Higher Education

Start Date: Duration: Level: Study mode: Course Location: Course Type:
September Two years TBC Full-Time Bede Campus University Level Qualification Apply Enquire

What’s it all about?

Are you interested in a career in counselling? Do you aspire to be the change you want to see?

Our Foundation Degree in Counselling aims to create a transformative journey designed to empower students to pursue life-changing careers in counselling.

The course is taught at Bede Campus, where students have access to a range of facilities to support them on their academic journey.

Due to the wide variety of programmes that are delivered at the college, counselling students are in a unique position to engage in cross-faculty projects that are aimed at elevating the educational experience and creating an inclusive community dynamic across the college.

The programme adopts a robust theoretical foundation and places equal priority on skills practice and industry expertise development. Industry standards and expectations are at the forefront of our teaching approach, with recognition that counselling is explorative and growth orientated in nature.

We adopt a person-centred approach in our teaching style. Student voice and individuality is encouraged and promoted. We aim to facilitate a safe learning environment, where learners can build the confidence, skills and determination to not just exceed in the counselling industry, but to elevate it.

On successful completion of the programme, students will be awarded a Foundation Degree in Counselling, validated by the University of Hull.

The entry requirement for this course is a Level 3 Certificate in Counselling.

You are required to hold a grade 4/C in GCSE Maths and English Language, or a minimum of Level 2 Essential Skills, including Maths and English.

This course is suject to successful interveiw.

Study level Cost Additional fees
19+ please enquire Students will be required to undertake a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check prior to engaging in counselling practice. The majority of counselling agencies process DBS applications and waive fees on a student's behalf, however, there is a minority of agencies/placement hosts that require students to fund this independently at a cost of £44 (subject to change). The majority of counselling agencies/placement hosts provide professional indemnity/public liability insurance for students carrying out clinical hours at Level 5. There is a minority of agencies/placement hosts that require students to take out this privately. Costs for this can vary depending upon the insurance provider that the student chooses and is expected to cost around £45-£69 (subject to change). To maintain ethical practice, all counselling practitioners - both qualified and in training - must engage in counselling supervision. The intensity of supervision is increased during the training period. The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) advise that students engage in a minimum of 1.5 hours per calendar month that meets a ratio of 8 hours of counselling to 1 hour of supervision. Supervision should be taken fortnightly. The majority of agencies/placement hosts fund supervision for students. For those that do not, it is the responsibility of the student to identify a suitable supervisor and pay any fees charged for this service. Fees vary depending on the supervisor that the student chooses. This can range from £25-£60 per hour (subject to change). We recommend that students join the BACP as a student counsellor. This provides students with a framework to support ethical and legal practice, and a range of tools, information and support to help with their studies. Additionally, the programme meets the requirements for students to apply to work toward accreditation post-qualification if they choose. This is at an annual cost of £86, or £43 if students are in receipt of certain state benefits/have no personal income (subject to change).

We want to unleash your learning potential while nurturing and developing your own growing philosophy. To elevate your experience, teaching will be immersive, with a dynamic blend of face-to-face and online lessons that create moments of creativity that are gateways to new knowledge.

Our engaging curriculum features guest speakers, collaborative sessions and creative expression projects to make learning an exciting, productive and rewarding journey. You will enjoy independent study time, group projects, guided studies and creative collaborations that shape your skills organically.

Our explorative and collaborative teaching approach does not stop at learning. Students will participate in a spectrum of assessments that go beyond the ordinary and challenge the status quo. From thought-provoking essays to thrilling group projects, insightful reports, powerful presentations and self-reflective creative tasks – every assessment is a chance for you to showcase your unique brilliance and individuality.

You will embrace the diversity of the learning experiences through active debates, inspiring lectures, interactive seminars, and hands-on workshops. Your education is not just a process, it's an adventure waiting to unfold and we want to help you redefine your learning journey.

You are required to hold a grade 4/C in GCSE Maths and English Language, or a minimum of Level 2 in Essential Skills, including Mathematics and English.

You will gain real-world experience when embarking upon an industry placement.

Year two isn't just a continuation, it's your gateway to hands-on experience and professional growth. Year two is an immersive experience where you transform skill practice into industry expertise. You will complete 100 supervised counselling practice hours and gain a minimum of 15 invaluable supervision hours.

Your placement is a carefully curated experience aimed at engaging your skills practice from year one and using it to create therapeutic change, while growing and developing your own counselling philosophy.

Before stepping into year two, you'll already have your placement secured, setting the foundation for a year of transformative progression. Your counselling journey doesn't just happen in the classroom, it unfolds in real-life scenarios, shaping you into a skilled and empathetic practitioner.

A placement is not just a requirement, it's an opportunity to bridge theory with practice and turn your knowledge into wisdom, making your education more than just a degree.

Our extensive industry links mean students won't be navigating their journey alone – you will have mentors, professionals, and organisations offering specific guidance, training and advice tailored to the field.

This isn't just education, it's a partnership with the industry's finest local contributors and a chance to be mentored by the experts. This is a unique opportunity to turn knowledge into applied wisdom.

You will be required to commit to one day of face-to-face study per week and engage in various learning activities outside of the classroom.

Beyond traditional lectures, you'll engage in guided study tasks, immersive workshops, collaborative group projects, online lessons, and interactive sessions. This approach ensures that your education transcends the confines of the classroom, providing you with the tools and resources to thrive in both academic and real world settings.

In year two, you will work with your placement provider to create your own flexible counselling timetable. This will include one day of face-to-face learning, various external learning activities and up to six hours per week of providing therapeutic support to your clients.

Year one and two are delivered with a mindful approach to empower you to delve deep into your studies while navigating life's demands. It's not just about accommodating schedules, it's about an aim to create a space where education seamlessly integrates with your life.

We recommend that students join the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapists to assist in the navigation of ethical working practice. This provides students with a framework to support ethical and legal practice, and a range of tools, information and support to help with your studies. Additionally, the programme meets the requirements for students to apply to work toward accreditation post-qualification if they choose.

Although this is not a requirement, students are expected to register with a professional body offering an appropriate ethical framework before engaging in industry placement. Students should liaise with their chosen placements to ensure they are working to placements requirements and policies.

We are dedicated to offering students a route into the challenging and rewarding sector of counselling and wider roles where counselling skills are required.

Our Counselling Foundation Degree is where expertise meets ambition! The programme aims to deliver a cutting edge curriculum that not only nurtures a robust theoretical foundation but also hones expert practical skills for real world success. We will develop your skill set with our Core Practitioner programme, which puts you at the forefront of meeting the growing demand for counsellors in health, voluntary and community sectors, as well as private practice. We want you to help us elevate the counselling community together!

The programme will help you explore and embrace diversity, adapt to change and gain industry-ready competence through hands-on engagement with local agencies and experts. We want students to join us in shaping the future of counselling excellence!

You will study a range of modules over the two years of this course.

Year one:

- Unravelling Theoretical Threads (20 credits) -
This module is an in depth exploration of person-centred therapy as a core model. The person-centred model will be the primary underpinning modality for students on this programme. The overview and exploration of the model includes the historical perspective of person-centred therapy and goes on to explore the model's contemporary relevance, both theoretically and practically. There will be an emphasis placed on understanding the theory, assumptions and evidence base, while acknowledging the recommendtion of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) for a strong grounding in a core counselling model.

- Exploring Diverse Horizons (20 credits) -
This module is aimed at cultivating ethical and competent counselling practitioners. Students will explore various aspects of ethical practice. The module addresses and reviews key topics, such as the relevance of the BACP's ethical framework for the counselling profession, boundary issues and confidentiality, as well as the recognition of limits within one's competence, and fitness to practice. Legal considerations, including the Data Protection Act, health and safety regulations, the Equality Act, Children's Act, Mental Health Act, and drugs legislation, will also be explored.

- Navigating Comparative Counselling Approaches (20 credits) -
The module begins the exploration of counselling models in addition to the core model. This is completed with an in depth explorations of diverse counselling models, to include cognitive behavioural therapy, psychodynamic, existential, rationale emotive behavioural therapy, transactional analysis, Gestalt, acceptance and commitment therapy, and integrative approaches. Through exploration of the historical and contemporary relevance, the aim is to give students insight into the multi-faceted nature of these models and their application in counselling practice, with the additional aim of cultivating critical thinking by assessing, comparing and analysing each model. This supports the emphasis on the importance of current research in shaping theoretical and practical counselling philosophy.

- Inside Out Growth - Who Am I? (30 credits) -
This module draws from various theoretical frameworks, including Freud, Erikson, Piaget, Mahler and Stern, and explores group processes and personal development issues within a group context. The module consists of tutor facilitated group and independent self-awareness activities, such as Johari's Window, and evaluation of group dynamics in a process group to develop and nurture an in depth understanding of the self. Topics of self-awareness in relation to others, transference and countertransference, and adherence to the BACP code of ethics will be explored.

- Counselling Skills in Action (30 credits) -
This module is designed to introduce and develop counselling skills in students, with an exploration into the skills required in the core model of counselling. There will be a substantial portion of the module that is dedicated to the development of counselling skills. The skills will range from non-verbal and para-verbal communication, to the use of questions, affective enquiries, summarising, paraphrasing and immediacy, practiced in peer triad groups. Diversity and inclusion are considered throughout the module, recognising the growing global diversity within the context of counselling and education to ensure that students gain and develop cultural competence and sensitivity. The aim of the module is to equip students with a skill set that will aid in the development of trust and to establishes therapeutic contact and relationships.

Year 2:

- Exploring Counselling Investigative Rhythms (20 credits) -
This module explores the various elements of research and distinguishes between counselling research and the scientific method, developing an understanding of the importance of mixed methods of research. The module examines the concept of evidence, exploring the different forms and exploring the relationship between counselling research and practical application. The module is a foundational introduction to both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, encompassing an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of published papers.

- Beyond the Boundaries in Counselling (30 credits) -
This module is designed to provide a thorough exploration of contemporary issues in counselling, integrating theory, evidence and practical application. Exploring diverse client experiences, the module tackles pressing mental health challenges like depression, anxiety and personality disorders through the lens of the DSM-V diagnostic framework. The module not only equips students with an in depth understanding of client assessment and diagnosis but also navigates the complexities of integrating diagnoses into counselling practice within the current context. Beyond this, the module extends focus to address contemporary topics such as loss, grief, shame and guilt, emphasising cultural sensitivity to ensure inclusivity. Exploring areas like sexuality and diversity, time-limited counselling strategies, specialised approaches like play therapy for children, and domestic violence, the module remains firmly rooted in addressing the evolving landscape of counselling. Lastly, it provides essential insights into approaching contemporary challenges like self-harm with empathy, cultural awareness and an unwavering commitment to client wellbeing. The module underscores the importance of adopting contemporary, multi-cultural and inclusive perspectives to meet the unique needs of clients from diverse backgrounds.

- Inside-Out Growth - Beyond the Horizon (30 credits) -
In the second year, students will engage in a more in depth exploration of self-knowledge and self-awareness through meaningful interactions within the group. This module builds on the achievements of year one, with a focus on elevating students communication skills through group discussions and class presentations.

- Applied Counselling in Supervised Practice (40 credits) -
This module is designed to elevate students developing counselling skills within an approved placement. The module aligns with the overall programme emphasis of the integration of counselling theory with practical application in real world settings. The module encourages reflective practice and personal development through engagement with clients whilst undertaking counselling supervision. Students will have the opportunity to discuss and analyse their experiences in individual tutorials and peer supervision groups. Personal journals and anonymised casework will be used as exploratory material for skill and knowledge development. Primarily, the module is based on the work completed in a placement setting and also adds the provision of support from college staff and peers for reflection and evaluation.

The programme is validated by the University of Hull.

The course is worth 240 credits - 120 credits per year.

What’s next?

Beyond a qualification your journey continues with endless possibilities!

As a qualified professional, your options are limitless. You could progress to further study to complete your degree, or gaine employement in mental healthcare. For example:

-BA Hons Top Up in Counselling – The learning doesn’t have to stop here! Enrich your expertise with our BA Hons Top Up in Counselling. Elevate your qualifications, deepen your knowledge and set yourself apart in the field.

– Employment in the industry – Step into a world of opportunities! Your qualification opens doors to a range of career paths within the counselling industry. Whether it’s in healthcare, voluntary and community sectors, or private practice – your expertise is in demand.

– Private practitioner – Ready to be your own boss? With your counselling qualification, you have the foundation to become a private practitioner. Transform your passion into a profession, shaping your practice based on your unique approach and values.

Your journey doesn’t end with a qualification, it’s a launchpad to a fulfilling and dynamic future. What’s next for you? The possibilities are as vast as your aspirations. Let us support you with one to one mentorship as you embrace the journey ahead!

Open Events

Find out everything you need to know about Sunderland College and our exciting range of courses!

Register for our next open event

Take a tour around our college campuses

Student in common room

93.1% of our students have progressed to further study, university of employment.

(*Based on 16-18 year olds destination data, 2019/20 academic year)

Why choose Sunderland College?

100% overall A-Level pass rate

Summer 2021

97.4% of our apprentices progressed to employment or further study.  

Destination data for Sunderland College 2019/20, Apprentice completers. 

Our excellent student support services and expert staff will help you reach your potential.

Recognised regionally and nationally for our high-quality approach to careers education