BSc (Hons) Systemic Counselling

100% of our BSc (Hons) Systemic Counselling graduates are in employment or further study six months after graduating Graduate Destination Survey 2016

The BSc (Hons) Systemic Counselling is the first systemic counselling course to have been developed in the UK and Ireland and the first to have been accredited by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

This counselling degree offers an innovative learning experience and a route to qualification and registration as a professional counsellor. You will train in The Family Institute and as such become part of its community of learning and practice.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
N/A Part-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A

The Systemic Counselling degree is based at The Family Institute on our Glyntaff Campus. This is the first counselling course of its kind in the UK and has been accredited by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy since 2010.

Learning on this course will facilitate engaging with clients and how to identify and explore patterns of belief and behaviour in their roles and relationships. You will study the relevance of wider networks such as family, professionals and communities with your clients, and consider their problems in all of the relevant contexts within which they live.

You will be encouraged to become more self-aware, valuing the difference and diversity of people and ideas, through several schools of thought and an integrated approach to counselling and psychotherapy. You will view the wider field and work towards integration through a systemic approach to both learning and the practice of counselling.

The Philosophy of the course is based upon three interwoven themes:

Firstly, the experience of the participant is central to the learning. Participants are encouraged to become more self-aware, to develop their own experience in the here and now, and a focus on the self-of-counsellor in the service of their clients.

Secondly the course will adopt a model of teaching, best described by using the Welsh word ‘dysgu’ which embraces education as an integrated combination of learning and teaching, in a community of learning and practice.

The third theme is the valuing of difference and diversity of people and ideas through the integration of the wisdom, knowledge and experience of several schools of thought in relation to Counselling and Psychotherapy. The integration of approaches will be achieved through an emphasis on understanding self within a wider systemic frame. We understand communication as the matrix of human systems.

Individual, couple and family problems are considered within the contexts of their lives and living. The relevance of wider networks such as family, professionals and communities is explored with the client/s. The therapeutic counsellor aims to engage with their clients, identify, explore with them in relation to patterns of belief and behaviour in their roles and relationships.

Year One

Introduction to Counselling (20 credits)
This module considers the nature, definitions and different descriptions of counselling, within various settings relevant to counselling practice and includes political, ethnographic, theoretical and professional perspectives.

Communication Skills and Counselling Process (40 credits)
This module introduces fundamental communication theory principles. These provide a pragmatic and cognitive map for trans-theoretical integration of approaches and utilises a framework that covers the whole counselling process from start to finish. You will be taught fundamental counselling skills which will be built upon your own natural abilities and strengths.

Ethics, Self-Awareness and Personal Development (20 credits)
This module will introduce the core concepts of ethical reflection. You will consider your own current experience of yourself in relation to others across various contexts of their life experience in the light of ethical and legal frameworks. You will explore basic assumptions, biases, prejudices, differences and diversity.

Year Two

Communication and Therapeutic Practice (40 credits)
In this module you will develop skills in recognising and utilising your knowledge of theory to reflect upon definitions of relationship, and the development of therapeutic skills in counselling practice. You will study the therapeutic process within various contexts of counselling practice with particular reference to power, definition of relationship and efficacy with regard to professional discourses within those contexts and the complexities of multi-disciplinary team working and inter agency collaboration.

Reflective Practice and Models of Counselling and Psychotherapy 1 (40 credits)
This module takes an historical overview of approaches and models of counselling which are explored within their cultural, philosophical and scientific roots in relation to one another, in order to examine theoretical and practice connections between them.

Year Three

Reflective Practice and Models of Counselling and Psychotherapy 2 (40 credits)
This module reviews the historical, cultural, philosophical and scientific roots of the major models of psychotherapy and counselling with an emphasis on the methods and techniques utilised within these approaches and towards an embodied integration in practice.

First Person Inquiry and Therapeutic Practice in Counselling (40 credits)
Students will select areas of special application that they wish to focus upon and which are relevant to their practice placements and together will use the method of learning based upon Co-operative Inquiry.


The Systemic Counselling course is taught 9.30am until 4.30pm at the Family Institute on Glyntaff campus. The course runs from September to June. In the first week of year one you will attend university Monday-Friday 9.30am until 4.30pm. Thereafter you will attend university two to three days per month. First year students are taught on Thursdays and in total you will be required to attend the university for 27 days. Second year students and third year students are required to attend the university for 26 days each year. Second year students are taught on Fridays and third year students are taught on Tuesdays.

This course uses a variety of teaching methods including interactive tutorials and lectures; exploratory self and relationally reflexive exercises; group work; observations; skills workshops; seminars, and personal and professional development groups.

You will also be taught through demonstrations and simulated practice in our purpose built clinic. This might involve for example simulating a client and practitioner in conversation and evaluating your clinical skills development through using audio visual recordings. What's more, you will create scenarios to develop your counselling skills, conduct research into your own emerging practice and do background reading to develop your understanding and knowledge.


You will be assessed using a range of methods, including self-assessment; written assignments; case studies; case presentations; journals and evaluation of practice. Counselling practice assessment takes place during course contact hours in all three years. During practice placements in years two and three this will also happen in that context and involves undertaking a minimum of 100 hours of practice with actual clients. All students will be required to arrange their own clinical placements with the guidance of the teaching team.

The clinical practice assessment will involve submitting a portfolio consisting of a jointly constructed evaluation of your practice with your supervisor, to assess your development in relation to counselling competencies.


The BSc (Hons) Systemic Counselling Award is the first of its kind in the UK and is a BACP accredited course and forms a route to qualification as a Counsellor and subsequent registration with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). 


All students are required to arrange their own clinical placement as part of their studies. The choice of placement will depend on your area of interest and the availability of placements depending on your geographical location. Work-based learning is an essential part of the course and all teaching activities.

Placements are a requirement from the second year onwards and learning on the course is focused around developing skills in relation to a live work-based environment. Some of our students have gained placements at a range of counselling services in the NHS including paediatric, services for older adults, cancer services, adult and mental health services. In addition students have also worked within the third sector such as in community generic counselling services, Mind and Action for Children.


You will train in The Family Institute.


The teaching team at The Family Institute specialise in the practice, teaching, consultation and research of systemic psychotherapy and aim to maintain a centre of excellence both in the practice and training of psychotherapists. All of our lecturers are registered as Systemic Psychotherapists and Clinical Supervisors with the Association of Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (AFT) and the UK Council for Psychotherapy as Systemic Psychotherapists and are associates of the TAOS Institute which takes the name of the town where it first began in New Mexico.

We welcome applicants who can demonstrate their interest in this area and the potential to reflect on their own life experience. Applicants need no previous specific counselling training or experience. We also welcome those who want to develop their existing skills in counselling or related fields.

Typically we are looking for 120 level 4 HE Credits or extensive life and work experience. Applicants should be able to fulfill all course objectives and achieve the required standard to be ready academically and experientially to begin study at Level 5 (HE).

Additionally we require:
• A 500-600 word reflection on why now at this point in your life you are ready to undertake counselling training
• Two References uploaded with your application
• Enhanced DBS Check

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.

Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) * £25 - £50
Encrypted USB stick for video recording
Field Trips £25 - £50
Additional placement supervision if required - cost per hour; up to 1.5 hours per month
Additional assessment or memberships £78
Professional body membership
DBS * £57.2
This fee includes £44 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
DBS Updating Service £13
Whilst optional it is strongly recommended signing up for this service especially if you are likely to have placements each year and wish to persue a career post University where a DBS check is a requirement. Please note the service has to be joined within 19 days of receipt of your enhanced DBS certificate.
Other: £300 - £400
Personal therapy
Other: £75 - £150
Professional liability insurance - obligatory if not provided by placement

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU 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 students

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

Apply now 

Admissions statement

Counselling is a vital element of frontline, primary care services in health, education and social care settings. As a result, there are growing career opportunities in varied contexts. We adopt an integrated and coherent approach to training, which will enable you to take your place as a professional in the wider, multidisciplinary arena of health, education and social care and to adapt your skills and experience to a wide variety roles and contexts.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate. This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.