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Prof Doc Counselling Psychology

Course overview

Start date

September 2021

Subject area

Counselling and wellbeing




On campus, dual delivery

Course summary

This course is not currently accepting new applications for September 2021. If spaces becomes available we will reopen applications at the beginning of July.

This course is particularly suited to students interested in undergoing professional training that will equip them for employment as a clinician in the NHS, the voluntary sector or in private practice.

Our typical applicant is someone who already has experience in working in the mental health sector and understands about working with people.

We will encourage you to develop a flexible, reflective and critical approach to psychological and psychotherapeutic theory, research and practice, and will provide you with relevant experience to facilitate understanding of the different facets of work as a Counselling Psychologist and how this role is evolving in contemporary employment settings. 

The course involves a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, seminars and workshops. You will be required to be on placement throughout your training and to have successfully completed 450 hours of one-to-one supervised clinical practice by the end of the course.

Training placements are crucial to your learning and the development of your clinical competence and confidence. Our programme has close links with a range of placement providers in East London and we provide you with high levels of support and guidance in securing clinical placements that contribute to your learning and professional development.

Return to campus: dual delivery

In a Covid-secure environment, enjoy learning on our state-of-the-art campuses and flex between online delivery

Find out more

Gain significant advancement on your career

Our course gives you the experience and the necessary skills to pursue a successful career in the NHS, the voluntary sector or private practice. Throughout the training, there is an emphasis on the development of qualities, competences and transferable skills required in the current job market.

Accredited by the BPS and approved by the HCPC

This course has been grounded in the standards for doctoral courses in Counselling Psychology, according to the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) requirements, 


Hours of supervised clinical practice

You will develop skills and experience in contemporary therapeutic approaches through supervised clinical practice in a range of placement contexts and the support of clinically experienced tutors. 


Monika Copija

Prof Doc Counselling Psychology,

I enjoy the fact that the course puts a lot of emphasis on reflexivity and process in therapy. It's something that cannot be learned by reading books. One has to experience it for oneself, which is something that makes a psychologist a good psychologist.

Fees and funding

Below are some ideas on how to fund your postgraduate study:
There are a number of ways you can pay your fees to UEL
•    Online payment facilities
•    By telephone
•    In person at our Docklands or Stratford campus
•    Bank transfer
Full information on making payments can be found here
If you wish to discuss payments to the University, please contact our Income Team on 020 8223 2974 or you can email

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

Annual F/T Fee

EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals starting a course in September 2021, will no longer be eligible for Home fees. However, such nationals benefitting from Settled Status or Citizens' Rights may become eligible for Home fees as and when the UK Government confirms any new fees regulations. Further information can be found at UKCISA.

Tuition fees are subject to annual change. Fees for future years will be published in due course.
Deposits and paying by instalments

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.

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.

Our International team at UEL are available for advice and guidance on studying in London, fees, scholarships and visa requirements.


Tuition fees

Annual F/T Fee

EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals starting a course in September 2021, will no longer be eligible for Home fees. However, such nationals benefitting from Settled Status or Citizens' Rights may become eligible for Home fees as and when the UK Government confirms any new fees regulations. Further information can be found at UKCISA.

Tuition fees are subject to annual change. Fees for future years will be published in due course.

Entry requirements

A good honours degree in psychology (minimum of 2:1) which confers Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS). Applicants will need to attend a face to face interview and we cannot consider another type of interview.
  • Ability and experience of conducting independent research
  • Prior training in counselling skills and or other relevant therapeutic training (e.g., that offered by NHS IAPT programmes such as for psychological well-being practitioners; counselling training undertaken as a health or social care worker; counselling certificate or diploma)
  • Relevant work and/or voluntary experience in a mental health setting (NHS or other). This must be face-to-face and more than 'befriending' (e.g. assistant psychologist, counsellor, psychological well-being practitioner)
  • Be academically able to succeed at doctoral level
  • Demonstrate a capacity for self-reflection and be open to feedback from others
  • Be open to, and respectful of, diverse perspectives, whilst showing awareness of the impact of prejudice and inequality
  • A commitment to ongoing self-development and reflective practice
  • Demonstrate good interpersonal skills and sensitivity towards others
  • Have sufficient maturity and robustness to cope with the demands of working with vulnerable client groups


(Including European Union)

Applicants are required to complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for Regulated Activity
Overall IELTS 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in Writing, Speaking, Reading and Listening (or recognised equivalent).

If you do not meet the academic English language requirements for your course, you may be eligible to enrol onto a pre-sessional English programme. The length of the course will depend on your current level of English and the requirements for your degree programme. We offer a 5-week and an 11-week pre-sessional course. Find out more here.

As an inclusive university, we recognise that applicants who have been out of education for some time may not have the formal qualifications usually required for entry to a course. We welcome applications from those who can demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to study and have the relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application – in particular your personal statement - to help us decide on your eligibility for the course.

Please note that some courses require applicants to meet the entry requirements outlined on the course page. Our pre-entry Information Advice and Guidance Team are able to provide further advice on entry requirements and suitability for study.
You can speak to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0)20 8223 3333, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Alternatively, you can visit our Information, Advice and Guidance centre.

Applicants must complete an online application and should ensure that all the following supporting documents are included. If any documents are missing, your application may not be considered.

Checklist of supporting documents

  • Copies of all academic transcripts and certificates from undergraduate and postgraduate degrees
  • Evidence of Graduate Basis of Chartership (GBC) or Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) from the British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • One academic reference
  • One professional reference (from paid or voluntary work in a mental health setting where you worked in a formal helping capacity)
  • A personal statement (maximum 2000 words). The statement should:
    • Discuss why you are interested in training as a counselling psychologist in preference to other psychotherapeutic professions (i.e., clinical psychology, counselling, and psychotherapy)
    • Outline what draws you to the doctorate at UEL
    • Provide a brief reflective account on how your personal and professional experiences have influenced your decision to pursue training in counselling psychology
    • Summarise your academic and research background up to date
    • Summarise any relevant work experience up to date
    • Outline your research interests and explain how you intend to develop these into a doctoral research project
    • Have a reference list at the end, if you provide citations within your personal statement.
  • A copy of your CV
  • A copy of your passport photograph (ID) page
  • If you are not a native English speaker, proof of English proficiency (i.e., IELTS)

What we're researching

Psychology at UEL 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 national 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.

The combined figure of 68 per cent from the top two tiers dwarfs the previous figure of 20 per cent from the previous national review in 2008.
Research subjects in recent years have included electronic cigarettes, infant development and neuropsychology.

Professor Irvine Gersch has produced world-renowned research in the fields of listening to children and pupil involvement, behaviour management, school leadership, systems analysis, management, educational psychology training, conciliation and mediation in special needs and teacher stress.

He is a former recipient of the British Psychological Society’s annual award for Distinguished Contributions to Professional Psychology.

Professor Rachel Tribe was awarded the British Psychological Society’s Ethics Committee’s 2013 award for promoting Equality of Opportunity.

Her clinical interests focus on all aspects of trauma, culture and mental health, professional and ethical practice, working with interpreters in mental health, migration and mental health and organisational development.

Dr Lynne Dawkins, leader of the Drugs and Addictive Behaviours Research Group, is one of the UK’s leading authorities on e-cigarettes.

Dr Caroline Edmonds’ research examines the effect of hydration on cognition in children and adults.

Dr Davide Rivolta’s research focuses on the cognitive and neural correlates of face perception, both in normal subjects and in people with congenital prosopagnosia (face blindness).

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’.

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

  • Professional practice in counselling psychology 1 (core)
  • Foundations of Counselling Psychology: Research & Practice (core)
  • Integrating theory, research and practice 1 (core)           

Year 2

  • Professional practice in counselling psychology 2 (core)
  • Perspectives on research (core)
  • Integrating theory, research and practice 2 (core)

 Year 3

  • Supervision, consultation and leadership  (core)
  • Professional practice in counselling psychology 3 (core)
  • Integrating theory, research and practice 3   (core)
  • Research Thesis/portfolio commences at the start of year 2 (with the submission of a Research Proposal) and is submitted in term 3 year 3 (core).

How you'll be assessed

There are no examinations. Assessment is ongoing throughout the year. It includes critical essays, case studies, process reports, group and individual case presentations, professional practice logs and the research thesis. You will be expected to show evidence of 450 hours of one-to-one supervised clinical practice by the end of your training. All components of the course, including the research thesis need to be passed in order to be awarded the Doctorate and to become eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC and for chartership with the BPS.

Course specification

How you'll learn

You will learn through a combination of taught components, individual study, and research and placement activities.

You will work on a wide range of different approaches to clinical practice.

You will be assigned your own clinical tutor to support you with your academic and professional development.

Two days a week will be spent on placement, and your portfolio will include at least two NHS placements.

We have close links with a range of mental health services within local NHS trusts and in the third sector.

You may choose placements with refugees or asylum seekers, or learning disabilities, or trauma-focused work, depending on your particular interests and competences.

You may also undertake a specialist placement, working with either children or young people.

Your study will include lectures, seminars and workshops led by our academic team and outside specialists. You will take part in individual and group tutorials, role play, problem-based learning in small groups, and clinical discussion groups.

Your training will be enriched by independent and directed reading as well as personal therapy and development work.

Unlike many other courses, at the University of East London we have the ability to provide research supervision teams internally when you come to do your thesis. That’s because we have such a large research department working across many different areas.

Who will teach on this course

Cristina Harnagea

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.

What you'll learn

Counselling Psychology is embedded in the discipline of psychology and concerns itself with applied areas of psychological work, in the overlapping areas of psychotherapy, clinical psychology, counselling and psychiatry.

The critical position here at the University of East London embodies the idea that individual psychological processes need to be considered within historical and current social, political and cultural contexts.

You will study human development across the lifespan with a focus on issues of diversity, difference and community, and the impact of inequality, discrimination and social justice.

As well as working with adults, you will have substantial opportunities to gain experience of working with children and families, and to work with more complex cases as your competence and experience grows.

The clinical focus of the training in Year 1 is on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT); in Year 2 on psychodynamic approaches to therapy; and in Year 3 on theoretical integration (including third-wave approaches to CBT) and on assimilative integration.

You will receive research training in Years 1 and 2 and you will get support in completing your doctoral research project by a supervisory team. Furthermore, there are several research assignments that help you develop your doctoral research in a stepwise manner and provide you with several opportunities to get detailed feedback on your research. For example, in Year 1 you will submit a Literature Review; in Year 2 a Research Proposal and an Epistemological Essay; in Year 3 you will make a presentation on a chosen aspect of your doctoral research (e.g., your analysis) that evidences leadership in your research area.

Your future career

This qualification allows you to work in clinical settings, including the NHS, health and social care, community services, organisational, forensic and third-sector settings. Most of our students secure jobs before, or as soon as, they complete their doctoral training.

The course allows you to apply for paid work as a trainee counselling psychologist as you continue to work towards full Chartered Counselling Psychologist status and registration with the HCPC.

You will be eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC and for chartered status with the BPS once you have fulfilled all the requirements of the Doctorate.

Our dedicated academic team has many years of experience of working within the NHS and the third sector. All contribute to the research which has earned UEL’s School of Psychology such a high reputation in recent years and, crucially, all are actively working in clinical settings.

We pride ourselves on enabling our students to gain the necessary academic and professional knowledge and competences that help them become effective, competent, resourceful, safe and ethical practitioners, who can offer high-quality psychological services & are well-placed to achieve their professional goals and aspirations in the current job market.

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal

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Meet us in your country

Our international team travel overseas regularly to meet prospective students and attend recruitment fairs. Our academics also give regular lectures overseas and are happy to speak to prospective students. In addition, we have a large worldwide network of advisors who can provide guidance and support with applying to study at the University of East London.

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