective to make judgements and assessments.

This three-year course allows you to develop your knowledge of counselling and advanced counselling skills, and gives you the opportunity to examine biological, cognitive, developmental, and individual differences alongside the social psychological principles underlying everyday experience and behaviour.

This degree prepares you to work with mental health in a particular setting such as health, forensics, or education services. Although you will be learning counselling skills, this degree does not qualify you to practice privately as a counsellor. If you are interested in becoming a counsellor, see our BA (Hons) Humanistic Counselling course.

On this course you will:

  • Study both counselling and psychology modules.
  • Complete practical and laboratory experiment.
  • Learn to use research and analytic skills to explain everyday experiences.
  • Discover, apply and reflect on counselling skills.
  • Learn to provide feedback to people in a therapeutic context.
  • Explore ethical issues in counselling psychology.
  • Engage in self-reflection.
  • Explore emotions and decision making.
  • Develop vital skills to work in counselling, education or health services.

Foundation Year

This course has an integrated foundation year. This means you will complete an extra year of study before starting your BSc degree to build your subject knowledge and develop your academic writing, reading and research skills. This option is for you if you are interested in psychology but do not meet the course entry requirements for BSc (Hons) Counselling Psychology yet, or if you want more time to prepare for higher education.


This degree is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), the regulating body for psychology in the UK. This means the course is recognised professionally which can make you more desirable to future employers.

British Psychological Society logo

Teaching and Assessment

How you will learn

This course uses a range of teaching strategies including lectures, workshops and tutorials. Sessions will encourage theoretical and critical inquiry and debate using discussions that require a high level of self awareness. You should be able to discuss your experiences of mental health — whether this is your own mental health or the experiences of others.

You will build your subject knowledge and practical experience through core and optional teaching modules and develop skills central to professional practice and psychological research.

Accessing Class Materials

All lectures and teaching classes are recorded and placed on Chi Player after the lecture takes place, where practical. Course handbooks, powerpoints and associated materials used in lecturers are also made available online. You can access electronic copies of core texts on the course reading list through the library services.

Contact Time

Each module has three hours of contact time per week. You will study four modules per semester so you will have 12 contact hours per week. This time includes lectures, seminars and workshops.


You will be assessed through a range of assignments including scientific reports, essays, group and individual presentations, poster design, multiple choice papers, short answer papers, research participation, essays and exams.

The Course

What you will study

You will study a selection of core and optional 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 list is indicative and subject to change.

Select a year

Foundation Knowledge and Skills

In this module you will develop your basic knowledge and skills to support your academic development and improve your confidence in your academic writing and reading.

Foundation in Psychology 1: Being and Feeling

In this module you will explore 'being' and 'feeling' — two components that enable us to experience the inside and outside worlds. Understanding these primary aspects of human psychology will create the foundation of your learning. You will be assessed through coursework, a group presentation and research participation.

Foundations in Psychology 2: Thinking and Developing

This module explores key lifespan transitions and cognition across these ages. You will learn to apply theory relating to cognition, perception and human lifespan development, and will be assessed through a portfolio and research participation.

Project: Psychology Foundation Year

This module is an applied piece of work related to your degree. You will need to apply the knowledge and skills you developed in foundation year. During this project you will develop an in-depth knowledge of your chosen specialisation and be encouraged to demonstrate creativity in the design, planning and execution of your project. You will be assessed through a portfolio.

Everyday Experience and Psychological Methods: Analysing Attitudes

On this module you will define a range of everyday experiences using psychological models of attitudes. You will learn to analyse attitudes and to explore psychological constructs, methodology and theories associated with experiences. You will develop your fundamental data analysis skills through lectures and the use of statistical software with a focus on understanding patterns of data via visualisation. You will be assessed through a coursework assignment and a practical report.

Study and Research Skills for Social Scientists

This module will develop your personal, research and study skills.

Counselling Psychology Skills

The framework of the programme is based on Humanistic philosophy which aims to create a holistic experience for students. Student’s competence in the use of counselling skills is developed both through their active participation and tutor led skills demonstrations. Personal growth is often a by-product of entering into the experiential mode of learning, enhancing the possibilities for change in an individual’s life. The Humanistic approach recognises the importance of self-discovery and provides students with a useful platform for the acquisition of both personal effectiveness in using counselling skills and personal insight.

Perspectives on Psychology

This module seeks to enable you to understand the contribution of key thinkers to the development of modern psychology and to appreciate their biographical backgrounds. The lives and work of key thinkers will be introduced and contextualised with reference to contemporary ideas and mores.

Counselling Skills with Ethics

You will become familiar with the Psychotherapy Scale (PCEPS) and be introduced to PC10 on learning to offer clients choice and autonomy. You will practise and be assessed in PC1-6; setting the therapeutic frame with clients, establishing the working alliance, working in the client’s frame of reference, counsellor warmth, clarity of language which communicates simply and clearly to the client, and therapist’s responses which intend to direct the client’s content. Familiarity with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s (BACP) Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy underpins this module and you will be assessed through an essay and a live counselling session.

Counselling Frameworks

This module aims to enable students to become familiar with some of the major theoretical approaches to counselling. The module will familiarise students with aspects of a common core within counselling frameworks with specific reference to the course philosophy and principles. The module will also enable students to recognise some of the areas where counselling philosophies diverges along with some of the differences in counselling techniques. The module also gives students an opportunity to reflect on their individual responses and relationship to the counselling frameworks. The practical aim is to enhance student’s ability to link theory with practice and to critically examine counselling theories.

Cognitive Psychology

This module will introduce you to the ways cognitive processes have been studied in the past. This includes studying experimental and cognitive neuropsychological methodologies. You will investigate the areas of attention, perception, learning, thinking and language and relate your findings to underlying theory and empirical research. You will be assessed through a coursework assignment and a 1750 word report.

Individual Differences

On this module you will be introduced to how individual differences processes have been studied in the past, for example through psychometrics and case study methodologies. You will investigate areas of personality, intelligence, cognitive style, motivation, gender and ethnicity in terms of underlying theory and empirical research. You will be assessed through an essay and a lab report.

Developmental Psychology

This involves the study of development and maturation in cognitive, personality, and social processes. The module will introduce you to basic theory, research findings, and methods of investigation in childhood, adolescence, and lifespan development. You will consider the ways in which behaviour is influenced by developmental factors, the nature of developmental processes, and the ways in which empirical research can help us to understand how developmental processes influence what we do.

Research Methods I: Experimental Designs and Analysis

This module will develop your understanding of experimental designs and associated methods of analysis, and introduce you to research ethics.

Biological Psychology

This module explores the ways biological processes have been studied, for example through brain lesions and cell stimulation methodologies. The areas of behavioural genetics, neuro-imaging, neuropsychology, socio-biology and evolutionary psychology will be investigated in terms of underlying theory and empirical research.

Therapeutic Process and working with Diversity

This module gives students an opportunity to revise and consolidate their growing familiarity and expertise in applying the Humanistic attitudes and skills PC1-10 from the PCEPS Scale (V.10.5, 01/03/11). Students will practise therapist accepting presence, therapist’s attitude conveying an unconditional acceptance of whatever the client brings and therapist responses which genuinely convey their moment to moment experiencing with the client. This module also aims to explore the factors that may affect mental health in diverse populations in society. The roots of prejudice will be examined and how issues such as difference and discrimination can be experienced as a result. The module will explore how prejudice can be counteracted through policies and projects aimed at equality of provision of psychological services in health and social services. Students will be encouraged to explore their own prejudices through a phenomenological approach, which builds on theories explored in the course modules. It is aimed at you reflecting upon your case study dissertation wherever possible, in order to process reflectively any blind spots of pre- judging, or aspects of assumption that may be left unturned.

Lifespan Development

This module aims to enable students to understand some of the major theories of developmental psychology. The module will familiarise students with the diversity of lifespan development models and enable students to recognise critical and transitional points in human development and the influence of these in later life. This will include an introduction to psychopathology reviewed from counselling and therapeutic perspectives. The practical aim is to enable students to appreciate the multi-dimensional nature of the human life course, thus developing a flexible practice framework which includes a clarity about theories of development and psychopathology. This module will prepare students to work with clients from various stages in their developmental process (students are permitted to work with clients aged 16 or over) as well as accommodating the uniqueness of individuality.

Research Methods II: Survey and Qualitative Designs and Analysis

This module will develop your understanding of survey and qualitative designs and associated methods of analysis related to criminology.

Independent Project (Psychology)

You are encouraged to adopt a problem-oriented approach. The first stage is to identify a problem in psychology of interest and relevance to your first degree studies. You will determine an appropriate approach to addressing the problem through discussion with tutors who have relevant theoretical and practical expertise. Your investigation may be based within a single discipline or it may involve more than one discipline, but it must be based within your chosen degree programme.

Project Management Skills (Criminology/Psychology)

This project in criminology will support you to develop a wide range of skills from project management to the ability to present your research results in an accessible form. You will develop their scientific reasoning and reporting skills and produce a poster to present your research work.

Critical Thinking in Humanistic Counselling (half module)

The aim of this module is to deepen student’s critical understanding of Humanistic theory and to consider whether they can coherently integrate aspects of non-Humanistic theory into their Humanistic base. Humanistic counselling will be explored in its historical context and students will make comparisons between the Humanistic model, the Psychodynamic model and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), analysing similarities and differences in the models’ varying principles and practices. This will enable students to further understand the distinctive features of the Humanistic model through comparisons with some key features of other counselling models. Students will be introduced to a model of integration and required to discuss and evaluate whether they can coherently integrate aspects of other counselling models within their developing orientation. Students will also be introduced to the concept of pluralism and be required to discuss and evaluate this method of holding the diverse range of therapeutic approaches.

Brief Therapy (half module)

The module will give students the opportunity to explore the specialist Humanistic model in depth and to extend their learning beyond generic Humanistic counselling practice. The aim of the module is to allow students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the specialist Humanistic model. The module requires openness on the behalf of the students as they will be encouraged to reflect in depth, on their developing understanding of their own sense of themselves as a congruent Humanistic practitioner and on the ways that this particular model may, or may not, fit with their developing way of working. The module, which draws on the specialist knowledge of the individuals within the staff team, offers a mixture of theory, skills and experiential learning that will deepen the student’s understanding of this model, both personally and professionally. It will incorporate lectures, practical skills work and experiential/reflective exercises.

Person-Centred Therapy & Professional Development

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

Mindfulness and Compassion-focused therapies

The broad aim of the module is to provide a critical understanding of mindfulness and compassion-focussed psychotherapies. More information on this module will be available soon.

Working in Counselling Psychology

This module provides students with an opportunity to review and clarify many of the practice issues raised in previous modules, giving students a chance to continue to develop their ethical and professional awareness, as well as their employability. Further aspects of employability such as developing the CV, preparing for interviews and answering job applications will be discussed. Students will have an opportunity to review and clarify their values and beliefs in relation to professionalism, assessment, outcome measures and contemporary developments in the world of counselling psychology.


Use industry standard equipment

Use facilities including the Brain Imaging Unit, VR Immersive Suite, Psychological Test Centre, Interview and Observation Suite and individual fully equipped testing cubicles and use industry standard equipment and software throughout your studies.

Study Abroad

Expand your experience

You may complete an international or European exchange as part of your studies. You may choose to undertake an exchange for one semester or a whole year at one of our partnership institutions.

Psychology supports students in both the BSc programme pathways who wish to broaden their academic and cultural experience by choosing to study abroad for one semester as part of their degree studies. This is an exciting chance for students who wish to widen their horizons and immerse themselves in a different culture and encounter how the discipline of Psychology is viewed and taught at universities in Europe or North America.

We are currently expanding the range of international exchange opportunities that we offer our students.

For example, under Erasmus agreements, students might like to study for a semester at either Maastricht or Radboud universities in the Netherlands, where Psychology classes are delivered through the English language.


Where you could go after your studies

Counselling psychologists work as part of a team in a larger setting than private counsellors, and often work in health services or the NHS. If you choose to pursue a career in the health service, you could work with acute admissions, psychiatric intensive care, or rehabilitation.

Counselling psychologists may work with children, young people, adults, families, groups or at organisation level.

You could work in health centres, Improving Access to Psychology Therapist services (IAPT), community mental health teams, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), forensic settings, or education, research, or corporate institutions.

You may work with people experiencing bereavement and personal losses, or support people in relationship contexts or people who have been able to escape a situation where they were dealing with domestic violence or sexual abuse. You will support people with all sorts of traumas and mental health problems.

BSc (Hons) Counselling Psychology could lead to a career as a professional psychologist in:

  • Industry
  • Teaching
  • Working with children, adults and families
  • IT
  • Media
  • Computing
  • Marketing
  • Civil Service

Becoming a Chartered Counselling Psychologist

After your degree you may choose to work in one of the settings mentioned above, or you could become a chartered counselling psychologist through a BSP accredited doctorate or stage 2 training in counselling psychology.

This BSc (Hons) Counselling Psychology degree has the status of the Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) with the BPS. You will need a Graduate Basis to progress to specialist areas of psychology and become a Chartered Psychologist.

Further Studies

You may choose to continue your studies to postgraduate level.

Course Costs

Course Fees 2022/23

UK fee
International fee

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 offers (individual offers may vary):

tariff points from A levels or combination with AS / EPQ / BTEC/ Cambridge Technical.
C/4 or better
English language and mathematics.
6.0 overall
with a minimum 5.5 in writing or equivalent if English is not your first language.

Non-standard Application Entry Routes

The University has an alternative entry route for applicants who have relevant skills and experience but who do not hold the formal minimum entry qualifications required. Applicants who demonstrate the necessary skills and experience to enter a course of higher education will be asked to complete an entry task involving the completion of specially set assignments.

Are you interested in this course and would like to learn more? Please email Professor Esther Burkitt on for admissions queries.


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