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BSc (Hons) Psychotherapy & Counselling

Support clients with a wide range of mental health conditions.

Get real-world counselling experience and work experience in counselling settings

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.

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

A DBS check is required.

UCAS points 96

UCAS code PSC1

Duration Three years full-time

How to apply for this course

Places still available to start in September

Register your interest and we'll call you to chat about clearing and your options at Marjon.

Course Summary

Psychotherapists and counsellors support people who are experiencing a range of mental health conditions or who may be struggling with problems such as relationship issues, bereavement, meaning or identity. Employing ‘talking therapies’, psychotherapists and counsellors work collaboratively with individuals, couples, families, or groups to help them bring about change to enhance wellbeing.

Our degree provides a rounded education in the theory, research, and practice of psychotherapy and counselling.  You’ll explore various approaches to psychotherapy and counselling, such as person-centred, cognitive-behavioural, and psychodynamic, and you will develop a personal philosophy for your own approach to practice. The programme will equip you with the underpinning knowledge and skills required to become an effective practitioner, through in-class experiential exercises and placement opportunities. These will be further enhanced so that you become competent, ethical, and effective, preparing you to work in a range of professional settings, such as hospitals, schools and within the criminal justice system.

Show video transcript

Katy: Well, I've always had like a deep rooted interest in human mind, but I wanted to do something more than just psychology. I wanted to do something that was more sort of based on helping people because I'm a support worker and I wanted to learn how I could help people through a degree. And I've had counseling myself so I found that really helpful and I wanted to help other people.

Alister: Firstly, we want it to be able to prepare people who wish to pursue a career in psychotherapy counseling to be able to embark on that career with the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to do that. Secondly, we want it to be able to prepare people to be able to use the transferable skills that psychotherapy and counseling have to offer, so for example, skills related to working with people, communication, for a wide variety of potential careers outside of psychotherapy and counseling, things like health care or human resources. Thirdly, we aim to write a degree that helps its graduates to continue learning way beyond them graduating from the course. So to learn skills that help them to continue to learn and to continue to advance their lives and that careers well past university by developing important, transferrable skills.

Joe: I think the fact that it is a smaller uni as well, some people are like, "Oh, well, it seems possible." That's really a good thing because this sort of course is quite complex, but if you need to understand something and you can just ask and you will get heard. And I think it's, compared to other counseling courses, I think this is quite broad. It covers quite a broad amount of stuff. It's not just one specific thing. So I'd recommend it.

Why this course at Marjon?

Learn from experienced highly skilled psychotherapists.

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

Strong practical focus means you practise core skills from the start of the course and have the opportunity to do a work placement with real clients.

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

Develop a rich understanding of theory and research to underpin your professional practice.

Understand the most important qualities and skills for a counsellor or psychotherapist to have.

Students say...

Katy Monk

“I really love the practical learning style on my course. Our lectures are based on our practice and experiences, as well as learning to work with others. I find this really motivating and it encourages me to develop. I’ve met people with the same interests as me. With this course it’s essential to be able to understand yourself and to be able to self-reflect. I struggled with this in the past but now I find it easy. I’ve learned to be self-critical in a positive way in order to develop myself.”

Clair Simpole

“As a mature student I was apprehensive about studying at university however, I am really enjoying my time at Marjon, from the people that I have met on the course to the depth and content that the course delivers. The course tutors are really supportive and are clearly passionate about the subject which is shown in their engaging lectures and seminars. I have discovered that I am dyslexic, but the support I have been receiving is amazing. My confidence has grown massively.”

Joe Tree

“I enjoy the variety of content covered across counselling and psychotherapy. Despite the depth and sensitivity of certain subjects, it is taught in such a way where it is engaging. The University also helped diagnose and treat my dyslexia, there is a lot of support and they always strive to help you out in all academic ways. This has given me a lot of confidence and helped me adapt to uni level work which can be tough! This course has given me a lot more passion and motivation for my career.”

This course is perfect if you're curious about

How do counsellors and psychotherapists approach their work?

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

What makes counselling and psychotherapy effective for some clients, but not for others?

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

How do researchers approach the process of researching counselling and psychotherapy?

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

What might you become?

The degree offers excellent preparation for a range of careers. Psychotherapists and counsellors work in private practice and in a diverse range of organisations (e.g., schools, charities). The interpersonal and communication skills developed through our degree are highly transferable and could prepare graduates for a range of careers that include human resources, healthcare, and education. You may also choose to pursue specialised postgraduate training to work with specific client groups or using a particular model, or to pursue a career in research. Please contact the Course Leader to talk about becoming registered and accredited within the profession (see below for contact details).

Show video transcript

Juliana: I thought it might be really helpful to have Sophie and Sophie, really confuses me, talking on the website for people who are interested in this course, just to get a sense of what the course might entail. So both Sophie and Sophie are just coming to the end of their three year BSC course and through separate chats with them, I discovered that they've had quite different experiences of the course. I thought that might really speak to people who would be interested in either being a counselor and psychotherapist, or for those who might decide that it's not for them, but that it might still be a really valuable course to do, but it also might be really useful for people who actually don't really understand what the course is. That could be very helpful. The kind of things that Sophie talked about was what attracted them to the course about three years ago. Could I ask you both what attracted to you to the course three years ago?

Sophie: I'd been looking around for- I narrow down what I want to do, and I had that interest in counseling psychotherapy, and I was looking around and I loved that it was a sporty university. It was going to be more intimate classes and stuff like that, but also the fact that we covered all sorts of modalities over the three years and getting a wide experience, and that really attracted me, especially in that setting.

Juliana: So small university, but big course.

Sophie : Yeah.

Juliana: How about you Sophie?

Sophie: So I was at the end of college and I knew I had a really big interest in psychology, but I knew I also wanted to help people. I thought a psychology degree might not do that for me, so when I found this degree and it was brand new, I thought "Could give that a go." When I came to the open day and I met the lecturers and just got to feel for being here, I knew it'd be the right move for me

Juliana: So it felt right. You really wanted to combine psychology with actually helping people.

Sophie: Definitely.

Juliana: The course was looking good for you so far, but actually, can I stay with you Sophie and ask you what has surprised you about the course?

Sophie: What was surprising was how the focus is mainly on yourself, and it's about developing who you are as a person. Yes, there was a focus on how you help people and how you go about doing that, but it's also the journey of self discovery along the way. I think you've really got to be open to learn a lot more about yourself than you first may have thought about.

Juliana: So that was a surprise. Was that a good surprise, bad surprise, difficult surprise? What kind of a surprise was it for you?

Sophie: I think for me, it's been really beneficial because I've learned so much about myself because I started the course when I was 18 years old. I was the youngest in the course because everyone else was quite a bit older than me and now I'm finishing it at 21. I'm such a together person. I'm the same. I just think it's really going to help me in my professional career. It already has greatly helped me.

Juliana: So a really helpful surprise. It's not what you were expecting, but helping others is so much about looking into your self, introspection, as well as self expression, but it's actually helped you feel more together as a person.

Sophie: Yeah, definitely.

Juliana: Thanks Sophie. I don't know about your experience.

Sophie: As in what surprised you?

Juliana: Yeah.

Sophie: I didn't think I was going to, I suppose completely engross myself and it's become a part of who I am now. You do your best, you study a course, and hopefully you'll really enjoy it, but this has become, you sort of live and breathe it. That's surprised me just how much that it's become a part of me already.

Juliana: So it's not just something that's gone on top of your knowledge, it's actually become a way of being for you. I suppose from my point of view, I think that's the message I would really like people to understand is that this course is about learning how to be yourself before you can help other people. One of the things I know that you experienced Sophie is that you were also surprised at what it felt like when we practiced the counseling skills. So I know that this course entails practicing, actually being a counselor to the students who are real clients in a way in those practice sessions that we did. That was another surprise for you.

Sophie: Yeah. I didn't always like doing it. It felt very superficial. I'd sometimes hide, "I don't want to do it." I always found when I did it, I really benefited from it, and because you and Maxine give feedback most of the time, and as peers we give feedback, it's so beneficial because one week you learn a new skill and put it into practice. It may not work, but then six weeks down the line it's embedded in you and you just get to grow each week by doing it. I think you can't really be a counselor unless you've practiced all these things and actually done it.

Juliana: So it was the actual practicing and experiencing of the skills that helped it become part of how you talk to and listen to people?

Sophie: Definitely. By doing that and work placements as well, when you put it in a real life setting, and it's amazing, that really helped I found.

Juliana: How was your experience of the trial work?

Sophie: It was pretty scary, but also just amazing because I think in a group setting, it helped us also, I suppose we formed a really strong group bond over the last three years. It's been a trusting environment to be able to do that work and to be able to grow and to be able to have that constructive feedback as Sophie said, and to test out those skills and to fine tune them and it to be an accepting environment as well. So I learned to love them.

Juliana: What's the greatest challenge of the course?

Sophie: I'd say the greatest challenge is self-acceptance and that all of the stuff that you have to go through and the reflections and everything, it becomes more about what you learned about yourself. That's really challenging on occasion because it's hard and sometimes you just want to go, "No, I don't want to do this today." The most challenging, but the most worthwhile.

Juliana: The greatest challenge is also the greatest gift. That sounded very wise. What about you Sophie?

Sophie: I think knowing who you have to be as a person and your willingness to be open to a bunch of strangers you've never met in your life, and you've got to be willing to share things you've never told anyone and go through the therapeutic process yourself and just getting that self-acceptance. That it is okay to open up, and that it is okay to go on this journey of self discovery and that by the end of your three years, you do become this amazing person.

Juliana: I'm thinking that it's really difficult to ask clients, to express themselves and open up and be vulnerable and to accept themselves if we, as helpers can't do that. There's Freud's archetype of the wounded healer, and I think that many people who go into counseling psychotherapy know what it's like to suffer. That's okay, but we have to be careful to know ourselves, so we're not wounding healers. That's why this course is very much about self knowledge and self-acceptance and self-awareness and reflection, which are all good soft skills and powerful skills that employers would look for as well. We've only got a couple of lecture days left, so I don't know what your plans are, might be lucky perhaps for new applicants to hear what you might be going on to do or even what you're also doing in your placements?

Sophie: I'm currently volunteering, and that is about preventing sexual abuse in the community. So it's working with people who have sexually offended and kind of just supporting them along their journey of getting out of prison and their next steps in life. I've found that this course has given me so many skills to support people with their mental health, just that acceptance as I've accepted myself, now I can now accept someone. I feel like if year goes by, I might look into probation work and maybe something in the criminal justice system, just so different to my degree. It's really led to me to want to support people in whatever way I can.

Juliana: I know that you also really enjoyed your second year placement.

Sophie: Yeah. I worked with the Alzheimer's society. So it's definitely different, but I did that with my second year. I absolutely loved it. It was so lovely to form these relationships with an ignored client groups, elderly people that are very vulnerable and lonely, and I think they do get ignored. It was such a valuable experience. I got to go to the hospital and support people in the wards, and I got to go to the people's houses and support them as well. Now I work in the care home supporting people there.

Juliana: It sounds as though your expectations of being able to help people has been met.

Sophie: Yes. Definitely been met.

Juliana: Not necessarily specifically in counseling and psychotherapy, but for your personal experiences and personal development have enabled you to better help people and also to know what fits best for you.

Sophie: Definitely.

Juliana: Thank you Sophie. I know you're interested in continuing. What are you up to?

Sophie: Currently, I'm working in a school environment, so helping support staff and the kids at the school as well in a counseling capacity. Hopefully, I've been offered a job with them next year, but also potentially to set up private practice as well. With maybe the future of going to try and do a Master's and a PhD to go into clinical psychology as well.

Juliana: So you would that to continue studying this?

Sophie : Yeah, I wish there were more lectures.

Juliana: You've enjoyed the academic side as well as the practice side?

Sophie: Yeah. Very much so.

Juliana: I've always seen this as a dual pronged degree that offers academic training as well as vocational professional studies. So you've both, I think, given a nice 360 degree view of your experience over the last three years. So thank you both very much.

Modules for this course

Course Snapshot

We’re learning how to work with different types of people and doing a lot of self-reflection to help us to interact with others on a deeper level. In our first year the content gives us an overview of counselling and how it fits into society and in second year we’ll look more at the specific schools of thought. In the third year we’ll be looking at agency settings and private practice.
Shane - First year, BSc (Hons) Psychotherapy and Counselling


1st Year

Engaging with learning
You will learn skills for learning and research in higher education, including finding journal articles, academic writing, and referencing.
Introduction to Psychology
You will learn about the key thinkers in psychology, the core perspectives, and how you might apply these ideas when working with children or adults.
Introduction to Psychotherapy and Counselling
You will learn about core topics in psychotherapy and counselling, such as training to become a psychotherapist, the process of therapy, and the factors that determine whether therapy is effective.
Skills in Psychotherapy and Counselling 1
You will learn core skills such as communication, body language, and active listening.
Skills in Psychotherapy and Counselling 2
You will learn more core skills such as 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, and panic attacks.

2nd Year

Research Methods in Social Sciences
You will learn about the process of conducting research, so that you can interpret published research and conduct your own research.
Engaging with Employability (Placement)
This is an opportunity to learn about the relationship between theory and practice – A self-selected placement to meet your career aspirations.
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.
Person-Centred Psychotherapy and Counselling
You will study person-centred approaches to psychotherapy and counselling in depth, including the core skills used to practise them.
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Counselling
You will study psychodynamic approaches to psychotherapy and counselling in depth, including the core skills used to practise them.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
You will study cognitive-behavioural approaches to psychotherapy and counselling in depth, including the core skills used to practise them.

3rd Year

Empirical project
You will complete a substantial piece of research on a self-chosen psychotherapy and counselling topic of interest.
Comprehensive Training 1: Theory Behind Practice
You will study one specific approach to psychotherapy and counselling in depth that reflects your own philosophy.
Comprehensive Training 2: Theory-Based Practice
This is a second placement module. One option is to work with adult clients, applying your in-depth understanding of one approach to psychotherapy and counselling.
Psychotherapy and Counselling in Organisational Settings
You will learn about working in a range of psychotherapy and counselling settings, such as schools, colleges, prisons, voluntary agencies, and hospitals.
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.

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £9,250 per annum

Fees for International students: £12,000 per annum

Additional costs:

A DBS check at the beginning of the course costs £52.

Owing to its nature, 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 available at the University or you may opt to pay for private personal therapy.

There may be supervision costs incurred on some final year placements, typically £40-60/hour. If you are considering becoming a registered member with a professional organisation you need to be supervised normally for a minimum of 1.5 hours per month.

Professional membership and Professional Indemnity Insurance cover may be required for the third year placement. Example fees:

  • British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy student membership = £80/year
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance = circa £70/year

There may be costs associated with travel to placements.

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

Varied! Students are taught using a combination of lectures, seminars, group work, practical opportunities, and independent study, with the goal of developing knowledge, understanding, practical skills, and transferable skills.

How will you be assessed?

Similarly varied, using a combination of coursework, group work, presentations, practical sessions, and exams.

Course leader

Dr Alister McCormick

Alister is a registered sport and exercise psychologist, who teaches psychology and its applications to sport, exercise, and health. He is the leader of a 'psyching team' who using positive psyching techniques to help athletes to increase their enjoyment at races and reach the finishing line that bit faster.

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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.

Maxine Sherrell


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Frequently asked questions

Q1   I’ve not been in education for years…

You won’t be the only one, and we will support you. We have an academic skills module in the first year that covers the key academic skills that you will need during the course and beyond (e.g. how to write essays, how to reference appropriate sources). Additional support is also available when needed.

Q2   Will I be the only mature student?

No, this course attracts a diverse range of people and you’ll meet both school leavers and mature students in your classes.

Q3   What’s the timetable?

We understand that you may have commitments outside of university such as childcare and employment. We therefore 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. Outside of these days, we recommend doing about 1.5-2 days of study. You’ll also have placements and research projects in Years 2 and 3, which can usually be organised to accommodate your other commitments.

Q4   What do placements involve?

In Year 2, your first placement is usually 'non-clinical' - It would not normally involve doing counselling. Instead, 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, the context of the counselling service, and the demands faced by people working there. In Year 3, if you are fit to practice, then you could gain supervised experience of counselling adults.    The University can help to organise your placements. We have a great Futures careers team who support employability, as well as helpful lecturers who have a list of potential contacts. You're also encouraged to follow your interests and take the initiative, particularly if you have a very specific interest.

Q5   Is the degree accredited?

No. This means that completing the degree is not sufficient to join the protected register of an accrediting body. Please ask us about how you could become registered with an accrediting body. Our students have a range of career ambitions (e.g., becoming a counsellor, working in human resources, completing a PhD). If you are thinking of applying we encourage you to speak with us as we can offer individual advice and guidance for your own ambitions.

Q6   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.

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