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Postgraduate course

Doctorate of Counselling Psychology DCounsPsy

Elevate your career with this postgraduate training pathway towards a career as a Counselling Psychologist.

psychology with counselling students in classroom

This programme provides the theoretical, clinical and research training for those wishing to work as a Counselling Psychologist. As a graduate of this programme, you will be eligible to apply for registration as a Practitioner Psychologist with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). The programme is also accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

  • Location – York campus
  • Duration – 3 years full-time
  • Start date – September 2020
  • School – Psychological & Social Sciences

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2020-21 £8,250

    International 2020-21 £12,750

Course overview

The 3-year, full-time programme places an emphasis on both cognitive-behavioural and humanistic approaches to the development of counselling and psychotherapy skills. The programme includes training in psychological assessment; psychotherapeutic interventions over the lifespan; clinical research methods; ethics and professional practice; a doctoral research dissertation; and requires a minimum of 450 hours of placement in clinical settings.

Students also undertake modules that develop the professional skills required of leaders and supervisors, and for working in diverse, multi-disciplinary teams.

Download our Programme Prospectus 

Course structure

Year 1


Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module will develop your core counselling and psychotherapy skills. It takes a critical thinking approach to the primary philosophical paradigms underpinning counselling psychology and develops an evidence-informed approach to the evaluation of therapy. You will undertake formal academic training in interviewing, counselling, developing and the therapeutic alliance. Explore the complex factors that inform the therapeutic relationship.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

30 credits | Compulsory This module provides you with the skills to complete comprehensive psychological assessments on adults and children. You will acquire skills for the selection, interpretation, and integration of assessment findings for some of the most commonly used psychological assessment measures. You will also develop the skills needed to write integrated psychological reports.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module will prepare you for your placements by focusing on your professional development as a psychologist. Ethical awareness and professional competencies will be developed. Topics include the practice of psychology in diverse settings, inter-and intra-professional relationships, risk assessment, case formulation and professional practice issues.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module focuses on advanced individual psychotherapy with particular emphasis on cognitive behavioural and humanistic therapies. You will develop and refine professional skills in the multimodal assessment process. We will focus on the integration of theory, case formulation and the practice of psychotherapy.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module focuses on models of science that underpin research in counselling psychology. It will cover quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods design. You will explore data collection, analysis and methodological approaches in the behavioural sciences. You will also examine the common flaws in quantitative research approaches and develop appropriate solutions.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module provides a theoretical knowledge of counselling psychology and psychotherapy. It integrates knowledge of developmental psychology across the lifespan with key theoretical perspectives. You will develop your knowledge and skills in planning interventions for a number of specific developmental issues that are addressed as exemplars of each stage of the lifespan.

Year 2


Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module builds the skills needed for working with individuals and groups. Examine key models for understanding group processes and develop practical skills in group leadership. We will encourage you to participate in group experiences and involve yourself in the planning of a common theme group in the community.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This is the start of your individual programme of original research. You will embark on a two-phase investigation (or a series of smaller studies), under the supervision of an academic member of staff. You will demonstrate your ability to undertake a coherent line of research which would merit publication. Your research proposal will also be approved by an ethics committee as part of this module.

Credits: 30 each

Compulsory module

The four placement modules will provide opportunities across a range of contexts. Each module has similar requirements but they apply to different treatment groups and scenarios. These two modules each contains a total of 144 hours of supervised clinical experience. You will have the opportunity to practise core clinical skills such as assessment, case conceptualisation and treatment of individuals, and groups. This will be conducted under the supervision of a registered psychologist. You will engage ethically with clients and other professionals in a dynamic professional setting.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module builds on your knowledge and skills in the field of individual therapy and interventions across the lifespan. It also extends these to the areas of couples and family therapy. Consider the keyframes for examining interactional patterns and strategies for bringing about change. It focuses on developmental and attachment-based approaches to couple and family therapy. Family life cycles, the influences of parental styles, and the bi-directional co-construction nature of parent-child interactions are focal points of the module.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

In this module you will implement the methodology of your research project. You will collect at least 60% of the data required for the dissertation in the course of this module. This may represent the first part, first phase, or the first study. To receive an un-graded pass in this module, you will need to demonstrate that you have met the data collection requirement, analysed the data, and completed a draft of the results section.

Year 3


Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module addresses psychopathology through a review of psychological disorders. You will base this on relevant diagnostic frameworks. These include the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Classification of Diseaeses (ICD). You will address Psychopharmacology in relation to each of the disorders. Together we will consider advanced psychotherapy skills and concepts for working with complex client populations. This includes ruptures in the therapeutic alliance, defences, transference, and counter-transference. Such psychotherapy processes are linked to understanding the personality structure, developmental processes, and psychopathology of the client, as well as the research on evidence-based practice.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

Finalise, analyse and write up the data you've collected over our there doctoral dissertation modules. You will complete you results section, write-up a draft of the discussion section, and submit a draft copy of your entire dissertation. To receive an un-graded pass in this module you must fulfil these requirements and provide evidence to your supervisor.

Credits: 30 each

Compulsory module

Building on the skills developed in Placement modules 1 and 2, these module each contain a total of 100 hours of supervised clinical experience. You will have the opportunity to practise core clinical skills such as assessment, case conceptualisation and treatment of individuals, groups and families under the supervision of a registered psychologist. You will will engage ethically with clients and other professionals in a dynamic professional setting.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module brings together the skills of clinical work and ethical and interpersonal competencies. We will cover legislative requirements relating to the practice of counselling psychology and the requirements for registration as a Counselling Psychologist. The module extends into leadership, supervision, mentorship, inter-professional work and clinical accountability. It engages you in the evidence-base around these advanced practice concepts.

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

In this module you will complete the write-up and final preparation of your dissertation. This is a culmination of your research activity, knowledge and skills from throughout the programme incorporating publication quality original research.

Teaching and assessment

Students develop the professional skills required of practitioner psychologists through small group class-work, and supervised placements in public health and community-based settings. Working with a research advisor, students also conduct an applied research project relevant to Counselling Psychology. Moodle, the University’s virtual learning environment, allows access to all supporting materials, resources, readings, and activities, and provides the platform for students’ e-portfolios (i.e., log of clinical placement activities).

Each of the 18 modules in the programme have separate assessments, for example a mix of: case reports, oral presentations, written reports, demonstrations of skills, and examinations. Requirements for each assessment are mapped to the BPS competencies and HCPC standards of proficiency, for a Counselling Psychologist.

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of learning support services to assist students throughout their studies.

Entry Requirements


To be eligible for entry to the programme, students will normally have:

  • A good honours degree which confers the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC)* with the British Psychological Society (BPS) or other Undergraduate degree with relevant conversion course.
  • This would normally be a minimum of 2:1 in Psychology; applicants with a lower degree but supplemented by additional Postgraduate study or relevant experience may also be considered.

*Please check the BPS website (under the list of accredited programmes) to check if your undergraduate degree confers GBC.

Additional requirements 

In addition to the above you will need to: 

  • Provide two references and a personal statement (maximum 1,000 words) along with your application. 
  • Obtain a satisfactory DBS Enhanced Disclosure.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to undertake personal therapy and clinical supervision. 


  • Shortlisted applicants are required to attend interviews in either May or June each year.

Admission to the programme is competitive, therefore the selection process strives to consider multiple aspects and qualities of individuals, be inclusive and accessible.

Fees and funding

UK & EU 2020 - 21

The tuition fee for 2020 entry to this postgraduate course is £8,250 for full-time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

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

The tuition fee for 2020 entry to this postgraduate course is £12,750 for international students.

Due to immigration laws, international students on a Tier 4 visa must be studying full-time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

More information about funding your studies is available on our International Fees and Funding page.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2020-21 £8,250 per year

    International 2020-21 £12,750 per year

Alumni Scholarships

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.

Career outcomes

Counselling Psychologists use psychological theory and research in therapeutic work to help clients with a range of mental health issues and distress. Clients can include children, adolescents, adults, families, couples and groups. Counselling Psychologists work across a diversity of health and social care environments (e.g., NHS, outpatient and inpatient units, community organisations, educational institutions, forensic settings), and in independent practice.

Apply for this course

Applications will open on Tuesday 7th January 2020  and close at 12pm on Monday  20th April 2020.

All documentation must be received by Admissions no later than 12pm on Thursday 23rd April 2020. Any incomplete applications will be rejected at this point.

The academic team will assess all applications together from 27th April 2020 and you will be notified of their decisions by the end of the week.

Successful applicants will be invited to a small MMI style interview process lasting for approximately 90 minutes on one of the following dates;

Friday 29 May and Friday 12 June 2020.

This is an interview application process only and  If you are unable to attend the interview you will not be considered for the programme.

Applications open 7th January 2020.

An Open Information Evening for the DCounsPsy will be held on 6 March 2020.

Applications will close on 20 April 2020.

Interviews will be held on Friday 29 May and Friday 12 June 2020.  

Book onto our Open Evening 

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