Counselling, Psychotherapy and Applied Social Sciences

Entry Requirements

Entrance requirements for the PhD programme in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

  1. Applicants to the PhD programme should hold a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant subject area. Please note that if you are in the process of completing a postgraduate degree and planning to including this in your application, then this qualification will be considered as part of your application during the review process. We will also consider your application if your degree is in another subject but you have a professional qualification in counselling or psychotherapy.
  2. Applicants for the PhD programme should submit a research proposal. This must be submitted on the form template provided, if not submitted on template your application will not be considered.  Details of the research proposal requirements and template can be found on the How to Apply page.
  3. Two references (one of which should be an academic reference from your most recent educational institution). References must be specific to your application, on headed paper, signed by the referee and recently dated (within the last 6 months), or uploaded directly by your referee.
  4. If English language is not your first language, we accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified: 
  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
  • Trinity ISEISE III with a pass in all four components
  • PTE Academic (test centre only): total 76 overall with 62 in each component

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE Academic, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Exemption criteria can be found on the University's English Language Requirements webpage.

Further information

Students who are uncertain about their capacity for and commitment to this kind of study are advised to complete the MSc by Research in Counselling Studies first. However, an MSc is not a prerequisite for PhD study and students with other research experience or with a high degree of motivation may wish to proceed direct to this degree pathway.

Our research projects

You are strongly encouraged to discuss a draft version of your outline proposal with your prospective first supervisor and/or with the PhD Programme Director, Fiona Murray (

After your application is submitted it will be evaluated carefully. If we are able to progress your application beyond the online stage, you will be invited to participate in an interview with your prospective first supervisor.