Counselling FdA

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Develop your career by combining this part-time counselling course with practical placements or paid work. Earn an academic qualification that also delivers practical skills and the option to top-up to a full honours degree.

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This Foundation Degree is run at our North-East based partner colleges. You can then 'top-up' to a BA (Hons) Counselling at the University of Sunderland.

The course has a strong practical focus and our teaching will help you reflect on your workplace experiences.

When you successfully complete this course you will be awarded a Foundation Degree in Counselling that is accredited by the University of Sunderland.

Please contact the relevant partner college to apply for this course.

Why us?

  • The course ties into the growing demand for counsellors to work in the health sector, voluntary and community sector and in private practice
  • 94.2% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2015/16 (based on UK undergraduate students)
  • Opportunity to ‘top up’ this course to a full BA (Hons) degree with an extra year of study

Course structure

During your first year, you will be required to undertake some form of voluntary work so that you can practise the skills that you are learning on the course.

In the second year, you will undertake a placement with a counselling agency, and we will support you as you arrange it.

This is a highly practical course, which combines academic study and work-based learning. The elements of the course which are taught in the college include lectures, discussions, case studies and workshops.

Your progress will be assessed with evaluations of work experience, reports and presentations. Throughout the course you'll have one-to-one support from academic staff.

Year 1 (Higher Education Certificate Level 1) (national level 4):

  • Personal Development (20 credits)
  • Counselling Skills Practice and Development (20 credits)
  • Professional Issues (20 credits)
  • Core Model of Counselling (varies depending upon the college: humanistic / cognitive behavioural / person-centred and cognitive behavioural) (30 credits)
  • Comparative Models of Counselling (30 credits)


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

Final year (Foundation Degree) (national level 5):

  • Personal Development 2 (20 credits)
  • Supervised Counselling Practice (40 credits)
  • Counselling Research (20 credits)
  • Contemporary Issues in Counselling (40 credits)
  • Bishop Auckland College has over 1,200 students enrolled on full-time courses and provides a quality learning experience for all students.

    Please contact Bishop Auckland College for more information about facilities and location.

    Bishop Auckland College
    Woodhouse Lane
    Bishop Auckland
    County Durham
    DL14 6JZ

    Bishop Auckland College
  • Please contact East Durham College for more information about facilities and location.

    East Durham College
    Peterlee Campus
    Willerby Grove
    SR8 2RN

    East Durham College
  • The course is delivered at Sunderland College, which has specialist facilities for music, dance and drama alongside excellent IT and library resources. As a student, you will also have access to the library and resources at the University of Sunderland.

    Sunderland College is a world-class provider of education, with five campuses located across the city.

    Please contact Sunderland College for more information about facilities and location.

    Sunderland College
    Washington Campus
    Stone Cellar Road
    NE37 2NH

    Sunderland College
  • Please contact Tyne Metropolitan College for more information:

    Tyne Metropolitan College
    Battle Hill Drive
    NE28 9NL

    0191 229 5000

    Tyne Metropolitan College – a site of Tyne Coast College


This course is taught at four partner colleges:

Bishop Auckland College
Sunderland College
Tyne Metropolitan College – a site of Tyne Coast College
East Durham College

Entry requirements

The typical entry requirement is a Level 3 Certificate in Counselling.

Students would normally be in voluntary or paid work as a Counsellor or undertaking (or about to undertake) paid or voluntary work in a setting which will allow you to practice counselling skills.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

You may be required to attend an interview. Please contact the chosen college for more information.

Sunderland College
Jo-Ann Ridley
Tel: 0191 511 6000 ext 03761

Tyne Metropolitan College
Carmel Slawski or Rob McGinley
Tel: 0191 229 5239

Bishop Auckland College
Lindsey Moses
Tel: 01388 443 000

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

Fees and finance

Tuition fees for part-time students are £5,000 per 120 credits.

There is a course requirement stipulating that all students need to acquire student membership of the BACP at own cost prior to beginning counselling practice in a placement.

Prospective students are advised to consult the BACP for the latest information on student membership which currently stands at £76.

Please note that part-time courses are 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.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

Student in the Sunderland Futures department


A Foundation Degree equips you to move into a broad range of careers or to pursue an honours degree with one more year of part-time study.

Further study

There is a natural progression from this Foundation Degree to the Counselling (Top-Up) course at the University of Sunderland for a full BA (Hons) Counselling.

Career options

There is a growing demand for counsellors to work in the health sector, voluntary and community sector and in private practice. This is because of better awareness of the benefits of talking therapies by policymakers, health professionals and the general public.

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).

In addition, skills in counselling are useful in many different careers including personnel, social work, public services, marketing and advertising.

Meet our academics