BA (Hons) Degree in Integrative Counselling

Full-time | 1 Year | Validated by University of Worcester | Exeter

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This 1 year programme for qualified counsellors is validated by the University of Worcester, has Advanced Specialist Training Status with the National Counselling Society (NCS) in Exeter, Devon. 

  • Allows qualified counsellors, including graduates of our Foundation Degree (FdA) in Integrative Counselling and Advanced Diploma in Integrative Counselling, to earn a University Honours Degree in 1 year of further study.
  • Encourages individual choice in study and has a vocationally relevant and up-to-date focus.
  • Offers opportunities for participants to develop a specialism.

Course Description

  • An innovative, fascinating and up-to-date programme which will allow students to develop an impressive professional portfolio of skills to take into employment and enhance their career.
  • Participants can develop their counselling knowledge and skills in a specialist area, conduct a literature review on a chosen area and undertake a negotiated work based learning project of their choice.
  • Encourages a wider view of counselling in the 21st century, including the exciting developments in the present and future of the profession.
  • Includes experiential and theoretical learning in a unique classroom setting, with outstanding individual support from our highly experienced teaching team.
  • Graduates of our Foundation Degree (FdA) in Integrative Counselling can 'top up' their award and obtain a University Honours Degree in 1 year of extra study. We also welcome applications from other qualified counsellors (see 'Applications' tab below for eligibility criteria) - this course offers an excellent opportunity to refresh and update their professional skills.
  • Recognised as a full-time programme and eligible for Student Finance applications, teaching takes place one day per week at Iron Mill College in Exeter. During the course, participants are also required to undertake approximately 30-50 hours of work based learning, 20 hours of personal therapy and also continue their counselling practice (achieving a minimum of 50 counselling hours during the programme) with supervision to BACP requirements. Students will also need to allow time for independent guided study and assessment preparation.

What qualifications do you need?

To be eligible for this course you must:

  • Possess a Foundation Degree (FdA) Counselling award at Levels 4 and 5, meeting BACP supervised practice requirements of 100 hours minimum, or equivalent. Applicants not meeting this requirement will be individually assessed by the Programme Leader, and must provide further evidence of qualifications at Level 5 or higher.
  • Advanced Diploma in Integrative Counselling at Iron Mill College only that includes; 400 taught contact hours, had a training duration of two years, had a supervised placement of at least 100 counselling hours, covered theory, skills, professional issues and personal development and completed and passed the Viva Examination.  
  • Students pursuing this route will be set an academic challenge to submit a case study and reflective statement of learning, which will be assessed against FdA level 5 learning outcomes and FHEQ level 5 descriptors. This will be assessed by the BA Course Leader, and applicants will also be asked to attend an interview.
  • Have achieved MBACP status (qualified counsellor and member of the BACP) at the point of application.
  • In practice as a counsellor: students entering the programme must be qualified counsellors and must enter the programme with current counselling practice in place. The practice will be assessed by the college placement coordinator once the course has started, for suitability as an approved placement. 
  • Be willing to undertake an Enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, plus an occupational health check, during the application process. 

Please note: 
Completion of this course does not provide a route to registration with the National Counselling Society (NCS) and detailed individual applications to NCS are required for this purpose, where applicable.

If you are interested in this course, you may wish to first book onto one of our Open Days or Open Evenings to find out more. Alternatively the Course Tutor would be happy to speak with you personally – please contact us if you would like us to put you in touch.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) / Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL)

What will you study?

IMIC3000: Advanced Professional Practice (30 credits)
IMIC3003: Specialist Work Based Learning (30 credits)
IMIC3004: Research for Counselling Practitioners (30 credits)
IMIC3005: Counselling in the 21st Century (30 credits)

Learning and assessment:
The programme is delivered via lectures, debates, presentations, audio-visual materials, group exercises, skills practices, process groups, reflective practice, case presentation, and project work. In addition, your supervised placement (counselling hours) practice will allow you to apply your learning and gain valuable experience and confidence. 

As well as attending timetabled teaching days at the college (1 day per week), students will spend time undertaking counselling hours, supervision and work based learning (typically around 1 day per week in total), attending personal therapy (approximately 1 hour every 2 weeks) as well as independent guided study and preparation for assessment (approximately 2 days per week).

Assessment is based on:

  • Case discussions
  • Work based report and presentation
  • Literature review
  • Essay

Attendance requirements:
It is expected that students will attend 100% of the taught programme and all additional requirements such as placement, supervision and personal therapy. Some parts of the programme relating to assessment have a mandatory attendance requirement, and where this applies it will be stated clearly in the relevant Module Specification.

BA (Hons) in Integrative Counselling (Level 6) with 120 credits.

Please note: 
Completion of this course does not provide a route to registration with the National Counselling Society (NCS) and detailed individual applications to NCS are required for this purpose, where applicable.

Course dates


September 2023, dates to be confirmed. Please register your interest by calling 01392 219200 or emailing

How much will it cost?

For the latest fees, please see the University of Worcester's course fees page here.

Further information on fees:
Course fees are set annually by the University of Worcester and all matters related to finances and fees for this course are dealt with by Student Finance. You can also contact the university for information and advice on funding, finances and fees, see their Money Advice web page or contact their Money Advisers at 01905 542551 /

This course is eligible for Student Finance applications for Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans as well as help with costs associated with dependent children. For further information see the Student Finance web page. 

As an enrolled University of Worcester student, you will be entitled to access a wide range of university information and library resources. This will include 'Summon', the library’s search engine, several million books, journal and newspaper articles, conference papers, dissertations and more are accessible to you for your studies. There are additionally facilities to borrow books and to buy used textbooks.

You will also be entitled to purchase an NUS Extra card, which entitles you to discounts in selected stores and on travel. See the NUS Extra web page for more information. 

Additional expenses:
This will vary depending on your own circumstances, but all applicants must make sure they fully understand the additional expense requirements they will need to undertake during this course. Iron Mill College is unable to contribute to any of these additional costs; they are met by the student. These costs may include: 

  • Travel and boarding costs.
    Purchase of books.
  • Coach trip to University of Worcester at the start of the course: approximately £15.
  • Personal therapy: approximately £30 - £50 per hour.
  • Supervision: supervision will cost approximately £30 - £60 per 1.5 hours for monthly individual supervision and approximately £20 per hour for group supervision.
    Enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) Certificate (previously known as the Enhanced CRB): £53.20. 
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance: approximately £35 - £90 per year. Discounts are available from some insurers for BACP members and monthly payment options are usually available.
  • Professional membership of the BACP: £166 per year for Registered Members (£186 for Accredited / Senior Accredited Members), or £83 at reduced rate for people who are in receipt of a state benefit or unwaged, with no personal income (£93 for Accredited / Senior Accredited Members).
  • An electronic audio recording device. The cost of these ranges from £15 - £20 upwards.

The Counselling Directory website can also help provide you with information on the average costs of supervision and therapy. 

How do I apply?

How to apply:
Applications for this course are made via the UCAS website.

The Course Code is: 52B8. 
The Campus Code is: A 
(Please note: This code is different to the Campus Code needed when applying for Student Finance).

Please also let us know when you have submitted an application to UCAS, by emailing Applications close 6-weeks prior to the start date. 

Please note:
The 2 year Foundation Degree (FdA) in Integrative Counselling and the 1 year BA (Hons) Degree in Integrative Counselling ('top up' year) are two separate programmes. Applicants wishing to study for the FdA and then the BA (Hons) year should initially just apply for the FdA course through UCAS and can later apply for the BA (Hons) course via their student SOLE page.

Applications for Student Finance are made at Student Finance England

Campus Code: 
Q (Please note: This code is different to the Campus Code needed when applying for the course through UCAS).

Where could this course take you?

Further study with Iron Mill College:
Graduates of our BA (Hons) Degree in Integrative Counselling with appropriate academic qualifications and / or suitable levels of relevant experience, may also be eligible to apply for these other post qualifying courses at Iron Mill College:

In addition, our range of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Workshops may also be useful to graduates of this course.

Employment opportunities:
Our BA (Hons) Degree in Integrative Counselling is designed to enhance skills and knowledge with particular reference to employment and the development of specialist areas of interest. It provides the opportunity for advancement in a variety of counselling-related careers. Our graduates are people with the advanced theoretical and applied knowledge to make an impact on service provision.

Possible career opportunities include:

  • NHS initiatives e.g. Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT).
  • Educational institutions: schools, colleges and Universities.
  • Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPS).
  • Local Authority employee services programmes.
  • Charitable agencies.
  • Private practice.

The programme provides links with employers through the placement and work based learning component. 


Is there an interview as part of the application process for the BA (Hons) Degree in Integrative Counselling? / What are you looking for at the BA (Hons) Degree in Integrative Counselling application interview?:

Applicants who demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria for the course will be invited to interview, before they can be offered a place on the course. Applicants need to demonstrate at interview that they possess the professional and personal qualities for advanced counselling training, as well as a good understanding of the expectations and commitments of the course.

Strong relational and communication skills are essential, along with maturity, self-awareness and self-reflective ability, and the ability to engage with the academic requirements of the programme. Applicants need to be at the right time in their own lives to be able to engage fully with this highly demanding training.

We will be looking for the following qualities (as identified in the BACP Gold Book 2009):

  • Self-awareness, maturity and stability
  • Ability to make use of and reflect upon life experience
  • Capacity to cope with the emotional demands of the course
  • Ability to cope with the intellectual and academic requirements
  • Ability to form a helping relationship
  • Ability to be self-critical and use both positive and negative feedback
  • Awareness of the nature of prejudice and oppression
  • Awareness of issues of difference and equality
  • Ability to recognise the need for personal and professional support
  • Competence in, or the aptitude to develop generic professional skills, including: literacy, numeracy, information technology, administrative skills, self-management skills, communication and interpersonal skills

I obtained an Enhanced DBS Certificate at the start of the Foundation Degree (FdA) in Integrative Counselling course. Will I need to undergo another DBS check when I apply for the BA (Hons) Degree in Integrative Counselling?:
Yes, all applicants of the BA (Hons) Degree in Integrative Counselling will need to obtain an Enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) Certificate (currently costing £44) as part of the application process. The cost of this will need to be met by applicants and is not covered by Iron Mill College.

How much time should I allow for studying / what are the extra-curricular requirements on the BA (Hons) Degree in Integrative Counselling?:

The BA (Hons) Degree in Integrative Counselling requires attendance at college for one day per week for 1 year. It is, however, recognised as a full-time programme. This is because the course involves a high degree of self-directed learning as well as other commitments beyond the taught element of the course. The following represents an approximate guide to the time you need to devote to study:

  • Attendance at all timetabled teaching days: 1 day per week
  • Approximately 1 day per week in total, attending: counselling hours (you must do 50 counselling hours during the course), work based learning activities (around 30-50 hours in total during the course) and supervision (exact level determined by the number of counselling hours undertaken at any given time, but no less than 1.5 hours per month)
  • Approximately 2 days per week guided independent study and preparation for assessment

We have no guideline for how students wish to use their personal therapy hours, this will be up to the individual.  

What is the difference between 'counselling hours' (or 'placement') and 'work based learning'?:

'Counselling hours' (or 'placement') refers to the 50 hours of one-to-one supervised client counselling work undertaken during the programme. As qualified counsellors, students are expected to be in paid or voluntary employment as a counsellor for the duration of the programme, supervised to BACP requirements, and achieve a minimum of 50 counselling hours during the programme. You may choose to take an additional placement during your training to broaden your experience, and you will be provided with support and guidance should you wish to do so.

'Work based learning' consists of contextual learning relating to the Specialist Work Based Learning Module, which encourages the development of your learning in a specialist area of your choice. The work involves a negotiated project or agreed areas of involvement and responsibility with a relevant organisation, to enhance the development of your professional portfolio. There are no formal ‘hours’ requirements for work based learning, but you must participate in enough relevant work based learning to evidence the learning outcomes fully. We anticipate that this will mean 30-50 hours spread across the year.

How do I obtain counselling hours (or placement)?:

As qualified counsellors, students are expected to already be in paid or voluntary employment as a counsellor for the duration of the programme, supervised to BACP requirements, and achieve a minimum of 50 counselling hours during the programme.

You may choose to take an additional placement during your training to broaden your experience. We have a Placements Coordinator to support you through the process, providing access to the Iron Mill placement database, along with guidance and support with applications and references. 

We have many years of experience in building relationships with placement providers and Iron Mill students have a great success rate of gaining placements during their training. However, Iron Mill College cannot guarantee that students will be able to gain a placement, and to maximise opportunities students will need to be positive, confident, pro-active, flexible about the distance they are prepared to travel and flexible with the times of the week they are available for placement work.

We have also introduced annual Placement Fayres, where students will have the opportunity to network with local placement providers, therapists and supervisors.

It is possible for students to find their own placement within an organisation students have not previously worked within, although it would need to be approved by our Placements Coordinator before starting.

How do I obtain work based learning?:

You will be provided with clear guidelines regarding expectations and contracting requirements for the work based learning element of this programme. You will be expected to access a suitable work based learning opportunity of your choice. You will be given access to the Iron Mill placement database, which contains many organisations who may consider offering you an opportunity. You may also approach organisations which are not yet on the Iron Mill database. The Iron Mill Placement Coordinator will be available to support you in this process, along with your Academic Tutor.

Attendance requirements:

It is expected that students will attend 100% of the taught programme and all additional requirements such as placement, supervision and personal therapy. Some parts of the programme relating to assessment have a mandatory attendance requirement, and where this applies it will be stated clearly in the relevant Module Specification.

Additional frequently asked questions:

Our comprehensive general FAQs pages include answers to many other common questions, grouped into the following areas:

However, if you can't find the answer your looking for, or need further help or information, do not hesitate to contact us

Validated by

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Advanced Specialist Training Status

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"The balance of the skills and theory taught and what other students bring to the group provides a rich learning environment, which is great for all types of students!"
Antoinette Buisman, Advanced Transactional Analysis Graduate

Why Iron Mill College?

Iron Mill College offers accredited courses, academic standards, experiential learning, experienced lecturers with student focused training and classes.

Why Iron Mill?

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