Research course

Counselling Psychology (Professional Doctorate)

The University of Manchester · School of Education

Entry requirements

The course is for those with an academic background in psychology that want to pursue a career in Counselling Psychology or related areas. Entry requirements are as follows:

  • 2.1 honours degree in Psychology. Candidates with a lower classification also require a Masters level qualification with a minimum grade B in the dissertation.
  • Basic counselling skills training and professional experience of using such skills. This criterion might be met for example by completing a Certificate in Counselling Skills or through employment or voluntary experience in a role using counselling skills
  • The capacity to undertake Doctoral research
  • Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC**) with the British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • Satisfactory Criminal Convictions Check (undertaken and paid for by the University)

Accreditation of prior or experiential learning (APL) is awarded in line with University of Manchester policy. Individuals claiming parity of experience / qualification must provide evidence of completing similar studies at Doctorate Level. Master's level work is not eligible. Case study presentations are completed using a research frame and have ethical clearance. The research proposal and practice hours are not eligible to APL.

**GBC was previously referred to as GBR (Graduate Basis for Registration). We accept both as proof of prior training.

Months of entry


Course content

'The course has provided incredible theoretical, practical and personal learning' (DCounsPsych student, 2016)

'I feel well-held as an individual going through what is a long-haul commitment, and our year groups likewise seem well-cared for and nurtured as working groups' (DCounsPsych student, 2016)

Trainees and stakeholders feel very well supported by the programme team. They have found that the programme team have given them high quality guidance, support and feedback on all aspects of the programme (British Psychological Society Partnership and Accreditation Team, 2015)

The Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology at the University of Manchester is the only Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and British Psychological Society (BPS) approved Doctoral training in Counselling Psychology currently situated at a Russell Group University.

The course offers a professional training in Counselling Psychology and has four major components. These are:

(1) The development of appropriate theoretical knowledge

(2) The development of research skills

(3) The development of therapeutic practice skills

(4) An emphasis upon personal development

We have small cohorts of between 9-12 students a year and we work closely with our trainees to support their development as reflexive scientist-practitioners. Throughout the programme trainees will be introduced in detail to a pluralistic approach of therapy, with a focus on humanistic counselling during the first year and cognitive behavioural therapy in the second. Alongside the assessed units, students will have to complete a minimum of 450 hours of supervised therapeutic practice and 40 hours of personal therapy. The University has a number of placement opportunities available for trainees. We have over 40 links across NHS settings, private health care services, educational settings and third sector organisations, working with a range of client groups. Furthermore, the programme will support individuals to utilise existing work places where they are presently delivering therapeutic work (placements must comply with HCPC and University standards).

The staff team working on the Doctorate in Counselling Psychology at Manchester are all psychologists who are active in the fields of both research and clinical practice in counselling psychology. In terms of clinical practice their work is ongoing within NHS, private health care and third sector settings. Their training backgrounds include skills in humanistic therapies, cognitive-behaviour therapy, EMDR, and psychodynamic group analytic approaches. Staff members publish their research and write widely in the fields of counselling, counselling psychology, psychotherapy, applied psychology and education, including exploring critical and methodological innovations between psychotherapy and education. In recent years they have been successful in receiving research funding to conduct work looking at topics such as how wellbeing is supported in educational settings, online therapeutic approaches, and the impact of austerity measures on the wellbeing and education of children and families. Drs Terry Hanley and Laura Winter have recently edited the 4th edition of the well-known SAGE Handbook of Counselling and Psychotherapy . The staff team also have excellent connections within the community of counselling psychology in the UK, as well as strong local links with voluntary sector organisations working around mental health provision for disadvantaged and minoritised populations. For example, Dr Terry Hanley was Research Lead for the Division of Counselling Psychology and Editor of Counselling Psychology Review and Dr Laura Winter leads on the division's Social Justice Networking and Special Interest Group. In the wider therapeutic fields, Dr Tony Parnell is a member of the BABCP, an EMDR therapist and is a Registered Applied Psychology Practice Supervisor (RAPPS) with the BPS, and Professor Erica Burman is registered with the United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapists (UKCP), via the Institute of Group Analysis, as a Group Analyst.

Pease see the following resources for more information:

Information for international students

  • English GCSE Grade C or above or
  • IELTS minimum 7.5 overall with 7 in each section if English is not your first language

Please find full details, including country specific information, here .

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Please note that successful applicants will be considered for our SEED scholarship.

Qualification and course duration


full time
36 months

Course contact details

School of Environment, Education and Development
+44 (0)161 275 0807