Level 6

Counselling BA (Hons)

Duration Age Group Study Start Cost Available Locations
£8500 per year * Southend Campus
Duration Age Group Study Start Cost Available Locations
£8500 per year * Southend Campus
Apply Now

If you require any support with your UCAS application, please contact the HE Admissions team headmissions@southessex.ac.uk

UCAS Extra

Already applied for university and used all 5 UCAS choices, but don’t have any offers? Don’t panic! UCAS Extra allows you to add another choice to your application.

Go to UCAS Extra


Course code: B940

Please note: This programme is subject to revalidation with our university partner, UEA, ready to accept new entrants from September 2023. Therefore, for next year there may be some changes to this advertised course content following the revalidation process.

This course will develop your personal and professional integrity as a counsellor whilst promoting sound ethical practice.

Why study this degree at University Centre South Essex?

  • You will build a broad theoretical knowledge and practical skills toolbox – upon a firm person-centred foundation
  • You will look at all aspects of psychotherapy (not all degree courses offer this) aspects)
  • You will be equipped with real-time experiences (what is going on current practices

The BA (Hons) Counselling offers you a strong theoretical and practical base from which to begin your professional counselling practice, whilst working towards individual accreditation with the BACP. The theoretical orientation is humanistic, though other approaches such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Transactional Analysis are also examined. You will be encouraged to respect the frame and ethos of their core training approach, whilst also developing your own individual style and philosophy of counselling. The programme is hence intended for those seeking a career in counselling, either in an environment which utilizes counselling, or one which encompasses the emotional and psychological well-being of others.

The programme is underpinned by three key strands of theory, skills and employability/personal development. The strands run concurrently across each level of the programme, with theory and skills modules being particularly closely aligned so as to enable you to develop and enhance your counselling practice utilising your increasing knowledge and understanding of the core philosophy and theoretical underpinnings of the person-centred and existential models of therapy.

Work placements form an essential part of the Counselling degree. You will be expected to undertake 30 hours of personal therapy which will begin during the first year, and, in Years two and three, to complete a minimum of 100 hours of counselling practice with a range of actual clients. Experienced tutors will support you throughout, from gaining introductory counselling skills with peers, to undertaking professional counselling practice with clients. Successful completion of the degree will enable you to practice as counsellors in a range of settings, including counselling agencies; the NHS, charitable organisations (e.g. MIND, Place2Be, Catch 22); private healthcare, student support services in schools, colleges and universities; hospices and prisons; and women’s refuges. You may also work as independent professional therapists.

Entry Requirements

A Minimum of 64 UCAS Points from one or more of the following:

  • At least two A-levels
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma/Diploma/Subsidiary Diploma/Certificate
  • BTEC National Award/Certificate/Diploma
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma (minimum 15 credits at Merit or above)

For any qualification not identified above the HE Admission Team will determine equivalences through UKNARIC.

You will also need GCSE English at grade C (old specification) or Grade 4 (new specification) or above OR a Level 2 equivalent such as functional skills.

Exceptional Entry

Applicants wishing to be considered for entry to the second or third year of study, or wishing to import credits or evidence of prior learning into the course for which they are applying, will be considered in accordance with the awarding bodies policy on Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning.

DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service)

All successful applicants for this course must undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before enrolling on the course. DBS identification documents are verified by trained staff in line with DBS guidelines as part of the admissions process. If applicants decide to choose us as their place of study our DBS team will be in contact to arrange this check usually around May/June, prior to enrolment to ensure this is in place for the start of term. There will be an administration charge for this service and you will be advised of this once you apply (for 2016/17 entry this was £50). Students will not be enrolled until their DBS Disclosure Certificate has been completed and issued.

Disclosure and Barring checks cannot be carried out for applicants who are not, or have never been resident in the UK. Applicants who reside, or previously have resided overseas will be required to provide a criminal record check or certificate of good conduct from their country or countries of residence prior to entry on to the course.

Disclosure and Barring Service

Exceptional Entry

Applicants wishing to be considered for entry to the second or third year of study, or wishing to import credits or evidence of prior learning into the course for which they are applying, will be considered in accordance with the awarding bodies policy on Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning.

Course Structure

Year one units

  • Introductory Counselling Skills, Ethics and Law
  • Existential and Person-Centred Therapy
  • Counselling in a Contemporary Context: Working Therapeutically with Identity, Difference and Diversity (1)
  • Mental Health and Well-Being
  • Developing Counselling Skills (incorporating FTP1)
  • Counselling Children and Young People

Year two units

  • Integrative Practice (incorporating FTP2)
  • Comparative Approaches in Counselling
  • Counselling in a Contemporary Context: Working Therapeutically with Identity, Difference and Diversity (2)
  • Loss and Attachment
  • Introduction to Research

Year three units

  • Consolidating Creative Techniques (incorporating FTP3)
  • Philosophical Issues in Counselling
  • Addiction and Substances
  • Dissertation
  • Entrepreneurship and CPPD

Work placements

Minimum of 100 Hours Voluntary Placement Counselling in an approved Counselling Agency – Mandatory requirement. In year two there is a requirement for 25 to 50 hours to be completed, subject to successful completion of the ‘Fitness To Practice’ module in Year one. A further 75 hours are required in Year three, these numbers ensure that successful graduates will be well positioned to achieve full membership of an appropriate regulatory body such as BACP or NCS.


Timetables are normally available one month prior to registration, though we endeavour to let you know an outline as soon as possible. Please note that we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day during the week. Typically timetables are scheduled for 13 hours per week across two days between 9am-5pm (however there may be events during the year, for example guest speakers that may run until 6pm). We expect you to build on your learning through Independent study for which we have space available within the campus or at the Forum in Southend.

Personal therapy

You are also required to undertake 30 hours of personal therapy in the first two years of the programme to enhance your personal development and self-awareness. You will be required to become student members of The BACP (British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy) and to maintain personal indemnity insurance in line with industry requirements.

Guest speakers

You will benefit from several guest speakers working at organisations including, for example:

  • Cruse Bereavement Care
  • Chelmsford Prison
  • Basildon Women's Refuge Centre
  • Southend Young People's Drug and Alcohol Team
  • Transpire

Contact hours

13 hours per week over two days.

Teaching & Learning


You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops, which enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of the disciplines of Counselling and all professional aspects pertaining to the counselling industry.

Typically across all years of the programme you will have 13 hours of contact time per week across two days.

Contact time will consist of:

  • Two - four hour lectures/seminars
  • Tutorial and dedicated one-to-one support when necessary

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars or workshops or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue to learn independently through self-guided, independent activities. This may typically include reading journal articles, books, periodicals and preparing coursework and presentations. A range of excellent facilities, including the library and online learning resources, the Learning Resource Centre and the Forum supports your independent learning. Typically Independent learning will approximately equate to 70% in Year one and 53% in Year two (with 17% making up Placement Learning) and 75% in Year three.

Assessment & Feedback

Across the programme students are assessed using a variety of methods including; Essays, Research Projects, Presentations, Workplace Simulations, Portfolios, Reports and Journals. Please note that full assessment information can be found in the module descriptors.


You will receive formative feedback as part of your modules and taught sessions with your Module Lead. You will also receive summative comments on all formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Written feedback is provided to students within 20 working days of submission through
Turnitin. Alternative forms of feedback can be requested by students through one-to-one meetings with Module Assessors/Module Leaders.

Feedback on the Final Major Project/Dissertation module in Year three is provided throughout and through supervision meetings as scheduled.

Course Cost

Adult, full_time: £8500 per year

Fees are per academic year for Home/UK students.

Additional costs

You will be expected to source and pay for 30 hours of personal therapy over the first two years of the programme. Personal therapy sessions cost in the region of £30 per hour.

The following course-related costs are included in the fees:

  • A sum for clinical supervision. A sum for appropriate personal indemnity insurance. A sum for required membership of an industry, regulatory body
  • You will receive an allocation of pages for printing. Once you have used your allocation, you need to charge up your account with more pages

What Next...

Students can progress onto postgraduate programmes including:

  • MA Counselling
  • MA Psychotherapy and Counselling
  • MSc Therapeutic Counselling
  • MSc Counselling Children and Young People
  • MSc Psychology
  • MSc Psychological Research

Graduate destinations

When you have graduated you will be able to pursue a number of different career options including:

  • Counsellors in a variety of settings including schools, the Terence Higgins Trust, Women’s Refuge, Homeless UK, Chelmsford Prison
  • Other settings that require good communication skills in the fields of mental health and social services

The great majority of students have gained full-time employment following graduation.