Postgraduate Certificate Counselling Skills

The Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Skills at the University of South Wales offers a stimulating introduction to the skills, theory and self-awareness needed to be an effective listener and communicator. Successful completion of this counselling course provides a stepping stone onto MA/PG Dip Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy and MSc/PG Dip Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy at USW where you can qualify as a counsellor or psychotherapist. This counselling qualification can also help people in related professions such as social work, nursing or teaching to develop their listening and communication skills.

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 1 Years September Newport City C
Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 1 Years September Newport City C

During the Counselling Skills course you will:

  • develop the use of counselling skills within boundaries of ethical practice
  • communicate effectively in a way that is appropriate to the confidential, sensitive nature of emotional, psychological and/or mental health issues
  • critically reflect on your own awareness and your awareness of others
  • demonstrate your critical evaluation and reflective understanding of the literature underpinning teaching and evidence based practice

You will study the Level 6 module Foundation Counselling Skills and Awareness which builds a critical understanding of counselling theory alongside the development of foundation skills in counselling and a focus on building appropriate self-awareness.

You will then choose whether to follow either the Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy OR Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy study option.

Optional modules

  • Counselling Skills and Awareness in Practice – for the Integrative pathway (Level 7) – This module develops a more comprehensive range of advanced counselling skills and an understanding of practice contexts. The critical awareness of personal insights are understood in the context of counselling theory. Once more students integrate their developing counselling skills, self-awareness and insights and theory.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Skills and Theory/Professional Practice – for the CBT pathway (Level 7) – These two modules prepare students for entering professional practice as a trainee cognitive behavioural psychotherapist. They build on the counselling skills developed in the module Foundation Counselling Skills and Awareness by providing an introduction to the skills and theory of cognitive behavioural approaches to facilitating change, acknowledging the importance of the therapeutic relationship as a platform for interventions. Students also develop knowledge of professional practice issues required to practice in the field of counselling and mental health. It is possible to offer existing mental health professionals these two modules only in preparation for application to the MSc/PG Dip Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy. Applicants considering these two modules before applying for the MSc Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy will be given additional information at interview.


You will learn through experiential exercises, skills practice, personal development work and formal teaching. You will work in pairs, small groups and larger groups. Applicants are advised this is not a person-centred course.


The course runs from Tuesday 19th September to Tuesday 12th December 2017. You will begin again on Tuesday, 9th January to Tuesday 24th April 2018.

  • The course is part-time for 24 weeks September to April (depending on Easter)
  • Teaching is on a Tuesday, 9.30am-4.30pm
  • Directed study week is Tuesday, 20th February 2018 
  • Two workshops finish at 5.30pm in January (Integrative study option only)
  • A Placement Event to meet placement providers is in late January, 5pm-7pm

You are expected to attend all teaching sessions and there is an 80% minimum attendance requirement.


You will be assessed through skills assessments and written assignments. Those selecting the CBT study option will be assessed by a case study and online assessment.


There is no requirement for a student placement, personal therapy or a residential weekend on this course.


You will be taught in modern facilities with dedicated classrooms, using digital recording equipment.


Claire Dowd – Course leader

For progression onto the Masters Programme:*

  • Undergraduate degree. (Relevant professional qualifications may be considered in place of a degree)
  • Level 2/3 Counselling qualification
  • Experience of working with people in the caring field
  • Two references uploaded with your application
  • Please download and complete the Additional Information document and submit it with your application 

For completion as a standalone qualification:

  • Experience of working with people in the caring field
  • Relevant professional experience and/or qualifications
  • Undergraduate degree is desirable
  • Level 2/3 Counselling Qualification is desirable
  • Two references uploaded with your application
  • Please download and complete the Additional Information document and submit it with your application

* Progression onto the Masters Programme without an undergraduate degree may be possible if your performance on the Postgraduate Certificate is exemplary.

Closing date for applications is 9am on the 8th September 2017. Applicants are strongly advised to apply early as places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. The course may be full before the closing date, in which case we will process your application for entry in 2018. Any applications received after 8 September will be processed for 2018 entry.

Interviews are held on:

Tuesday 23 May
Tuesday 27 June
Tuesday 5 September
Tuesday 25 July

We want to give you the opportunity to ask us questions that are important to you and we need to explore your motivation and suitability for the type of training we offer on this programme. 

All fees are per year. Once you have started your course, your fee will remain the same for each year of study.

August 2017 - July 2018 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Other: 20 hour placement agency costs *
For those students taking the CBT elective modules only. Costs vary.

Apply directly to the University if you are applying for a part-time, professional or postgraduate course, an Erasmus/Exchange programme, the Legal Practice (part-time) course, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution.    

Apply now 

Admissions statement 

The course will improve your employability by enhancing your listening skills and development through practice.

Once you have successfully completed the course you will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Skills (60 credits). You may choose to exit here or apply for either the MA/PG Dip Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy or MSc/PG Dip Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy which are recognised qualifications to practice as a counsellor or psychotherapist in the UK.

Previous students have qualified as counsellors and psychotherapists or have enhanced their existing work skills. Graduates have found work in the NHS, private health facilities and private practice. Some have gone on to teach, to develop their research careers and to supervise.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.