PGDip Counselling and Psychotherapy
Counselling and Coaching
On campus, dual delivery
This long-established and hugely popular course is fully accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
It is designed to provide training in an integrative approach to counselling and psychotherapy. It will enable you to develop your own synthesis within a framework which is not tied to a particular theoretical school or perspective. We follow current research into what actually works in counselling and psychotherapy, which means we use an integrative approach, employing a variety of techniques to respond to the needs and preferences of individual clients.
Typically, students on this course will have first degrees in other subjects, and they may be employed either part-time or full-time.
You may be working in health, social care or education – but you don’t have to be.
Whether you leave after completing the interim diploma or go on to do the final year for the MA qualification, you will have the foundation to develop as a counsellor/psychotherapist.
Both qualifications entail completing 100 hours of supervised work, which will be undertaken on a placement which you have to secure for yourself. However, the school has established links with many agencies and practices where our students have worked over the years.
You may take these skills back into your workplace, use them for a change of career, or develop your own specialist practice.
Accredited by the BACP
Accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) since 1990, the longest running BACP accredited programme in the UK.
Focused on therapy
This programme is founded on a secure evidence base for what works in therapy, rather than any particular modality or theoretical school
A Different Approach
We have a strong emphasis on skills and the development of a collaborative therapeutic relationship, where the client is actively involved in developing the goals of their therapy, the ways their issues are conceptualised, and the approaches used.
What we're researching
UEL’s School of Psychology was ranked equal first in the country in terms of the impact of its research, beating Oxford and Cambridge.
The Research Excellence Framework is a six-yearly review by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
In 2014, it rated 43 per cent of our research as ‘internationally excellent’ and a further 25 per cent as ‘world-leading’ – the highest accolade. It added that UEL’s School of Psychology was one of only four in the country whose research had a ‘100 per cent impact’ at the highest level.
Dr Francisco Jose Eiroa-Orosa researches the understanding of psychosocial wellbeing in the context of complex multi-dimensional problems such as addictions, trauma, migration or social change.
Dr Tim Lomas has explored the impact of meditation on men’s wellbeing, using a mixed-methods design comprising narrative interviews, cognitive testing, and EEG measurement.
Dr Christian van Nieuwerburgh is an internationally recognised academic and consultant whose ground-breaking research concerns his specialist area of coaching and mentoring, in which he conducts numerous international collaborations.
Dr Kate Hefferon’s work was the first to link participation in physical activity with post-traumatic growth. She has conducted several evaluation studies on the role of physical activity during and following breast cancer.
Among last year’s publications by Principal Lecturer Donald Ridley, who is a specialist in organisational development in the public sector in the former Soviet Union, are Safety management - the lessons of experience and The unspeakable and the sublime - the relationship between Stalin and Shostakovich.
Over the past few years Dr Aneta Tunariu has delivered psychological interventions in the UK and abroad working with disenfranchised young people to foster the development of positive identities, emotional resourcing and positive future perspectives.
Currently, Dr Tunariu is engaged in projects focusing on individual capacity for growth and resilience as a means of combating the risk of young people adopting radical belief systems.
Making a difference
UEL is one of the UK’s leading modern research universities. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), 17 per cent of our overall research submission was classified as ‘world-leading’ for its quality and impact – almost double our previous REF score. A further 45 per cent of our work was considered ‘internationally excellent’.
How you'll learn
Please note: teaching takes place over two academic years on a part-time basis, one day a week, which remains the same for the two years you are with us (plus three Saturday workshops each academic year). The cohort for 2020 will meet at the Stratford Campus on either Wednesdays or Thursdays.
There is no facility to complete this course full-time. Because we are BACP accredited, the course must be completed in full and we do not accept any prior qualifications gained in counselling and psychotherapy. However, that experience may well strengthen your application.
If you decide to stay on for the third-year MA top-up, it is over one calendar year, part-time. You will have your own academic supervisor.
Once you have passed assessments in the first term you will be eligible to secure a placement and start recording hours of supervised client work.
If you have not reached 100 hours before the end of your second year, you have another year to make up the total in order to qualify for your diploma.
A maximum group total of 25 students in years one and two and 20 in year three will ensure you will benefit from an excellent student/tutor ratio.
Our teaching team have extensive clinical experience and have written and published widely. Several have or still do contribute to the work of BACP committees.
You will develop your practical skills in our suite of six on-campus interview rooms with video recording and playback equipment. There is an emphasis on working in groups and the programme contains regular interactive structured exercises.
Other modes of learning include workshops, lectures, clinical supervision groups, personal therapy, individual tutorials, self-directed private study and assessed written assignments.
“Current research shows that the theoretical approach is by no means the most important thing in counselling and psychotherapy,” says Course Leader Gordon Jinks. “It’s about responding to the individual needs of the client sitting in front of you.”
Who will teach on this course
The teaching team includes qualified academics, practitioners and industry experts as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.
Fees and funding
The scholarship is open to full-time and part-time UK and EU students of taught postgraduate courses. *Exclusions apply.
Find out more about full eligibility criteria and how to apply.Terms and conditions apply.
How we can help youDid you know that with a postgraduate qualification you can expect to earn more than someone who only holds an undergraduate degree?
If you want to build new skills, change career paths, or further your career prospects, a postgraduate degree can help you. Our range of scholarships and bursaries will make financing your education that much easier. Below is some of the funding available to support you in your studies:
- Alumni Discount – up to 15% fee waiver *exclusions apply. Please see Alumni Discount page for information.
- Early Payment Discount – 5% fee waiver
- Asylum Seekers scholarship – 100% fee waiver
- Civic Engagement – £1,000
- Hardship Bursary – up to £2,000
- Sport Scholarships – Up to £6,000
Terms and conditions apply.
• By telephone
• In person at our Docklands or Stratford campus
• Bank transfer
The Student Money Advice and Rights Team (SMART) are here to help you navigate
your finances while you're a student at the University of East London.
We can give you advice, information and guidance on government and
university funds so that you receive your full funding entitlement.
Phone: 020 8223 4444
Tuition fees are subject to annual change. Fees for future years will be published in due course.
We recommend all students looking to get funding through a student loan from SFE, apply for the MA programme. The Postgraduate Diploma is awarded after two years and constitutes the first two years of the full MA. Successful Diploma students can continue to a third year of study and achieve their Masters degree. Some students are happy to leave after two years with their Diploma. However, it is not possible to get funding for the Diploma, so if funding is desired, apply for the Masters.
As part of the Tier 4 student visa requirements, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) estimate that you will need £1,265* per month to cover your living costs. It includes expenses for accommodation, food and drink, travel within London, text books, entertainment, clothing, toiletries and laundry. Most Tier 4 students are required to show they have sufficient funds to cover the first nine months of the course before they start- a total of £11,385- in addition to the tuition fees. You can find more information about the specific requirements of the Tier 4 student visa here. The amount that you will spend can vary depending on your lifestyle. The UKCISA International Student Calculator can help you plan and manage your money.* Please note the Immigration Rules are subject to change and this figure is likely to be increased by UKVI year on year. Please therefore check our ISA page for more information at the time of preparing your visa application.
International students are required to pay a deposit prior to being issued a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).
Your remaining balance will be paid in five monthly instalments over your first term. The first of these instalments must be paid when completing your enrolment on arrival at UEL. Please follow the payment instructions here.
After the required payment has been made, you will be asked to complete the online International Student Reply Form to confirm your acceptance of our offer and of our terms of admittance and fees policy.
We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths.
What you'll learn
The course is designed to provide an education and training in an integrative approach to psychological counselling and therapy to a level appropriate for safe, ethical and effective practice.
Topics of study on the Diploma, which constitutes the BACP-accredited training course, include: theory and practice of counselling and psychotherapy; models for integration; theoretical frameworks (for example, person-centred, cognitive-behavioural, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and gestalt); and professional and clinical studies – including the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice.
You will also engage in practical skills training, personal development and clinical supervision. You will also study social context/multiculturalism and common client presenting problems, including mental health issues.
If you choose to stay on for a third year to take your MA, your work will be based on clinical practice and an independent research project or dissertation.
What you'll study
We consistently review and develop our courses and modules to ensure they are up-to-date with sector and industry graduate skills demands. Course structure, modules and options are subject to change.
Year 1 - Module 1 - Counselling and Psychotherapy: Self, Skills and Theory 1 and 2
Main topics of study:
- Core Model and approaches to theoretical and technical integration
- Transtheoretical Integrative Process Model (Core Model)
- Core Model theory: themes and stage related skills and strategies, therapeutic alliance; application of theory to practice
- Assessment and therapeutic planning
- Boundaries, contracting and beginning, ending, process and outcome goals
- Case notes and legal issues
- Social context and multiculturalism
- Journal writing
- Transition and Life Span development
- Coping with stress; assertiveness
- Personal therapy; Open circle; Peer Support Groups
- Core and generic skills; qualities, attitudes and values
- Interpersonal Process Recall and reflection as an integral part of practice
- BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice
- Clinical supervision
- Client work placement
Year 2 - Module 2 - Counselling and Psychotherapy: Application and Integration
Main topics of study:
- Alternative approaches, for example, person-centred, cognitive-behavioural, mindfulness based cognitive therapy, gestalt, solution focus, and narrative.
- Principles and mechanisms of change
- Integrating concepts and techniques
- Common client presenting problems, for example, anxiety, depression, phobias, chronic insomnia, suicide, PTSD and critical incidents debriefing
- Myers Briggs Type Theory and clinical practice
- Ethical decision making
- Other mental health practitioners
- Laboratory skills practise and audio/video recording commentary, analysis and evaluation
- Beginning, developing and ending client work contracts
- BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice
- Client work
- Clinical supervision
Year 3 - Module 3 - Counselling and Psychotherapy: Research
Main Topics of Study:
- Research methodology – mainly qualitative
- Writing a project proposal
- Conducting a literature review
- Ethical issues in research/applying for ethical approval
- Academic supervision
- Academic peer support/study groups
- Writing a research project or dissertation
- Reflection on experience
- On-going clinical work and supervision
How you'll be assessed
You will be assessed in a variety of ways, including essays, presentations and process reports. You will be assessed on your practical skills, on your personal journal and on your professional log, which is an ongoing record of your client work, supervision, personal development and training.Course specification
Your future career
In recent years, around half to two-thirds of students leave after completing their Diploma (which is the professional qualification), with the remainder staying on for a final year of MA study.
In either case, you will be able to work towards the next level of professional standing by seeking individual accreditation within the BACP, which requires 450 hours of supervised working. Past students have attained this level two or three years after graduating.
Even if you do not go on to work as a counsellor or psychotherapist, this course is a strong supplement and support for work you may already be doing in health, social care or education.
Completing the course often leads to career progression. Many past students have returned to previous jobs while establishing and developing their own counselling practice as a second strand to their careers. In several cases this has proved successful enough to become their main source of employment.
“Many of our graduates become portfolio workers,” says Course Leader, Gordon Jinks. “They leave the course and carry on doing whatever they have been doing, but they also start doing some sessions as counsellors.
“Two, three, four years down the line they are spending more time on their practice than their other employment.”
Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal