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BSc (Honours) Psychology with Counselling

Psychological therapies are rooted in psychological understanding, so this degree provides a strong foundation in psychology with a specific focus on how counselling works and how it can help people change. You’ll consider how counsellors and psychologists use theories and evidence to contribute to debates about how we understand mental health conditions, diagnosis and treatment options, and how psychology is critical to understanding mental health, relationships, education and employment.

Key features of the course

  • Covers the key concepts, theories, methods and debates in psychology and counselling
  • Gives you an appreciation of different perspectives within psychology and the ability to evaluate them critically
  • Explains how psychological theories and research are applied in practical or professional contexts, particularly within counselling practice
  • ​Can be the first step towards professional accreditation as a psychologist.   

This degree is excellent preparation for the further study needed to qualify to practice as a counselling psychologist, but you will not be qualified with this degree alone. For details see Careers.

Course Summary

Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
Q84
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll start Stage 1 by choosing one of two options – an introduction to the social sciences or to health sciences. You’ll follow this with your first core psychology module.
  • At Stage 2, you’ll study two modules focusing on counselling and mental health, plus a second core psychology module.
  • Finally, at Stage 3, you’ll take an applied approach to the study of counselling and forensic psychology, and complete your degree with a third core psychology module.

Optional Access module – visit Am I ready? to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You’ll begin with one of two introductory modules – focusing on the social sciences or science and health. Next, you’ll explore how psychologists study our thinking and behaviour, and how academic research can be applied in real-life settings. You’ll gain a firm foundation for more specialised study in counselling and psychology, and develop essential study skills.
ModulesCredits
You’ll start your degree with one from:
Introducing the social sciences (DD102)60
Science and health: an evidence-based approach (SDK100)60
You’ll complete Stage 1 with:
Investigating psychology 1 (DE100)60

Stage 2 (120 credits)

At Stage 2 you’ll explore the emotions of fear and sadness, examining counselling approaches and therapies, and challenge the medical model of mental health – contrasting it with ideas from the field of health psychology. You’ll also expand on the core areas of psychology introduced in Stage 1, be trained in the research methods used by professional psychologists, and undertake your own supervised research projects. 

Stage 3 (120 credits)

At Stage 3 you’ll begin with a module in counselling and forensic psychology, which takes an applied approach to issues such as counselling vulnerable clients and working therapeutically with offenders. You’ll complete your degree by exploring the relationship between questions psychologists ask and the methods chosen to answer them. As part of the final core psychology module, you'll carry out an independent research project.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 21 March 2018.


Accessibility

We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BSc (Honours) Psychology with Counselling uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and producing diagrams or screenshots
  • undertaking practical work
  • finding external/third party material online
  • using specialist software (for example SPSS software for statistical analysis).

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support with any of the elements above, visit our disability page to find more about what we offer. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.

It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.

For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BSc (Honours) Psychology with Counselling degree. You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

Recognition in your country

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

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Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.

At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.

Counting previous study

You could save time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study towards this qualification if you have:

  • already studied at university level (even if you didn't finish your studies)
  • other professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.

Find out more about credit transfer

Your next step

Call us on +44 300 303 0266 or book a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you.

In this section:
How much will it cost?
Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • If, like most OU students, you study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year, you'll take six years to complete an honours degree.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £2,928*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study – is £5,856*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £17,568*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.


Skills for career development

As well as specific knowledge and skills in psychology and counselling, this degree course will help you to develop transferable and work-related skills that are highly valued by employers.

  • communication
  • numeracy
  • effective team working
  • independent and critical thinking
  • IT and data handling
  • analysing and evaluating diverse sources of information, including qualitative and quantitative data
  • designing and carrying out research projects, and presenting findings
  • problem-solving and reasoning
  • application of learning to real world problems and situations.

Career relevance

This degree is relevant to a broad range of careers, including those within the health and social care system, and organisations in the statutory and voluntary sectors. Knowledge of human behaviour, counselling and related ‘people skills’ are recognised by employers as real assets in working with individuals and teams. You’ll gain a theoretical basis in counselling as well as a broad understanding of psychology that will prepare you to work in a variety of ways with a diverse range of people.

Please note that this psychology degree with a specialism in counselling theory does not qualify you to practise as a counsellor, psychotherapist or counselling or clinical psychologist. To work therapeutically with clients requires further training – for which this degree is excellent preparation. For example:

  • Counselling psychology is a branch of chartered psychology with its own training route. The first step is a BPS-accredited psychology degree like this one.
  • Counselling – if you are interested in a career in this area you will need to do professional training in counselling with practice-based elements, such as the Foundation Degree in Counselling (X09) offered by the OU in partnership with the Counselling and Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body (CPCAB).

Accreditation

This degree is designed to deliver the requirements for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS). To be eligible for GBC you must achieve a 2.2 or higher for this qualification.

BPS Logo

Other careers

As a graduate of psychology and counselling you’ll have an impressive breadth of knowledge and skills that are highly attractive to employers across a wide range of fields. These include:

  • advertising
  • marketing
  • education
  • the health professions
  • human resources
  • management
  • research.

Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the website are available to see at any time, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):

  • professional psychologist (clinical, counselling, educational forensic, health occupational, sports)
  • psychotherapist or counsellor
  • lecturer
  • teacher
  • health care worker
  • human resources officer
  • youth services worker
  • police officer
  • prison officer
  • advertising planner
  • careers adviser
  • retail manager

Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 16/08/2018
Credit transfer: apply by 06/12/2018

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