BSc (Hons) Psychology with Counselling with Integrated Foundation Year BSc (Hons)

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This is a four-year version of our popular BSc (Hons) Psychology with Counselling course, with an integrated foundation year. Gain wide-ranging insights into how people behave and how they can be helped to tackle problems. Learn how we interact with each other, the decisions we make and the thinking behind this. Graduate with a broad skill set that can be applied to careers in social work, public services, counselling, clinical or forensic psychology or counselling.

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Psychology is about people, how they think, act, react and interact. Counselling is about listening to people, giving them time and space to explore the issues which are important to them. Explore two complementary and exciting disciplines with this integrated course.

Why us?

  • You will have graduate basis for chartered membership of the BPS if you achieve at least a second class honours degree
  • We are a University that is nationally recognised for supporting learners particularly from non-traditional backgrounds and many students come to us with no formal qualifications but with valuable work experience
  • Our Psychology courses were ranked 3rd overall in the UK in the 2018 UK Engagement Survey
  • Our Psychology courses were ranked 3rd in the UK for Assessment and Feedback in the 2018 UK Engagement Survey

Course structure

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, group work and e-learning. We encourage you to develop independent study skills. You will also have opportunities to present ideas to other students and develop concepts within groups. Teaching takes advantage of the University’s specialist psychological and computer laboratories.

As well as assessments that count towards your degree, there are also ongoing assessments for feedback and consolidating your learning. Assessment methods include written coursework, projects, presentations and exams.

Foundation year 

The Health Sciences and Wellbeing Integrated Foundation Year includes five modules:

  • Essential Study Skills (20 credits)
  • Maths (20 credits)
  • Foundation module (40 credits)
  • Project (20 credits)
  • Subject Specialism (20 credits)


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 1 (national level 4):

Genes to Mind (20 credits)

- Consider the relationship between biology and the human mind

- Examine how DNA ultimately gives rise to thinking, conscious and complex human beings

- Explore genetics and evolution, as well as the core areas of biological psychology, cognitive psychology and individual differences across topics as diverse as addiction, altruism, and sexuality

Mind to World (20 credits)

- Learn the story of how single units of personhood (or ‘minds’) interact with one another and come together to create societies

- Focus on the way in which humans communicate with each other and operate in their social world

- Explore the core areas of developmental psychology, cognitive psychology and social psychology across topics such as perception, language, interpersonal relationships, emotion, autism, and psychopathy

Foundations of Psychological Research (40 credits)

- Take an introductory look at the scientific basis of psychology and its historical context

- Learn about a variety of research methods in psychology, and use this knowledge in practical work on a number of research projects in areas such as dark personalities and cognitive development

- Acquire knowledge of how the data from psychological research is analysed

Academic Mentor 1 (20 credits)

- Meet with personal tutors who will act as academic mentors for both group and individual sessions

- Develop academic skills (such as essay writing and referencing) and get an introduction to the career landscape for when you graduate

Introduction to Theories and Concepts in Counselling (20 credits)

- Gain a broad introduction to counselling

- Cover two key elements, the first centring on understanding the central concepts in contemporary practice across the main theoretical approaches, and the second focusing on understanding the three main counselling schools (psychodynamic, humanistic and CBT approaches)

Year 2 (national level 5):

Twenty-Four, Seven: Everyday Motivations and Biases (20 credits)

- Apply social, cognitive and biological psychology to understanding everyday motivations and biases in, for example, perception and memory

- Explore topics including vision and sensory perception, social group processes, aggression, eyewitness testimony and eating disorders

Cradle to Grave (20 Credits)

- Meet a fictional family as you learn about the psychology of the human journey through the lifespan, from parent-offspring conflict in the womb to explanations for ageing and death

- Explore topics including attachment, the 'teenage brain' and challenges in adolescence, personality development and cognitive change

Psychological Research (40 credits)

- Work on a number of research projects across core areas of psychology

- Develop more advanced skills in research methods, and gain opportunities to have input into research design as you become more skilled

- Learn more advanced data analysis skills and apply these in the research projects

Personal and Professional Development (10 credits)

- Reflect on your personal and professional development in the context of employability

- Take advantage of the opportunity to engage in personal development through self-reflection, classroom exercises and related reading, and meet with your personal tutor to set academic, personal and career goals

Foundations of Counselling and Listening (30 credits)

- Develop basic counselling and listening skills

- Practice different skills, watch video demonstrations, see tutor demonstrations and engage in discussions based on experience of practising skills or study of case scenarios

Final year (national level 6):

Empirical Project (40 credits)

- Work with a supervisor to apply what you have learned in research methods modules to your own research project

- Report your findings in an extensive research report, and present your project in the form of an academic poster at our poster conference

From Lab to Life: Big Issues in Psychology (10 credits)

- Engage with some of the ‘big issues’ at the cutting edge of psychology, for example, the place of psychology within the wider field of science, free will, consciousness and the implications of personality disorders for criminal responsibility

Mental Health and Illness (20 credits)

- Explore a number of psychological approaches to mental health problems and the therapies and treatments associated with them

- Cover a number of common mental health conditions, as well as the perspectives of users of mental health services

- The module will be of interest to you if you are hoping to enter clinical or therapeutic work

Contemporary Counselling in Context (20 credits)

- Critically examine the debates surrounding the provision of counselling in the twenty-first century

- Approach a number of contemporary real-world issues from a counselling perspective, including homelessness, eating disorders, alcoholism and domestic violence, for example

Shackleton House,
City Campus,
Silksworth Row,

54.906328, -1.392260

  • The University boasts a collection of more than 430,000 books with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. There are nearly 9,000 journal titles, mostly in electronic format. Each year the University invests around £1 million in new resources. Resources for Counselling and Psychology include:

    • PsycARTICLES - This is an American Psychological Association (APA) database containing full-text articles from over 50 peer-reviewed Psychology journals covering 1985 to the present
    • Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection - This database provides nearly 575 full text publications and covers topics such as emotional and behavioral characteristics, psychiatry and psychology, mental processes, counselling, and observational and experimental methods
    • Science Direct - This provides some full text access to scientific and technical peer-reviewed journals. Coverage is all aspects of science, including Psychology and Counselling
    • Web of Knowledge - Provides access to ISI Web of Science, a multidisciplinary database of journal abstracts and citations from 1981 to date
    Library Services - counselling and psychology
  • We have specialist psychological and computer laboratories for counselling and psychology, plus the ‘Sandbox’, a dedicated space for students to develop ideas collaboratively.

    Our specialist facilities include:

    • High specification research cubicles, including a soundproof cubicle
    • Visual psychophysics laboratory
    • SkillsLab, a 30-seater IT suite
    • Powerlab psychophysiological measurement equipment
    • A transcranial direct-current brain stimulation machine (tDCS)
    • Private interview booths
    • Multimedia and games research room
    • Specialist data analysis and experiment building software
    Specialist laboratories for counselling and psychology


Our Psychology courses are based at Shackleton House, City Campus, close to the city centre and a five-minute walk from the University metro station.

You’ll find a range of specialist laboratories and excellent library resources here.

Entry requirements

The Integrated Foundation Year is specially designed to support you where you have just missed the grades required for direct entry onto a three-year degree, or if you have relevant work experience and are now looking to broaden your subject knowledge but want more time to develop study skills before starting your degree.

Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.

Eligible entry qualifications:

1. Normally a minimum of three Level 2 qualifications (NVQ, GCSE or equivalent ), including Maths and English at grade C or above** and a minimum of 40 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A or AS Levels, BTEC certificates/diplomas, access courses or equivalent)
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.

If you are unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!

** If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you are able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

For more information about Integrated Foundation Year programmes, including more detailed module information, please see our Help and Advice articles.

Fees and finance

The Foundation Year will be £4,000. For the following three years, the annual fee will be £9,250, but you will receive £1,250 cash-back in the first and final year of the three years.

In addition, you will receive free travel across the Tyne and Wear region, and you may be eligible for means-tested scholarships if you are from a low-income household.

Register with StudyPLUS and enjoy up to £200 worth of books and university study essentials.

If you are a full-time UK student you will be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fee and maintenance loan for the full four years.

Please note, this course is not available to international students.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

This information was correct at the time of publication.

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's by night


Sunderland has a good reputation with employers - 93.4% of our graduates are in employment, further study or training within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on full-time, first degree, home leavers).

Career options

Graduates from this course can move into a broad range of careers spanning management, personnel, social work, public services, counselling and advertising, or alternatively, pursue postgraduate qualifications in specific fields of psychological practice such as clinical or forensic psychology.

Counselling careers include educational counselling (where you help deal with difficulties in learning and social adjustment), forensic counselling (where you become an expert in psychological issues associated with criminal behaviours), and clinical counselling (where you deal with mental and physical health problems).

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