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Ulster University Foundation Degree In Counselling

This course aims to provide the counselling student with a comprehensive and flexible framework for education and training in line with professional accreditation requirements, which would facilitate safe practice within both the counselling and counselling skills arenas. At all levels students will be able to gain knowledge of key aspects of the counselling process, with the aim of becoming Integrative Counsellors.

Course Structure

The Ulster University Foundation Degree in Counselling award is achieved after three years part-time study including a combination of classroom teaching and a structured supervised practice element (client work) in an appropriate placement, commencing Year 2. (students need to find their own placement.)  Students will study 4 modules over each academic year (2 per semester), subject studies may include:

Year 1:

  • Integrative Approach 1
  • Personal Development
  • Humanistic Approaches
  • Developing the Therapeutic Relationship

Year 2:

  • Ethics and Professional Practice
  • Understanding the Client in Context
  • Cognitive Behavioural Interventions
  • Supervised Practice 1 (SP1 placement)

Year 3:

  • Supervised Practice 2 (SP2 placement)
  • Integrative Approach 2
  • Psychodynamic Approaches


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Available Sessions

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Course Code: 71420

Contact Hours

Contact Hours per week

8 hours contact time to include practical classes, lectures, workshops or tutorials.

Placement Hours

150 hours over SP1 and SP2 (max of 4 hours per week). 

Personal Study

Each 20 credit module is equivalent to 200 hours of self-study

Entry Requirements

General Entry Requirements:

  • GCSE English Language Grade C or above OR Pass in Level 2 Essential Skills Literacy
  • GCSE Mathematics Grade C or above OR Pass in Level 2 Essential Skills Numeracy


  • Provide evidence of passes in five subjects, two of which must be at A level (grades A-E) and three at GCSE level* (grades A-C/4-9); OR
  • Provide evidence of passes in four subjects, three of which must be at A level (grades A-E) and one at GCSE level* (grades A-C/4-9); OR
  • Provide evidence of an approved qualification at an equivalent level such as a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma or Access to Higher Education qualification or equivalent; OR
  • Provide evidence, for a process of formal accreditation by the University, of learning gained through work or other experience.

    English Language Requirements for International students:

    • Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) level B2
    • IELTS 6.0 (minimum of 5.5 in all skills)
    • PTE 51 Or an approved equivalent test in English

    Equivalent qualifications include:

    • Grade C (or above) in GCSE English
    • Successfully completion of a Level 3 Vocational Programme with assessments completed in English Language
    • Essential Skills in Literacy (Level 2)
    • ESOL Level 2 

    Tier 4 Students:

    • SERC will only accept a Secure English Language Test (SELT) for issuing a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)


    • Successful completion of the admissions process


    • Provide evidence of ability to undertake the programme by meeting the requirements for the accreditation of prior experiential learning.  Further details on APEL can be found in the admissions section

    How will I be assessed and given feedback?

    The Ulster University Foundation Degree in Counselling award is achieved after three years' part time study (240 credits) including a structured supervised practice element.

    Candidates are assessed using a range of different methods. Primarily there are written assignments in the form of reflective journals, essays and case studies. There is one examination per year in the second semester (normally May -with resits in August) There is ongoing assessment in the form of class triad work with tutor and peer feedback and some opportunities for research and shared learning presentations. Students will also be required to record their practice for self-evaluation. In Year 1 this is completed with peers in class and in Years 2 and 3 this is done as part of the client work placement. There is also workplace assessment by a mentor in the placement organisation and feedback from an external clinical supervisor who oversees the client work. 

    Where will it take me?

    The design of the Ulster University Foundation Degree in Counselling is in line with those set out by the main professional bodies in the area: The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP), and National Counselling Society (NCS), and qualifies students to be counselling practitioners. 

    The programme offers two exit points depending on student need/professional goal:

    • Foundation Degree in Counselling: 3 years (full qualification)
    • Cert HE in Counselling: 2 years (lower award)

    Students who have successfully completed the Foundation Degree which is accredited by the National Counselling Society (NCS) will be eligible to be named on the Professional Standards Register as a registered Counsellor.

    How will it make me more employable?

    The Ulster University Foundation Degree in Counselling qualifies students to be counselling practitioners.

    The alternative 2-year part time route of Certificate of Higher Education in Counselling provides students with flexibility of choice and opportunity to enhance current skills, knowledge and employability e.g. promotion opportunities, in their existing professional roles in a relevant sector e.g. Education, Social Work, Management etc.

    Additional Costs

    Additional costs will be incurred including:

    • Personal therapy (approximately £40 per hour) for a minimum of twenty sessions
    • Clinical Supervision typically £35 - £40 per hour - student rates may be available) ratios are 1:5 in the first 30 hours and 1:8 in the remaining 120 hours approximately).
    • Student membership of a professional body such as BACP and NCS - approx. £79 full cost
    • Professional Indemnity Insurance  £60-80


    The Foundation Degree in Counselling is accredited by the National Counselling Society (NCS).  

    Terms & Conditions

    Students will be required to comply with SERC's Terms & Conditions of study.

    While we endeavour to run all our courses on the advertised day, SERC reserves the right to change the day of week on which the course runs.

    In addition to the above Terms & Conditions students must also adhere to the following:
    • Pass each module studied with a minimum of 40% to gain the FdSc.
    • Secure your own placement.
    • Undertake 20 hours of personal therapy during the lifetime of the programme and provide evidence of this before being awarded.
    • Choose an approved Ulster University Supervisor from the list and arrange a meeting prior to agency work (which commences in year 2) - the supervision ratio must be followed to ensure work is ethical. Students must complete 150 placement hours and follow the ratio of 1:5 in the first 30 hours and then 1:8 in the remaining 120 hours of practice. A supervision record must be maintained (see placement handbook)
    • Pinpoint an Agency Mentor within placement as a contact to oversee the practicalities of meeting with clients and to advise in relation to agency policy.
    • Pinpoint a qualified counsellor within placement to screen and oversee their client caseload as a trainee counsellor.

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    While we promote a wide number of courses however not all are guaranteed to run. Page printed on 26/01/2020 18:20:02