Counselling, Psychotherapy and Applied Social Sciences

MSc in Counselling Studies

The MSc in Counselling Studies is a taught Masters which firmly locates the practice of counselling within the field of social science enquiry.


Name MSc in Counselling Studies
Start Date September 2024
Mode of Study 1 Year Full-time, 2 Years Part-time
Programme Director Dr. Nini Kerr
Deadlines for online applications

6 Nov 2023

11 Mar 2024

27 May 2024

Delivered over one year full-time or two years part-time study, it includes the Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies, one core research course, two or more option courses, and a research dissertation.

Why choose the MSc in Counselling Studies?


Aims and outcomes

The programme provides advanced academic study of counselling and psychotherapeutic practices and theories. It introduces students to non-directive, relational approaches, particularly within the psychodynamic and person-centred frameworks. Its aim is to connect theoretical learning with real-world issues and encourage critical reflection on counselling practice and theory in both professional and personal contexts. 

This programme complements professional training in counselling by introducing key debates and professional issues in the field of counselling and psychotherapy to students from various backgrounds. It is firmly grounded in social science inquiry, addressing psychological conditions, social relations, and counselling practice with a focus on examining context and the complex interactions between the personal and the social. Please note that this programme may not be suitable for students seeking solution-focused, diagnostic, or behavioural approaches to psychological health. 

The programme includes the professionally validated Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies, which offers skill development in active listening skills, three other substantive taught courses, and a dissertation within the field of counselling and psychotherapy. 

It's important to note that this MSc programme is not a qualifying training programme and students are encouraged to align their career prospects with the professional legislation system of their home country. Full professional training in counselling is available through advancing on to the Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling, Master of Counselling (Interpersonal Dialogue), a two-year full-time programme, or the Master of Counselling, a four-year part-time programme. 

Professional certification

The Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies component of the programme is validated by COSCA, the professional counselling body for Scotland, so students who successfully complete the Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies will also receive a COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills (SCQF Level 11, 60 credits)


Dissertations (approximately 12,000 words in length) may be on any topic related to counselling or psychotherapy, subject to the approval of the Programme Director, and can be focused either on an empirical research project or a piece of critical scholarship.

A member of academic staff with suitable research interests and experience will be appointed to supervise your research and you will also be able to attend monthly workshops to assist you with preparation for your dissertation.



Students who successfully complete the MSc in Counselling Studies will have many useful skills and capabilities.


Information about the structure of the MSc programme in Counselling Studies.

Career prospects

This degree enhances the career prospects of professionally qualified counsellors and practitioners using counselling skills in related fields, such as health care, social work or education.

Entrance requirements

The entrance requirements for the MSc in Counselling Studies are listed here.


Information about tuition fees for the MSc programme in Counselling Studies.

Apply now

Please ensure you have read the entrance requirements for this programme and are confident of meeting the criteria before applying online.

Beyond the programme

Options for students to continue with academic study beyond the MSc in Counselling Studies.