How To Apply
UCP BA (Hons) Therapeutic Counselling and Psychotherapy (Top-up)

BA (Hons) Therapeutic Counselling and Psychotherapy (Top-up)

The Open University

course overview

This one year top-up course is aimed to develop your understanding of person centered and cognitive behaviour theory (CBT) counselling theories. It is designed to offer progression from the Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling which is offered by University Centre Peterborough.

This course is unique as it brings CBT skills and knowledge into a person-centred Framework of working utilising a pluralistic approach which puts clients’ needs at the heart of the counselling process.

You will develop a critical understanding of counselling and be able to devise and sustain arguments, solve problems and use techniques of theoretical approaches to your application of specific issues.

The course modules were designed to be industry appropriate around te field of person-centred therapy, cognitive behaviour theory (CBT) and psychopathology. They meet the needs of employers and will enable you as a qualified counsellor to develop your skills and knowledge as part of the professional development requirements.

The skills gained on the course will enable you to become a skilled and reflective practitioner with a CBT emphasis so your can progress into a variety of counselling careers within the NHS, charity or education sectors.

The courses at University Centre Peterborough are studied in smaller class sizes compared with other universities, a typical class size is under 30 students.

This qualification is awarded by The Open University and delivered by University Centre Peterborough.

Download Course Specification

If you are applying to start in September 2021, you must meet the following entry requirements:

Applicants must have either a:

  • Level 5 Diploma in Counselling
  • Level 4 Diploma in Counselling and a Level 5 qualification in another subject
  • Level 4 Diploma in Counselling and two years post qualifying experience
  • If you only have a Level 4 Diploma in Counselling you must have a minimum of 400 hours of counselling training.

All applicants must have 100 hours of supervised counselling practice and hold professional registration with the BACP, NCS, UKCP or equivalent.

Before interview you will be required to provide two written references (academic and professional) and a CV with evidence of CPD.

Mature students or students who do not have the above qualifications can contact our admissions team on 01733 214466 or to discuss equivalent qualifications or relevant work experience.

If English is not your first language you will require a recognised Level 2 English language qualification or an IELTS score of 6.0 (with 5.5 minimum in each skill) or an equivalent English Language qualification.

An enhanced DBS check is required.


We can accept a wide range of overseas qualifications and use UK NARIC to compare qualifications. For advice about overseas qualification conversion call the Admissions Office on 01733 214466 or email


To find out more about UCAS tariff points and how they work, visit

We accept a wide range of qualifications such as A-levels (you must have grades for at least two A-levels), BTEC, Cambridge Technicals, International Baccalaureate (IB), NVQ Level 3, Access to Higher Education and Scottish Advanced Highers.

The tariff points for qualifications can be added and combined together (e.g. A-levels plus BTECs).

The UCAS points for A-level General Studies, AS-levels and the EQP (Extended Project Qualification) are accepted when combined with other full qualifications.


APCL relates to learning completed through an earlier course of study. If you have previously completed a course which is relevant to your proposed course you should make this clear when you apply. For this to be eligible for consideration you must be able to provide certification, which shows your success in a final assessment for that course. Learning must be completed in the last five years or further evidence of updating will be required. Simple participation in a course or an attendance certificate is not sufficient.


We offer students flexibility in their studies, by recognising learning they may have completed elsewhere before they apply. The Accreditation of Prior Learning process ensures that we can take this into account when determining the modules you must study. It is important that you identify any relevant prior learning when you apply. If your previous study specifically relates to modules on the course you wish to undertake we may approve a reduced programme of study, thus shortening the time it takes to obtain your award. Where this relates to learning completed through an earlier course of study, this is called Prior Certificated Learning, and where learning has been achieved through relevant work or experience, this is referred to as Prior Experiential Learning. Claims must be approved before you commence a course.


It is important to understand that the APEL process does not award academic credit for experience alone, but for learning which can be shown to have been achieved through that experience. Students are required to prepare an individual case for the credit arising from their learning experiences. This normally means that a student receives support in the preparation of a portfolio, which evidences their claimed exemptions for entry. This portfolio of evidence is then submitted for assessment and the possible award of academic credit. Alternative methods of assessment of evidence may be available but needs to be discussed with the Admissions team or Course Leader.

You must take modules worth 120 credits at each level of the course. Each module is worth a specified number of credits.

Year one for full-time students (Level 6)

  • PC & CBT Counselling Theory (30 credits)
  • Working Professionally with Mental Health (30 credits)
  • Reflective Ethical Practice (20 credits)
  • Research Methods (40 credits)

A Student Handbook will be provided during enrolment and available on the student VLE.

A typical 15 credit module is 150 hours which includes 36 hours of tutor led delivery and 114 hours of recommended independent study.  A typical 30 credit module is 300 hours which includes 72 hours of tutor led delivery and 228 hours of recommended independent study.  A full-time student should expect to undertake 30 additional hours per week during term-time.

  • For details of classification of awards please refer to page 19 of OU Regulations for Validated Awards.
  • For details of progression and module scenarios please refer to section 17 of OU Regulations for Validated Awards.
  • For details of compensation scenarios please refer to section 17.4 of OU Regulations for Validated Awards.
  • For details of assessment offences please refer to section 23 of OU Regulations for Validated Awards.
  • For details of how we will inform you of changes to modules please refer to page 2 of the terms and conditions.

When studying this course we will timetable your lectures into one full day a week over two semesters per year (see Duration and delivery for exact details). We are able to offer this convenient timetabling to our students as we are a smaller institution so we can timetable our staff and resources more efficiently.

There are two semesters per year and each semester is up to 15 weeks which includes up to 12 teaching weeks and 3 assessment weeks.

If studying full-time you will be in classes, seminars and tutorials for approximately 15 hours per week and will spend the rest of your time in independent study and extra-curricular activities including work placement if not embedded in your course. We recommend that full-time students allow an additional 30 hours per week for additional study.

The campus is open Monday to Friday throughout the year and you will also have 24/7 access to a virtual learning environment (VLE) with e-books, journals and abstracts plus teaching resources and interactive tools.

Timetables are available at least 6 weeks before registration and you can refer to the academic calendar for examination weeks and resit periods.

The days of the week you study may change each year and in some circumstances one of the full days might have to be split into two half days, but we aim to keep these as full days where possible.

Throughout the duration of your course you will be assessed by the following methods:

Year one for full-time students (Level 6)

  • 100% Coursework

We will provide, by the beginning of the first week of each semester, a current module guide with all the information you need for each module, including details of assessment tasks, the deadlines for these tasks, the required format and any relevant guidance.

Visit our published documents and policies page for The Open University regulations.

Students will already have their 100 hours placement and may be working towards accreditation so their counselling placement would need to be suitable to claim these hours.

Students will need to undergo 10 hours of personal therapy whilst they are on the course which will be evidenced in the reflective portfolio.

As the course is timetabled as full days during the week when studied full-time, this also gives you the flexibility to find a work placement, internship or volunteering opportunity which will improve your employability after you graduate. All students are encouraged to identify work experience to aid their career development.

The course leader is Caroline Gilchrist.

After graduating, you will be able to apply for jobs with a CBT emphasis within the NHS, charity, or education sectors. You will also be able to progress onto a masters programme.

Just some of the future careers for graduates after completing the course include:

  • CBT Counsellor
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Counselling Psychologist
  • Advice Worker
  • Social Worker
  • Set up your own practice

Peterborough Stamford

1 year (1 full day a week over two semesters per year)

The tuition fees for full-time undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 will be £8,000 per year, which is lower compared with many other universities.

Fees for part-time study are pro-rata depending on the number of credits you are studying (i.e. 90 credits per year will be 75% of the tuition fee).

There may be additional costs for this course which are not covered by the tuition fee.

In this prospectus we will give you clear and accurate information so you can make the best choice for a successful future

Download Prospectus
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