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Undergraduate Course

Counselling and Mental Health BA (Hons)

This course is your chance to help people make positive personal change in a range of circumstances. You can make a real difference to people's lives.

Students talking in room

Develop the knowledge and awareness you need to help people in different situations. With placements every year and weekly skills practice, you will learn how to apply your knowledge and skills in professional settings. We have been teaching counselling for over 30 years. We are ready to share our expertise with you and help you grow as a person.

York campus

  • UCAS code – BX91
  • Duration – 3 years full time
  • Start date – September 2024, September 2025
  • School – School of Education, Language and Psychology

Minimum entry requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Tuition fees

    UK 2024 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2024 entry £14,000 per year full time

Discover Counselling

Lauren Hunt, Lecturer in Counselling, introducesus to Counselling BA at York St John University. 

Course overview

Our course gives you the knowledge you need to make a difference. Help people in a range of situations with confidence and care. While studying with us you will:

  • Explore the theories and research methods used in counselling and mental health
  • Develop the skills and professionalism you need to achieve your career goals
  • Gain practical experience that gets you ready for the workplace
  • Apply your knowledge on placements and build a professional network
  • Discover all the career opportunities this course opens up

This course is about more than learning the facts, it's a chance to discover who you are and what matters to you. We will help you reflect on your values and how they align with your ambitions.

If you are not sure what you want to do after university, we can help you explore your options. If you already know what you want to do, we can help you get there by giving you the skills and experience you need.

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. This course can only be studied full time.

In your first year you will study: 

  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 1 
  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 2

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


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module is your introduction to the theory and practice of an approach called humanistic helping. You will explore the concepts of this practice by studying:

  • The attitudes of empathy
  • The idea that clients are experts of their lived experiences
  • The requirement to follow and facilitate rather than lead and solve

You will also take part in workshops where we will teach you practical facilitative skills like active listening, using open questions and understanding the roles and responsibilities of helpers and clients.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will develop the academic skills needed to thrive as an independent learner. You will take part in different activities that let you practise your academic study skills. Together we will explore different ways of learning, so you can identify the methods that work best for you. You will also examine research on different subjects so you gain a basic understanding of research methods and protocols.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will study the theories and ethics of humanistic psychology. You will explore its cultural and historical background and consider the philosophical ideas that inform humanistic theory, practice and research. While studying, you will focus on counselling and how you can apply the theories you have learnt to your practical skills in helping others.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will build on the knowledge you gained in Foundations of Helping Relationships. You will explore how to apply the humanistic approach to helping and develop your theoretical understanding. You will also study advanced practical skills such as:

  • Working with silence
  • Advanced empathy
  • Authentic presence
  • Effective structuring
  • Challenging your client's thoughts productively

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module will help you prepare for your 20 hour placement. You will explore the concept of professionalism and the field of professional ethics and law. Once you have completed your placement, you will reflect on your experiences. On this module you will also examine the different occupations available to you once you graduate. This will give you the space to explore your aspirations and future career opportunities.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will learn how factors such as gender, class, ethnicity and sexuality can impact upon personal experience. You will think about how these factors might effect the dynamics of helping. We will encourage you to confront the nature and origins of cultural assumptions and question how these might impact upon your development as a non-discriminatory helper in a diverse environment.

Year 2

In your second year you will study:

  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 1
  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 2

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


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module we will introduce you to 2 approaches to practice: the Psychodynamic, and the Cognitive-Behavioural. You will study the history of each and consider how they have developed over time. Together we will examine the key psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioural theorists and explore their ideas. Along with studying these 2 approaches, you will have the opportunity to incorporate some of these ideas into weekly skills sessions to help widen your repertoire of helping practice.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will further develop your understanding of mental health and critically examine the challenges of contemporary mental health practice and policy. You will also be introduced to key concepts relating to recovery, formulation, co-production, and multi-disciplinary approaches to mental health care.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will develop your understanding of the workplace and your future career. We will explore professional ethics and examine important legal issues that can arise in counselling, coaching and mentoring. You will also prepare for and undertake a 50 hour placement in a setting that relates to your career objectives. Reflecting on your placement experiences and the effect it has had on your future career ambitions will help you understand what you have learnt, and how you have applied it.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will explore the theories that inform the subject and learn how to structure and facilitate coaching conversations. We will introduce you to the social and historical background of coaching so you can understand its past and present. In your skills workshops you will cover:

  • Identifying goals
  • Questioning to raise awareness
  • Contracting for accountability
  • Applying different coaching models

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will take a detailed look at research methods. You will develop your understanding of the different methods used in counselling research and the types of knowledge they produce. This will include looking at both qualitative and quantitative methods and considering the ethics of the research you cover.


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will examine the reasons for someone seeking help and how they can be addressed. You will consider the clients’ lived experiences of these issues and explore the theoretical approaches to working with them, focusing on counselling. We will cover presenting issues such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance abuse
  • Disordered eating
  • Psychosis
  • Trauma

Year 3

In your third year you will study:

  • 1 Independent Research Project module across semesters 1 and 2
  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 1
  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 2

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


Credits: 20 each

Compulsory module

Throughout these modules you will focus on developing your understanding of helping practices. We will work on your ability to facilitate client-responsive processes and your self-awareness. In lectures you will explore different theories, approaches and critiques in helping professions. We will allocate you to a skills group that focuses on your career ambitions. These will help develop your narrative techniques, your process awareness and more. They are also a chance for you to hone your skills and learn to select the right approaches for different situations.

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

This module is your chance to carry out research in an area of counselling that you are really interested in. We will support you to develop an idea and write a research proposal. You will then engage in independent learning to complete your project with the 1 to 1 support of an academic tutor. By the end of the module you will have conducted a research project from start to finish and will have completed a dissertation to present your findings.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will continue to develop as a reflective and ethically aware professional. You will learn about the key theories and models of supervision practice, helping you to understand its purpose in helping professions. This will include engaging in supervision groups with your classmates to develop your skills and further your understanding. Over semester 1 and 2 you will complete a further 40 hours of placement in a setting relevant to your career aspirations.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

We have designed this module to help you successfully transition into graduate level work or further training. You will continue to engage in workshops to enhance your supervision and facilitation skills. We will also introduce new theories, including self-hood, identity and organisation. You will also explore methods of professional appraisal. At the end of the module you will complete a feedback process that will encourage you to critique and reflect on your identity as a professional helper.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

We deliver your modules through:

  • Interactive lectures
  • Skills workshops
  • Seminars and small group discussions
  • Supervision groups

You will usually take 3 modules per semester. Each has 3 to 4 hours of contact time a week. We schedule our taught sessions between 9.00am and 8.00pm, Monday to Friday.

You will need to conduct independent study outside of this time. This might include reading, writing tasks and research. You can also arrange academic tutorials to receive feedback on your work and discuss the course content.

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 complete a period of work placement each academic year. By the end of the course you will have completed at least 110 hours of placement activity.

You will research and organise your own placements, but we will guide you through the process.


Assessment types vary from module to module. Some of your assessments might include:

  • Essays and written assignments
  • Presentations
  • Portfolios
  • Research projects
  • Written personal reflections
  • Skills demonstrations

For each assessment you will have the chance to talk to a tutor about your work before submission. Each assessment will be marked and returned with feedback so you can improve your academic writing.

Professional Skills

We will teach you professional helping skills through weekly skills workshops. You will then apply and perfect these skills during your placements.

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Counselling and Mental Health

This course will prepare you for a career in counselling. You will develop empathy and the ability to think under pressure. The skills you gain in communication, collaboration and analysis will open up a range of options in related careers.

This degree could be the first step toward your career as a:

  • Counsellor
  • Careers adviser
  • Family support worker
  • Life coach
  • Youth worker

You can also progress onto postgraduate study and professional training in areas such as:

  • Counselling
  • Social work
  • Education
  • Mental health nursing

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.


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.

Entry requirements


Minimum entry requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

International students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

This course is available with a foundation year

If you do not yet meet the minimum requirements for entry straight onto this degree course, or feel you are not quite ready for the transition to Higher Education, this is a great option for you. Passing a foundation year guarantees you a place on this degree course the following academic year.

Education, Childhood and Counselling foundation year

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

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

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK, or internationally (outside the UK). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK 2024 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry onto this course is £9,250 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page.

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

Tuition fees

    UK 2024 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2024 entry £14,000 per year full time

International 2024 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this course is £14,000 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Student Visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree.

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

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

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

For detailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses.

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email

Course highlights

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