School of Psychology

Professional Doctorate Counselling Psychology

Professional Doctorate Full-time 3 years, Part-time 5 years

The University of Wolverhampton offers a prestigious Doctor of Counselling Psychology degree that prepares students for professional practice in the field. Students studying this programme will gain the knowledge, skills, and expertise necessary to become competent and ethical counselling psychologists. This Counselling Psychology programme is accredited by both the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

The University of Wolverhampton offers a prestigious Doctor of Counselling Psychology degree that prepares students for professional practice in the field. Students studying this programme will gain the knowledge, skills, and expertise necessary to become competent and ethical counselling psychologists. This Counselling Psychology programme is accredited by both the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Professional Doctorate
Start date(s)
16 September 2024
Course specifications
Course length
Full-time (3 years),Part-time (5 years)
Campus location
University: City Campus
UCAS points calculator

Why choose this course?

The field of counselling psychology is a fascinating area of study that offers many opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Our Doctor of Counselling Psychology programme will allow you to experience our unique blend of teaching, applied learning, placement, and state-of-the-art facilities. This doctorate degree is a fully accredited training programme in counselling psychology. Our modern programme includes:

  • a comprehensive learning experience with an expert team.
  • state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.
  • applied placement opportunities in a variety of clinical settings, with experienced supervisors.

This course is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

  Health and Care Professions Council Logo    The British Psychological Society


What happens on the course?

Counselling psychology brings a unique fusion of the science of psychology with the traditions of psychotherapy, enabling graduates to work in a variety of challenging professional settings. 

Our counselling psychology doctorate is one of the longest-established training programmes in the United Kingdom, providing an exciting learning experience leading to professional recognition as a qualified counselling psychologist. It is a programme of personal and professional development designed to develop competencies in the assessment and psychotherapeutic treatment of complex mental health issues.  You will gain expertise in applied psychotherapies, research, and professional practice.

Based on humanist values and emphasising the therapist-client relationship as central to mental health work, this doctorate offers an integrative framework for clinical, research, and reflective skills development. It offers an applied working knowledge of humanistic, cognitive behavioural, psychodynamic and systemic approaches. It supports the development of formulation-driven, integrated, and evidence-based ways of working, where trainees respond to the unique needs of each client they see. With this degree, you will receive a unique blend of academic psychology and practical counselling training.  

Each year you will undertake a range of modules where you will learn from qualified experts in the field, who will teach you how to engage with clients and make a positive contribution to their welfare.  You will engage in experiential learning throughout the programme, and develop a robust skill set that can be applied in any work situation. 

Building on a programme history spanning two decades, this doctorate is committed to the development of ethical and reflective practitioners who work collaboratively with clients, as co-creators of the therapeutic experience. The vitality of the course comes from an experienced and supportive course team, passionate about empowerment in mental health. 

Modern training

The team has longstanding relationships with experienced placement supervisors in the NHS, education sector and surrounding services. We work closely to ensure that course content and clinical placement experiences remain at the forefront of modern mental health practice, with supervision normally provided by a Counselling or Clinical Psychologist. 

Our team 

We are a diverse group of people welcoming those of any ethnicity, culture, religion or sexual orientation to join our community and contribute to the profession of Psychology. We are members of professional bodies – including Advance HE, the British Psychological Society (BPS) as Chartered psychologists, and the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). You will be learning from experienced practitioners in Forensic, Counselling, and Clinical Psychology.

Join us at the next Postgraduate Open Evening and meet some of our team.

Our place

The course is part of the School of Psychology in the Faculty of Education, Health, & Wellbeing.  The School of Psychology is the professional home to over 50 teaching and research staff, bringing a broad range of interests and experience to benefit students learning on our portfolio of courses.  Our School is recognised as one of the leading providers of Psychology education, using innovative teaching methods focussing on the application of scientific and theoretical principles to the study of people’s lives.  Psychology staff are grouped into a variety of highly active research clusters through our Centre for Psychological Research, publishing in the latest academic journals and working to make a real-world impact on people’s lives. 

We provide multiple opportunities to enhance your career and create networks inside and outside the department: including volunteering networks, peer mentoring, and the opportunity to become a research assistant for our academic staff using the Research Opportunities Network.

On campus

The course is based at our City Centre campus - the Millennium City building. 

Training support

We offer many levels of support, such as academic, placement, research, and cohort tutors who provide personal support and professional mentoring in relation to many aspects of the training.  While in training you will have access to our professional practice resources, teaching materials, CPD activities and regular tutorials with members of the team.  We also support graduates as they enter the workplace, as alumni and members of the professional community.  We work in partnership with Advance HE, the nationally recognised body in teaching quality, to continually develop the quality of our courses with modern teaching and learning practises. 

Course content

Our programme begins with an intensive welcome-week study package, designed to facilitate your transition to postgraduate study.  It includes group contracting, forming your peer relationships, expectations of trainees & staff, roles in the training process, library & literature searching skills, project management, and resilience building. 

Our course creates critical thinkers, leaders, and innovators who make real contributions to any role in which they work. Our courses are integrative and inclusive, where we focus on teaching and assessment using multiple techniques enabled by digital technologies. A variety of teaching methods enables us to develop self-directed learners, who are adaptable and well-prepared for modern workforce.  We provide a supportive learning environment for people with creative minds, who like to ask challenging questions and find out what is behind what they see in front of them. 


You will experience a variety of high quality learning experiences, such as lectures, seminars, blended learning, online materials, group tutorials, and practical workshops. Assignments are supported with formative learning activities such as essays, research proposals, debates, presentations, quizzes, and online discussions.  As you make progress you develop transferrable skills in writing, analysis, research, problem-solving, and reporting.  You grow as an independent psychological researcher, skilled in complex problem-solving.  Teaching develops knowledge and skills through hands-on work with psychological data, examining issues from across the spectrum of applied psychology. You will also examine various philosophical approaches to psychology in order to be able to evaluate, critique and question current psychological thinking.

All our courses actively embed employability initiatives into every aspect of the course, ensuring you are prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation.  Graduates finish with a range of marketable skills in problem-solving, data analysis, communication, information synthesis, and are well placed to take on further study or a career role.  Research is also embedded throughout the programme, enabling you to see the links between research and the real-world.

Course structure:

  • Stage 1: (Yr1) MSc Level - Building Foundations. Learn how Psychology understands the complex interactions between the mind, emotion, motivation, and behaviour. Gain understanding of the historical and scientific underpinnings of psychology.  Study person-centred/humanistic, cognitive behavioural therapy, systemic & family theory, critical psychopathology, and a research project related to your developing interests.  You will learn skills in clinical assessment, formulation, therapeutic containment, and a range of placement-readiness skills. 
  • Stage 2 (Yr2): Doctorate Level - Growing Autonomy. Develop critical thinking as you refine advanced skills in the application of psychological research to everyday life.  Gain skills in Quantitative and Qualitative Research methods.  Modules include developmental lifespan psychology, psychodynamic therapy, working with personality issues, art therapy, supporting psychosis, cognitive analytic therapy, attachment & the Dynamic Maturational Model (DMM), and a range of professional skills such as: supervision & mentoring. 
  • Stage 2 (Yr3): Doctorate Level - Specialist Knowledge. Complete your doctoral research thesis, building expertise in a chosen area of study relevant to a clinical domain.  Modules include professional issues, and up-to-date training in current areas of practise.  Topics usually include: setting up a private practise, psychopharmacology, legal issues in psychology, LGBT issues, diversity & inclusion, working with clients experiencing domestic violence, assessment & treatment of sex offenders, working clinically in prisons, trauma focussed CBT. 
  • Part Time Flexible Study Options: If you choose to study part time, there are several routes through the programme designed to facilitate other home or work commitments. A pre-study meeting with one of the programme team can help you plan your study-route so you can ensure success in your personal circumstances.

Unique features

Our programme includes a range of additional training packages, funded as part of the course fees. 

  • Additional training in Mindfulness based therapy
  • Psychometric Training - BPS Accredited Ability & Personality.
  • EMDR Level 1
  • Funding for attendance at Annual DCoP Conference twice during your studies (*Stage 2: Year 2 & 3).

Planning your journey

* You can start planning your journey by joining us at a PG open evening, where we can share with you the current timetable and calendar. You can start planning your journey by joining us at a PG open evening, where we can share with you the current timetable and calendar. We can talk with you through the programme journey, and help you choose the right course for you. 

*Funding for DCoP conference is conditional upon submission of your research in poster or presentation format.  This is part of our professional development commitment to you. 

*Entry Guidance note: Graduates of University of Wolverhampton BSc Psychology and Counselling degree are considered to automatically meet the counselling skills criterion in full.  The BSc Psychology and Counselling has been designed by the professional team to include skills training with relevant placement, and place graduates at an ideal entry position for this programme. 

Clinical placements: a network of partners

You will undertake a variety of clinical placements throughout your studies.  We have a network of partner providers who work with us each year, hosting trainees in placement settings.  Opportunities include:

As an enrolled trainee we will connect you with our partner network to open up opportunities for placements across the Midlands and beyond.

We are especially proud to have developed a three-year placement pathway in collaboration with colleagues at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, providing a full training journey to those who study with us. 

  • All trainees are required to work in a supervised clinical setting, and achieve 450 hours of direct clinical contact throughout the programme.


Through our School of Psychology we also provide opportunity to complete a placement at the Psychology Community Research Clinic (PCRC), where you may support students undertaking other programmes throughout the university.  

Course Modules

Potential Career Paths

Additional Information

Everything you need to know about this course!

  • Accreditation: The degree is accredited by the British Psychological Society, leading to Chartered status. It is continually revised with the very latest developments in the profession.  The BPS develops and promotes psychology for the public good, and works to advance the role psychologists have in society by setting the standards of professional education and knowledge.  Our courses are continually improved to meet these standards.  The programme is approved by the Health & Care Professions Council, leading to eligibility for registration upon completion of the programme.
  • Staff Expertise: You will be learning from experienced practitioners in Forensic, Counselling, and Clinical Psychology, as well as published experts in the fields of Cyber, Health, Occupational, and Cognitive Psychology. We work in partnership with Advance HE, the nationally recognised body in teaching quality, to continually develop the quality of our courses with modern learning practises.  Find out more about our staff here
  • Career: Gain a professional focus and applied experience of psychology, ensuring you are equipped to take the further steps in your career. Our programme makes a significant positive impact on your career trajectory.
  • Placements: Our course offers placement opportunities, enabling you to use skills and competencies in practise. You may work under supervision of a qualified Psychologist in several applied domains, such as: Counselling, Clinical, Educational, Forensic, Health, Occupational, and Academic Research.  Taking on a place gives you valuable experience in the application of your skills in practise, and allows you to adapt to the challenge of a modern workplace throughout your studies.  Both theory and placement learning are highly valued by employers, and equip you for taking on a graduate job as soon as your studies are complete. 
  • International Focus: University of Wolverhampton is a diverse community of people, with staff and students from 120 different countries. In an ever-increasing global world, graduates are required to navigate complex information systems and provide creative solutions to issues that affect people internationally. Our curriculum includes development of skills of value in an increasingly international workplace. 
  • Student Support & Mentoring: Student support is at the heart of our approach. Receive support from personal tutors who are expert in applied and theoretical psychology, and keen to support your learning. Mentoring throughout your studies with your personal tutor contributes considerably to the success of our students through regular progress reviews and careers advice.  
  • Psychology Community Research Clinic: Our school operates a research-based mental health clinic. Our clinical staff and postgraduate trainees on our MSc and Professional Doctorate programmes provide confidential support, a range of psychological therapies, and workshop training to students who need additional support to succeed. Our aim is to provide the best recipe for success, and we support you to achievement through helping you reach the next step on your academic journey.
  • Research Projects: All students are encouraged to explore research projects with real-world application and unique project design, presenting the opportunity to make a real-world change.
  • Research Community: You become part of an active and supportive research community. Opportunities for participant recruitment are fostered through our participant system, enabling you to take part in studies as a participant in your first year and gaining access as a researcher in your final year.
  • Applied & Authentic Assessment: All of our assessments focus on the practical elements of the course, providing a flavour of the real-world work of a practising Psychologist.
  • State-of-the-art Facilities: Learn in our dedicated research and computer labs with over 50 networked computers, an observation room with a one-way mirror, video analysis equipment. Our cyberpsychology research laboratory is stocked with the latest in virtual reality and eye-tracking equipment. 
  • Psychological Test Library: Gain access to the latest psychometric tools for your research with our comprehensive test library.
  • Specialist Software: Our software library provides all of the latest data collection and analysis programmes, so you have the tools you need to succeed. Psychology-specific software such as SPSS, NVIVO, Qualitrics, Microsoft Office 365, are included as part of course fees. 
  • Books, Journal Subscriptions & Skills for Learning: We have an extensive online journal library, with latest research in each specialist area. Our library team provides training in how to get the best out of our online journal provision, and are on hand to help you navigate your way through the extensive library.  We also have core text books available in full text online supporting you to study anytime, anywhere. 

You will gain knowledge and job-relevant skills as you explore areas such as social psychology, cognitive psychology, personality and individual differences, and developmental and biological psychology. 

Our aims are to:

  • Develop Professional Counselling Psychologists who are well placed to work with clients in a broad range of settings to include the NHS, forensic settings, voluntary and third sector providers, industry, private practice, academic and research settings.
  • Provide a grounding in the application of humanistic values in Counselling Psychology practice upon which other models can be developed and/or integrated.
  • Instil core competencies in reflective practice, assessment, psychological formulation, criticality and evidence-based practice.
  • Offer in depth understanding of theoretical models of practice relevant to professional practice in the public and private sectors focusing on the application and integration of person centred, cognitive behavioural, psychodynamic, and systemic models.
  • Enable an appreciation for and commitment towards ethics in practice and research.
  • Provide opportunities to develop competence in systemic practice and organisational working to include involvement with audit, service evaluation, consultation, teaching and clinical leadership.
  • Support anti-discriminatory practice attending critically to wider social, cultural and political contexts.

The University of Wolverhampton prides itself on preparing you with a number of desirable graduate attributes, including specialist knowledge and enterprise, technological literacy, research skills, and effective communication.

  1. Writing: Every piece of work you submit receives feedback and advice to help develop your skills as a writer. Our aim is to support you in expressing your ideas clearly, concisely, and with impact.
  2. Critical thinking & reasoning: Analysis of research, assumptions, methods, ethics, and how research is applied is a key part of psychology. You must consider each source that you use, and reference your work.  Critical thinking skills enable graduates to navigate the increasingly complex modern world, and understand what is beneath the surface of any current issue. 
  3. Communication: Learning to communicate is key to a successful career. Throughout your programme you will develop skills to improve your presentation abilities, and articulate an argument to have meaningful impact. 
  4. Problem-solving: The ability to provide solutions based on logical analysis of a problem is a skill many employers desire. This skill requires you to think outside-the-box and understand the underlying factors at play. These skills are developed purposefully as part of a degree in psychology, and help students achieve autonomy throughout their studies.
  5. Research & analysis: A key part of many careers is the skill with which information can be gathered, organised, understood, and analysed for useful conclusions. A degree in psychology promotes these skills from the start.
  6. Teamwork: Working collaboratively with others on tasks, building positive relationships in the workplace, and maintaining connections over time are valuable skills for any graduate. Studying with us presents opportunities to build these skills, and learn how to productively work with a variety of different people and personalities.  

Location Mode Fee Year
Home Full-time £9230 per year 2022-23
Home Full-time £9690 per year 2023-24
Home Full-time £9690 per year 2023-24
Home Full-time £10175 per year 2024-25
Home Part-time £4615 per year 2022-23
Home Part-time £4845 per year 2023-24
Home Part-time £4845 per year 2023-24
Home Part-time £5088 per year 2024-25
International Full-time £14450 per year 2022-23
International Full-time £15450 per year 2023-24
International Full-time £15450 per year 2023-24
International Full-time £15950 per year 2024-25

The University is committed to a transparent fee structure, with no hidden costs, to help you make an informed decision. This includes information on what is included in the fee and how fees are calculated and reviewed

Applicants will need to evidence the following criteria:

• A 2.1 Honours degree in Psychology or equivalent.

• Eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartered status with the British Psychological Society (GBC).

• Possession of a qualification in counselling skills to Level 3 certificate standard.

• 6 months (full-time) or 12 months (part-time) in a paid or voluntary helping role, using counselling skills with clients on a face-to-face basis. Experience should normally have taken place within the last five years and would normally equate to 100 hours direct counselling work.

• Submission of a personal statement outlining the experience and skills you bring, and your reasons for pursuing further study in counselling psychology.

• Submission of a brief statement of interest outlining a research proposal, or idea for further development. Applicants are advised to browse our departmental research profiles when developing a proposal.

• A good standard of written and spoken English (IELTS 7.0 or equivalent please see Language entry requirements - University of Wolverhampton ( 

• 2 x reference(s) – 1x academic and 1x clinical supervisory. • Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS check) completed by our university DBS team upon offer of a place.

• Demonstrate the following personal requirements in interview:

o Self-awareness and psychological stability.

o Ability to make use of and reflect on life experience.

o Capacity to cope with emotional demands of the course.

o Ability to cope with intellectual and academic requirements.

o Ability to form a helping relationship.

o Ability to critically reflect upon areas of bias and use both positive and negative feedback.

o Some awareness of the nature of prejudice and oppression of minority groups. Applicants who meet these criteria are shortlisted and then invited for admission interviews with the course team.

Note: Overseas applicants must provide confirmation from the British Psychological Society (BPS) that their degree has been recognised as such and must also possess a recognised qualification in counselling at least to certificate level accredited by a professional body. Please also note that to be eligible to apply for Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration upon graduation candidates need a minimum of IELTS 7.0, with no individual element less than 6.0 or equivalent. Enhanced DBS clearance is needed prior to entry onto the course, which must be self-funded.

Selection Process

The selection process will incorporate two stages. Candidates successful at the first stage will progress to stage two.

Stage one: Candidates will be presented with a client case study on the day of interview; following a group discussion and role-play exercise, they will write a summary of their reflections upon the case.

Stage two: Candidates will attend a panel interview covering training and education, research experience, clinical and work experience, reflections on life experiences, and practical issues. Recognition of Prior Learning Applicants may apply for advance standing through the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) procedure. In accordance with the professional body requirement, only credits gained from other BPS- and HCPC-approved counselling psychology programmes may be considered. Applications for RPL can be made following the acceptance of an offer on the course and are at the discretion of the university RPL panel independent of the programme team. Applicants shall not be awarded credit through RPL for any level 8 component of the course.

“Thanks to the team not only do I feel confident, competent, and ready to take on the challenge of this profession - but also I have learnt to become a better person and reflect on who I am in my professional and personal life. Every aspect of this course has taught me something valuable, and I am a better person for it thanks to the team here.” 

“The doctorate offered me an excellent grounding in a variety of core approaches, enabling me to broaden and strengthen my skill set. Of the approaches that are taught, I took a lot away from the whole-person-focused humanistic approach, and the relationship-focused systemic approach. The evidence-based nature of the CBT approach prepared me to work within the NHS. The ‘developing relational approach’ found at the heart of psychodynamic theory helped me to see that many problems that people face are borne out of relationships with others, and it resonated with me that a helpful way forward is to focus on the skills needed to build a good therapeutic relationship.”

“The programme has changed not only my personal life, but also the quality of my relationships with others.  I have become a better person to those around me, and feel I have developed a greater flexibility and resilience in my work. I am very happy to have chosen this route, and feel I understand the values and ethics at the heart of counselling psychology.”

Financial support for research study:

Before applying, you should consider carefully how you will finance your studies for the duration of your programme, including tuition fees, research support fees and living costs.

Government loans (Home Fee Status):

Government loans are available for postgraduate research students of up to £28,673, to cover fees and living expenses. More information can be found at Doctoral-loans website.

Studying in the UK:Guidance for EU students

For 2021/22 new entrants, EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status and financial support from Student Finance England.


We are able to take payments in instalments, to spread out the cost of your studies, and it is possible to switch between full-time and part-time modes of study. For more information go to How to pay.

Postgraduate Research Loyalty Discount:

To students progressing from an undergraduate programme and/or a taught postgraduate programme to a postgraduate research programme, where both courses are University of Wolverhampton Awards.

There is no time limit on how long ago you completed your degree and/or Masters level qualification, as long as the new award is at a higher level.

For full terms and conditions please see: Loyalty Discount for Postgraduate Research Students

Research councils:

The UK Research and Innovation funds postgraduate study in all subject areas on a discretionary basis.

University Research Studentships:

The University offers a very limited number of research stipends, formerly known as bursaries, to research students. Stipends are designed to support specific projects as determined by the Research Institute rather than individual student-led projects. Funds are accessible from the relevant Research Institute or Centre - please contact them directly.

Other sources:

Dennis Turner Opportunity Fund.

You can find more information on the University’s Funding, cost, fee and support pages.


01902 32 22 22



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