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Guide to studying Counselling

Counselling is a very important profession, especially in regards to mental health. Study this subject area and you'll learn how to make an impact in other people's lives.

Group of people sitting in a circle on group therapy


  1. What's Counselling?

  2. Why study Counselling?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Counselling graduate?

  4. What do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. How will you be assessed?

  8. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Counselling?

Counselling is a type of verbal therapy that allows a person to talk through their problems, thoughts and feelings in a confidential and dependable environment.

A counsellor is trained to listen with empathy and understand the problems of the patient, and help them deal with negative thoughts and feelings. 

Why study Counselling?

This is a profession where the means and methods of study and care are constantly evolving. Therapeutic models are consistently being researched, and you can be at the forefront of improvements.

This course provides a balance between academic work, skills development, professional practice, individual personal development and self-awareness. There are plenty of opportunities to work in the community during placements where you'll develop real-life skills.

Counselling degrees offer interesting combined honours options, such as with Psychology or Criminology. It also teaches transferable skills, like presentation, research and communication, as well as a good personal understanding and empathetic mindset, plus the ability to work in complex situations.

What jobs can you get as a Counselling graduate?

Particular job roles, as well as counsellor, include careers adviser, tutor, nurse, psychologist, probation or prison officer, social worker and youth worker.

Numerous companies offer graduate schemes in this subject, including BACP.

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Counselling have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Counselling students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively.

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

What qualifications do you need?

Grade requirements depend on the university. Always confirm the entry requirements for the particular university/course you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

  • BSc Psychology and Counselling
  • BA Counselling and Theatre Studies
  • BA Counselling and Theology
  • BA Counselling and Sociology

How will you be assessed?

Courses are assessed in a variety of ways including lectures, skill improvement work and presentations such as posters or group talks. There may also be written coursework or end of year exams, depending on where you study.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include straight MAs in Counselling, as well as master's courses in Addiction Psychology, School Counselling, Career Management and Coaching, Dispute Resolution and Supervision Studies.

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