Psychotherapy and Counselling MA

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
36 months part time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) plus proof of counselling skills
Full entry requirements
UK fees
£17,500 (Total)
Available to UK residents only

Course overview

ma in social work

The MA in Psychotherapy and Counselling is a British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) accredited course. The programme offers a strong focus on high-quality research and clinical skills training. It provides an opportunity to critically and creatively evaluate current theory and practice issues.

Psychotherapeutic theory which prioritises the therapeutic relationship as the crucial factor will be critically examined and you will be encouraged to learn more about yourself in relationships, to develop your own approach to therapy based on your own values and beliefs (a values-based approach). You will be able to deliver psychological therapy across different socio-cultural contexts, considering the ethical and intersectional dimensions of your practice.

We teach a relational ‘not knowing’ approach to counselling and psychotherapy. This means that the focus is on the therapy relationship. It is consistent with the evidence base that the ‘common factors’ which describe aspects of the relationship are responsible for positive outcomes in therapy. The course also covers the philosophical foundations to relational intersubjective theories.

You will be equipped to work as a professional counsellor/psychotherapist and make independent clinical decisions in a variety of settings, including complex and unpredictable situations. You will learn to carry out specialist psychotherapeutic assessments, communicate and present complex and sensitive information and gain knowledge of adult safeguarding procedures.

You will engage in experiential learning activities to develop your self- and intersubjective awareness when becoming a relational practitioner. Many students bring a wealth of personal experience that helps them to reflect on a range of human issues.

In addition to the taught elements of the programme, you must complete 100 supervised practice hours to become eligible for BACP membership. You must find your own placement but our practice placement unit has a comprehensive list of approved placement opportunities in a variety of clinical settings and are available to support you.

You’ll benefit from the knowledge of experienced counsellors, psychotherapists and practitioner psychologists, with senior levels of registration. Our teaching staff are also active researchers, with a range of specialisms. You’ll develop the knowledge and skills to conduct independent in-depth research into a complex specialist area.

Course highlights

  • High-quality and intensive clinical skills training enabling you to become effective relational practitioners.
  • Maximum of 24 students per cohort. This small group approach enables personal support from your peers and tutors help with the emotional challenges of the learning experience.
  • Level 3 adult safeguarding covered as part of the course.
  • The course includes teaching on online practice, therapy with all age ranges and neurodiversity. A percentage of your placement hours can be with children and young people.
  • You will be learning from a passionate academic team with varied psychotherapeutic modalities such as: third wave behavioural and cognitive psychotherapies, person-centred and existential not-knowing approach, attachment, psychoanalytic and integrative approaches. Therapeutic practice is modelled in different teaching methods with a focus on relationships, creative and experiential methods.
  • The course content is enriched and influenced by the active research of the staff team, who are all conducting important and novel research within this field.

Watch the course video

Discover more about our course community, hear about the programme journey from current students, and learn how skills are developed.


Accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

MA Psychotherapy and Counselling has received British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) accredited course status which, on successful completion, will allow you to be added to their voluntary assured register of practitioners.

Course details

Over the first two years you study nine modules: four theory and four concerned with development as a reflective practitioner, plus research methods. In the third year, you have the opportunity to undertake small-scale research.

On completion of the programme students will be able to demonstrate an advanced understanding of psychotherapeutic theory and clinical skills. You will be able to demonstrate self and intersubjective awareness as a relational therapist and incorporate a critical awareness of socio-cultural issues into your practice.

Teaching day and study time required

Teaching takes place on one day each week for all modules except research methods, so you can plan work and other commitments around taught sessions. We estimate that 2.5 days per week are necessary to complete the requirements of this course (teaching, private study, placement, supervision and personal therapy).

The teaching day for students starting the course in 2024 will be Thursdays.

Undertaking a postgraduate qualification is a significant decision, especially when you are studying part time and have other commitments. If you would like to talk to us at any point please get in touch with:

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Psychotherapy and Counselling MA in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Introduction to Psychotherapeutic Counselling Theories 15
Relational Counselling Skills Part 1 15
Working as a Professional Counsellor 15
Relational Counselling Skills Part 2 15

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Ethical and Cultural Considerations in Psychotherapeutic Counselling 15
Relational Counselling Skills Part 3 15
Theories of Intersubjective Human Development 15
Relational Counselling Skills Part 4 15
Research Methods 15

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Dissertation 45

Learning and teaching

Learning will be conducted through a variety of activities including structured teaching, experiential activities and applied practice. We will draw on the lived experience, knowledge, and skills of individuals within the group, along with readings and other external sources to assist effective reflection.

The majority of your teaching will take place on campus, with self-directed learning provided through online platforms to deliver a blended learning approach. You will receive in-depth and intensive clinical skills training where your practice will be recorded and observed by tutors and peers from the course.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


You will complete a range of authentic assessments which will have real world value when working as a professional psychotherapist/counsellor. The assessment methods will include written essays, oral presentations, recorded clinical skills, psychotherapy reports, examination, clinical portfolios and a research dissertation.


Entry requirements

  • A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in any subject or other proof of your ability to study at Masters level.
  • Proof of counselling skills. It’s essential that students have already completed a level 3 certificate in counselling skills or equivalent, so we can assume this level of practice and knowledge of the professional context of counselling. The level 3 course or equivalent should include 20-50 hours of practice with other students and tutor feedback.
  • Two satisfactory references, one of which must normally be an academic reference.
  • A level of maturity associated with personal reflection on a variety of adult and childhood experiences and developed interpersonal skills, to be assessed at interview.

Disclosure and barring screening (DBS)

All successful applicants will also need to pass disclosure and barring screening.

The University has a policy statement on students with criminal records. For the vast majority of students who are resident in the UK the record will be checked via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The DBS check can only include background checks on your time in the UK. A criminal record check from other countries in addition to the UK DBS check may be required. Abroad this may be referred to as a "Certificate of Good Conduct" (CoGC), but the name varies.

Any offer of a place to study Psychotherapy and Counselling MA conditional upon a satisfactory confidential occupational health assessment, which will include a health questionnaire, and if necessary further telephone consultation and/or an appointment with an occupational health clinician. Screening for serious communicable disease, (Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and a review of immunisation status and needs, which includes COVID-19, will also be arranged before beginning your studies.

English language requirements

For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Application deadline: May 31 2024.

Interview dates:

  • 1 February 2024
  • 9 April 2024
  • 14 May 2024
  • 13 June 2024

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Admissions policy

Taught Admissions Policy 2024-25

This course is taught by

School of Healthcare

Contact us

School of Healthcare Admissions Team



UK: £17,500 (Total)

If you're self-funding, you must pay in full before or on the day of registration for that year, or set up an instalment plan where tuition fees are payable in two instalments. Please read more on tuition fee payment schedule.

Part-time fees
Fees for part-time courses are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

Personal therapy and clinical supervision – practitioner costs

Personal therapy and clinical supervision are a compulsory requirement of this programme with costs payable directly to the practitioners. Fees may vary from approximately £35 to £75 per hour with an average cost of £50. You will need to complete:

  • Personal therapy (minimum 70 hours for both the PGDip and Masters levels).
  • Clinical supervision (minimum 25 hours in total for the PGDip or 50 hours for the Masters level).

British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) membership

You will need to register as a student member of BACP (£90 per year for the 2024/25 academic year). Find out more about BACP student membership.

Professional indemnity

You will need to take out professional liability insurance each year of the course for your supervised practice. The cost of this depends on the amount insured (estimated at £75 per year).


There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

There are a range of funding options which you may be eligible for, including:

Take a look at the university’s Masters funding overview for more tips and the latest information.

Career opportunities

Since finishing the course, over 90% of our Psychotherapy and Counselling graduates believe what they are doing now fits their future aspirations (Graduate Outcomes Survey 2024).

Many of our graduates go on to combine counselling and psychotherapy with their existing professions, such as nursing or education. Some continue to work in a voluntary capacity to build sufficient supervised client hours to join the advanced category of individual BACP accreditation, while others set up in private practice.

Our graduates are highly sought after by employers within the region, many of whom are closely associated with the course as practice providers or supervisors.

Many of our graduates have gone on to hold positions of responsibility as counsellors or psychotherapists within the NHS and voluntary bodies, and some have returned to us to undertake PhD research or teaching.

Study abroad and work placements

Work placements are a necessary part of this course, and 100 supervised practice hours must be completed. It is your responsibility to find a placement and it will be unpaid. The practice placement unit has a database of approved organisations you can approach for different placement opportunities. You will be given specific learning resources to help you with securing a clinical placement and we hold annual contact events where you can meet some of our placement providers.

Student profile: Maeta Brown

This course has the power to really transform your life! It's challenged me both academically and personally, but it's led to journal publications, presenting at conferences and book collaborations.
Maeta Brown , Psychotherapist and Crisis Support Coordinator
Find out more about Maeta Brown 's time at Leeds