BA (Hons) Counselling and Therapeutic Practice

Top in the UK and top in Wales in Health Professions Guardian League Table 2022

The Counselling and Therapeutic Practice degree offers the learning and training you need to become a professional Pluralistic counsellor, working with an integrative model. You'll gain the knowledge, skills and experience to provide counselling across all age ranges, from children and young people to older adults. You will study a range of traditional 'talking therapies', as well as creative and contemporary approaches working both face-to-face and online with clients.

Work placements are an important part of this counselling degree and will fully prepare you for the start of your career. You will have placements in every year of the course, including 100 hours of supervised professional practice. This meets placement criteria for individual accreditation with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

The School of Psychology and Therapeutic Studies has dedicated Placement Officers and strong links with a wide range of local counselling agencies, employers and counselling services to provide you with the supervised practice hours required.

Top in Wales for student satisfaction in Counselling, Psychotherapy and Occupational Therapy (Complete University Guide 2023)

93% of our BA (Hons) Counselling and Therapeutic Practice students were satisfied with their course (NSS, 2021)

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
BB99 Full-time 3 Years September Newport City C
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
BB99 Full-time 3 Years September Newport City C

Year One: Counselling and Therapeutic Practice Degree

  • Introduction to Counselling (60 credits) - An introduction to professional skills, ethics and law in the counselling context and how these are used within the therapeutic relationship in a range of mainstream therapies. This module is also designed to stimulate your understanding of yourself and how you relate to others, and help you develop your reflective practice.

  • Counselling Children and Young People 1 (20 credits) – An understanding of child and adolescent development, the formation of a young person’s identity, and developing a therapeutic relationship with children and young people.

  • Academic Skills for Practice-Focused Learning (20 credits) – Developing your academic skills and understanding recent research findings to support your developing practice.

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing (20 credits) – Understanding mental health and wellbeing from different perspectives. An introduction to common mental health difficulties and how to work with these.

Year Two Modules: Counselling and Therapeutic Practice Degree

  • Integrative Practice 1 (60 credits) - Building on your learning from Year One, you will study professional practice skills such as writing case notes and using supervision, and apply your knowledge of ethics and law in the professional counselling context. You will continue to develop your reflective practice through personal development and provide evidence through an increasing portfolio. You will develop your use of a Pluralistic approach with an integrative model, which involves using different counselling approaches to meet the specific needs of your individual clients. You will develop a sound working knowledge of integrating a range of short term, change-orientated helping skills as well as a mix of face-to-face and online counselling.

  • Counselling Children and Young People 2 (20 credits) – Expanding your understanding and skills in working therapeutically with children and young people. 

  • Online Counselling (20 credits) – An introduction to a rapidly developing area of practice in which you will be discovering the difference between counselling face-to-face and counselling online.

  • Counselling Older Adults (20 credits) – Developing your knowledge of older adults and honing your skills to work with this client group.

Year Three: Counselling and Therapeutic Practice Degree

  • Integrative Practice 2 (60 credits) - Enhancing your application of legal and ethical frameworks and professional practice to demonstrate your emerging competence. Consolidating your model of therapeutic work, demonstrating your understanding and growing competence in therapeutic work.

  • Counselling Children and Young People 3 (20 credits) – Critically reflecting on your developing practice in counselling children and young people, you will acquire new skills and techniques, and expand your understanding of different contexts for this work.

  • Working Creatively (20 credits) – Using creative ways of working therapeutically with clients across the lifespan.

  • Evidence-Based Practice (20 credits) – You will develop an understanding of the underpinnings of evidence-based practice informing counselling, alongside the skills necessary to critically respond to research evidence and propose an approach to undertaking a small scale research project.



The counselling qualification will be delivered via a blend of skills practice: direct teaching (lectures, seminars and workshops); personal development activity, practice placements and directed study. As this is professional counselling training, you are required to attend all timetabled classes and other elements of the course.

Training as a counsellor involves taking part in varied activities to help your learning about yourself as a person, as well as learning practical skills and theory. Personal development takes place in all parts of the course, including personal development group work and reflective activity. You will also take part in regular small group skills practice where you take it in turns to be ‘client’, counsellor or observer. You will need to read widely, to do guided literature research and give informal reviews to your tutors and peers. There are practice placements in all three years of the course.

Students will typically have 12 contact hours across four days per week in term time. When a residential or special event is taking place, this may vary. In addition to the contact hours, you will complete independent study and placement hours. Placement based work generally equates to at least half a day a week over the academic year.


Assessment methods are varied in format and will include written assessments; presentations; case studies; skills assessments; work placement and portfolio assessments.


The course will be submitted for accreditation by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) once it has completed one cycle of delivery. The University has three Counselling and Psychotherapy courses accredited by the BACP. See further details of all Counselling and Psychotherapy courses available at USW.


You will undertake placements in every year of the counselling course including 100 hours of supervised professional practice, which will fully prepare you for your future career. We strongly advise students to work in a range of placements across the 100 hours in order to experience working with different clients and different organisations as this will reflect their pluralistic training and enhance their employability.

USW has long-standing partnerships with public, private and voluntary sector organisations and you will have the opportunity to apply to any of these organisations as part of your placement experience. In addition, USW Therapy Centre is a service run by USW for people in the local area, which may provide an opportunity for placement experience on-campus. The USW school-based counselling service, NISBCS also provides placement opportunities for working with children and young people.

You will need to organise your own placements as part of your professional development. The Placement Officer will help identify and check possible placement providers and, along with subject tutors, will support you throughout your placement.


Facilities for students on our counselling courses in Newport include a suite of rooms for one-to-one skills practice. These are also used by our in-house counselling service, which can also offer work experience opportunities.

We have specialist resources for online counselling techniques, plus dedicated video recording facilities to support all your skills development in class, in private study time and for assessments. Students also have full access to library resources across all USW campuses.

Year 1 studies may include an Induction trip to introduce themes relating to mental health and a three-day residential trip as an immersive experience introducing the concept of self-care. Both of these are dependent on health and safety guidelines relating to Covid at the time and will be adjusted to a more suitable activity if required.

Students have access to a range of extra-curricular learning opportunities such as on-campus CPD workshops and mental health training, they are encouraged to attend the Pluralistic Conference each spring.


All lead teaching staff are experienced practicing counsellors and psychotherapists, accredited and registered with the BACP or an equivalent professional body.

We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. The University has a Contextual Admissions Policy, therefore, whilst most offers we make are at the top of the range, under the Policy we take certain aspects of an application into consideration and eligible UCAS applicants can receive a personalised offer or have results considered individually when you receive them.  Here is a link to our Contextual Admissions Policy Statement.

Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable. 

You may also apply if you feel you have a relevant career history and experience of working with young people. This will usually include Level 2 or 3 Certificate in Counselling Skills plus the required 150 hours direct experience of working with young people, or with adults with social, psychological or emotional difficulties.


Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including 5 or above in English at standard level

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points

Additional Requirements


An interview is required for this course. Those applying will be provided with further details if successful at the initial selection stage.


Additional Requirements:

  • GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances.
  • An Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on the Child & Adult Workforce and Child and Adult Barring Lists and subscription to the DBS Update Service. (Overseas equivalent required for non-uk applicants)
  • 150 hours work experience*  with children or with adults with physical, psychological, social or emotional needs is normally required. This can be, for example, full or part-time paid work in a care setting, or volunteering that involves face-to face support for children or adults. This work experience must normally be completed before you submit your application. If you are able, you must clearly explain how you meet this requirement in your personal statement and also provide a written reference that confirms you have completed these hours.

*Applicants, providing they meet or are expected to meet academic requirements, can be invited to interview with 120 of the required 150 hours. These hours can comprise a blend of face-to-face and online work. Applicants with a shortfall of up to 30 hours and who are successful in obtaining a place will still be required to secure these remaining hours before the start of the course, however, this will be revised as the situation continues. 


International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees

  • Full-time UK:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £14000 

August 2023 - July 2024 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

Student Perks

At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.

Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.

Click here to learn more about student perks at USW.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
BACP Student membership * £41 - £82
Professional body student fees
DBS * £55.42
This fee includes £40 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
DBS Updating Service * £13
Whilst optional at present, we strongly recommend you sign up for this service, especially if you are likely to have placements each year and wish to pursue a career post University where a DBS check is a requirement. Please note you must register with the update service within 30 days of your enhanced DBS certificate being issued.
Personal therapy £30 - £50
Cost varies - some agencies offer free or low cost counselling.
Professional indemnity insurance *
Cost varies depending on individual circumstances. Required each year if not already covered.
Travel to placements *
Dependent on length and location of placement
Other: data collection
Cost varies
Clinical Supervision *
Laptop / tablet, with microphone *
Cost varies

UK students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International and EU students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK. 

Admissions statement

Students graduating from the BA Counselling and Therapeutic Practice course have the opportunity to access Postgraduate courses on offer at the university to further their studies. 
The combination of a broad range of information relating to counselling across the lifespan and a range of placement opportunities means that students graduate with a wealth of knowledge and experience, which can be applied to a wide range of career opportunities as well as to counselling more specifically.

We encourage students to consider working in different fields which can utilise their knowledge and skills to improve access to mental health support more widely.  These might include Schools Based Counsellors, Primary Mental Health workers, Mental Health Managers, Mental Health Trainers/advisors, Prison/Probationary service counsellors and working for an NGO.