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PGDip Counselling and Psychotherapy

Course overview

Start date

September 2019

Subject area

Counselling and Coaching




On campus

Course summary

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.

Contact us

If you have any questions, talk to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0) 20 8223 3333 or email

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Accredited by the BACP

We have been running this popular course with accreditation from from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) , or its previous equivalent, since 1972. Graduates are also eligible for the UK Register of Counsellors/Psychotherapists (UKRCP).

Top 15

Of all modern universities in the UK

The School of Psychology, of which Counselling and Psychotherapy is based in, is one of the top departments of Psychology in the UK for student satisfaction. (NSS, 2017)


Impact of research in the UK

We are joint first in the UK for impact of research, beating Cambridge and Oxford, showing our incredible academic expertise and real-world relevance. (latest REF, 2014)

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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

The Diploma course is two years part-time, with teaching taking place one afternoon and evening each week (either a Tuesday or Thursday at UEL) and with three Saturday workshops each year.

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.”

Fees and funding

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

Fees for this course will be confirmed soon

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

Entry requirements

Minimum 2.1 Honours in any discipline

We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths. 


(Including European Union)

We accept a range of qualifications from across the world. Please see our country pages for information on specific entry requirements for your country.


Applicants must have relevant clinical experience and the ability for self-managed learning and have adequate opportunities to carry out formal client work.

Overall IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in Writing, Speaking, Reading and Listening (or recognised equivalent).

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 relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application (particularly your personal statement) and may ask you to attend an interview or submit a piece of work to help us decide on your eligibility for the course. 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. Please click here for details.

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


Year 1 - Module 1 - Counselling and Psychotherapy: Self, Skills and Theory

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.”

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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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