Postgraduate study

Counselling Studies MScR

Awards: MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Counselling Studies

The MSc by Research in Counselling Studies provides students with a comprehensive understanding of research design, data collection and data analysis for research in the field of counselling and psychotherapy.

It offers an advanced education to students interested in developing research skills, including qualified counselling and psychotherapy practitioners and social science researchers.

Counselling and psychotherapy specialise in qualitative, reflexive and critical approaches to research, and have particular expertise in practice-based research that draws directly on practitioners' own therapeutic work, on the client's experience of therapy, and in narrative, reflexive and auto-ethnographic methods.

We are especially keen to encourage research concerned with the interface between counselling, psychotherapy and social, cultural and political life.

Our research portfolio is highly interdisciplinary, integrating concepts, practices and scholarship from counselling and psychotherapy, psychology, sociology, philosophy, education, cultural studies, health and social care, and other social sciences.

Our interests include disability, gender, trauma, abuse, counselling children and young people, and sexualities.

You can read more about our research interests and publications on our website:

The programme aims to provide students with advanced understandings of research design, data collection and data analysis issues in counselling research.

The programme enables students to develop their understandings of debates about research, evidence and practice in relation to counselling and related practices.

Distinctive features of this degree include:

  • integration of generic social science and discipline-specific counselling research training
  • social science approaches to research training in counselling
  • close links with social science research concerned with counselling and society
  • close links with social science research concerned with health, illness and health services

The degree may be taken as a stand-alone MSc or as a foundation for PhD study. Candidates must complete a programme of research training courses and submit a dissertation on an approved topic.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and learning methods include lectures, theory seminars, discussion groups and independent study.

Assessment is through coursework and the dissertation.

Individual courses may have other learning and assessment methods such as student presentations, research projects and web-based learning.

Learning outcomes

The programme provides research training in counselling, opportunities to design research, a research-based appreciation of key elements of counselling practice, a critical appreciation of approaches to research in counselling and psychotherapy, and the ability to work across disciplinary boundaries.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScRCounselling Studies1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScRCounselling Studies2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

You will complete a programme of research training courses and submit a dissertation on an approved topic. The MSc by Research can be taken as a stand-alone qualification or as a foundation for PhD study.

A 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in social science, psychology or a health-related discipline.

We will also consider your application if your degree is in another subject but you have a professional qualification in counselling or psychotherapy.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

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, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 08/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 08/05/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate in order to study this programme.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScRCounselling Studies1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScRCounselling Studies2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your tuition fee status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Health in Social Science
  • Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Health in Social Science
  • Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG