September 2025

Counselling Studies Top-Up Degree BA (Hons)

Top-up Degree, Undergraduate, September 2025

Key Details

  • Years
  • TBC Typical UCAS Tariff
counselling lecturer with students

The Counselling Studies BA (Hons) Top-Up award is a level 6 course designed to build upon previous counselling training or enhance knowledge and understanding of the counselling profession for those who have studied an aligned subject. The programme provides a deeper theoretical base for those who have an interest in applying counselling theory within a variety of practice contexts. The Top-Up programme will also equip students with research knowledge and skills.

  • This Top-Up programme integrates with and builds on students’ existing training to provide an academic top up qualification at degree level
  • Students on the Counselling Studies Top-Up award will develop and practice the ability to critically reflect on counselling texts, ideas and practice
  • All students take a year-long research methods module, which will enhance their understanding of the role of research within counselling and prepare them for the dissertation module
  • The experience of conducting research will equip students to work alongside other graduate professionals
  • The programme will enhance students’ academic understanding and employability

This is a part-time programme running across two academic years. During the first year, students study a year-long research methods module and two additional modules (one per semester). The compulsory research methods module is designed to assist students in developing the research skills and understanding necessary for them to embark on a dissertation in counselling. In the second year, students study one module (in either semester 1 or 2) and a year-long dissertation. As part of the dissertation, students design, plan and execute EITHER an in-depth empirical research project OR a literature review with systematic methodology and narrative synthesis: this enables them to explore their own specific area of interest

The selection of optional modules (reviewed on annual basis) includes: Therapeutic approaches to supporting children and families; Mindfulness based approaches to Wellbeing; Bereavement and loss; Coaching and mentoring; Applied CBT; Working with Addictions. These module options enable students to select an area of interest or make module choices to support their career aspirations.

Learning outcomes will be assessed using a variety of methods, depending on module choices, these include: a research report, a proposal, case study, critical essay, reflective commentary, written analysis, examination, research dissertation or systematic literature review and poster presentation.

The completion of this qualification enables graduates to demonstrate to potential employers that they have the skills and knowledge expected of a graduate. These skills relate to evidence-based practice.

Students who successfully complete the Top-Up award may apply for the MSc Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy Studies at Newman University.

Newman University is located in Britain’s second city – Birmingham. With one of the youngest city populations in Europe, it is a vibrant and dynamic place to study.

Studying at Newman University, you have the advantage of being near to the city, but living in, or commuting to peaceful and comfortable surroundings on campus.

Dining out

Birmingham has lots of wonderful places to dine out with a range of different cuisines. Places where you can dine out include; Brindley Place, Mailbox and Hagley Road (just 10 minutes’ from Newman).

Entertainment

Whether you like to go to; the theatre, gigs or clubs, or enjoy: sports, shopping visiting art galleries or exhibitions – Birmingham will not disappoint and you will be spoilt for choice!

Location

Getting around Birmingham is easy via train, bus or by car. Birmingham has excellent transport links to the rest of Britain, making it easy for those weekend getaways!

Why not explore the city for yourself by visiting one of our Open Days?

Want to find out more about Birmingham? Then take a look at some Birmingham City Secrets.

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Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for 2025 entry TBC

Course Fees

Course fees for 2025 entry TBC

Students are expected to purchase a copy of the programme core text: Reeves, A. (2018) An Introduction to Counselling and Psychotherapy. From Theory to Practice. London: Sage.

As part of the core dissertation module there may also be additional costs associated with data collection depending on the research undertaken for example printing of questionnaires.

Modules

In order to complete the BA (Hons) Counselling Studies top-up degree, students must gain 120 credits, studying 60 credits per year.

In year 1 all students will study the compulsory 20 credit module ‘Research in Counselling’.

There are a number of optional 20 credit modules that are offered each year. Students must choose two of these in Year 1, and a further one in Year 2.  In total students will study 3 optional modules across the 2 years, totalling 60 credits.

Finally students must then complete one of the optional 40 credit modules – either ‘Counselling Studies Dissertation’ or ‘Counselling Studies Literature Review with Systematic Methodology and Narrative Synthesis’.

Further information about each module can be found below:

  1. This module aims to enable students who already have a foundation in counselling theory and skills to fully appreciate the role and application of research in this area.  In the course of the module students will be introduced to a variety of methods and approaches, which will be examined with a highly practical focus.  Emphasis will be placed on the kinds of issues and research questions which are commonly addressed in counselling, and which might be addressed using different research approaches. Students will demonstrate their acquisition of the knowledge by carrying out a small research project and writing a research proposal suitable for a final year dissertation.
  2. This module examines child and adolescent development in the context of family, society and culture, and explores a range of issues that arise in relation to therapeutic work with children and young people. The principles of multi-agency work will be explored. Students will study models of development and attachment as well as factors that contribute to resilience and vulnerability.
  3. This module is for level 6 students who wish to select this module option. The module will explore secular Mindfulness-based approaches to wellbeing including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. Students will explore the historical development of these approaches and their application to working therapeutically with counselling clients and other service users. This module will be substantially experiential, providing regular experiences of practice. It will draw upon relevant literature and research in the field as well as a comprehensive module handbook and meditation audios for the experiential part of the course. Students will be expected to engage in meditation classes. Bereavement and Loss
  4. This module is for level 6 students who wish to select this module option to explore therapeutic understandings surrounding bereavement and loss. The module will explore counselling theories of bereavement, complications of grieving, therapeutic approaches to grieving, mourning across cultures and other kinds of losses. It will draw upon relevant literature and research to consider these areas.
  5. This module will provide students with knowledge and understanding of coaching and mentoring and how to promote positive change using solution focused, evidence-based interventions. Students will develop knowledge of theoretical concepts underpinning coaching and mentoring through the application of theory to practice. Students will learn about recent evidence-based developments within coaching, mentoring and positive psychology and identify conditions required to facilitate growth and success. There will be opportunities for students to continue to develop and critically reflect upon their ethical and professional awareness and continue the process of self-reflection.
  6. This module gives students knowledge of the most recent developments within Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.  There will be a focus on how to apply cognitive behavioural approaches to practice, and an opportunity to critically reflect upon third wave cognitive behavioural concepts.  There will be opportunities for students to continue to develop and critically reflect upon their ethical and professional awareness, and continue the process of self-reflection.
  7. This module will introduce theories of addictions, and ways of working therapeutically with addiction. Definitions and explanations of addiction and addictive/compulsive behaviour will be explored, alongside knowledge of common drugs of abuse. Contemporary approaches, methods of assessment and treatment plans will be considered. A range of effective ways of working therapeutically with addictions will be introduced and critically evaluated.
  1. This tutored double module provides students with the opportunity to select an area of particular interest to them within the field of Counselling and to design, plan and execute an in-depth empirical research project in their chosen area. Students will be required to produce a brief initial research proposal, for discussion with their supervisor. The proposal is then used as a basis for developing an application for Newman University ethical approval, which must be achieved prior to commencing data collection. The research design should include either quantitative and/or qualitative analyses and draw upon and critically evaluate a range of both classic and contemporary research findings throughout.  A poster presentation detailing the research process and findings will also be assessed.
  2. This tutored double module provides students with the opportunity to select an area of particular interest to them within the field of Counselling. Students design, plan and execute an in-depth Literature Review with a systematic search strategy and methodology and a narrative synthesis. Students will consider applications for counselling practice. Students will be required to produce a brief initial research proposal, for discussion with their supervisor. The proposal is then used as a basis for developing an application for Newman University ethical approval, which must be achieved prior to carrying out the Systematic Literature Review. The Systematic Literature Review should draw upon and critically evaluate a range of both classic and contemporary research findings through a clearly identified systematic search strategy using the following databases: PsycINFO, Psychology and Behavioural Sciences and PsycARTICLES.  A poster presentation detailing the review process will also be assessed.
  3. This module examines child and adolescent development in the context of family, society and culture, and explores a range of issues that arise in relation to therapeutic work with children and young people. The principles of multi-agency work will be explored. Students will study models of development and attachment as well as factors that contribute to resilience and vulnerability.
  4. This module is for level 6 students who wish to select this module option. The module will explore secular Mindfulness-based approaches to wellbeing including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. Students will explore the historical development of these approaches and their application to working therapeutically with counselling clients and other service users. This module will be substantially experiential, providing regular experiences of practice. It will draw upon relevant literature and research in the field as well as a comprehensive module handbook and meditation audios for the experiential part of the course. Students will be expected to engage in meditation classes. Bereavement and Loss
  5. This module is for level 6 students who wish to select this module option to explore therapeutic understandings surrounding bereavement and loss. The module will explore counselling theories of bereavement, complications of grieving, therapeutic approaches to grieving, mourning across cultures and other kinds of losses. It will draw upon relevant literature and research to consider these areas.
  6. This module will provide students with knowledge and understanding of coaching and mentoring and how to promote positive change using solution focused, evidence-based interventions. Students will develop knowledge of theoretical concepts underpinning coaching and mentoring through the application of theory to practice. Students will learn about recent evidence-based developments within coaching, mentoring and positive psychology and identify conditions required to facilitate growth and success. There will be opportunities for students to continue to develop and critically reflect upon their ethical and professional awareness and continue the process of self-reflection.
  7. This module gives students knowledge of the most recent developments within Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.  There will be a focus on how to apply cognitive behavioural approaches to practice, and an opportunity to critically reflect upon third wave cognitive behavioural concepts.  There will be opportunities for students to continue to develop and critically reflect upon their ethical and professional awareness, and continue the process of self-reflection.
  8. This module will introduce theories of addictions, and ways of working therapeutically with addiction. Definitions and explanations of addiction and addictive/compulsive behaviour will be explored, alongside knowledge of common drugs of abuse. Contemporary approaches, methods of assessment and treatment plans will be considered. A range of effective ways of working therapeutically with addictions will be introduced and critically evaluated.