Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: Up to 6 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

112 (September 2021 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BSc (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

This course is available as a Joint Honours degree.

View Joint Honours optionsView Joint Honours options

If you do not achieve the typical entry points required, you may want to consider studying this course with foundation year.

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

Course description

If you would like to combine Counselling and Psychotherapy with another subject, consider our Joint Honours course.

Our BSc (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy Principles and Practices will build your personal and professional skills so that you are fully equipped for career success.

Broaden your knowledge and experience

This course represents an excellent introduction to counselling and psychotherapy. It puts you on the pathway not only to further postgraduate study – so that you can qualify to practise as a counsellor or psychotherapist – but also to broader roles within health, social care, education and human resource management, both in the UK and overseas.

The course will develop you academically, professionally and personally, equipping you with essential life skills alongside a strong foundation of theoretical knowledge. You’ll become familiar with a number of different psychological therapies that can be applied in a wide variety of contexts and situations. We focus on both interpersonal and intrapersonal development, with an emphasis on nurturing your skills as a reflective practitioner.

In tune with latest developments

The world of counselling and psychotherapy is constantly changing and this course has been specifically designed to reflect the demands of life and work in the 21st century. Drawing on our strong engagement with the professional bodies, it aims to meet the growing need for effective, skilled and forward-thinking counsellors and psychotherapists.

Now is the ideal time to embark on a career in this important field, with new opportunities constantly emerging. The issue of mental health is rising on the political agenda and high-profile campaigns are seeking to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health problems.

There is, in particular, a renewed focus on counselling for children and young people, with the NSPCC’s Childline service reporting a 35% increase in the number of calls from individuals seeking help for anxiety in 2015-16.

At the same time, the Department for Education has highlighted the need for counselling provision in every school. Its 2015 paper Counselling in Schools: a Blueprint for the Future states that, by the turn of the decade, children and young people across the country should have “timely access to effective mental health support when they need it”.

In addition, new initiatives are being launched to support mental health in the workplace. Latest guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence urges employers to adopt an organisation-wide approach to promoting the mental wellbeing of all employees.  

Benefit from our employer partnerships

Our course is underpinned by strong professional partnerships so you can be confident it delivers the skills and knowledge that employers are seeking. You will also gain essential practical experience whilst on placement.

We give you the opportunity to take part in insight visits which will shed light on how relevant organisations across the health, social care and educational sectors operate. You may find yourself shadowing a health care worker, sitting in a support group, participating in different wellbeing groups such as meditation, mindfulness or art therapy, or undertaking personal therapy to gain new perspectives on how the theories work in practice.

Thanks to our strong network of contacts, the course features guest lectures by influential figures from the profession, including Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) and Children and Young People Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (CYP IAPT) practitioners, art therapists, drama therapists, and mental health practitioners. These will give you a broad vision of what might be involved in the therapeutic settings you could encounter in your future career.

Be inspired by our expert teaching team

You’ll be motivated, challenged and supported by our teaching team. All are specialists within their therapeutic fields, so will keep you up to date with the latest thinking and practice.

Our staff include influential researchers, published authors and high-profile practitioners who have active roles on the leading professional bodies. They undertake a wide range of research which places us at the cutting edge of policy change and helps to shape the future of the profession. The team is frequently commissioned to run specialist programmes which underpin national policy on mental health.

Working together to learn from each other

Successful counselling and psychotherapy professionals have to be adaptable, versatile and prepared to work in multi-agency teams. You will therefore have opportunities to learn with, and from, students from other disciplines through our Inter-Professional Learning agenda.

This is important in preparing you to work alongside other professionals after graduation so that you can achieve positive outcomes for your clients. We adopt this approach right from the start of your course, where you will attend a major conference with other new Health and Social Care students representing courses ranging from nursing to social work.

Outstanding learning facilities

You’ll be based at Kedleston Road, our Derby campus, which boasts some of the best resources for health and social care learning that you’ll find in any university, including a clinical skills suite, immersive simulation room, domestic living suite and a community care living space. The clinical skills suite includes five dedicated to counselling along with group behavioural observation rooms. 

What you will study

Year 1Year 1Year 2Year 2Year 3Year 3

Code: 4CL509

Developing Counselling Skills and Personal & Professional Development (1)

This module introduces the student to counselling skills. The theoretical component of this module will focus on the qualities necessary in a listener including empathy, congruence or authenticity and a non-judgemental stance. Unconditional positive regard and how this is conveyed to others will be discussed and the student will be encouraged to think, to experience and evaluate how these qualities are, and are not, communicated between people.

Recognition of the presence of sadness, anger, fear and joy in self and others through non-verbal and verbal cues will be taught. Counselling skills will be taught, including paraphrasing, summarising and questioning.

The module is largely practical but formative within the university setting, students will learn primarily by experience and practice via demonstration by a tutor and the triad system of ‘counsellor, client, observer’.

They will learn how to observe and evaluate their own and other’s practice, using an observation form. Discussions about the experience in all three roles will be utilised and the student will gain experience of how to observe and evaluate their own and other’s practice.

A strong component throughout will be to explore and deepen self-awareness in the student of their assumptions and reactions in each of the three triad roles.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 4CL510

Health & Social Care Settings, Contexts and Frameworks

This module introduces the student to various health and social care settings, contexts, policies and the frameworks that surround them. Students will learn how these various settings are connected in practice and how appropriate pathways are assessed and chosen depending on the perceived need.

The module will adopt a ‘cradle to the grave’ perspective, looking at the process of engagement with health and social care from students’ personal experience and from the perspective of how the decision might be made by Health and Social Care professionals. Current agendas and government policy will be discussed and debated and students will be encouraged to explore how the media and changing values in society influence social and health care policy and the impact on the community.

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20 Credits

Code: 4CL511

History of Psychological Therapies

This module introduces students to the historical context of psychological therapies through to modern-day psychotherapies. It incorporates two strands: the theories that people have had throughout history to explain mental suffering and the healing they have developed to relieve it. The module is therefore about the development of different psychological therapies alongside the social, cultural norms of the times.

A strong component throughout will be to explore the assumptions and prejudices of the cultural and social context throughout the history of psychotherapy.

We will explore concepts, such as demonic possession, religious causes and soul loss and then how treatment developed and became the therapies of the time, for example, witchcraft and shamanism, and how therapy developed into our modern-day understanding of mental health and therapeutic approaches.

The module invites the student to consider the different qualities and conditions that emerged and were historically considered necessary by different schools of therapy for good mental health or psychological healing. The student will learn to evaluate the benefits of different approaches as well as the controversies, within a social-cultural context.

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20 Credits

Code: 4CL512

Human Engagement & Connections: Understanding Self in Relation to Others 1

This module will incorporate three main areas, understanding the style of self, understanding the presentation of others and appreciation of diversity in self and others.

This module will enable students to engage in self-reflection, necessary for the development of counselling skills and eventually psychotherapeutic practice. This interactive and experiential module aims to introduce the ideas of different styles, traits and personality.

We will use group work to explore and apply theoretical questions to personal and group dynamics. Theory arising from this method will ask questions which deepen understanding of processes within relationship dynamics.

By looking at traits, behaviours, styles and differences in humans, this module will give you the basis for Human Engagement & Connections: Understanding Self in Relation to Other 2 where we explore more psychological theories such as attachment.

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20 Credits

Code: 4PS502

Psychology in the Modern World

The module will examine how psychology can explain our experience of and engagement with the modern world. The breadth of psychology as a discipline and its potential for explaining human experience will be illustrated by using a number of contemporary issues to highlight the contribution of psychological theory and knowledge.

The module will promote a range of key transferable skills such as observation and analysis, independent investigation and appreciation of different perspectives which will be of benefit to the student in both their academic studies and future employment. Delivery will be by a mixture of interactive lectures and informal, small group debate and discussion.

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20 Credits

Code: 4PS533

Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology

The purpose of this module is to provide students with an introduction to the key principles underlying research methods in psychology. Students will be taught the need for systematic research methods and will explore the relationship between theory and data in both quantitative and qualitative research.

Students will learn key principles in research design and will engage in the practical aspects of generating quantitative and qualitative research data. Students will learn how to analyse quantitative and qualitative data and how to report the findings of simple psychological studies in a standardised format.

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20 Credits

Code: 5CL512

Human Engagement and Connections: Understanding Self in Relation to Others 2

This module will build upon self and other awareness begun in Human Engagement and Connections: 1 In this module we will use group work to explore and apply psychological theory to personal and group dynamics in order to deepen understanding of processes within relationship dynamics.

We will continue to engage in the three areas, understanding the presentation of others, understanding of the style of the self, appreciation of diversity in self and others adding the depth of a psychotherapeutic framework.

This module aims to expand on the ideas of different styles, traits and personality through an interactive and experiential model as begun in the first year. This year the theories by which we understand self and other will be psychotherapeutic theories, so we will be looking at attachment theory, we will notice how conditions of worth (Rogerian theory) restrain us and how our core beliefs influence (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

We will expand upon the body language learned last year to consider its relationship to our unconscious process and body memories.

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20 Credits

Code: 5CL513

Meta-Awareness and the Unconscious

This module will be developing further the skills for self-supervision, receiving supervision and monitoring self within a helping relationship.

The relationship with others is called inter-personal and the relationship with the self is called intra-psychic. To be able to work as a therapist the person needs to be able to have a good intra-psychic relationship as well as to form good inter-personal relationships. We will be going behind the scenes, looking at what we don’t know and how this emerges from ‘the edge of awareness’ within relationships, body language, dreams and behaviours.

The theories of transference and counter-transference, parallel process, projection will be discussed and applied directly to the self. We all bring pro-active feelings to our helping relationships (for example our desire to help or unresolved trauma) and we will have re-active feeling responses to our clients (we may feel warmth, sadness, fear or anger). Understanding ourselves and our responses and our pro-active material, we can all the better respond to and understand a client’s material. Body awareness, body care and body counter-transference will be taught and observed in the self. Dreams, art, movement will all be explored as ways of the unconscious communicating with our consciousness.

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20 Credits

Code: 5CL514

Psychotherapeutic Approaches & Professional Development Planning

This module continues from The History of Psychological Therapies to the main psychotherapeutic approaches today, for example, cognitive behavioural therapy, person-centred, psychodynamic psychotherapy and humanistic therapies such as Gestalt and Transactional Analysis, as well as therapeutic arts approaches such as Art Therapy, Drama therapy, Dance therapy. Other people skills will be introduced: for example NLP, coaching, hypnosis and the use of psychometrics.

The student will be encouraged to form their critical evaluation of the benefits of different approaches as well as the controversies. They will start to develop preferences and interests in branches of psychotherapy.

During this module, the student will observe a therapeutic orientation that they are interested in for their placement. This may be shadowing a health care worker, sitting in on support groups, facilitating different wellbeing.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 5PS500

Psychopathology: Diagnosis, Treatment and Issues

The module aims to develop in students a critical understanding of the main forms of mental illness from a psychological perspective. The module provides students with an understanding of the key features of a variety of disorders and examines the contribution psychological approaches make to the theories, research, diagnosis and treatment of abnormal behaviour.
20 Credits

Code: 5PS536

Qualitative Methods: The Individual in Society

This module introduces a range of qualitative methods used within contemporary psychology and explores the different insights these approaches bring to the area of individual differences. The module will be divided into sections which each introduce a different qualitative method. In addition, the underlying assumptions which inform psychological research into individual differences such as gender, identity, health and so on are examined.

The range of philosophical orientations and methodological approaches covered in the module enables students to consider the ways in which the individual and their engagement with the social world can be explored from a qualitative perspective. This module also provides students with an opportunity to engage with an employment (or voluntary) experience.

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20 Credits

Code: 6CL518

Core Issues, Diversity and Debates

Continuing with the themes begun at the beginning of the course in year one and threaded through all subsequent modules, this module is designed to engage students in critical analysis of key academic and professional debates within counselling and psychotherapy, by exploring issues that have and will continue to influence the development of the profession.

Core to this module is a critical analysis of the context of the development of therapies, and the politics and power contained therein. In order to achieve this, it will consider the contributions of various bodies including The British Association for Counselling and The British Psychological Society.

The module will include exploring some of the methodological debates surrounding the research and practice of counselling. Power, autonomy, diagnosis, risk, and roles will all be considered in relation to the client-therapist relationship, group dynamics and in terms of the existing context of cultural and societal prejudices and discrimination. The student will need to demonstrate that they can critically analyse the impact of their personal assumptions and conditioning (including attitudes to gender, sexuality, age, race, class, culture and ability/mobility) on those they come into contact with in a personal and professional situation.

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20 Credits

Code: 6CL519

Counselling Skills

This module takes the theoretical knowledge and understanding gained from previous modules, providing an opportunity to apply and develop these professional competency skills albeit not to gaining a counselling qualification.

The aim is for the students to emerge with a competency to use counselling skills within a workplace setting (this does not qualify a student to be a counsellor but to use counselling skills). A largely practical, skills-based module, students will be expected to demonstrate their theoretical understanding of the qualities of a counsellor, the philosophy of a counsellor and the skills of a counsellor each week and to critically reflect upon their performance throughout.

Contracting, timekeeping and boundaries will be explored along with power dynamics. Appropriate and inappropriate referrals, settings and relationships will be taught and explored along with a critical evaluation of which modalities may be most appropriate in different settings. Advanced questioning will be taught, for example, Socratic questioning.

The module is largely practical, students will learn primarily by experience and practice via demonstration by a tutor and the triad system of ‘counsellor, client, observer’. A strong component throughout will be to explore and deepen self-awareness in the student of their assumptions and reactions in each of the three triad roles.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 6CL520

Dissertation, Personal and Professional Development

Students will learn the skills necessary for an academic dissertation. They will choose an orientation or specialism pertinent to a potential future profession and explore it through research, literature review and written academic forms. Inviting the student to conclude this module and course with ideas on how they can develop their future professional progression or career.

Teaching will support students in research, writing and analytical skills necessary for undertaking a dissertation.

Part of this module involves further placement/insight visits. This may be shadowing a health care worker, sitting in on support groups, participating in different wellbeing groups or undertaking personal therapy to gain an insight into the theories in an application. The visits may form part of the research for the final dissertation at the end of Semester 2.

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40 Credits

Code: 6CL517

Coaching Skills

This skills-based module will be developing skills for coaching. It will cover the qualities and attitudes needed for coaching and apply coaching skills to the individual student.

Beginning with the definitions of coaching as distinct from counselling and psychotherapy, the module will focus primarily on Life Coaching with references to how this can be transferred into Business Coaching. The history of coaching will be studied along with styles and methods. The basics of NLP will be taught and students will learn to establish a coaching contract, set coaching goals and to keep notes.

The module will also explore coaching as a profession and students will evaluate the benefits of coaching for themselves and as a model. The module will require students to coach each other and to keep accurate written records throughout, building up their individual coaching programme and goals while critically evaluating the methods used and the outcomes.

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20 Credits

Code: 6CL525

Counselling Children and Young People

This module introduces the student to a specialised area of psychotherapeutic work that is specific to children and young people. Students will learn how therapeutic work with children and young people differs from working therapeutically with adult clients.

The module will explore a variety of therapeutic approaches and interventions when working with children and young people. The module will equip students with a specific skillset on which to build for working therapeutically with children and young people. The module will look at the various ethical issues involved when working with this client group as well as highlighting the potential limits and constraints on confidentiality when engaging therapeutically with children and young people.

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20 Credits

Code: 6CL526

Compassion Focused Approaches in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is derived from the evolutionary model of social mentality therapy (Gilbert 1989, 1995, 2005a,b, 2007). CFT was developed to help people who frequently experience shame and self-criticism. These factors have been associated with the development and maintenance of a range of mental health problems, and are often difficult to treat using traditional psychotherapeutic approaches.

Key to CFT is the idea that we have evolved with a brain and emotional systems that can be very difficult to manage, and that much of the way we respond to the world is not our fault, but due to our (often automatic) responses to threat. However understanding these responses can help us to take responsibility for the ways we respond to threat and find new, more adaptive, ways of coping.

This module will address the theory that underpins CFT and explore the relevance of a compassion focused therapy approach within the broader context of counselling and psychotherapy including self-help applications.

Utilising the self-practice/self-reflection model (Bennet-Levy, Thwaites & Haarhoff 2014) has been shown to deepen self-awareness and understanding of therapy processes and therefore opportunities for self-practice of components of CFT will be provided and reflected upon.

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20 Credits

Code: 6CL527

Creative Connections: Expressive Therapeutic Techniques for Psychological Growth

Students undertaking this module have the opportunity to explore the various types of creative expression to facilitate both self-discovery and psychological healing of clients. Indicative content on this module will include dance therapy, art therapy, music therapy, animal - assisted therapy and drama therapy. These modalities include interventions such as journal writing, poetry, imagery, mindfulness and improvisational drama.
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.

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Campus Tours

Campus Tours are a great way to explore our campuses, facilities and halls of residence. We’ll be running the tours in two-hour timeslots, giving you the best possible experience while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

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Virtual Open Day

Delve deeper into the course with our Virtual Open Day, packed with subject and course information to help you make your choice, including tours of facilities, 360° views of award-winning accommodation plus advice and insight from students and academics.

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How you will learn

There are varied opportunities to practise your skills individually, as a group, and in real life contexts. The course incorporates insight visits to a range of health and social care settings such as counselling or voluntary organisations.

You can develop your abilities in our clinical skills suite, which includes counselling rooms. In addition, you will benefit from our learning resource centre, with interactive resources including books, ebooks and DVDs.

How you’re assessed

Your assessments will focus on the different skills required to excel on this course. The methods we use include project work, written assignments, presentations, video and audio work, portfolios and posters.

Who you will meet

Our teaching team has extensive experience of counselling and psychotherapy, along with wide-ranging professional networks. They include:

This course also benefits from the input of an enthusiastic and expert team specialising in a wide range of fields including gestalt psychotherapy, compassion, counselling in cases of rape and sexual abuse, conflict transformation, trauma, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, systemic psychotherapy and compassion focused therapy.

Personal academic tutoring

Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.

Find out more about personal academic tutoring

Who will teach you

Dr Bill Naylor
Programme leader

Dr Naylor is the Assistant Discipline Lead for Counselling and Psychotherapy. This means that he supports his colleagues in the management and delivery of Counselling and Psychotherapy at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level. He is also Programme Lead the BSc(Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy Principles and Practice.  

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Entry requirements

September 2021 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points112
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

An Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service certificate cleared by the University is required for this course. We will contact you with information on how to complete this once you have applied. More information.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year

£1,155 per 20 credit module


£14,045 per year


Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


With careers advice an integral part of your studies, this course equips you to compete effectively in the graduate careers market. After graduation you’ll have a wide range of options and could progress to roles within health and social care, counselling, psychotherapy and psychology.

If you would like to take your qualifications to the next level and become a professional counsellor and/or psychotherapist, we offer a full range of postgraduate programmes including accredited MSc courses in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy and Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy.

These could pave the way to rewarding counselling and psychotherapy positions within the NHS, schools, colleges and universities, and any organisations which employ therapists as part of their occupational health portfolio. Some of the students who complete our postgraduate programmes also go on to develop their own private practice or advance to research degrees.

However, the transferable skills you gain on the BSc (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy Principles and Practices also mean that you could pursue careers in a wide variety of other professions where excellent people skills and emotional intelligence are valued, including nursing, social work, education, coaching, mental health, human resource management and marketing.

Ongoing careers support

Our Careers and Employment Service will provide you with help, guidance and support from day one of your course – and for up to three years after you’ve completed your studies.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

Minimum numbers

Please note that this course is subject to minimum numbers in order to run.

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