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Postgraduate course

Counselling Children and Young People (11 to 18) MA/PG Dip

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

Counselling room

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 and 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 – 18 months part time for PGDip, 2 years part time for MA
  • Start date – September 2021
  • School – School of Education, Language and Psychology

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021-22 £5,000 per year part time

    International 2021-22 N/A per year part time

Course overview

This is a 2 year part time course that helps counselling practitioners 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 team are experienced practitioners and trainers who are active researchers and draw on a 30-year tradition of counsellor training.

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.

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

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

Course structure

Year 1

For postgraduate study, our academic year is split into 3 terms.

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

Your length of study will depend on whether you want to achieve a master's qualification (MA) or a postgraduate diploma (PGDip).

Year 1 is the same whether you intend to achieve an MA or a PGDip. You will study 3 compulsory modules across terms 1, 2 and 3.


Credits: 15

Compulsory module

This module is your introduction to counselling children and young people (CYP) and you will cover 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
  • Carrying out risk assessments.

Credits: 15

Compulsory module

Explore how your pattern of working with adult clients can both positively and detrimentally affect your work with children and young people. You will develop, work toward and review development goals within your placement practice and your self development. We help you to examine your growing awareness of working with CYP clients, by considering the factors that 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 you are able to work ethically and safely with children and young people. After term 1 we expect you to be working in a suitable placement setting where 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 ethical and practical issues surrounding working in a 1 to 1 counselling setting with CYP.

Year 2

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

If you are studying for a PGDip, in your second year you will study:

  • 3 compulsory modules in term 1

If you are studying for a MA, in your second year you will study:

  • 3 compulsory modules in term 1
  • 1 Research Investigation module across terms 2 and 3.


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 growing 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. 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.

Credits: 60

Compulsory module - MA only

If you want to work towards the MA award you 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 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

We deliver your modules through:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Small group work
  • Individual tutorials.

The course runs 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 need to conduct independent study outside of this time. This might include reading, writing tasks and research. You can also arrange individual tutorials with your module tutors in term time to receive feedback on your work and discuss the course content.


We will assess you through coursework. There are no written exams. Some of your assessments might include:

  • Essays
  • Casework
  • Presentations
  • Assessment of practical skills
  • Reflections on personal development.

On each module you will receive ongoing feedback on your work from staff and peers. Each assessment will be marked and returned with feedback so you can improve your work.

Career outcomes

Your future with a Counselling Children and Young People postgraduate degree.

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 does not 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.

Entry Requirements


The minimum entry requirements for this course are: 

  • A 2:1 degree in a related subject or other recognised professional qualification
  • An initial counsellor training qualification for working with adults
  • Membership of a recognised professional body such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Additional Requirements

For entry onto this course, you will also need:

  • Counselling practice experience with adults or children
  • To identify and arrange a placement at a children or young person's organisation. You will need to attend this placement after term 1 of your first year.

An Access module is available if you meet the professional experience criteria but do not have the required academic qualifications. This Access module runs in July.



If your application is successful we will invite you to attend an interview. A place on this course is subject to a successful application and interview.

International Students

Unfortunately, this course is not open to international students. Discover the other courses we offer. 

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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 & EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man  2021 - 22

The tuition fees for 2021 entry for UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students are:

  • £10,000 charged over 2 years for the MA 
  • £6,667 for the Postgraduate Diploma

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

International (non-EU) 2021 - 22

This course is not open to international students. 

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021-22 £5,000 per year part time

    International 2021-22 N/A per year part time

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.

Apply for this course

You can apply directly to the course via the link below. 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.

Applications for this course are now clsoed. They will re-open in September 2022. 


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