Home 9 Courses 9 MA Professional Counselling: Theory & Practice

Course overview


This is a 3-year part-time course.

Mode of Study

Programme content

The programme is designed on the assumption that you have no prior academic knowledge or professional competency in therapeutic counselling practice so during the three-year programme learning opportunities will focus on four themes:

1. Counselling theory: approaches and integration – the theory underpinning professional counselling practice

The programme begins in year 1 with an overview of the history and development of approaches to counselling practice and includes exploration of related human growth and development theory. In year 2 the focus is on person-centred theory and year 3 looks at cognitive behavioural theory and psychodynamic. These approaches are explored with an integrative perspective – that is how they combine to inform and shape the therapeutic counselling relationship. This theme also includes an in-depth study of the integration of spirituality and specifically Chrisitan faith with counselling theory and practice guided by the Waverley integrative framework.

2. Professional counselling practice – the development of professional counselling skills and therapeutic competences.

In the first year of the programme group learning with peers will help you to develop the knowledge and skills to form and maintain a counselling relationship. This will prepare you for supervised clinical practice 1:1 with adults in years 2 and 3 of the programme. During these two years you will be supported to develop your knowledge and competency to work with clients who present with increasingly complex issues and circumstances. This learning will include case study discussions, seminars and lectures from subject experts.

3. Personal and professional development – the development of self personally and professionally to become a counsellor.

The use of self is key to therapeutic counselling practice so personal and professional development is a theme throughout the course. In the first year the focus will be on deepening and advancing self-awareness and enhancing skills of reflective practice.  This will include considering dimension of difference, diversity, and intersectionality in both learning context and the therapeutic counselling relationship. Ethical and legal obligations will also be a core learning theme throughout the programme as essential for professional counselling practice.

4. Practitioner research – the development of academic and research knowledge and skills at Master’s level

The development of these research skills and knowledge will begin in year 1 providing the competency to critically engage with the programme and enable you to write a research proposal for submission to the college’s research ethics committee for approval prior to carrying out a small-scale qualitative study in the final years of the programme.

These themes are the focus and title for the modules of the programme. Each year’s learning is related to these themes and builds on that of the previous year, increasing depth and complexity as training progresses.

Entry requirements

Academic and Professional Entry Requirements

  • Applicants must hold a first degree (2:2 or above) or equivalent professional qualification that, has been achieved in the last five years and in the opinion of the admission selectors, indicates the applicant has the ability to achieve the standards of the programme (if the degree was completed more than five years ago the applicant will be requested to show recent academic or professional competence such as an ability to write formally and read critically)

  • Personal Entry Requirements
    Applicants are required to have relevant life and demonstrate ability experience to be able to meet the experiential, emotional, intellectual and spiritual demands of the programme.
  • Applicants must be willing to enter mandatory personal therapy of no fewer than 20 hours per year of the programme. Applicants must have the capacity to dedicate a day a week for the first year and then two days a week for years 2 and 3, to meet the clinical practice requirements of the programme.


Further details


Written assignments and a 15,000-word dissertation.


Waverley Abbey College, Waverley Abbey House, Waverley Lane, Farnham GU9 8EP

Further information

Book a Personal Discovery Call today and a member of our friendly team will discuss your financial options with you and answer any other questions you have.

If you require further information on this, or any of our programmes, email or call on 01252 784 784.


3 Years
Week/Weekend Mode
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