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Counselling Psychology - Prof Doc

This course is now full for September 2018

Please note, this course is now full. You can still apply for September 2018 and if your application is successful, you will be invited for an interview. If following your interview you are offered a place, you will be added to a waiting list, which operates on a first come, first served basis, according to the date of your application. You will be notified by mid-September if you can enrol for the September 2018 start. If there is no space available, you will be offered a place for entry in September 2019.

Why study this course?

This course leads to a doctoral qualification that automatically confers registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), accreditation as a fully qualified chartered counselling psychologist with the British Psychological Society (BPS), and recognition within the UK as a chartered counselling psychologist eligible to practice. Drawing on a range of approaches to psychological practice and enquiry, it will enable you to make a significant contribution to psychological knowledge, research and practice across a range of settings in public, private and voluntary sectors.

In the most recent (2015-16) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

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The Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology is a three-year full-time (four-year part-time) taught doctoral programme that combines in-depth competency in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), strong humanistic values and psychodynamic awareness. The doctorate was commended by the BPS for the depth and breadth of the modules offered; a number of our modules were described as cutting-edge and 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.

Run by a dedicated team of HCPC registered and BPS accredited chartered counselling and clinical psychologists, this course offers wide-ranging and high quality clinical and research expertise to trainees. Course team members have between 1 to 11 years of post-qualification clinical experience, and two-thirds hold PhD or professional doctoral titles and are academically published authors.

The team prides itself on retaining a small cohort each year of 20 students. This enables us to offer you a high volume of individual attention. You'll be assigned a personal tutor and two research supervisors, and 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 online placement provider database that is accessible prior to your training. We offer a comprehensive placements induction in the first week of training and we encourage and support you to be in placement or at interview stage with placement providers by the beginning of your 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 Therapy. 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, with the majority of students continue from the MSc level into the doctoral level of training in Years 2 and 3.

Through postgraduate teaching and workshops across the wider applied psychology subject area, London Met counselling psychology trainees develop advanced levels of knowledge and skills in a broad range of qualitative and quantitative psychological research methods. The course 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 you in undertaking a piece of doctoral level research that will make an original contribution to the professional practice of counselling psychology.

You'll develop a wide range of intellectual and practical skills and knowledge. The training programme has a solid track record of trainees emerging as robust, sophisticated and highly employable practitioners of counselling psychology. In recent years a number of trainees have won BPS Division of Counselling Psychology trainee prizes for written assignments and research poster presentations, and have had papers published in the Counselling Psychology Review. Many students are conducting research in collaboration with National Health Service (NHS) Trusts or non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

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 are 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)

The course is involved in on-going in-house events and conferences such as Culture Shock, and in research and clinical collaborations with five NHS trusts. The programme is also involved in research and in the training of clinical staff with the Freedom from Torture Foundation and Khulisa, both community-based organisations close to the Holloway campus. The programme also collaborates with the School of Social Sciences and School of Social Professions to link interpreters with clinicians, to establish training inside and outside the University in mental health settings.


In Year 1 you'll complete seven master's level assignments, including a reflective essay, case formulation, process report, examination, and two short research assignments using qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

You'll also complete a 7,000-word reflexive critical literature review and a 3,000-word proposal towards the end of Year 1. Your proposal must demonstrate an adequate basis for a doctoral level research project for you to proceed into Year 2 of the programme. Year 1 is the most intensive period of assessment on the programme.

If you progress to Year 2 you'll complete an extended clinical case study, integrative process analysis and theoretical essay at the end of the year, reflecting cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic learning. At the end of Year 3, a similar assignment is completed, reflecting a trans-theoretical, pluralistic perspective. You should complete your research project by the end of Year 3, submitting a 25,000-word thesis and subsequently participating in a viva voce examination.

You are required to complete a minimum of 450 clinical hours in a range of placements under supervision over the duration of the programme, as well as a minimum of 60 hours of your own personal therapy.

Supervisors complete six-monthly practice competency evaluations, which enable bi-directional feedback and reflection on your progress and continuing professional development in your practice placements. Your personal and professional development is individually monitored and supported throughout the programme via annual reviews and appraisals with a tutor from the programme team.

Professional accreditation

The Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology leads to a doctoral qualification that automatically confers professional registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and accreditation as a fully qualified chartered counselling psychologist with the British Psychological Society.

You will be required to have:

  • Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society
  • a minimum of an upper second class (2:1) honours degree in Psychology
  • 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 satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check

You will also need to submit a personal statement (maximum of 2,000 words) that shows:

  • 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
  • a 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)

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to the University for a clinical and research interview and a counselling role-play exercise.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS with an overall score of 7.0 (with a minimum of 6.5 for each component or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) IBT with at least 110 and with a minimum of 26 in reading, and 28 in writing, speaking and reading). For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Accelerated study

The Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology offers the possibility of accreditation of prior learning (APL) for some modules on the programme. This may be relevant for applicants who have already completed significant prior training or qualifications in the same field of counselling psychology. Applicants first need to complete the online application process as usual. If your application is successful, APL may then be considered following the interview stage.

APL can enable:

  • entry to Year 2, having already completed and passed a Year 1 taught university course in counselling psychology
  • entry to Year 2 (research modules only), having completed an entire taught university counselling psychology programme (minus the research component)

In both instances APL will only be considered in relation to prior learning in courses that have counselling psychology in their title and not in relation to other counselling or therapy training courses. This route requires a character reference from the university previously attended. If successful at the interview stage, candidates must then evidence a capacity to undertake research at doctoral level by submitting a comprehensive and viable 3,000-word research proposal in an area of relevance to counselling psychology, including consideration of ethical issues. The research proposal form must be completed separately to the online application and sent to for consideration following the interview. Please note, the research proposal word count does not include references, appendices or the words in the proposal form.

Please note, it is not possible to enter Year 3 of our programme using APL.

Top-up doctorates

The top-up doctorate route is only available for qualified, Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered, British Psychological Society (BPS) chartered counselling psychologists who may use their existing professional qualification to gain APL for Years 1, 2 and 3 (clinical components) of the programme. If successful at the interview stage, candidates must then evidence a capacity to undertake research at doctoral level by submitting a comprehensive and viable 3,000 word research proposal in an area of relevance to counselling psychology, including consideration of ethical issues. The research proposal form must be completed separately to the online application and sent to for consideration following the interview. Please note, the research proposal word count does not include references, appendices or the proposal form’s words.

Modules for this course are to be confirmed. Please check back at a later date or call our course enquiries team on +44 (0)20 7133 4200 for details.

"Nearing the end of the three-year doctorate, I feel the course has served me well. The research training is excellent and the core model is CBT which means I feel well-placed in the current job market. At the same time, exposure to a wide range of other models and the emphasis on self-reflection and critical thinking encourages the development of an integrative approach supporting versatile practice for working in a range of settings"
Tara Lester, trainee counselling psychologist

“After graduating from London Met, I got a job with the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. First I worked as a High Intensity Trainee where I did the IAPT diploma course. After I finished the course I kept on working within the IAPT as a CBT therapist/counselling psychologist. I currently see clients, run a group, and supervise trainee clinical and counselling psychology trainees!

“I think I have developed a lot in the last few years and managed to accomplish many of my own professional dreams. In the future, once settled in the role of supervisor, I would like to take some teaching as well. The counselling psychology programme helped me to come closer to the job I like, as it opened up the opportunity for further learning and work.”
Dorothy Calleja, HCPC registered counselling psychologist

Career opportunities for counselling psychologists include posts in a variety of areas. These include National Health Service (NHS) settings such as primary care, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services, community mental health, 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 often find permanent employment within a few months post-qualification, with many trainees holding 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 have found work in academia in visiting or permanent teaching posts or as research fellows.

The range of advanced clinical and research skills and abilities gained through the course will prepare you to undertake work in a variety of fields.

Past students have even returned to London Met to supervise or teach students on the programme or provide practice placements.

Full-time mode (three years)

Year 1 (MSc Level)
Wednesdays and Thursdays: 10am-5pm

Year 2 (Thesis Level)
Thursdays: 10am to 5pm

Year 3 (Thesis Level)
Wednesdays: 10am to 5pm

Part-time mode (four years)

Year 1a (MSc Level)
Thursdays: 10am to 5pm

Year 1b (second year of the MSc Level)
Wednesdays: 10am to 5pm

Year 2 (Thesis Level)
Thursdays: 10am to 5pm

Year 3 (Thesis Level)
Wednesdays: 10am to 5pm

We're investing in an exciting, multimillion pound transformation of the London Metropolitan University campus, between 2016 and 2020. We’re moving all of our activity to one place, our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching locations of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2018. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

How to apply

Applicants for the programme must read the programme information and supplementary information for applicants‌ before applying.

Use the apply button to begin your application.

When to apply

You are advised to apply as early as possible as applications will only be considered if there are places available on the course.

Fees and key information

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