DPsych Counselling Psychology

The HCPC approved and BPS-accredited Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology is the first of its kind in Wales, offering training in three therapeutic modalities, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy, Integrative Psychotherapy and Systemic practice.

The DPsych programme is underpinned by a Relational and Pluralist philosophy and value base, with a strong focus on social justice. In addition to your training as a counselling psychology practitioner, you will undertake a doctoral level research thesis on a relevant subject.

As part of the Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology you will complete 450 hours supervised clinical hours. On graduating, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC and Chartered status with the BPS. The USW School of Psychology and Therapeutic Studies is ideally placed to offer this new course because of its expertise in both counselling and psychology teaching and research.

The vibrant, well-established psychology subject area has particular strengths in developmental disorders, health psychology and addictions, whilst the Newport campus acts as a regional hub for counselling and psychotherapy training. 

*The next intake for the course will be September 2022.
The course will begin accepting applications again from September 2021, when further guidance on applying will be made available. 

2021/22 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 3 Years September Newport City C
Part-time 5 Years September Newport City C

The programme offers both full-time (three years) and part-time (five years). The Doctorate course focuses on four key areas, which underpin the professional practice of counselling psychology:

  1. Theoretical knowledge and critical thinking skills, which value the therapeutic relationship and the diversity and plurality of practice
  2. Training in three therapeutic approaches, shaped by a relational and pluralistic ethos.
  3. A strong focus on personal and professional development and self-awareness through the development of critical reflective skills to self and practice.
  4. The undertaking of a comprehensive piece of research, which aims to make an original contribution to practice.

Year one modules are taught at level 7 and year two/three at level 8
You will undertake training in 3 therapeutic approaches:

• Integrative – Humanistic and Relational Psychodynamics
• Systemic

Each year you will undertake a module in Theory and Practice, which will cover:

• Underpinning philosophy and values of ethical, reflective therapeutic practice.
• Difference, diversity and social justice.
• Assessment, formulation, and psychometrics
• Mental health and Well-being
• Integration

You will also undertake modules in:

• Advanced Research
• Supervision and leadership



Teaching will usually take place over two days a week, with one or two days a week for placement.

The Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology course will be delivered using a wide range of teaching and learning methods, which will include lectures, group discussions and experiential exercises, personal development groups, skills practice, group work and case discussion groups.

You will also be required to undertake supervised clinical placements and your own individual personal therapy.

You will undertake a range of placements with different client groups achieving 450 counselling hours. 

You will be required to undertake a substantial piece of doctoral level research, which will make an original and applicable contribution to practice.

There is a significant amount of independent study within each module to prepare you for assessments, personal development and placements.

Please visit our Graduate School for details of support for research students. 


Assessment will be varied to reflect the range of professional competencies and experiences that you will develop on the programme.

These will include essays, case studies, presentations, process reports, research proposal, assessed skills practice, personal development reviews and placement reports.

Students will also submit a doctoral research thesis of a maximum of 50,000 words, which will be examined by viva voce.


The DPsych Counselling Psychology is accredited by the British Psychological Society.


The University of South Wales has strong links with NHS setting, third sector organisations, and a wide range of local counselling agencies, employers and counselling services.

The University also has an in-house counselling service offering placements. While there will be support to help you find placements from the placement coordinator, securing placement will be the responsibility of the student. The University will run placement and career events during the year and careers support beyond the course.


We have:

  • an exceptional suite of counselling rooms for training and for placement use, including five individual counselling rooms
  • a family/ children’s counselling room equipped with play resources
  • video and audio recording facilities
  • in-house placement provision
  • psychology computer lab with eye-tracker, EEG, bio-packs and other resources
  • interview and observation rooms
  • psychology technican support
  • access to SPSS and NVIVO
  • priority use subject teaching rooms


The teaching team is drawn from across the School of Psychology and Therapeutic Studies, including:

In order to apply you will need:

  • Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership with the BPS
  • Upper second class or first class degree in psychology / or Psychology conversion course. Applicants with a lower classification may still be considered if they can evidence subsequent higher academic achievements, such as, a Masters awarded merit or distinction.
  • 100 Hour Certificate in either Counselling or CBT Skills and Theory.
  • Evidence of working in a one to one helping role (e.g. experience in the health and social care field in the public, private or voluntary areas)
  • The capacity to undertake Doctoral level research - supported by an academic reference.
  • 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) 
  • Two references uploaded with your application (one from your previous/current employer and one academic who can comment on your ability to work at doctoral level.




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


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
Professional body student fees * £26
This is required for each year of your Doctorate course.
Clinical supervision * £0 - £1200
Cost per session will depend on the individual supervisor. In many instances, supervision requirements are available through the placement provider.
Personal therapy * £25 - £60
Cost is per session and will vary depending on the individual therapist. Students need to undertake a minimum of 40 hours in years one to three of the course.
Professional indemnity insurance * £45 - £75
Required for each year of the course. Some placement provider may cover you for insurance; evidence will need to be provided.
DBS * £53.20
This fee includes £40 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
DBS updating service * £13
Subscription required for each year of the course for a yearly fee of £13. Please note the service has to be joined within 30 days of receipt of your enhanced DBS certificate.
Placement travel
Students need to fund their own travel costs to their placement. Costs vary, depending on location.
Kit * £45 - £55
Recording device and encrypted memory stick
Other: data collection


Funding to help pay for/cover tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying you’ll have two main costs – tuition fees and living costs. You can get a range of funding to help with these costs.

There are a number of ways to fund your postgraduate study. This can be through student finance, bursaries or help from grants, trusts and charities (see Alternative Funding), or a combination of all three.

Click here to find out more about funding your postgraduate tuition fees and living costs.

Apply directly to the University for this course.

Application Guidance

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should outline your readiness and suitability to undertake the doctorate programme, by focusing on the following three areas:

Professional experience

  • In particular your practice experience of using counselling and CBT skills; these may have developed while undertaking a certificate and/or in a work role.
  • Why you wish to train to be a counselling psychologist, including your suitability to do so.
  • Academic/research experience
  • Academic ability to study at doctoral level and engage in doctoral research relevant to counselling psychology.
  • Research experience
  • Personal Development
  • Engagement in personal development activities indicating self-awareness and reflective capabilities
  • You should also state why you would like to be selected to study the course at University South Wales.


Two references

A referee who is familiar with and able to comment on your academic work, and abilities to study at doctoral level, including engaging in doctoral research.
A referee who is able to comment on your experience, including your suitability to train as a counselling psychologist.

Evidence of Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society

This can be evidenced by membership with the BPS or a letter from the BPS confirming your psychology course conferred to the GBS membership requirement.

Research proposal

Research Proposal Guidelines

The importance and relevance of your project
The Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology is primarily concerned with researching real professional issues in Counselling Psychology practice. Therefore, make sure your research project is relevant to the field of Counselling Psychology. Ensure you explain why you think your research is important, identifying any current gaps in the research literature and the contribution you consider your research will make to research and practice.

A brief review of the literature
You need to indicate some of the literature that you are going to use, try to include some of the main arguments and viewpoints in the field, indicating their relevance to your research proposal. Also make sure you include how your research sits within this current body of research.

Theoretical framework/methodology
In this section you need to clarify which methodology you will be following and why. In particular, you need to explain the relevance and usefulness of your chosen methodology to your particular project. You should clearly explain why and how the approach you plan to use will fit your topic and the problem you are addressing. Include any data sources you plan to use? How do you plan to collect data (e.g. interviews, a survey). Describe the process you will use to analyse the data.

Identify any ethical issues or issues around risk that your research might pose and how you will mitigate or manage these.

List the publication details of all the works you have referenced in your proposal. Use a standard referencing format (e.g. Harvard). This should help us to understand the literature you are familiar with.


When you have completed and passed all components of the programme, including 450 hours of supervised clinical work and the research thesis, you will be able to apply for HCPC registration and chartered status with the BPS. Once qualified, you will be equipped to work with a variety of client groups, including adults, groups, families and couples in a broad range of settings, for example, the NHS and third sector organisations.

Find out more about Research at USW