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MPsy Master of Psychotherapy and Counselling

Train and study to become a skilled, safe, evidence-based, and reflective psychotherapist and counsellor. This four-year integrated Master's degree is for undergraduate entry and combines theory, research, and practice with professional training in psychotherapy and counselling.


Comprehensive counselling training

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Full-time Part-time

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 M

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

UCAS points 96

UCAS code PSC2

UCAS institution code P63

Duration Four years full-time or up to eight years part-time

Course Summary

MPsy Psychotherapy and Counselling is a four-year training route for applicants who wish to become a practising psychotherapist or counsellor. We educate in the theory, research, and practice of psychotherapy and counselling, complementing professional training in psychotherapy and counselling with the academic rigour of a degree. The degree is an integrated master's degree, which means that a three year undergraduate degree is combined with a final master's year, leading to a master's level qualification.

There are a variety of approaches to psychotherapy and counselling that are based on different theoretical perspectives of behaviour change. The degree covers a variety of these theoretical perspectives - person-centred, cognitive-behavioural, psychodynamic, existential, strengths-based - focusing on one perspective in depth in the final year.

In terms of research, psychotherapy and counselling is an evidence-based profession. Teaching is evidence-based, and students learn how to interpret, critique, and apply research. They also learn how to conduct research in the context of psychotherapy and counselling. In terms of practice, students learn, practice, and develop the skills they need to become competent, ethical, reflective, self-aware, and effective as psychotherapists and counsellors. They learn about the roles of psychotherapists and counsellors in a variety of professional settings, and develop the underpinning knowledge, understanding, and skills required for these roles.

Why this course at Marjon?

Learn from experienced and highly skilled professionals in psychotherapy and counselling.

Small class sizes, typically 20 – 30 students, enable teaching and feedback to be personalised to the needs and career aspirations of students.

Combine comprehensive training in counselling with the academic rigour of a degree, including master's level engagement with current topics.

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

The strong practical focus means that you will develop core skills from the start of the course and will complete real-life counselling placements.

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

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 one
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 two
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.
Psychotherapy and counselling with children and young people
Learn about the theory and practice of counselling for children and young people. You will learn about children and young people's mental health and wellbeing, and study practice settings like school and education settings.

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.
Working in psychotherapy and counselling (with clinical placement)
If ready, you can start a real-life counselling placement delivering counselling to adult clients under supervision.
Psychotherapy and Counselling in Contemporary Contexts
Learn about the delivery of psychotherapy and counselling through online, phone, or other technologically mediated applications, as well as what it’s like to work in multi-disciplinary teams.
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.
Professional project
Complete a supervised, literature-based project on any relevant topic of your personal or career interests. For example, you may study a particular professional context (e.g. drug and alcohol services), client issue (e.g. depression), therapy (e.g. EMDR), or topic (e.g. self-care).

4th Year

Clinical placement in psychotherapy and counselling
A real-life counselling placement delivering counselling to adult clients under supervision. You will work towards 100 clinical hours of experience, while meeting professional supervision requirements.
Philosophy and practice in psychotherapy and counselling
You will critically reflect on your own philosophy of practice, thinking about how you want to practise and how your own beliefs and values influence your choice of theoretical framework.
Relational depth in psychotherapy and counselling
Learn about 'relational depth', the deep connection that can be present between a counsellor and client within their therapeutic relationship. Learn about how it is experienced by the client and therapist, and how it can be nurtured.
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.
Advanced psychology and counselling
Learn about contemporary research findings from different areas of psychology (e.g., social psychology, developmental psychology), and how they can inform your evidence-based practice.

This course is perfect if you're curious about

How do theoretical approaches to psychotherapy and counselling align with my own beliefs and values? How does theory enable me to become an effective professional?

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

How do psychotherapists and counsellors approach their work?

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

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

Are some counselling approaches more effective, or do common factors such as the quality of the relationship make the difference?

What might you become?

This course prepares you to become a psychotherapist or counsellor. You might also use your skills in other helping professions, such as through becoming a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner.

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 spans 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:

  • Supervision costs are incurred on some third and fourth year placements, typically £40-60/hour. If you are considering becoming a registered member with a professional organisation, you usually need to be supervised for a minimum of 1.5 hours per month.
  • Professional membership and professional indemnity insurance may be required for the third and fourth year placements. Example fee are: British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy student membership is £82 per year and professional indemnity insurance is circa £20-80 (depending on provider).
  • There may be costs associated with travel to placements.
  • This degree 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.
  • A DBS check needed to start the course at a cost of approx. £52.

Funding available for this course

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

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Your schedule

Our counselling degrees attract students who have work, family, and caring responsibilities outside of university. To support our students, we set a fixed timetable where you are on campus for teaching on Mondays and Tuesdays in Years 1 and 2, on Thursdays in Year 3, and on Wednesdays in Year 4.

You'll also complete one to two days of reading, studying, and assessment, working 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 at 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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Carina is a BPS Chartered Counselling Psychologist and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her teaching is mainly focused around social psychology and mental health within the discipline and how these can be applied to the world we live in. She teaches across a range of undergraduate and post-graduate psychology programmes. She has worked as a clinical practitioner on a one-to-one and group basis, across a range of settings, including primary care, the police and private practice for over 30 years. Specialist interests and expertise include: PTSD, Trauma, Eating Disorders. 

Frequently asked questions

Q1   What is the class like?

We teach in small groups so we can get to know you and help you use research to improve the quality of your practice.

Q2   What is an integrated master's?

An integrated master's combines a three-year undergraduate degree and one-year master's degree into one qualification. This approach allows a more thorough training model to support your professional development.

Q3   Is this degree accredited?

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

Q4   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 you need it and in the first year we 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.

Q5   What's the timetable?

We understand that you may have commitments outside of university such as childcare, caring responsibilities, and employment. We therefore have a fixed timetable that minimises the number of days that you’re on campus. In Years 1 and 2, you’ll be on campus on Mondays and Tuesdays. In Year 3, you’ll be on campus on Thursdays, and likely on one other day. In Year 4, you’ll be on campus on Wednesdays and likely on one other day. You’ll also have placements and research projects in Years 3 and 4, which can usually be organised to accommodate your other commitments.

Q6   What does the interview involve?

Think of the interview as a conversation about the course, its academic, professional and ethical 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 for us to assess your readiness and for you to think carefully 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.

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Find out more about studying MPsy Master of Psychotherapy and Counselling (Integrated Master's Degree) at Marjon

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