This programme is taught by qualified and experienced counsellors, psychologists, therapists, and clinicians.

Key Information


PG Diploma: 1 year MSc: 2 years

Typical Offer



Brayford Pool

Validation Status




Course Code


MSc Counselling

Please note, applications for this programme will close on 30 August 2022.

Key Information


PG Diploma: 1 year MSc: 2 years

Typical Offer



Brayford Pool

Validation Status




Course Code


Dr Roger Bretherton - Associate Professor / Programme Leader

Dr Roger Bretherton - Associate Professor / Programme Leader

Dr Roger Bretherton is Principal Lecturer for Enterprise in the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln. He worked as a clinician, manager and trainer in the NHS for over a decade, and joined the University of Lincoln in 2007, where he specialises in coaching and positive psychology. He consults extensively in both public and commercial sectors, and has delivered keynote addresses to leaders in venues as varied as the University of Oxford, the Royal Albert Hall and the Hammersmith Apollo. His current research, funded by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE), is entitled, ‘Are Humble Leaders Better Leaders?’.

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Welcome to MSc Counselling

This programme provides opportunities for students to develop their knowledge and skills as a counsellor, and is especially suited to those considering a career as a practising counsellor. Counselling is a talking therapy with two major strands: firstly, helping people cope with emotional and relational difficulties and, secondly, facilitating personal growth.

In the first term of the programme, and informed by the reflective scientist-practitioner model, students are introduced to counselling theory and ethics, and are taught and practice counselling skills. Due to the course leading to a professional qualification in counselling, much of the learning is experiential where students can develop their counselling skills as well as how to apply theory to their work.

The primary theoretical and philosophical approach the programme teaches in the person-centred approach with an emphasis upon the importance of intersubjectivity and the therapeutic relationship. In the second term students can gain practical experience as trainee counsellors, learn about relevant clinical research paradigms, and are introduced to methods for reliably assessing a client's response to counselling, including the use of measurement tools such as questionnaires.

The second year will focus on the MSc, where students can develop a range of research skills and engage in a research project in relation to counselling.

Following completion of the PG Diploma Counselling (first year), students can apply for individual registration with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) pending completion of professional practice hours.

How You Study

The programme is designed to develop students' theoretical knowledge, therapeutic competency, and formation as a professional counsellor. In the first term, students will have teaching for four days a week that will focus on development of core counselling skills and acquisition of theory. In the second term, teaching will reduce to two days a week and students will also be expected to develop their skills as a professional counsellor through engaging in a placement.

Teaching and learning will be developed through a range of methods, including:

- Lectures
- Problem- based learning
- Workshop-type based interactive learning
- Experiential learning activities
- Professional Practice hours

Due to the nature of this programme weekly contact hours may vary. Postgraduate level study involves a significant proportion of independent study, exploring the material covered in lectures and seminars. As a general guide, for every hour spent in class, students are expected to spend at least two to three hours in independent study. For more detailed information specific to this course please contact the Programme Leader.


As a part of the programme you are required undertake a placement where you need to acquire 100 hours of face-to-face therapeutic work. The purpose of the placement is to enable you to develop experience in delivering therapy and competence in counselling skills. You will be required to engage in a minimum of two hours of individual supervision per month from the start of the placement. Supervision is compulsory and an integral part of the programme.

Students are responsible for acquiring and sourcing their own placements and are advised to consider future career objectives and interests when considering placements.

The University has developed partnerships with both NHS and non-NHS services (third sector organisations, schools, and community organisations) who are able to provide placements, however, these organisations may have their own internal application process. Students will be provided support in finding an appropriate placement.

To ensure placements are appropriate and meet the necessary learning outcomes, all placements should be approved by the programme prior to students starting therapeutic work.

An Introduction to Your Modules

† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Counselling Skills in Action 2022-23PSY9254MLevel 72022-23This module focuses on developing students' skills and understanding of therapeutic engagement and practice, to prepare them for roles as practicing counsellors.CoreMeasurement and Evaluation of Effectiveness and Change (1) 2022-23PSY9255MLevel 72022-23This module aims to develop students' understanding of the Reflective Scientist-Practitioner Model, and will expose them to the skills required to embed their counselling practice within the evidence base. The module aims to provide students with an understanding of the research process, different types of research designs common for clinical settings, their engagement with the scientific literature, and how to communicate research findings to different types of audiences.CoreMeasurement and Evaluation of Effectiveness and Change (2) 2022-23PSY9256MLevel 72022-23This module is designed to provide insight into common types of outcomes measures used within counselling practice, their evaluation, and how to integrate them into students' own practice.CoreMSc Thesis (Counselling) 2022-23PSY9277MLevel 72022-23The thesis is designed to allow students to explore their interests in a specific area of research in more detail. It provides the opportunity to design, implement, analyse, and write-up a substantial piece of empirical work.CorePerson Centred Approaches to Growth 2022-23PSY9257MLevel 72022-23This module introduces students to the theory of person-centred approaches to growth as the main theoretical foundation of our course.CorePostgraduate Psychology Tutorial 2022-23PSY9244MLevel 72022-23CoreProfessional Practice Hours 2022-23PSY9258MLevel 72022-23The purpose of the placements is to provide students with the opportunity to translate their counselling knowledge and acquired skills into supervised counselling practice, to engage in supervised client contact and to observe and learn from the clinical supervisor.CoreReflective Practice 2022-23PSY9259MLevel 72022-23This module focuses on enabling students to develop reflective skills, enabling them to become reflective practitioners. The module will include engagement in a reflective group where a range of relevant topics will be discussed in a group format.CoreTheory-Practice Links: Integrating Theoretical Systems of Psychotherapy 2022-23PSY9260MLevel 72022-23The module will cover the relevant evidence for working with different psychological interventions. It aims to develop an understanding of traditional paradigms of treatment and therapy as well as examining some more recent innovations, to allow comparison and integration with the person-centered treatment approach.CoreWorking Professionally as a Counsellor 2022-23PSY9261MLevel 72022-23This module aims to develop the skills, understanding, and self-awareness that enable students to work safely and ethically as professional counsellors.Core

How you are assessed

Students are assessed through a range of assessment types and formats. These include essays, case studies, presentations, counselling role plays, research reports, research proposals, and a portfolio.

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure a prompt return of in-course assessments- usually within 15 working days after the submission date.

Fees and Funding

For eligible students, there are more ways than ever before to fund your postgraduate study, whether you want to do a taught or research course. For those wishing to undertake a Master's course, UK students can apply for a loan as a contribution towards the course and living costs. Loans are also available to those who wish to undertake doctoral study. The University offers a number of scholarships and funded studentships for those interested in postgraduate study. Learn how Master's and PhD loans, scholarships, and studentships can help you fund your studies on our Postgraduate Fees and Funding pages.

Programme Fees

Programme-Specific Additional Costs

In addition to course fees, additional costs may be incurred as a requirement of course-specific materials such as clothing or equipment. With regards to textbooks, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and you will find that our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that you are required to read.

Students undertaking placements will be responsible for their own travel, accommodation, and general living expenses.

It is recommended that you become a student member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Student membership details can be found at

Additional recommendations are that students should engage in their own personal therapy as a part of the training process (average prices between £30 to 50 a session), and students are also advised to obtain their own professional liability insurance.

Entry Requirements 2022-23

- First or upper second class honours degree. All offers made to those still completing a BA/BSc are contingent upon applicants meeting these requirements.

- Candidates are required to have experience of working in a helping and caring role in either a paid or voluntary capacity. This experience should demonstrate the candidate's ability to support individuals in distress and also engage in listening and communication skills.

- Evidence must be provided of previous counselling skills practice, including one of the following:

1. Level 2 or 3 counselling certificate

2. Successful completion of a higher education module that includes a core element of assessed counselling skills practice

3. A written reference from an employer or tutor that demonstrates you application, proficiency and use of interpersonal and listening skills in a counselling context.

4. Equivalent (please contact us to discuss this).

Applicants will be required to pass an enhanced DBS clearance.

Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 7.0 overall, with a minimum of 6.5 in each element.

For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page:

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-sessional English and Academic Study Skills courses:

These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study.

Portfolio and Interview

Candidates who meet the entry requirements will be invited to the University of Lincoln for an interview with two members of the programme team. This will include a panel interview and a counselling practice activity.

The interview will typically cover:

- Interest in training to become a counsellor
- Skills, strengths, and competence that are relevant to counselling
- Current knowledge and understanding of counselling theory
- Students' own research interests and subjects within psychology that interest them

The counselling practice activity will include a short counselling session (lasting approximately 5 minutes) where the applicant will take the role of counsellor. Following this, applicants will be asked to reflect upon the session and consider the quality of the interaction with the client, what went well and what could be improved. The skills being evaluated in this activity include:

- Ability to cultivate an appropriate therapeutic environment
- Demonstrable warmth and empathy
- Basic understanding of open questions
- Focus on 'the other'

Career Opportunities

Following successful completion of the PG Diploma at the end of the first year, students can apply for individual registration with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) pending completion of professional practice hours.

Students completing the full MSc may choose to pursue a career in research and academia.


The Sarah Swift Building is the home of the Schools of Health and Social Care and Psychology. The building houses specialist teaching and research spaces for both Schools, as well as general teaching and learning facilities for the wider University.

At the heart of student life is the Great Central Warehouse Library which provides access to more than 260,000 journals and 700,000 print and electronic books, as well as databases and specialist collections.

Postgraduate Events

Find out more about how postgraduate study can help further your career, develop your knowledge, or even prepare you to start your own business at one of our postgraduate events.

Find out More

Prioritising Face-to-Face Teaching

At the University of Lincoln, we strive to ensure our students’ experience is engaging, supportive, and academically challenging. Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, we have adapted to Government guidance to keep our students, staff, and community safe. All remaining Covid-19 legal restrictions in England were lifted in February 2022 under the Government’s Plan for Living with Covid-19, and we have embraced a safe return to in-person teaching on campus. Where appropriate, face-to-face teaching is enhanced by the use of digital tools and technology and may be complemented by online opportunities where these support learning outcomes.

We are fully prepared to adapt our plans if changes in Government guidance make this necessary, and we will endeavour to keep current and prospective students informed. For more information about how we are working to keep our community safe, please visit our coronavirus web pages.

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.