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Postgraduate course

Counselling PG Dip/MA

Develop the knowledge and skills needed to become an effective and ethical counsellor on this BACP accredited course.

psychology with counselling students in classroom

The Postgraduate Diploma (Pg Dip) programme will appeal if you have prior counselling skills training and experience in a helping role. Once you have completed the part-time Pg Dip you can study towards the MA in Counselling. The PG Dip is accredited by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). You will be encouraged to seek student membership of BACP.

York campus

  • Duration – 2 years part-time (PGDip) | 3 years part-time (MA)
  • Start date – September 2020
  • School – Psychological & Social Sciences

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2020-21 £4,000

    International 2020-21 N/A

Course overview

The PG Dip is a two year part-time course, designed for students with some prior counselling skills training and experience in a helping role. The theoretical basis of the course is humanistic-integrative. Equal weight is given to the study of counselling theory, counselling practice and personal development in the training of counsellors.

Our academics draw on a 30 year tradition of counsellor training at York St John University. They are experienced practitioners, trainers and active researchers.

The first year is devoted to exploring elements of the therapeutic relationship, preparation for practice and draws heavily on humanistic theory and practice.

The second year builds on the subjects from the first year of study and explores the contribution of other models of counselling. You will get to develop a personally integrated style of therapeutic work, based on core humanistic competences, and draw on the possibilities offered by other approaches.

Should you choose to study for the MA, the two year PG Dip will be followed by a year of specialised research on a topic of your choice.

Professional accreditation

The PG Diploma is accredited by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). On successful completion of the PG Dip, you will be eligible to apply for membership of the BACP Register (register of psychological therapists accredited under the Professional Standards Authority accredited register programme).

Course structure

Year 1


Credits: 15

Compulsory module

This module is an introduction to humanistic counselling theory, current evidence and professional and practice issues. You will develop your professional and theoretical understanding through engagement with current theory, research and practice issues. You will address the contemporary social, cultural and political contexts which impact counselling.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module will equip you with the skills to effectively and ethically practice humanistic counselling. You will have the opportunity to practice, and receive feedback on, the use of counselling skills and management of the counselling process. The module will prepare and support you in undertaking a minimum of 40 contracted counselling hours. This will be in an organisation offering one to one supervised counselling to clients and is staffed by experienced practitioners.

Credits: 15

Compulsory module

On this module you will consider how your patterns of relating to yourself and others might impact your work with clients. Question whether the the impact would be constructive or detrimental. You will develop, work toward, review and assimilate personal development goals within practice and theory. The module explores the role of evolving self-awareness and self-acceptance in the development of effective, ethical and theory-informed practice.

Year 2


Credits: 15

Compulsory module

This module aims to deepen your understanding of humanistic theory. You will consider its place in the spectrum of counselling approaches. We will introduce you to different perspectives on the causes of psychological, behavioural and relational distress. Debate and examine the evidence for alternative viewpoints by examining the therapeutic efficacy of these approaches. You will explore your own developing approach to practice.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module extends and deepens your understanding of professional practice and supervision. You will further develop your counselling practice through creative and resourceful approaches. As in year one, you will continue to engage in contracted counselling placements to complete the required 150 hours.

Credits: 15

Compulsory module

This module enables you to build a deeper understanding of theory that can enhance your personal development. In Year 2 seminars are predominantly student-facilitated. The module provides opportunities to develop and review personal and professional developmental goals. Extend your understanding of self-awareness and self-acceptance. Apply this understanding to the development of effective ethical theory-based practice.

Year 3


Credits: 60

MA qualification only

Develop as an consumer and producer of research on this module. You will explore different approaches to knowledge construction. This includes research designs, research methods and the ethical principles which guide research. You will then apply this knowledge by planning and conducting a piece of research. This will address an issue of significance in an area of academic or practical relevance. Your finished piece 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 one full day per week in term time. There is one compulsory residential weekend (usually in late January or early February) in each academic year. 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 150 hours of supervised face-to-face client work.

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

For the MA you will study one module and assessment will be via a research paper.

Entry Requirements


You must have a first 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.

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 PG diploma in counselling.

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.


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 & EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man  2020 - 21

The tuition fee for 2020 entry to the Counselling PG Diploma are £4,000 per year for UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

The tuition fee for 2020 entry to the Counselling MA are £4,000 per year for the first two years. The tuition fee for the final year is £2,000.

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 £4,000

    International 2020-21 N/A

Alumni Scholarships

If you are continuing to postgraduate study directly after studying at undergraduate level with us, we offer a reduction in fees depending on the classification of degree you achieve.

If you are graduating from an undergraduate degree at York St John University this year you could be entitled to:

  • a 50% reduction in course fees if you achieve a 1st
  • a 35% reduction if you achieve a 2:1
  • a 20% reduction if you achieve a 2:2

These reductions apply to all York and London-based taught MA, MBA, MSc and MRes courses, except for Physiotherapy (Pre-registration) MSc, Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration) MSc and all PCGE courses.

All York St John University alumni are eligible for a 10% reduction on their postgraduate course fees regardless of when you graduated. The 10% alumni discount will not be added on top of these reductions.

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.

Key dates

Monday 12 November

Applications open for PG Dip and MA Counselling starting in 2020.

Friday 1 May, 12pm

Applications close for PG Dip and MA Counselling starting in 2020.

Thursday 7 May, 12pm

All references and documentation, in support of applications, to be submitted.

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 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.

Due to the exceptional circumstances, we are all experiencing following the Coronavirus outbreak and the social distancing restrictions imposed by the Government, we are currently reviewing our entry criteria and the interview process for both the PgDip and MA counselling courses.

We are aware that this is impacting teaching of the Level 3 Counselling Skills certificate at some institutions and our academic team are currently reviewing this entry condition. 

Once a final decision has been made we will update the website with more information.

We would like to reassure applicants that this course will go ahead from September  2020.

The decision has been made to extend the application deadline date to allow applicants additional time to apply during this difficult period

Applications will close at 12pm on Friday 1st May.

All documentation must be received by Admissions no later than 12pm on Thursday 7th May 2020.

Any incomplete applications will be rejected at this point.

Apply now: MA Counselling

Apply now: Postgraduate Diploma Counselling

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