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Teaching Excellence Framework 2023 - Gold Award

BSc (Hons) Counselling for the Helping Professions

Develop exceptional people skills, grow personally and professionally, and train to support others across a wide range of helping careers. *Please note this course is closed to new first year students, 2nd & 3rd year applications only*


Develop exceptional people skills and use them to help others

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Entry requirements

Three A-levels at grades CCC or above

Or BTEC triple grades MMM or above

Or Access 23-45 D/M with min 6D

Or T level P (C+)

And GCSE English Language at grade 4 or grade C or above.

A DBS check and an interview are required

UCAS points 96

UCAS code PSC1

UCAS institution code P63

Duration Three years full-time or up to six years part-time

Course Summary

BSc (Hons) Counselling for the Helping Professions prepares you for a wide range of roles that involve working with people. It's a degree in people skills. You'll learn how to support others, training to:

  • listen actively
  • empathise and demonstrate that empathy so that others feel heard and understood
  • be self-aware and reflective
  • communicate clearly and effectively with others
  • handle confidential information
  • work with emotions and emotional content
  • manage difficult and high-pressure situations relating to mental health
  • interpret, manage, and operate in stressful situations
  • think critically and use evidence to make decisions
  • facilitate behaviour change

 These are highly transferable skills, which are invaluable in a wide range of helping professions.

You'll learn about the theory, research, and practice of counselling and associated subjects like psychology, with a particular interest in how these can be used to support other people. The degree covers a variety of theoretical perspectives - person-centred, cognitive-behavioural, psychodynamic, and strengths-based. In terms of research, counselling is an evidence-based profession. Teaching is evidence-based, and you'll learn how to interpret, critique, and apply research. You'll also learn how to do research in the context of counselling.

You'll also learn, practice, and develop the counselling skills that will be invaluable in a range of professions that involve listening to, caring for, and supporting other people. If you like this course then you may also be interested in our Integrated Master's degree in Psychotherapy and Counselling.

Why this course at Marjon?

Learn from experienced and highly skilled psychotherapists and counsellors

Develop the knowledge and skills required to work with people, within a variety of contexts

Strong practical focus enables you develop core skills from the start of the course and a work placement

Small class sizes of typically 20 – 30 students enables teaching and feedback to be personalised to your aspirations

Develop a rich understanding of theory and research that will underpin your counselling and interpersonal skills

Become a self-aware, reflective, critical-thinker and lifelong learner who is well prepared for the workplace

Modules for this course

1st Year

Immersing in psychotherapy and counselling
Immerse yourself in counselling skills (e.g., body language, active listening) from the start of the course. You'll also earn some key theory, and you'll develop foundational academic skills like essay writing and reflective writing.
Introduction to psychotherapy and counselling
You will learn about core topics in psychotherapy and counselling, such as the process of therapy and the factors that determine whether therapy is effective.
Skills in psychotherapy and counselling 1
You will learn core counselling skills such as those relating to communicating with clients (e.g., communicating professional boundaries) and building a therapeutic alliance.
Skills in psychotherapy and counselling 2
You will learn more core skills such as assessing clients' needs, and recognising and managing difficulties and ruptures in the therapeutic alliance.
Introduction to mental health and wellbeing
You will learn about important topics when working in a mental health and wellbeing context, such as stress, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.
Psychology and counselling
You will learn about the key thinkers in psychology, the core perspectives, and key research findings. You will also learn about how you might apply these ideas to counselling and other helping professions.

2nd Year

Person-centred psychotherapy and counselling
In a module influenced by the contributions of Carl Rogers, you will study person-centred approaches to psychotherapy and counselling in depth and detail, and you will practice the core skills associated with this approach (e.g., creating Carl Rogers' core conditions).
Cognitive behavioural therapy
You will study cognitive-behavioural approaches to psychotherapy and counselling in depth and detail, including the core skills used to practise them. You will engage with both the theory behind practice, and the practice of the theory.
Research in psychotherapy and counselling
You will learn to be both a 'consumer' and 'producer' of research. Through studying the research process, you will learn how to use research in your practice, and how to conduct professionally-relevant research to answer interesting and novel research questions.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy and counselling
You will study psychodynamic approaches to psychotherapy and counselling in depth, including the core skills used to practise them. You will engage with both the theory behind practice, and the practice of the theory.
Working ethically in a mental health context
You will study more topics relating to mental health and wellbeing such as low self-esteem, abuse, and self-harm, as well as how to work professionally in a mental health context.
Engaging with employability: psychotherapy and counselling contexts
This is an opportunity to learn about the relationship between theory and practice – A self-selected placement to meet your career aspirations.

3rd Year

Positive psychology and strengths-based approaches
You will learn about positive psychology, which focuses on positive topics like character strengths, gratitude, optimism, hope, self-compassion, happiness, and post-traumatic growth. You will also learn about strengths-based approaches to therapy (e.g., solution-focused therapy), which shares a lot of theoretical underpinnings with positive psychology.
Counselling skills in professional roles and settings
In this careers-focused module, you will learn about how the counselling skills you have developed can be applied in a range of helping professions to support other people.
Personal and professional development in psychotherapy and counselling
This practical and experiential module incorporates exercises to increase the self-awareness necessary to become a reflective practitioner, including learning through relationships, creativity (art, music, reading, writing), embodiment, dreams, and transcendence.
Working with difference and diversity
You will engage with topics such as race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, sexuality, disability, age, and class. You will critically think about how these apply to counselling and to your own life more broadly.
Empirical project in psychotherapy and counselling
With a research supervisor, you will complete a substantial piece of research on a self-chosen counselling topic of your interest. These could be quantitative or qualitative, and they could include profession-specific reflective studies or case studies.

This course is perfect if you’re curious about

How can counselling skills support me in working with and helping other people?

How do theoretical approaches to counselling align with my own beliefs and values, and how do I apply it to my own practice?

How do researchers approach the process of researching counselling? And how can research improve my counselling?

What makes counselling effective for some people, but not for others?

How does my own personal development, personal awareness, and insight support my effectiveness as a professional?

What does Psychology offer those working in counselling and other helping professions?

What might you become?

BSc (Hons) Counselling for the Helping Professions will be helpful in a range of careers that involve working with and supporting others. This includes teaching and education, psychology, social work and community work, emergency services, public service, human resources, occupational health, rehabilitation in prisons, careers advice, customer relations, charity careers, funeral arrangement, nursing, care work, and personal training.

How you’ll be taught and assessed?

How will you be taught?

Teaching includes lectures, seminars, practical skills work, group work, and independent study, with the goal of developing a range of skills through an engaging learning experience.

How will you be assessed?

Assessment incorporates coursework, group work, presentations, and practical work.


Dr Alister McCormick

Course leader

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Alister is a registered Practitioner Psychologist (HCPC) who teaches psychology and its applications to counselling, sport, exercise, and health. He is passionate about teaching psychology and counselling in an evidence-based way so that your practice is based on the latest research and is ethical, informed, and effective.

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £9,250 per annum

Fees for International students: £14,500 per annum

This fee covers your tuition and access to course-specific equipment and facilities, as well associated services including access to the library, study skills support, IT support, student support and wellbeing services and membership of the Student Union. There may be additional costs by course.

Additional costs:

  • A DBS check needed to start the course at a cost of approx £52.
  • There may be costs associated with travel to placements.
  • This course is likely to impact upon you at a personal level. There is an ethical duty to aspire to be psychologically self-aware. A free counselling service is available or you may opt to pay for private personal therapy.

Funding available for this course

Our Student Funding Advisors offer confidential and impartial advice about your funding options.

Learn more

Your schedule

Our counselling degrees attract students who have work, family, and caring responsibilites outside of university so we set a fixed timetable where you are on campus for teaching on Mondays and Tuesdays in Years 1 and 2, and on Thursdays in Year 3. 

You'll also complete 1-2 days worth of reading, studying, and assessment work flexibly in your own time, around your other commitments. Our mature students speak very highly of this timetabling model. As counselling is a practical, skills-based profession, most of our teaching needs in-person attendance.

Course location(s):

  • Main campus - Plymouth Marjon University


Anne Bentley


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Dr Lucy Cooper


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Lucy has clinical experience is in supporting students within Higher Education as a Counsellor/Psychotherapist, a Specialist Mental Health Mentor, and in other Student Support and Welfare roles. She has worked in a variety of mental health charities and services as a counsellor or service manager. Her research focus is student mental health spanning measures perfectionism, anxiety, worry, resilience, wellbeing and social media use in students. 

Juliana Hopkins


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Juliana is a BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist and currently works in private practice alongside this lecturing role.

Carina Robertson

Lecturer in Psychology

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Frequently asked questions

Q1   What is the class like?

We get to know you thanks to small group sizes and help you to improve the quality of your practice.

Q2   Is this degree accredited?

No. Please ask the course leader about course accreditation and individual accreditation, so that we can discuss them with you.

Q3   I've not been in education for years. Can I do this?

Many of our students haven't, and we will support you. Academic skills support is available when needed and at the start of the course we will teach the key academic skills that you will need during the course and beyond e.g. how to write essays, how to reference appropriate sources.

Q4   What does the placement involve?

Placements vary a lot, as they are organised to meet the learning needs, interests, and career goals of the individual student. You might go into a professional context of your interest e.g., counselling centre, prison, hospital, education provider to learn about the role of a counsellor or another helping professional and to experience the demands faced by people working there. You'll do 50 hours of placement, which can be spread over a long duration, or condensed into a shorter one. We'll help to arrange the placements or you can follow your interests and take the initiative, particularly if you have a very specific interest you'd like to explore on placement.

Q5   What does the interview involve?

Think of the interview as a conversation about the course, its demands, and your readiness to complete the course at this particular time. It’s not intended to be intimidating, but instead to provide an opportunity to think about whether it is the right course for you, at the right time. We’ll send you more information about the interviews when you apply. We’re also happy to have an informal chat with you about the interview in advance.

Q6   What is the timetable like?

We have a fixed timetable that minimises the number of days that you’re on campus. In Year 1 and 2, you’ll be on campus Mondays and Tuesdays. In Year 3, you’ll be on campus on Thursdays. You’ll also have placements and research projects in Years 2 and 3, which can usually be organised around your other commitments. Outside of these days, we recommend you do approx 1.5-2 days of study per week.

Apply now for this course

Find out more about studying BSc (Hons) Counselling for the Helping Professions at Marjon

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