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Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 1 year

UK fee

£2,520 (2020/21)

International fee

£2,520 (2020/21)

Course level



University Diploma

Start dates

January, September, May



Online course description

This online Counselling Studies and Skills University Diploma course is a one-year introduction to Counselling and an ideal starting point if you are interested in becoming a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist. Becoming an accredited counsellor requires further study in a face-to-face taught environment, however this course is a useful first step towards becoming an accredited counsellor with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). It is also a perfect entry-level course to help you understand more about this subject where an understanding of counselling skills and techniques would benefit your role.

This qualification alone will not give you a licence to practice but may help you decide if counselling is a career you wish to pursue. You may be able to continue your studies at Derby with our BACP-accredited MSc Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy course, providing you meet the necessary entry requirements.

A high quality online counselling course

This online Counselling studies and skills (not a license to practice) University Diploma course is Quality Checked training by the National Counselling Society (NCS).

The NCS is a not for profit organisation whose primary purpose is the advancement of counselling and psychotherapy.

The National Counselling Society Quality Checked Course logo

Useful in many fields

Counselling skills are particularly useful for nurses, teachers, pastors, police officers, community workers, youth workers, managers or anyone dealing with vulnerable or distressed people. You may have a degree in a related subject but no experience of counselling or plenty of counselling experience but lack formal qualifications. You may be in a job in which some counselling knowledge would be a real aid. Whatever your situation, this is an excellent foundation and a recognised qualification which allows you to move on to further study and broaden your career.

Goldstandard teaching**Teaching Excellence Framework

Opportunities to practise counselling skills

You might be surprised to learn that counselling can be studied online. But, through our use of specially designed, interactive teaching methods, you’ll participate in virtual classrooms and online discussion forums where you can discuss and debate relevant topics with fellow online students. So, in many ways, it can feel a less daunting environment in which to learn.

Studying online gives you the flexibility to study at the most convenient time and place for you. Course modules still operate within a fixed 10-week trimester but you can choose to study during the day, in the evenings or at the weekend rather than having to attend fixed lectures.

A talk from our Academic Lead

Our Academic Lead for Counselling, Yasu Kotera, talks about our Counselling Studies and Skills University Diploma in this video.

Our course academic talks about the online Counselling Studies and Skills University Diploma

View the introduction to our online Counselling Studies and Skills University Diploma video transcript

What you will study

We will advise you of your study plan - the running order and availability of the modules - when you are invited to enrol.

Stage 1Stage 1

Code: 5CL500

Counselling in Context

This module aims to provide insight into specific counselling approaches within various organisational contexts which may include both statutory and voluntary agencies. The module will explore the philosophical and theoretical principles that underpin the particular context. It will consider how the counselling context might impinge on counselling practice. The module will explore the skills required to work within the counselling context and it will consider ethical practice.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of organisational culture within a range of organisational contexts
  • Demonstrate an understanding of counselling skills required to function within a range of organisational counselling contexts
  • Identify and demonstrate personal, professional, organisational and ethical strengths and limitations

Module content

  • The theoretical and philosophical perspectives that underpin the contexts
  • Procedures and policies within the contexts
  • Impact of organisational, structural, and situational context on counselling practice
  • Cultural context
  • Counselling theory and skills required to function within the contexts
More information
20 Credits

Code: 5CL501

Counselling Skills

This module provides students with the opportunity to explore and develop the counselling and communication skills that form the foundation of counselling and psychotherapy. It provides students the opportunity to consider how these verbal and non-verbal skills can improve personal communication and enhance self-awareness.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the skills involved in listening, responding, questioning and engaging
  • Critically evaluate in writing, a performance in relation to a role play interaction, by examining: what skills were employed; why they were employed; the impact this had on the interaction and how their skills could be improved

Module content

  • Core conditions - empathy, warmth, unconditional positive regard, genuineness, non-verbal communication
  • Questioning skills
  • Paraphrasing
  • Ethics and confidentiality
  • Clinical supervision and support
  • Maintaining boundaries
  • Learning through reflection
  • Learning log
More information
20 Credits

Code: 5CL502

Theories of Therapeutic Intervention

This module aims to provide an introduction to three of the major theoretical models of counselling. It addresses these with regard to the particular socio-cultural context from which they were written and their philosophical positions on the nature of being human. The module also aims to increase effectiveness and confidence in using academic resources particularly sourcing and reviewing journal articles related to counselling.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the contribution of the four major theories: person-centred, cognitive behavioural, psychodynamic and attachment theory to counselling
  • Develop a range of academic competencies in studying and learning including the ability to reflect on a range of peer-related journal articles

Module content

Major theories viewed as significant to therapy:

  • Person Centred Theory
  • Person Centred Therapy
  • Cognitive Theory
  • Behavioural Theory
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Theory
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Attachment Theory

Academic competencies:

  • Reflective Learning
  • Effective use of libraries
  • Conducting a literature review
  • Reviewing, analysing and evaluating written material
More information
20 Credits

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

Pace of study

We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester.

Assessment method

This course is assessed through 100% coursework with a range of methods, such as essays, research reports, presentations, group work and practical reports.

Who will teach you

Yasu Kotera smiling

Yasuhiro Kotera
Programme leader

Academic Lead in Counselling, Yasuhiro Kotera, has been Academic Lead for online Counselling and Psychotherapy courses since 2014 and has been researching into mental health and neuro-linguistic programming.

View full staff profileView full staff profileExplore all staff on this courseExplore all staff on this course
Student wearing headphones at a laptop participating in an online webinar

Discovering Online Learning Webinar

Tuesday, 17 November 2020 16.00 - 17.00

During this hour-long webinar, we’ll take you through the basic principles of how online learning works and what you can expect as an online learner with the University of Derby Online Learning.

Book your webinarBook your webinar

Entry requirements

In line with our value of extending opportunities, the University Diploma in Counselling Studies and Skills is an open course, with few entry requirements. You may be able to gain entry to the programme if you meet the following criteria:

English language qualifications

You will normally need one of the following English language qualifications:

If English is not your first language, you will need an English language qualification. For this course, you will need at least one of the following:

Other English language qualifications may be accepted and you should provide full details of these with your application.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2020 and August 2021.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £840 3 £2,520

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.

However, please also note that you can receive a 5% discount if you either:

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from three payment plan options:

How to apply

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply now

Documents to support your application

You'll need to provide:

*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:

A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website.


This course can be a first step towards a career in counselling. When you have successfully completed this Diploma you will have a variety of opportunities open to you.

If you want to train as a counsellor, you can apply for our Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy MSc, which is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). It’s available to study part-time at our Derby campus.

You can learn more about cognitive behavioural therapy or become a qualified cognitive behavioural therapist by taking our Advanced Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Skills and Studies or Cognitive Behavioural Therapeutic Approaches (Top-Up) BSc (Hons) degree and then our accredited MSc Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (Adult or Children and Young People), which is accredited by British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapists (BABCP), providing you meet the necessary entry requirements.

You can enhance your current role as a nurse, doctor, teacher or youth worker, for example, by learning skills that enable you to better understand and engage with your patients or clients. You can also claim CPD (continuing professional development) points.

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

Contact usContact usFrequently asked questionsFrequently asked questions

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