Certificate Counselling

Entry year
Course code
Professional/Short Course
Health and Social Sciences
One year part-time, normally Thursday evenings.
Programme leader
Alison Rouse

Please note that the September 2020 intake has moved to January 2021 as an exception. The course will still end as expected in June 2021 to allow those who are interested to progress on to our MA Counselling and Psychotherapy or Doctorate in Counselling Psychology courses. It will cover the same number of teaching hours and content.

Our closing date for applications for this next intake is now 1st October 2020.

The next round of interviews will take place in late October to mid-November and will be delivered via Skype.

The September intake will continue as normal from September 2021 onwards.

Page last updated 16 July 2020


An excellent first step to become a practising counsellor, and useful as a standalone course applicable to a range of roles. There are no pre-requisite formal qualifications, but you must be working in a paid or voluntary setting where counselling skills can be used.

This course is designed for people who work in a setting that involves offering help, support, or guidance to others. People working in education, the NHS, voluntary agencies, social services, government schemes or in the private sector will find the course provides invaluable skills and knowledge.

The next step

The certificate in counselling gives you the chance to develop counselling skills, so it is useful for a wide range of roles and also a first step towards full qualification as a Professional Counsellor. This is a foundation enabling you to apply for our professional counsellor qualification on our MA Counselling and Psychotherapy.If you have an undergraduate Psychology degree (with Graduate Basis for Chartership with the British Psychological Society), completing the certificate enables you to apply for our Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology.

We introduce counselling skills through student-centred and experiential learning techniques, with the opportunity to consider a wide variety of counselling-related subjects. For example, you will investigate different models of counselling and learn what it is like to be a client. You'll come to clearly understand client-counsellor contracts, develop self-awareness and learn when counselling is appropriate. You will also be trained in the safe and ethical use of counselling skills, and develop an awareness of its limitations.

Entry requirements

No formal requirements are necessary. However, students must be working in a paid or voluntary setting in which counselling skills can be used. Due to the popularity of the course, we now offer intakes across two evenings. As applications typically exceed the number of places available, you must complete an online or written application and, if short-listed, take part in an interview process.

Please be aware that deferred entry on this course is not permitted.

Please note the application deadline for this course is 1st October 2020.

Visit us at one of our Open Events to get a real sense of our courses and life at UWE Bristol.

Careers / Further study

This qualification is invaluable to develop your counselling skills and enhance your career prospects if you're in existing employment in education, the NHS, voluntary agencies, social services, government schemes on in the private sector. It can also help those wishing to become professional counsellors to progress onto further study, and is a prerequisite to studying the Diploma level.

Our award-winning Careers Services helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.



The course comprises several elements to help you develop your counselling skills, along with a firm background knowledge and understanding of its approaches, theories and disciplines:

  • Peer support - You will pair up with a fellow student and meet weekly for peer support. This helps you develop self-awareness and listening skills.
  • Introduction to counselling - This consists of training in basic listening skills, giving and receiving feedback, the use of different types of questions and how to 'challenge' appropriately in your work. We also focus on key issues relating to boundaries and ethical practice.
  • Person-centered, Psychodynamic and Gestalt approaches to counselling - In the first unit of the course, we cover the person-centered approach to give you a solid foundation in the practice of counselling skills. The second unit covers either Psychodynamic or Gestalt counselling skills, to build an understanding of another significant approach in contemporary counselling.
  • Group work - Sessions that involve focusing on the theory of group work and the processes of the group.
  • Practical work - Spread throughout the course, this will include an opportunity to develop your counselling skills with feedback from tutors, as well as developing your assessment and self-assessment skills.
  • Reading - You will be given a reading list which suggests key texts, and undertake other reading set by course tutors.

We provide more specific details of the units at the beginning of the course.

It is the intention of the university to deliver the courses/modules as published on this page. To ensure our provision is kept relevant and current, the university may change, combine or withdraw courses/modules in response to stakeholder feedback or limited demand.

Learning and Teaching

We encourage you to be actively involved in your own learning. This means working in groups of various sizes, practising counselling skills in small groups, completing written assignments, video work and taking part in discussions.

Some of the teaching and learning is personal, in that you will be asked to use personal material in skills practice sessions (instead of role play).

For more details see our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

Study time

One year part-time - held in the evenings (there is likely to be a choice between Wednesday or Thursday evenings. This may change, please check for up to date details).

This course consists of 24 three-hour sessions - one a week, held from 6pm till 9pm. There are also two one-day workshops (one each term), which are usually on a Friday so they follow Thursday evening's session.

The workshops are an essential part of the course, and you must also meet with a fellow student each week for peer support.

For this course, you also need to be involved in a setting where you can practice your counselling skills weekly, for example, using your counselling skills in your paid employment or work for a voluntary agency. In the final term we expect you to present an example of your counselling skills work and to receive supervision on it.

You will also need to set aside time for private study. To get the most from this course, we recommend around eight hours of private study each week.


Study facilities

You'll have access to a range of on-campus and online facilities to support your learning, including the University library which is open 24 hours a day. The Department of Health and Social Sciences has an excellent reputation for the quality of its teaching and the facilities it provides.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE Bristol has to offer.

Prices and dates

Supplementary fee information

Home/EU part-time award fee - £2,250.

More information on fees can be found on our tuition fees pages.

How to apply

How to apply

Follow the link below to begin your online application:

Certificate in Counselling

Please note the application deadline for this course is 1st October 2020.

For further guidance on the application process, please e-mail Admissions@uwe.ac.uk to request this information.

Your personal statement should state:

  • Your reasons for wishing to follow the course and the use to which it will be put
  • Your understanding of what is meant by 'counselling'
  • Any background education, personal experience, involvement or interest that is relevant to your application
  • Any other relevant information (for example, the contribution you expect to make to the work of the course)

You should also provide the name of one referee who knows you through your work setting (not a personal friend).

Applicants that do not provide the above information may be unsuccessful, prior to interview, for this reason.

Short-listed applicants will be invited for a group session with other candidates, followed by an individual interview with members of the course team.

For further information