BSc (Hons) Counselling & Psychotherapy

BSc (Hons) Counselling & Psychotherapy

Fully accredited by the Irish Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy (IACP)


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.




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.    



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 which values the prior lived experience of each learner.

Course Details

Last few places available!


Venue: 63 Malone Rd, Belfast, BT9 6SA

Start Date:

Saturday 12th September 2020+


Wednesday 16th September 2020+


Saturdays*: 9.00 - 17.30


Wednesdays**: 14.00 - 20.00


*Please note all start dates are subject to change.


*Saturday programme: The course runs every other Saturday

**Weekday programme: The course runs five consecutive weeks followed by a week break.


Please Note: Course inductions will be held the week before the start date. You will receive full details with your timetable following your acceptance.


Duration: Four years, part-time.

Assessment: Assignments


The recruitment will take place as normal, however, due to the COVID19 situation, please be aware that if it is needed classes will be delivered online in compliance with further updates of the government. 


The classes will be delivered as live online lessons via Microsoft Teams, which is a platform built on Office 365. It is a secure platform and follows the compliance capabilities.


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.



Wondering if this is the right course for you? Read 7 Reasons to Choose PCI College Belfast for your counselling course now! 


If you would like to hear from us about any of our courses, events, and news, please sign up to our mailing lists here: Mailing Lists





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 and psychotherapy (or similar) of 60+ hours.



  • Level 6 FHEQ (Comparable to Level 8 NFQ) course in, for example, 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).


3. Entry is by the application form and interview.


*Applicants can apply for Year 2 entry where they meet the criteria for APCL. This can be assessed by completing the Course Comparison Form. Entry onto Year 2 of the BSc (Hons) in Counselling and Psychotherapy may require catch-up work to be completed. This is based on an assessment of your prior learning, which will be discussed at 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 are free and highly recommended.


Students are assigned a core tutor who will be a core lecturer 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 and 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 interview, without prejudice. This is to ensure the correct supports can be provided where possible.


Language Requirements


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), or equivalent, on the basis that they obtain a minimum band score of 6, 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.


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: 100 credits (equivalent to 50 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: 80 credits (equivalent to 40 ECTS credits)


  • One elective theories module to be chosen:
  • Advanced Humanistic
  • Advanced CBT
  • Advanced Psychodynamics
  • Professional Competence: Thesis 7,500 words 
  • Professional Development: Clinical Placement Case Study 3,500 words



Additional Course Requirements:


  • 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. 




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 on 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. 



PCI College tuition fees for courses commencing in September 2020 are as follows:

Year 1 £3,360 (+ Middlesex University Fee £980)
Year 2 £3,360
Year 3 £3,360
Year 4 £3,360



Additional Course Costs

Course fees do not cover costs associated with additional course requirements; personal therapy and supervision.

Fees for supervision and personal therapy are decided by negotiation between you and your supervisor and therapist. The average cost of supervision is approximately £50. Personal therapy may also average about £50 per session.

Application Process


Booking: To book your place, download the application form on the left of this page when they are available, fill it out and return to us with your deposit. If posting, please send to 63 Malone Rd, Belfast, BT9 6SA. If emailing, please send it to In the meantime, call us at 01-4642268 or send us a message to the email address already provided for more information.

Applicants should complete the application form including the initial deposit of £250, 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. Should an application be unsuccessful, or if the application is cancelled by the applicant following this 14 day period, an administration fee of £60 is charged and the balance of £190 refunded.

Intake interviews will be arranged for suitable applicants. Applicants who are offered a place will be required to confirm acceptance in writing accompanied by a booking deposit of £1,000. When an applicant has accepted a place all tuition fees, including deposits, shall be fully non-refundable in all personal circumstances.



All PCI College lecturers are highly qualified, experienced individuals who hold a minimum of a diploma in counselling and psychotherapy and are practising counsellors accredited with the IACP or BACP. Many hold master degrees in specialist fields. 

Students are supported through the degree programmes by our core tutors, making this a truly unique adult education experience.

Since our foundation we have taken the steps necessary to ensure the delivery of a quality service in an environment that is characterised by an attitude to adult learners that is supportive and encouraging. We aim to provide an experience of learning that will develop in students a hunger for reflective and critical analysis.

Our learning programmes are designed to be participative, experiential and to draw whenever possible on prior lived experience. The academic value of programmes is enhanced by a learning environment that is warm, transparent, and genuine. Learners and staff interact in a mutual effort to engage in and promote the concept of lifelong learning.

Our core tutors take a holistic view of the student. They provide support through one-to-one and group sessions for students facing academic and non-academic problems. In co-operation with our lecturers, and other college departments, they monitor student participation in professional degree programmes including academic assignments, clinical work, and personal development.

For a full list of our core training staff, please click here.

Career Path

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. 

Once you have completed our BSc in Counselling & Psychotherapy, you have completed the training requirements for accreditation with the IACP, as well as the training elements requirements for individual accreditation with the BACP.

Today more than ever there is a massive need for trained counsellors and psychotherapists in Ireland. Indeed there is increased acknowledgement of the growing need for counsellors within the NHS, community primary care groups, schools and the private sector. Our BSc (Hons) in Counselling & Psychotherapy ensures that you have equipped yourself with the necessary qualification and training to be recognised and effective. Once you have completed your professional training, there are many routes open to you; You may wish to set up a private practice, join an agency or work for an organisation such as the NHS, a school, a charity or a state-body.



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 and 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 and 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.

Read more about accreditation and regulation here in PCI College former president Eoin Stephens’ recent blog.

What’s the deadline for degree course applications?
The 31st July 2020.

How many students are in a class?
In years 1 and 2, classes are kept small, with a maximum 18 students. 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?
No, the BSc (Hons) degree course is taught in classrooms only. We believe passionately in experiential learning, which combines theory and practice. We also believe that personal development plays a significant role in training for counsellors and psychotherapists. These are best experienced in a classroom, with small classes and qualified, practitioner lectures who can share their experiences. We do however 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 100 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 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 every week on the day; if you choose a weekend class, your classes will take place every second weekend on Friday evenings and Saturdays. 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 and psychotherapy for almost 25 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 7 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 £100 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) in 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 Qualification structure. Confusion sometimes arises as QQI has a dual role in the area of counselling and 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 and psychotherapy training programmes that are not university validated.

Does the PCI College BSc meet the academic standards set for counselling and 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 and psychotherapy?
The government has stated their intention to regulate counselling and 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 and 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. IACP has also supported this standard and you can read more about this question in former PCI College president Eoin Stephens’ article here.

What job opportunities are there for counsellors/psychotherapists?
The field of counselling and 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.

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