Research course

Counselling Psychology

London Metropolitan University · School of Human Sciences

Entry requirements

Successful applicants for the MSc/DProf programme must demonstrate the following attributes: • Graduate Basis for Chartered membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society • Usually a minimum of an upper second-class Honours degree in Psychology (2:1) • Practical experience of using counselling skills in an emotionally demanding helping role gained over at least one year prior to application, and ideally some training in counselling skills • A level of professional and theoretical understanding adequate to support work in practice placements with vulnerable clients from the beginning of the programme • Evidence of personal maturity, self awareness and reflective capacity • An clear and appropriate rationale for wanting to train as a counselling psychologist • Evidence of a realistic appreciation of and capacity to undertake professional training and research at postgraduate level • Research interests relevant to the field of counselling psychology, and an ability to think about how these could be developed into a viable research project. Applicants for the doctoral programme must submit a short draft research proposal • Proficiency in reading, writing and spoken English of a standard necessary to support academic study and professional practice at advanced postgraduate level in the UK. Applicants for whom English is not a first language and who have not obtained their previous qualifications in the UK must posses an English language qualification demonstrating proficiency of an IELTS minimum of 7 with no element below 6.5 or TOEL IBT min 110 with a minimum of 26 in reading and a minimum of 28 in writing speaking and reading

Months of entry


Course content

Course overview

The Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology (PDCoP) is a three-year full time, four-year part time taught doctoral programme, leading to a doctoral qualification, professional registration with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the British Psychological Society (BPS), and recognition within the UK and the EU as a fully qualified Chartered Counselling Psychologist eligible to practice.

The London Metropolitan University PDCoP offers a sound and marketable model, combining in-depth competency in cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), strong humanistic values, and psychodynamic awareness. The PDCoP was re-accredited by the HCPC and the BPS in 2012. It was commended for the depth and breadth of the modules offered; a number of our modules were described as cutting-edge and very well suited to the current zeitgeist and employment market. These modules include a first-year module devoted to working with difference and diversity, and a third-year service evaluation research exercise.

The PDCoP is run by a dedicated team of HCPC registered and BPS accredited chartered counselling and clinical psychologists, offering wide-ranging and high quality clinical and research expertise to trainees. PDCoP team members have between one and eleven years of post-qualification clinical experience, and two thirds hold PhD or professional doctoral titles. Two thirds of the staff are academically published authors.

While student numbers are growing, the London Metropolitan University PDCoP prides itself on retaining a small cohort each year of no more than 20 students. This enables us to offer our trainees a relatively high volume of individual attention from staff. All students are assigned a personal tutor and two research supervisors. Trainees are offered a relatively high proportion of research supervision (10 hours in Year 1 and 20 hours each year in Years 2 and 3); safe spaces for clinical group supervision and skills practice; and an experiential and workshop style of teaching and learning. Trainees and staff develop collaborative relationships in relation to learning and personal development.

The programme has a dedicated Placements Coordinator, and an extensive on-line placement provider database, accessible prior to training commencement. We offer a comprehensive placements induction in the first week of training, and we encourage and support all trainees to be in placement or at interview stage with placement providers by the beginning of their training.

The first year of training is the equivalent of a Master’s year. Students who exit at the end of Year 1 are eligible for an MSc in Psychological Therapies. This MSc offers eligibility to register with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), leading to clinical practice in either in public, private or third sector organisations. However, the PDCoP has high student retention rates, with the majority of students continuing from the MSc level into the doctoral level of training in years 2 and 3. Student satisfaction within the PDCoP is very high; feedback forms regularly comment on the high quality and breadth of teaching, the clinical and research expertise of the lecturers, and the dedication of the staff, both at a personal and professional level. Students feel valued and attended to by the teaching team because the size of each cohort allows for a more tailored experience for each student.

Through postgraduate teaching and workshops across the wider applied psychology department, London Metropolitan University counselling psychology trainees develop advanced levels of knowledge and skills in a broad range of qualitative and quantitative psychological research methods. The PDCoP emphasises criticality, epistemological critique and reflexivity across all research teaching and learning. Extensive support in the form of individual and group supervision and teaching is offered, alongside methodology learning, to support trainees in undertaking a piece of doctoral level research that will make an original contribution to the professional practice of counselling psychology, and more widely.

London Metropolitan University counselling psychology trainees develop a wide range of intellectual and practical skills and knowledge. The training has a solid track record of trainees emerging as robust, sophisticated, and highly employable practitioners of counselling psychology. In recent years, we are proud that a number of our trainees have won BPS Division of Counselling Psychology trainee prizes for written assignments and research poster presentations.

The principle aims and achievements of the course are to produce graduates who are:

  • Competent, informed, reflective, ethical and professionally sound practitioners of counselling psychology; who are able to work in a range of settings, and committed to their own on-going personal and professional development.
  • Able to understand, develop and apply models of advanced psychological inquiry and research that enable the creation of new knowledge and which recognise the complex nature of human experience and relationships.
  • Able to adopt a questioning and evaluative approach to the philosophy, practice, research and theory that constitutes counselling psychology; and aware of the wider social, cultural and political domains within which counselling psychology operates.
  • In possession of a set of skills and competencies that are transferable to a wide variety of professional contexts and which enhance employability.
  • Able to demonstrate the range of counselling psychology competencies needed to be eligible to apply for chartered status with the British Psychological Society (BPS) and registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Every year an average of seven PDCoP students are awarded their doctoral degree; and many students are conducting research in collaboration with NHS Trusts or NGOs. Graduates find permanent employment within a few months’ post-qualification, with many trainees hold part-time clinical employment whilst they are in the final year of the training, because their clinical skills and knowledge are of such a high standard. Other graduates from the programme find work in academia in visiting or permanent teaching posts, or as research fellows.

The PDCoP is involved in on-going in-house events and conferences such as CultureShock, and in research and clinical collaborations with five NHS trusts. The programme is also involved in research and in training of clinical staff with the Freedom from Torture Foundation and Khulisa, both community based organisations close to the Holloway Campus. The PDCoP programme is also collaborating with the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences to link interpreters with clinicians, and to establish training inside and outside the university on working with interpreters in mental health settings.

Course structure

The doctoral programme is made up of 10 core modules. Seven smaller modules are completed at Masters level in Year one, and three larger modules are then completed at Doctoral level over Years two and three of the programme.

Year one (MSc) modules include:

  • Psychological Knowledge and Models of Therapy PYP173 (20 credits)
  • Therapeutic and Reflective Skills PYP174 (20 credits)
  • Professional and Ethical Issues PYP175 (20 credits)
  • Working with Difference and Diversity PYP176 (20 credits)
  • Counselling Psychology Practice and Development PYP177 (20 credits)
  • Advanced Research Design and Analysis for Psychology PYP164 (20 credits)
  • Research Project and Critical Skills PYPPB4 (60 credits)

Year two & three (DProf) modules include:

  • Advanced Psychological Theory and Practice one (100 credits)
  • Advanced Psychological Theory and Practice two (100 credits)
  • Advanced Psychological Research PYPPB6N (160 credits)

Career opportunities

Career opportunities for counselling psychologists include posts in a variety of areas. These include NHS settings, such as primary care, IAPT services, community mental health teams, drug and alcohol, rehabilitation, eating and personality disorder services, as well as the prison service, voluntary sector, private practice, academia, training, supervision, management and consultancy.

Graduates from the programme frequently go into work in one or more of these areas. Some have gone onto provide practice placements, or to supervise or teaching students on the programme. The range of advanced clinical and research skills and abilities gained through the course prepare graduates to undertake work in a variety of fields of activity.

Information for international students

Applicants for whom English is not a first language and who have not obtained their previous qualifications in the UK must posses an English language qualification demonstrating proficiency of an IELTS minimum of 7 with no element below 6.5.

Fees and funding

UK students
£7,965 + £6,000 per year for thesis stage
International students
£11,700 + £11,440 per year for thesis stage

Qualification and course duration


part time
48 months
full time
36 months

Course contact details

Admissions Office
020 7133 4202