Important Information for prospective MSc Counselling students


The MSc Counselling Programme aims to provide a learning experience that integrates theoretical knowledge (the capacity to conceptualise problems and apply research), practical skills, and self-awareness to enhance the development of therapeutic relationships. We want our graduates to be skilled, research informed Pluralistic Practitioners, capable of working ethically with a wide range of clients in a variety of settings.


The programme runs over three years and has teaching throughout the year. In year 1 you are required to attend one day per week for terms 1 and 2 (a total of 26 weeks over September to May). These days will cover introductions to the Pluralistic Model for counselling and psychotherapy integration, a variety of theoretical perspectives, plus practical skills and personal development groups.

You will also receive the essential training required to undertake ethical and professional practice in counselling, for example effective use of supervision, boundaries and record-keeping and crisis management.

In term 2 you will have an observed skills exam to check your readiness to start your placement. In addition to passing this exam, the Programme Team must confirm your readiness to start placement. If the Programme team have any concerns about your practice, you will be asked to delay your placement and an action plan of support will be put in place.
If approved, in Year 2 you will go out on placement and attend full days for terms 1 and 2
(total of 26 weeks over September to May).

In Year 3, attendance is once every two weeks in terms 1 and 2. Your placement will
continue during term 3.

90% attendance is required.


  Term 1 Term 2 Term 3

Year 1


13 Weeks - one day per week 13 weeks - one day per week Preparation for placement

Year 2


13 Weeks - one day per week 13 Weeks - one day per week Preparation for placement

Year 3


One day every two weeks (approx) One day every two weeks (approx) Continuation of placement

*May be subject to change


A range of assessment modalities are used, with an average of two assessments per term. These focus on personal awareness, reflectivity and development, theoretical understanding and application to practice, research and practice skills.

Assessments are designed to facilitate learning processes as well as assessing ability. A pass grade in all nine modules is necessary to pass the Master's programme.

All written assessments are submitted electronically and much of the independent learning is managed through the virtual learning environment (My Learning Space) and digital log (PebblePad). You'll be introduced to these systems at the start of the programme and support is available throughout.


The focus at Abertay is pluralism, and the programme will be taught in line with the methods and philosophies of this framework. The teaching team are experienced practitioners who are registered members of BACP. They bring a wealth of experience in counselling practice, research and training.

Practice Placement

A total of 100 client hours must be completed to pass the programme. Therapeutic work must be one-to-one adult counselling, under suitable supervision. Private practice is not permissible for placement hours. In line with BACP guidelines, we do not allow students to set up or to maintain a private counselling practice whilst in training.

While we maintain information on placements which have been approved by the University, it's the students who are responsible for arranging their own placement. Organisations that have not been used by our students in the past can be approved under guidance of our placement administrator, Jane Graham -

Successful completion of Unit 2 on CNS502, approval by the Programme Team and a current PVG will be required before students are approved for practice placement.

30 hours of practice placement should be completed before the end of Year 2. 100 hours of practice placement should be completed by the ned of Year 3.


Current fees are available to view here.

Scottish Funding Council loans may be available. Please contact our Advisory Team for more information.

Additional Expenses

  • A PVG is required before starting placements.
  • Fortnightly external supervision is required in Years 2 and 3. This can vary in price, but is normally between £30 - £80 per month.
  • Personal insurance may be required by some placements
  • BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) membership is recommended.

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