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BSc Honours Counselling & Psychotherapy

Part-time | 4 Years | University Validated | IACP Accredited

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This course is designed to provide comprehensive training within the field of counselling and psychotherapy.


As a college, we are committed to making transformative contributions to individuals and society as a leading educational establishment in the field of mental health and wellbeing. In recognition of the many and varied effective approaches to therapy, PCI College’s unique training programme is centred around an integrative model which is inspired by an underlying humanistic philosophy. The integrative training programme, resting on a humanistic framework, emphasises the importance of the therapeutic relationship as a medium through which healing can occur. On completion of this course, participants will qualify as skilled, competent and creative therapists, who are ready to meet with confidence the needs of a fast-evolving society and are equipped to work in a variety of settings with a wide range of presenting issues. The programme is developed, delivered and assessed by PCI College, and validated and awarded by Middlesex University.


Who is this course for? 

This course is intended for people who are interested in becoming professional counsellors & psychotherapists and want to gain an honours degree and a professional qualification in counselling and psychotherapy. The course will also meet the needs of those who have an opportunity to use counselling skills as part of their work (either in a paid or voluntary capacity) or to simply broaden their qualifications.    


What are the benefits of doing this course? 

You will be ready to pursue a wide variety of career options including private practice and the provision of counselling services to voluntary, community and statutory organisations. You will benefit from our commitment to providing high quality, inspiring, memorable, positive, professional and potentially life-changing learning experiences through a participative, experiential programme that values the prior lived experience of each learner.


What will you learn?

The main components of the learning experience focus on your own personal and professional development, which, along with providing theoretical understanding and excellence in skills practice, will also emphasise the importance of personal awareness and development. You will, within a safe and secure learning environment, explore the aspects of personal development which potentially impact professional development. You will also study a variety of counselling theories that include person-centred, existential, cognitive-behavioural, psychodynamic and other approaches. Each year of study is designed to provide you with a set of eclectic skills that can be applied in a wide variety of clinical settings. 



Course Details

DURATION: Four years, part-time    START DATE: August 31st 2024

Please note that Inductions will be held the week before the start date. You will receive full details with your timetable following your acceptance.


AWARD: Middlesex University BSc (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy

This programme is quality assured by Middlesex University and you will receive a Middlesex award on successful completion.


LEVEL: Level 6 FHEQ (Comparable to Level 8 NFQ)

FHEQ (Framework for Higher Education Qualification) is the UK National Framework of Qualifications.



Belfast - Weekend Course - Starts 31st August 2024


You can access the complete programme specifications from the Downloads section below.


YEAR 1: 90 credits (equivalent to 45 ECTS credits) 

  • Contemporary Humanistic & Existential Perspectives in Counselling & Psychotherapy 
  • Professional Competence: Counselling Skills & Ethical Practice 
  • Personal Development: Self Awareness & the Reflective Practitioner 
  • Online research tutorial x 2


YEAR 2: 90 credits (equivalent to 45 ECTS credits) 

  • Contemporary Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Theory & Practice 
  • Professional Competence: Advanced Skills & Ethical Practice 
  • Personal Development: The Relational Self 
  • Online research tutorial x 2


YEAR 3: 90 credits (equivalent to 45 ECTS credits) 

  • Early Psychodynamic Perspectives: The Unconscious Mind 
  • Professional Competence: Research Methodologies in Counselling & Psychotherapy 
  • Professional Development: The Integrative Therapist 


YEAR 4: 90 credits (equivalent to 45 ECTS credits) 

  • One elective theories module to be chosen:
    • Advanced Humanistic
    • Advanced CBT
    • Advanced Psychodynamics
  • Professional Competence: Thesis
  • Professional Development: Clinical Placement Case Study


  • 50 hours of personal therapy with an IACP/BACP/IAHIP accredited therapist
  • 120 hours of client work within an approved PCI College placement
  • 24 hours of supervision with an IACP/BACP/IAHIP accredited supervisor
  • 24 hours of CPD – 6 hours can be personal development, 18 hours minimum must be professional development
  • 32 hours of group supervision in-house (Year 3 and Year 4)

 Students must also register with the IACP as a Student Member. You can see further details here on the IACP website.


ASSESSMENT: Assignments

There are no formal examinations, giving students more opportunities to concentrate on their assignments and their own self-exploration throughout their journey. 

Entry Requirements



1. Applicants should possess a maturity to reflect on their own development as a person.


2. Applicants need to have successfully completed a: 

  • Certificate Course in Counselling & Psychotherapy (or similar) of 60+ hours. 


Equivalent level 5+ (NFQ) course in for e.g., Psychology, Social Care/Social Work, Psychiatric Nursing or any discipline related to the field of counselling.


  • Show evidence of personal development /substantial life experience (for e.g., proof of volunteer work, community work, experience of counselling and/or portfolio of prior learning). 


 Entry is by the application form and interview.


Students require sufficient IT skills to complete the course. Our Student Portal includes a suite of academic writing tools, including webinars, in order to support and assist with the practicalities of written work. Access to these is free and highly recommended.


Students are assigned a Student Development & Progression Officer on their programme and with whom they will meet during the academic year to discuss progression and engagement in a supportive capacity. In years 3 & 4 as degree students become more independent learners; tutorials, seminars, and career development sessions will be provided.


Students can expect to be provided with guidance and support concerning any learning difficulties that they may encounter. Any diagnosed disability or learning difficulty, e.g. dyslexia, must be noted on the application and can be discussed further at the interview, without prejudice. This is to ensure the correct supports can be provided where possible.



All candidates are required to satisfy the English language requirement. Candidates whose first language is not English and who are presenting qualifications other than the Leaving Certificate may satisfy the requirement through the completion of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) on the basis that they obtain a minimum band score of 6 at the undergraduate level and 6.5 at postgraduate level or an equivalent score of TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or Cambridge, which denotes a very good skill level of English. It should be noted that these are the minimum requirements in English and PCI College may set higher requirements in each case.



Students will be requested to participate in Garda Vetting procedures in relation to programme and accreditation requirements.

IT SKILLS: students require sufficient IT skills to complete the course


Students can expect to be provided with advice and support concerning any learning difficulties that they may encounter. Any diagnosed learning difficulty, e.g. dyslexia, must be noted on the application.


YEAR 2 ENTRY - Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

If you have already completed Year 1 of an equivalent validated and accredited counselling and psychotherapy programme, you may be eligible for entry to the 2nd year of a given programme. Not all Counselling and Psychotherapy programmes cover the same syllabus in the first year, nor do they always have the same credit weightings attached, so it will not always be possible to grant Year 2 entry. The decision to grant RPL is an academic judgement and will only be considered in circumstances where it does not negatively impact the overall learning experience for the learner or the cohesion of the programme.


Recognition of prior learning criteria is aligned with the U.K. Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and NFQ and its award system. Policies and procedures associated with the recognition of prior learning are aligned with those of Middlesex University as our validating body.


RPL may be sought for admission to a programme, advanced entry to a programme, or for exemptions from a part of a programme. Exemptions are not granted for individual modules. Approved Prior Certified Learning is applicable to our BSc programme with uncertified/experiential learning applicable only to our MSc programmes. Policies and procedures associated with the recognition of prior learning are aligned with those of Middlesex University as our validating body.


Decisions to grant access through RPL (or otherwise) represent an academic judgment based on available evidence supplied by the applicant.


The following guidelines apply in all instances. 


Candidates, at application, are asked to supply evidence of certified learning which include:


  • Official transcripts of the learning for which are seeking recognition.
  • Certificates where applicable i.e. BSc upgrade programme. 
  • Course Comparison Form where you will supply details of the Learning Outcomes and Assessments you have already achieved. These Learning Outcomes are matched and appraised by a suitably qualified senior member of the academic team.
  • Programme Handbook or Syllabus of programme you are seeking RPL for.
  • Confirmation of Personal Therapy Hours completed while enrolled in the previous programme, signed by the Personal Therapist. Confirmation may be a written letter from the therapist or a personal therapy log.

The applicant must indicate in detail the relevant prior learning, and the types and nature of experiences in the case of uncertified learning they believe to have equivalence and will be assessed on learning acquired from experience as opposed to the experience itself.


Decisions to grant access through RPL (or otherwise) represent an academic judgment based on available evidence and are made on a case-by-case basis.

Career Path


Counselling is a fulfilling career and can change your life as well as others. People who become counsellors are genuinely interested in human behaviour and have a strong desire to help others improve their mental well-being. They are also skilled at interacting with people on a personal level while maintaining a professional relationship.

Students who graduate from the BSc (Hons) Counselling & Psychotherapy will be fully qualified to practice as professional counsellors & psychotherapists. Graduates pursue a wide variety of career options including private practice and the provision of counselling services to voluntary, community and statutory organisations. Many graduates continue their professional development with courses of study in specialist areas, including CPD certificates, workshops and postgraduate programmes. The majority of graduates work towards full professional accreditation with an organisation, such as the IACP. 


The IACP provides standards of practice, professional identification, education/training and regulation for the counselling and psychotherapy profession in Ireland. All venues are pre-accredited with the IACP.

Professional accreditation is an important requirement for those wishing to practice as professional therapists in Ireland. In the absence of Government regulation of the profession, accreditation bodies such as the IACP provide standards of practice which give reassurance on training quality and ethical conduct to individuals and organisations seeking professional counselling services. While government regulation is planned and the process to structure regulation has begun, it may yet take some time before this is completed and implemented.  In the meantime, the IACP and other recognised accreditation bodies will continue to set and monitor the standards of best practice and professional training for therapists in Ireland. Full details on IACP Accreditation can be found here.



PCI College has been providing its BSc (Honours) Counselling & Psychotherapy since 1997.  Our university validated programmes are developed, delivered and assessed by PCI College and awarded by and quality assured by Middlesex University.  A qualification from Middlesex University London is internationally recognised both within the EU and outside the EU.  (Brexit negotiations will have no impact on these facts.)

Course Fees



Year 1:   £4,340* (Includes all academic and administration costs and charges)

Year 2:   £3,360
Year 3:   £3,360
Year 4:   £3,360
This course is eligible for tax relief on tuition fees.

*Please note that there is an additional charge of £20 for the Garda vetting process which is required prior to course entry and it is not included in the above fees.



Pay in 42 monthly instalments, through the Monthly Payment Plan.  Please note that this plan will operate by Direct Debit only and is inclusive of a £100.00 administration fee.  Each student must pass the Summer Progression Board of each year to enable them to move into the next year of study. 


Course fees do not cover costs associated with Additional Course Requirements; Personal Therapy & Supervision.
Fees for Supervision and Personal Therapy are decided by negotiation between you and your Supervisor and Therapist. The average cost for supervision is approximately £60. Personal therapy may also average about £60 per session.

Applicants should complete the online application form including the Initial Deposit of £80, which is deductible from course fees if the application is successful. Applicants are entitled to a full refund of the Initial Deposit if they decide to cancel within 14 days of receipt of their application.  Applications should be completed in full and returned with the appropriate deposit for the programme of choice. Any deposit paid is deductible from the programme fees if the applicant is successful in securing a place on the programme. Applicants are entitled to a full refund of the initial deposit if they decide to cancel within 14 days of receipt of their application, and haven't attended the interview. If the cancellation is before the programme commences, any monies held will be left on account for use for the next course intake. Any monies left on the account exceeding this timeframe will be forfeited. Please note that the name used on your application needs to be the same name that you have on your passport.

The balance of fees is payable in full before the course commences. Fees are non-refundable in all personal circumstances. All courses run subject to demand and the formation of a viable class cohort. A full refund will be given to all applicants in the event that the class does not proceed.

Intake interviews will be arranged for suitable applicants. Applicants who are offered a place will be required to confirm acceptance in writing accompanied by an Acceptance Deposit of £1190 (£1170 acceptance fee and £20 Garda vetting fee). When an Applicant has accepted a place all tuition fees, including deposits, shall be fully non-refundable in all personal circumstances.


For more information, please visit our Terms & Conditions page.



Can I get accredited with the IACP after completing this course?
Yes, the course is fully accredited by the Irish Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (IACP)  so you can start working towards accreditation once your degree has been awarded. You can see full details of accreditation below.

Why is accreditation important for counsellors & psychotherapists?
Counselling in Ireland is not yet a government-regulated profession and currently, the profession determines its own standards for professional practice, including education and training. These standards provide assurances of quality and ethical behaviour for the HSE, State-Bodies, Charities, GP’s and other healthcare professionals who are referring patients, and for clients themselves seeking counselling services. For those planning to work as counsellors & psychotherapists, either in private practice or with organisations and services providing counselling, professional accreditation is an externally validated benchmark of quality.  Most healthcare professionals will look for a therapist to have recognised accreditation when referring patients/clients and frequently clients will seek out counsellors who adhere to these recognised standards. It can be difficult for counsellors to get client referrals without recognised accreditation.

In Ireland, there are a number of regulatory, or accrediting bodies which set and monitor these professional standards. The largest of these is the Irish Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (IACP) and other well-established bodies include the National Association for Pastoral Counselling & Psychotherapy (NAPCP) and the Irish Association of Integrative and Humanistic Psychotherapy (IAHIP).  If you are researching accreditation, it is worth enquiring with GP’s and healthcare professionals in your area about the accreditation they seek for referrals. Make sure that you do not align yourself with a professional body that is not well-regarded within the field. It can be very disappointing for students halfway through their studies when they realise they cannot get accreditation with a recognised professional body such as the IACP.  


How many are in a class?
We keep classes small in year 1 and year 2. We aim to provide students with experiences and opportunities which will enable them to develop their potential in a supportive, stimulating and challenging environment, where ideas are discussed freely and where there is a sense of sharing in a continuing process of self-discovery.

Is the course taught online, or are there any online elements?
Yes, while the BSc (Hons) degree course is taught primarily in classroom, during Year 1, 2 and 3 of the course, some of the modules (25% of the course) will be delivered online via a virtual classroom environment. Please note: Within the virtual classroom environment, you will interact in real-time with each other and the lecturer to ensure human connection is maintained. We also have an online Student Portal where students can find lecture notes, announcements and access to an online library with journals and other useful study resources.  There is also a student forum to link up students from all of our nationwide venues.

Do the College help students source the 120 hours Counselling Practice?
Yes, we have a Clinical Placement Officer who helps students find placements within organisations that we have relationships with. We also offer a Low-Cost Counselling service from the college, PCI Counselling Service, which is designed to assist students to complete their necessary client work and because we believe that lack of funds should not be a barrier for people who need counselling

Are there any exams?
No, the course is all continuous assessment – assignments and in-class assessments. 


What is the timetable for my chosen venue?

We publish a full provisional timetable on the website from April onwards and you will get a  very good indication of all class dates etc. Before the academic year begins, at your BSc degree Orientation, you will receive a full timetable for the academic year.  If you choose a weekday class, your classes will take place for five consecutive weeks followed by a week break. If you choose a weekend class, the course runs every other Saturday. Each year, the BSc degree course ends with a four-day summer school (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and the dates for this will be included in your timetable at the start of the year.  Group supervision usually takes place on a Sunday and you will be notified of these dates as early as possible in your academic year. Occasionally, you may be asked to attend other course meetings with your Core Tutor on other days of the week; we will always strive to give you as much notice as possible for meetings and to accommodate student schedules.

I am not sure if counselling and this course are right for me. Where can I find more information?
PCI College has been providing education and training in counselling & psychotherapy for over 30 years. We have trained hundreds of therapists over the years, and all are different people, bringing different backgrounds, viewpoints and experience in the profession. Read some of our recent student testimonials here or longer graduate profile articles here. You can also read 8 Reasons to Choose PCI College here and we would be delighted to speak with you in person about any queries you have. 

We also run Taster Days Nationwide so make sure to send us your details so we can keep in touch.

Are the fees tax deductible?
Fees may be eligible for tax relief. 

Is there a Payment Scheme?
In order to facilitate students, PCI College has introduced a monthly Direct Debit Plan. Please note that there is an extra charge of €80 for this option.

Can I get funding for the course?
Some students can avail of funding support for the course, including from employers, state funding schemes etc. We advise that you contact your local Citizens Information office to find out what funding you may be eligible for, based on your own personal circumstances.

What level on the NFQ is the course?
The BSc (Hons) Counselling & Psychotherapy is awarded by Middlesex University and is therefore on the UK National Framework. It is Level 6 FHEQ (Framework for Higher Education Qualification) - comparable to Level 8 on the NFQ. For comparability on various awards, please see here

Is the BSc programme validated by QQI (HETAC)?  
No, as the BSc Programme is a University Degree validated by Middlesex University; it does not need to be validated with QQI/HETAC. QQI accreditation is specifically for courses in Ireland that fall outside the University This programme was developed and is delivered and assessed by PCI College, awarded by and quality assured by Middlesex University. FHEQ (Framework for Higher Education Qualification) is the UK National Framework of Qualifications.structure. Confusion sometimes arises as QQI has a dual role in the area of counselling & psychotherapy at the moment, in that it recently set overall academic standards for the profession at the Government’s request and it also gives academic validation to some counselling & psychotherapy training programmes that are not University validated.  

Does the PCI College BSc meet the academic standards set for counselling & psychotherapy, set by QQI on behalf of the Government? 
Yes, PCI College keeps up to date with all recommended standards of education and training for the profession and will continue to do so in the future.  It is important to note that QQI believes that educational standards must be matched by professional standards “For regulated professions in Ireland it is typical for educational (academic) standards and professional standards to be distinct. In essence meeting, the educational standards entitle a person to an educational qualification but entitlement to practise requires a person to meet (and continue to meet) a distinct professional standard. An approved (accredited) qualification is necessary but insufficient for professional practice. The draft awards standards are educational (and training) standards and they are not designed to regulate the profession and are (alone) not fit for that purpose.” This means that it is vital that you choose a Counselling/Psychotherapy Degree course that is both academically validated (e.g. Middlesex University) and Professionally Accredited by a well-known reputable body (e.g. IACP).

When will Government regulation come in for counselling & psychotherapy?
The Government has stated their intention to regulate the counselling & psychotherapy profession in the future, along with a number of other professions (such as physiotherapy, psychology etc.). It is difficult to say, however, how long this process may take.  CORU (the Health & Social Care Professionals Council) has been set up for this purpose and to date, it has regulated five professions (Dietitians, Occupational Therapists, Radiographers and Radiation Therapists, Social Workers, Speech and Language Therapists). According to CORU “Registers {i.e. Regulation,} for the other professions will follow, on a phased basis, between 2015 and 2017.”  Counselling & Psychotherapy will be dealt with during this latter phase. It is expected that the minimum standard of education required under any new regulatory system will be a Level 8 (NFQ) Honours degree or equivalent, and IACP has also supported this standard.

What are job opportunities there for counsellors/psychotherapists?
The field of counselling & psychotherapy is very broad and allows you to set your own flexible career path -whether you want to work part-time or full-time, in private practice or for an agency or indeed as many counsellors do – a mixture of both.  Our graduates are working in diverse fields such as the HSE, schools, addiction centres, state-bodies, charities, the IACP, private practice, personal development and lecturing. Indeed some have pursued their own area of interest by providing a new service in their community like John Evoy from Men's Sheds. Others have used their training to further themselves in their original careers such as teachers, Gardaí, Social Workers, Social Care and Psychologists. The skills that you learn on a Counselling/Psychotherapy course are very transferable and sought-after.

Year 2 & Year 3 Entry


To learn more about Year 2 and Year 3 entry onto the BSc (Hons) Counselling & Psychotherapy course, please click here.


Validated by

In partnership with Middlesex University


Accredited by

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"PCI college was one of the best experiences I have had in a learning environment and I appreciate it all the more now that I'm in private practice."
Mary Curtin

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