Counselling and Counselling Skills (Certificate of Higher Education)

Birkbeck is recognised as a centre of excellence for counselling courses. So if you want to develop your helping skills in professional or voluntary roles, or eventually to train as a counsellor, then this course provides the expertise you need.

The course starts with a broad-based introduction and then you'll study two key approaches: the psychodynamic and the person-centred. You'll learn how to apply aspects of theory and practice to helping relationships, in both formal work roles and in informal social and voluntary activities. 

This Certificate of Higher Education is composed of two parts: Year 1 consists of the Introduction to Counselling module, which you enrol onto directly. Year 2 consists of three modules, which you can go on to after successfully completing Introduction to Counselling in Year 1.



  • Birkbeck is recognised as a centre of excellence for counselling courses. Our first counselling training was established in 1972. 
  • You will study in a prestigious academic department, with an excellent reputation with employers.
  • The programme provides hands-on, practical experience, requires no prior training, and will teach you a variety of counselling and therapeutic approaches.
  • Our teachers are senior and experienced clinicians and active researchers. 
  • Read more about careers in counselling and psychotherapy

Progression to degrees at Birkbeck

If you are awarded the Certificate of Higher Education, you can apply for a professional qualifying award, such as Birkbeck's MSc Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Course structure

To gain the Certificate of Higher Education, you must successfully complete the following modules, worth a total of 120 credit points.

You must complete all the modules in order and must successfully complete a module in order to proceed to the next.

For more information, read our programme handbook

Module groups

Year 1 (Module 1, Introduction to Counselling, direct enrolment onto the module)

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    Year 1 (Module 1): open entry, no entry requirements. However, all modules are taught at university level and you should be able to read, write and speak English fluently. If you need help, we offer a range of academic English and language development modules.

    Year 2 (Modules 2-4): you should have completed the Introduction to Counselling or equivalent. Exemption from Introduction to Counselling and direct entry to Year 2 may be granted, at the discretion of the admissions tutor, if you have equivalent qualifications or experience.

    If you are applying for direct entry to Year 2, you will be required to complete a piece of assessed work as part of the application process. Details will be provided after you have submitted your application.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
    • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

  • Fees


    Home/EU and Overseas students: £3750 pa.

  • Teaching and assessment


    Counselling skills are developed through student-centred methods of learning, including practical exercises, discussions, oral presentations, seminars, observations, visits, lectures, and individual and group work.


    100% coursework, including assessment of counselling skills

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in counselling or psychotherapy. This course may be useful in becoming a counselling psychologist, psychotherapist, human resources officer or higher education lecturer. 

    Find out more about these professions.

    Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    Year 1 (Module 1, Introduction to Counselling)

    Enrol via this link 

    Year 2 (Modules 2-4)

    Submit an application form via this link 

    You are advised to apply early, as demand for places is high. Late applications may be accepted if places are available. Applicants are selected by application form and essay (where applicable) and, if necessary, by interview. The application process may take up to eight weeks.