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Postgraduate Course

Counselling Children and Young People (11-18) MA, PG Dip

Grow your counselling experience and specialise as an effective counsellor for children and young people.

A group of students in a group practise their counselling skills

If you are a qualified counsellor with at least 2 years counselling experience, this course will allow you to work with children and young people in different therapeutic environments, in ethical and effective ways. We will train you in the theory, process and skills required by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

York campus

  • Duration – 2 years part time (MA), 18 months part time (PG Dip)
  • Start date – September 2022
  • School – School of Education, Language and Psychology

Minimum Entry Requirements

    Degree or other recognised professional qualification

    Certificate in Counselling Skills, or equivalent

Tuition Fees

    UK 2022-23 £5,000 per year part time

    International 2022-23 N/A per year part time

Discover why York St John University is The One

Course overview

This is a part time course that will help you to gain theoretical and practical experience of working with children and young people aged between 11 and 18 years. The theoretical basis of the course is humanistic-integrative, with equal weight given to the study of theory, developing the skills practice of working with children and young people and the exploration of your personal development. Our academic staff draw on a 30 year tradition of counsellor training at York St John University. We are experienced practitioners, trainers and active researchers. We actively adopt an anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-sexist approach in all of our teaching.

After your first term we will expect you to have secured a suitable placement. You will need to complete a total of 50 hours of supervised practice by the end of the course.

In your first year you will focus on:

  • Gaining the knowledge and understanding needed to work ethically and therapeutically with children and young people
  • Developing practice skills while working within a placement setting
  • Developing yourself as a practitioner using a personal development model

Your second year builds on the theoretical and experiential framework created in your first year.

You can leave with a Postgraduate Diploma award (PG Dip), after completing year 1 and the first term of year 2. If you want to leave with the full MA award you will go on to study a further 2 terms. In this time you will study a research theory and practice module and complete a dissertation module in your final term.

Course structure

How you will study

You can only study this postgraduate course part time. This allows you to fit your studies around other commitments.

If you choose to study for the Pg Dip, the course will take 18 months to complete.

If you choose to study for the MA, the course will take 2 years to complete. Your first year is the same whether you intend to achieve an MA or a PG Dip.

You will study 3 compulsory modules.

You can find out which modules are available in each term in the Course Specifications.


Credits: 15

Compulsory module

This module is your introduction to counselling children and young people (CYP). You will explore the current theoretical and practical aspects of CYP. Learn about ethical approaches, professional practice, safeguarding and effective communication with CYP. You will also examine the practicalities of working with CYP in counselling settings. The other topics you will explore include:

  • Recognising children’s mental health issues
  • Young people’s transitions
  • Working with beginnings and endings
  • Carrying out risk assessments.

Credits: 15

Compulsory module

Explore how your pattern of working with others can both positively and detrimentally affect your work with children and young people. You will develop, work toward and review development goals within a placement practice. We help you to examine your growing awareness of working with CYP clients by considering the factors that influenced your own development and growth. These factors have helped make you the adult you are today. Areas of study include:

  • Ethical issues in professional practice
  • Working with peers and clients in counselling practice
  • Developing humanistic theories of personal development.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

Build on your existing counselling skills and develop them so you are able to work ethically and safely with children and young people. After term 1 you will be working in a suitable placement setting where you will be counselling children and young people (CYP). In class you will have the opportunity to develop your skills, reflect on your counselling approach and receive constructive feedback from your peers. Within this module you will also have the opportunity to explore your ‘inner adolescent’ and reflect upon the ethical and practical issues surrounding working in a 1 to 1 counselling setting with CYP.

Year 2

If you choose to study for the PG Dip, the course will take 18 months to complete.

In your second year you will study 3 compulsory modules.

If you choose to study for the MA, the course will take 2 years to complete. In your second year you will study:

  • 3 compulsory modules
  • 1 Research Investigation module

You can find out which modules are available in each term in the Course Specifications.


Credits: 15

Compulsory module

This module builds upon the theoretical approaches introduced in year 1 to help you work ethically and safely with children and young people. Further your knowledge by covering different counselling related issues, such as:

  • Cultural diversity
  • Working with young people’s emotions
  • Engaging constructively with parents and carers.

We will also explore the practical issues you might face when working with young people. This includes covering how to use outcome measures, multi-agency working and counselling within different therapeutic settings.

Credits: 15

Compulsory module

On this module you will develop and review your personal and professional developmental goals when working with children and young people. Build a deeper understanding of the theory that can help enhance your personal development. In Year 2 your seminars will mainly be facilitated by students.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module you will extend and deepen your counselling skills when working with children and young people. You will further develop your counselling practice using creative and resourceful approaches. This will help you to develop more of an understanding of the relationship between your ‘inner adolescent’ and your counselling clients. At the end of this module you will be expected to have achieved 50 placement hours. If you wish to gain the PG Dip in Counselling Children and Young People, you can exit the course at this point provided you have successfully passed all of the relevant module assessments.

Credits: 60

Compulsory module for MA award only

If you want to work towards the MA award you will need to submit a research proposal in term 2 and a final dissertation in term 3. You will build your awareness of being both a consumer and producer of research on the final modules. You will explore different approaches to knowledge construction including research designs, research methods and the ethical principles that guide research. You will apply this knowledge by planning and conducting a piece of independent research, guided by a supervisor from the teaching team. The independent research will address an issue of significance in an area of academic or practical relevance. Your finished dissertation will take the format of a peer-reviewed journal.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

The course runs part time over 30 weeks, starting in September and finishing in June. You will attend 1 full day a week in term time. A contact day will normally contain elements of counselling theory, counselling practice, peer supervision and personal development activities.

You will learn through:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Small group work
  • Individual tutorials

You will also need to conduct independent study outside of this time.

You will have access to multiple sources of support including an induction at the start of the course. We also offer support in careers and digital training. In addition to tutorial time, support is offered on study skills such as:

  • Finding resources and referencing
  • Critical thinking and writing
  • Time management
  • Planning assignments
  • Proofreading and presentation skills

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


You will be assessed through coursework. This comprises of written assignments, such as casework and supervision records, reflections on personal development and assessment of practical skills.

For the MA you will study 1 further module. The assessment for this will be through a research paper.

Entry requirements


Minimum Entry Requirements

    Degree or other recognised professional qualification

    Certificate in Counselling Skills, or equivalent


  • You must have a degree or other recognised professional qualification.
  • You must have satisfactorily completed, or be currently in the process of completing, a Certificate in Counselling Skills, or equivalent.

If you do not have the traditional academic qualifications for postgraduate study, but satisfy the criteria around professional experience, you can undertake the Access to Postgraduate Study module (COU6006M), as part of the entry process.

Access to Postgraduate Study

10 credits | Optional

This module provides an entry route if you would like to join the course but do not have an undergraduate degree. It is designed to develop your knowledge and understanding of a range of key academic study skills, including comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, reflection and evaluation. This will help prepare you for postgraduate level study. Material relevant to counselling professions will be used and evaluated. You will be encouraged to extend your learning by sharing knowledge and resources within the group.

Work Experience

You must have experience of the use of counselling skills at work, in education, helping professions or in voluntary agencies.

Progression onto the MA is achieved through successful completion of the Counselling Children and Young People (11-18) PG Dip.


If your application meets the entry criteria you will be offered an interview.

International Students

Unfortunately, this course is not open to international students.

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and Funding

UK 2022 - 2023 entry

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to the PG Dip is £6,667 for 18 months, part time.

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to the MA is £10,000:

  • £5,000 per year for 2 years, part time

These costs apply to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Postgraduate loans are available to help you pay for your master’s course. Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

Funding opportunities


Tuition Fees

    UK 2022-23 £5,000 per year part time

    International 2022-23 N/A per year part time

Alumni Scholarships

If you are alumni of York St John University we have scholarships available to help you continue your studies.

Scholarships for alumni

Additional costs and financial support

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Career outcomes

Where could Counselling Children and Young People take you?

This course is for qualified counsellors who want to go on to specialise in working with children and young people. On graduation you will be equipped to work with children and young people in settings such as:

  • Schools and colleges
  • Healthcare
  • Social care
  • Youth services and agencies
  • Children's centres
  • Voluntary sector care agencies

Stand out from the crowd with postgraduate study.

Far fewer people have postgraduate degrees than undergraduate qualifications. This gives you something extra to set yourself apart in a competitive graduate job market. Those with a postgraduate qualification will earn an average of £8,000 a year more than those with only an undergraduate degree. (Department For Education Graduate Labour Market Report 2019)

Our careers service, LaunchPad, provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support does not end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain the experience and confidence you need to succeed.

Apply for this course

For postgraduate degrees you must apply directly to York St John University using the links below. This will take you to the application form you need to fill out for this specific course.

To complete the online application form you will need to create login details.

Please contact 2 referees before submitting your application. An automated request for a reference will be emailed to them as soon as you submit. Your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Apply now: Part time, MA

Apply now: Part time, PG Dip

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