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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.

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

York campus

  • Duration – 2 years part time
  • Start date – September 2020
  • School – School of Education, Language and Psychology

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2020-21 £10,000 (£5,000 per year)

    International 2020-21 N/A

Course overview

This is a 2 year part time course which helps counselling practitioners gain theoretical and practical experience of working with children and young people aged between 11 to 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 own personal development. Our team are experienced practitioners and trainers who are active researchers and draw on a 30-year tradition of counsellor training.

After your first term you will be expected 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.

The second year builds upon the theoretical and experiential framework created in year one.

You can leave with a PG Dip award after fully 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 go on to complete a dissertation module in your final term.

Course structure

Year 1


Credits: 15

Compulsory module

This is an introduction to counselling children and young people (CYP) and covers both current theoretical and practical aspects. You will learn about ethical approaches, professional practice, safeguarding and effective communication with CYP. You will also explore the practicalities of working with CYP in counselling settings. Other theoretical areas include recognising children’s mental health issues, young people’s transitions, working with beginnings and endings and carrying out risk assessments.  

Credits: 15

Compulsory module

Explore how your pattern of relating to adult clients may impact both positively and detrimentally on your work with children and young people. You will develop, work toward, review and assimilate development goals within your placement practice and your own self development. We help you to examine your growing awareness of working with CYP clients, by considering the range of factors which influenced your own childhood development and growth. These factors have helped make you the adult you are today.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

Build on your existing counselling skills and develop them so that you are able to work ethically and safely with children and young people. After term 1 you will be expected to be working in a suitable placement setting in which you will be counselling 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 range of ethical and practical issues surrounding working in a one-to-one counselling setting with CYP.

Year 2


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 a wide range of counselling related issues, such as cultural diversity, working with young people’s emotions and engaging constructively with parents and carers. We also explore practical issues when working with young people, including using outcome measures, multi-agency working and counselling within different therapeutic settings.

Credits: 15

Compulsory module

Through 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 seminars are predominantly student-facilitated.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module extends and deepens your growing counselling skills when working ethically and safely 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. Students wishing to gain the PG Dip in Counselling Children and Young People can exit the programme at this point provided they have successfully passed all of the relevant module assessments.

Year 2, terms 2 and 3 

(MA only)


Credits: 60

Compulsory module

If you want to work towards the full MA award you will need to complete a research methods module in term 2 and a 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 which 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

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

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. Over the two years you will also complete 50 hours of supervised face-to-face client work.


The course provides integrated training in theory, process and skills as prescribed by the BACP. All modules are compulsory.

For the MA you will study 1 extra module and your final assessment will be via a research paper.

Entry requirements


You must have a 2:2 undergraduate degree in a related subject or other recognised professional qualification.

You must hold an initial counsellor training qualification for working with adults.

You must be a member of a recognised professional body (such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy).

If you do not have the traditional academic qualifications for postgraduate study, but satisfy the criteria around professional experience, you can undertake the Access module (3ID130), as part of the entry process. Please note the Access module runs in July 2020.

Work Experience

You must have experience of counselling practice working with adults or children.

You must be able to identify and arrange a suitable counselling placement in a children or young person’s organisation. You will be expected to attend this after the first term of year 1.


You will be interviewed prior to being offered a place on the course and subject to submitting a successful application.

International Students

This course is not open to international students.

Fees and funding

UK and EU 2020 - 21

The tuition fee for 2020 entry to the Counselling Children and Young People programme is £10,000 for UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

This fee is paid annually. As this programme is delivered over 2 years on a part time basis, you would pay £5,000 per year. 

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

International (non-EU) 2020 - 21

This course is not open to international students.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2020-21 £10,000 (£5,000 per year)

    International 2020-21 N/A

Alumni Scholarships

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

Scholarships for Alumni

Additional costs and financial support


Whilst 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.


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

Career outcomes

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

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.
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 doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed. It's your career, your way.

Apply for this course

You can apply directly to the course via our Apply Now links. Please select the variant of the course that you intend to undertake (e.g. full-time or part-time) as the link will take you to a customised form for the specific course. You will need to create a login and password and complete the online form. Please contact two referees in advance of submitting your application as an automated request will go out as soon as you submit, and your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

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