Postgraduate study

Counselling Studies MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Counselling Studies

The programme offers advanced academic study of counselling and related practices. It aims to foster the development of critical reflection on the field by professionally qualified practitioners.

It complements professional training in counselling by providing students from a range of backgrounds with critical perspectives on counselling and related practices.

This programme firmly locates the practice of counselling within the field of social science enquiry. Its distinctive features include close links with professional training in counselling and with social science research concerned with counselling and society.

It includes the professionally validated Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies, three other substantive taught courses and a dissertation based on empirical research.

This MSc is not a full professional training in counselling. The latter is offered through the Master of Counselling (Interpersonal Dialogue), two years full-time, or the Master of Counselling, four years part-time.

Teaching and learning methods include lectures, theory seminars and independent study. Assessment is through essays and the dissertation.

The Postgraduate Certificate component involves experiential group work, practice-skills workshops and individual tutorials, with self and peer assessment and portfolio work, complementing essay-based assessment.

The programme provides a high level of student-tutor contact and close supervision of both listening practice and research, in line with professional and academic requirements.

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
MScCounselling Studies1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScCounselling Studies2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScCounselling Studies3 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

The MSc in Counselling Studies provides:

  • in-depth knowledge of the theories informing counselling and psychotherapy;
  • social-science perspectives on debates about counselling and psychotherapy;
  • critical appreciation of the key debates, research methods and professional issues in counselling and related fields;
  • transferable interpersonal, conceptual and analytical skills, including critical thinking, self-evaluation and research.

Graduates of the MSc Counselling Studies use the degree in a variety of ways. For some it opens up employment opportunities in a range of fields, including education, policy, research and development on health and illness, emotional health and wellbeing, and counselling, often in combination with first degrees or other professional training.

The degree also enhances the career prospects of professionally qualified counsellors and practitioners. Many graduates use the MSc as a foundation for undertaking further specialist therapeutic training in the UK or abroad.

Others enhance their careers by using newly developed conceptual, analytical and research skills and may use the MSc to embark on doctoral research.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, or a UK 2:2 honours degree with a strong personal statement, relevant experience and/or references confirming your aptitude to study at postgraduate level.

You should demonstrate a high level of motivation through your personal statement, indicating why you wish to study counselling and demonstrating an understanding of counselling and the capacity to reflect on personal aptitude for work in this field.

We may also consider your application if you have professional qualifications equivalent to an honours degree; please contact us to check before you apply.

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.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScCounselling Studies1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScCounselling Studies2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MScCounselling Studies3 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 residency 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.

You must submit one reference 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