Counselling Foundation Degree FdA

This course is validated by: Lancaster University

Course Information


Our Foundation Degree in Counselling, validated by Lancaster University, qualifies you as a therapeutic counsellor working with individuals experiencing a range of mild to moderate mental health challenges. Upon completion you will be able to work as part of a team providing counselling and making use of a range of therapeutic interventions. Upon completion of the course you could move to study BA (Hons) Counselling top up which will enable you to work more independently as a qualified counsellor. This is a popular course at University Centre at Blackburn College. The Centre is ideal for this qualification as it is small enough to get a sense of a community but large enough to support you fully - the ideal setting for a counselling qualification.

The experienced teaching team will complement your studies with their experience in the voluntary, private and statutory sectors - every one of them is a practicing counsellor who will be able to add to your learning experience , develop your knowledge and skills and provide real insight into the role of a counsellor. Each year we have an Annual Conference where employers and counselling practitioners share with you the most up to date developments in counselling. We also have a dedicated 'placement tutor' whose job is to help you find a placement, support your work there and help you to have a good learning experience.

What will I study?

Key themes run throughout the course. In the first year of full-time study you will learn the theory and practice of person-centred counselling. In the second year of full-time study you will move onto study a different range of counselling models. Throughout the programme you will learn about professionalism and ethics (eg. setting boundaries), difference and diversity and ethical codes. A large amount of personal development forms part of the programme. You will be encouraged to explore your own histories and experiences to enable you to relate to your clients. The course also involves a large research element - you will learn to read and understand academic material and research your own area of choosing to enable you to pursue an academic career in counselling if you wish. The course is run over one full day a week but there is the expectation that you will also complete at least 120 hours per year in a placement setting. By the end of the two years you must have completed at least 100 hours of supervised counselling practice. We have strong employer links to counselling practices to help source your placement. As such, this course should to appeal to you if you need to fit studying around other commitments or if you are looking to take your first step into higher education after a gap of study.

Modules include:

  • The Practice Framework
  • Personal & Professional Development
  • Introduction to Person-Centred Practice
  • Refining Person-Centred Practice
  • Ethics, Diversity and Difference
  • Research Methods
  • Research Review
  • Reflective Practice and Group Supervision
  • Introduction to Brief Therapy
  • NLP for Practitioners
  • CBT Theory and Mental Health
  • CBT Skills
  • Motivational Interviewing and Behaviour Change
  • Solution-Focused Interventions
  • Placement, PPD and Multi-Agency Working (incorporating Work-Based Learning)
  • Research Project

Download the Programme Specification for FdA Counselling. The Programme Specification will give you further information about the course structure, learning outcomes and detailed information about the assessment you can expect during the course.

During the programme you will find that there are some additional costs. These include:




Entry Requirements

You'll need 120 UCAS tariff points or relevant work or life experience which will be considered on an individual basis. Alternative entry qualifications considered for this course are the Level 2 or Level 3 Certificate in Counselling. Candidates who possess a counselling certificate amounting to 90 guided learning hours will be considered where it is awarded by a recognised and accredited training provider. All candidates for this course will be invited to attend an interview. All applicants must show that they have a good level of spoken or written English, and if English is not your first language you'll need to demonstrate the ability to study in English.

Please note: For 2017 entry the UCAS Tariff is changing and the UCAS points required to enter this programme will be different from 2016. For those joining this programme in September 2017, you will need to have 48 UCAS Tariff points. All other entry criteria (as specified above) remain in place.

If you require more information on the UCAS tariff for 2017 entry please visit:

If you are an International Student from outside of the EU it is a requirement for you to have a Tier 4 Visa in order to study with us. In order for you to undertake this particular programme of study, you will also need to demonstrate that you have a good level of written and spoken English and will require a UK VI Academic IELTS score of 5.5. Please note: the fees for International Students from outside of the EU, for this particular programme are £9,250 per year. Fees are subject to change in subsequent years.

How will I be assessed?

Throughout the course you'll be assessed by a variety of techniques. These include: Open Book examinations, essays, reports, individual presentations, a video assignment in which you will be required to make a video of you counselling a patient and then analyse it, an audio assignment as well as the production of a reflective journal and a portfolio. You will also complete a research project.

Formative and summative assessments enable lecturers or tutors to monitor the learning that has/is taking place. Summative assessment is not always noticeable by the student as it is a continuous process; lecturers or assessors may observe participation and responses to class discussions and group work, a student’s response to question and answer sessions, participation in workshop practical and engagement with demonstrations. Each module is formally assessed through, for example, examination, open-book test, individual and group presentation, essay, observation of practice, assessment of course work e.g. art portfolio, written report, reflective practice and portfolios of evidence.

Students receive both formal and informal feedback. Formal feedback is through assessments, is usually in writing and given within 3 weeks following the submission date. However, some lecturers will provide group feedback, for example, following an examination they may choose to work through the exam paper in a tutorial. It should be noted that feedback is part of the ongoing learning cycle which is not limited to written feedback. Other forms of feedback include one-to-one meetings with a personal tutor, dissertation and project supervision meetings, a lecturer responding to learner questions or responses during topic or situation discussions.

Teaching and Learning

The learning environment and facilities include lecture theatres, classrooms, technology suites, laboratories and workshops, library and skills labs, art and photography studios, small group and quiet zones. Learning methods will vary according to the programme of study but will include lectures and group tutorials. In addition, seminars, field trips, work placements, role play or scenario activities, laboratory and workshop practical, demonstrations, guest lectures, discussions and debates all contribute to the learning experience to support the acquisition of subject specific skills and knowledge and the development of transferable and employment related skills.

What can I do next?

Counselling employment opportunities are available in a variety of diverse areas such as education, the criminal justice system, primary and secondary health care, human resources and also in private independent practice (to mention a few). We expect the majority of graduates from the FdA Counselling to progress on to study at University Centre at Blackburn College to gain a full BA (Hons) Counselling degree. Past students who have completed have progressed into roles including: Counselling Coordinator at Lancashire Women's Centre, Counsellor at Child Action North West, Private Counselling Practice, Outreach Drugs Worker for a local authority and a mental health specialist for the Police.

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"Once again, I have felt very honoured to have worked alongside this team as critical friend.  This has been another year during which they have excelled in maintaining and working towards raising already high standards in teaching and learning."

External Examiners Report 2014/15
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