DCounsPsych Counselling Psychology

Year of entry: 2024


Degree awarded
Professional Doctorate (DCounsPsych)
3 years
Entry requirements

Bachelors degree in Psychology (minimum 2:1 or international equivalent). Candidates with a lower classification also require a Master's level qualification at Merit minimum.

Full entry requirements

How to apply

Apply online

Application deadlines

  • 15th January 2024 (interviews dates: 15, 16, 19 and 21st February)
  • 15th March 2024 (interview dates: 16, 17, 18 and 19th April)

Applicants wishing to be considered for  SEED/PDS  funding must apply to the January deadline. 

Programme options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Programme overview

  • Develop professionally and personally as a skilled therapeutic practitioner, researcher, writer and critical thinker.
  • Learn with research-active experts in the fields of counselling, counselling psychology, psychotherapy, applied psychology, and education.
  • Become part of a small, close-knit cohort where you'll be closely supported throughout your training.

Open days

The programme-specific open evening will be held on Monday 4th December 2023 at 5pm on Zoom.

Please contact HUMS.DCP@manchester.ac.uk for further information and the Zoom link.


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2024, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £9,000
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £21,500

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

Your fees will cover the cost of your study at the University, as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision, examinations and graduation (excluding graduation robe hire).

Payment of tuition fees will also entitle you to membership of The University of Manchester library, the Students' Union and the Athletic Union.


We receive money from a range of sources to help you fund your research and have a range of awards on offer, covering tuition fees and a generous stipend.

Application deadlines for internal funding opportunities are often at the end of January for programmes starting the following September.

If you're planning to apply for a scholarship or award that is not attached to a particular project, you'll normally need to hold an offer of a place from the University before applying.

Successful applicants who are offered places after the February round of interviews will be considered for our  SEED scholarship .

Search for current funding opportunities by country and research programme using our  database search tool .

Contact details

School of Environment, Education and Development
Contact name
Liam Grindell
0161 275 1200 OPTION 5
See: The School .

Programmes in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of programmes in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

Bachelors degree in Psychology (minimum 2:1 or international equivalent). Candidates with a lower classification also require a Master's level qualification at Merit minimum.

English language

Candidates whose first language is not English require the following certificate:

  • IELTS test minimum scores - 7.5 overall, 7 other sections;

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years.

Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the programme.

Professional entry qualification

You will require basic counselling skills training and professional experience of using such skills.

This criterion might be met, for example, by completing a Certificate in Counselling Skills, or through employment or voluntary experience in a role using counselling skills.

You must also have British Psychological Society Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC).

Application and selection

How to apply

Apply online

Application deadlines

  • 15th January 2024 (interviews dates: 15, 16, 19 and 21st February)
  • 15th March 2024 (interview dates: 16, 17, 18 and 19th April)

Applicants wishing to be considered for  SEED/PDS  funding must apply to the January deadline. 

Advice to applicants

Your completed application should include:

  • two references, one of which should be familiar with your academic work, on headed paper from the institution, signed, dated and stamped; 
  • a degree certificate and transcript for your bachelor's and master's degrees; 
  • evidence of your English language proficiency; 
  • a personal statement outlining your reasons for wishing to study on the programme, and the experience and skills you will bring (maximum 3,000 words). Candidates are required to follow the guidance (in the 'how to apply' document, below) on this personal statement;
  • A brief (1500 words) research proposal for your proposed thesis in counselling psychology. This should outline your proposed title, an overview of the proposed research and how it fits with the counselling psychology team at Manchester (See the 'how to apply' document, below).
  • evidence of your basic counselling skills training or professional experience of using such skills (such as training certificates); 
  • evidence of Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society; 
  • a copy of the data pages of your passport; 
  • a detailed CV.

You will also need to pass a Criminal Convictions Check, which is undertaken and paid for by the University.

Admission to studying for a PhD or a Professional Doctorate is highly competitive, so please allow as much time as possible to prepare your application, browse our research pages and academics' profiles, and familiarise yourself with the application process and any important deadlines.

For further guidance on your personal statement, please download our  DCounsPsych information document  and the How to apply document.

Please note - the DCounsPsych candidates are not required to approach a particular research supervisor ahead of applying, as supervisors are allocated during the first year of training.

How your application is considered

When you submit an application, you will receive notification that it has been received. Our admissions team will contact you to let you know if we require any further information.

Following the deadlines noted on the information sheet, the programme team review all applications against our criteria. We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and will contact you with our decision.

Interview requirements

You will be individually interviewed, including discussion around a recent piece of academic writing.

You will also deliver a presentation to programme tutors (you will be informed of the topic of the presentation when invited for interview), and take part in a role play activity in order to demonstrate your counselling skills.

Programme details

Programme description

The Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology (DCounsPsych) at The University of Manchester is the only Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and British Psychological Society (BPS)-approved doctoral programme in counselling psychology offered by a Russell Group university. The programme has four major components:

  • the development of appropriate theoretical knowledge;
  • the development of research skills;
  • the development of therapeutic practice skills;
  • and an emphasis upon personal development.

Throughout the programme, you will be introduced in detail to a pluralistic approach of therapy, with a focus on humanistic counselling during the first year and cognitive behavioural therapy in the second.

Alongside assessed units, you will complete a minimum of 450 hours' supervised therapeutic practice and 40 hours' personal therapy.

All members of staff are psychologists who are active in the fields of both research and clinical practice in counselling psychology.

In terms of clinical practice, their work is ongoing within NHS, private healthcare and third-sector settings.

Their training backgrounds include skills in humanistic therapies, cognitive-behaviour therapy, and group analytic approaches.

Staff members publish their research and write widely in the fields of counselling, counselling psychology, psychotherapy, applied psychology, and education, including exploring critical and methodological innovations between psychotherapy and education. For instance, Professor Terry Hanley  and Dr Laura Winter  have recently edited the fourth edition of the well-known SAGE Handbook of Counselling and Psychotherapy.

In recent years they have been successful in receiving research funding to conduct work looking at topics such as how wellbeing is supported in educational settings, online therapeutic approaches, and the impact of austerity measures on the wellbeing and education of children and families.

The team also has excellent connections within the community of counselling psychology in the UK, as well as strong local links with voluntary sector organisations working around mental health provision for disadvantaged and minority populations.

Some examples include:

Dr Laura Winter previously established the division's Social Justice Networking and Special Interest Group, which she led until 2018 and is a member of the Training Committee in Counselling Psychology for the BPS.

Professor Terry Hanley is a Fellow of the BPS and was the Research Lead for the Division of Counselling Psychology and Editor of Counselling Psychology Review.

Dr Jo Shuttleworth is an HCPC registered and Chartered Counselling Psychology, specialising in the field of trauma.

Dr Ishba Rehman is a HCPC registered, BPS Chartered Counselling Psychologist currently working within the NHS and third sector organisations for eating disorders and sexual trauma.

In the wider therapeutic fields, Professor Erica Burman  is registered with the United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapists (UKCP), via the Institute of Group Analysis, as a Group Analyst.


You will, upon completion, be equipped as a competent counselling psychologist who is eligible to apply for HCPC registration and BPS chartered status.

Special features

Education has been a discipline of study at Manchester since 1890.

Our Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology is the only Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and British Psychological Society (BPS)-approved doctoral programme in counselling psychology offered by a Russell Group university.

Staff working on the Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology conduct internationally recognised and world-leading research in the area of 'Education and Therapy', and they have a particular strength in research exploring the intersections between counselling psychology, inequality/social justice, and humanistic psychology and education.

Please see staff profiles for more information.

As a doctoral candidate in the Manchester Institute of Education , you'll also be part of the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED), a unique interdisciplinary collaboration between the disciplines of Architecture, Education, Geography, International Development and Planning, Property and Environmental Management.

What unites us is a shared commitment to highlight and address the uneven relationships between societies, economies and the environment. We want to understand better the world in which we live, and to offer solutions to the problems within it.

We acknowledge that a complex and interconnected world presents many challenges for analysts, but researchers in SEED are pioneering new evidence, measures, concepts and theories in order to address these challenges in practice. SEED's world-leading research is rooted in everyday life but international in relevance and scope, addressing social, economic and environmental concerns across the globe.

Teaching and learning

The programme consists of three days' contact with the University for the first two years, and one day in the third year.

There is a large emphasis on experiential learning and case reflection in the programme.

Professional input combines larger group seminars with smaller workshop-based activities.

Inputs are facilitated by the core staff team, other University staff, and professionals with expertise in specific areas.

Throughout the programme, trainees have an allocated tutor, with whom they can arrange tutorials and meetings.

Trainees are also supported by the wider programme staff team, and their primary and secondary research supervisors.

A significant amount of learning also occurs whilst on placement and trainees are supported here by placement educators and practice supervisors.

As a postgraduate researcher, you'll have access to a large and diverse community of internationally recognised academic experts offering an environment that will stimulate intellectual debate and development. We provide additional financial support for a number of activities related to your doctoral studies, including:

  • presenting at international conferences;
  • attending workshops that provide relevant professional opportunities;
  • conducting fieldwork in the UK and overseas.

Coursework and assessment

We utilise a range of assessment methods on the course. This includes:

  • videoed therapeutic skills work; 
  • written theoretical assignments, research papers and process reports; 
  • research poster presentations to peers; 
  • practice portfolios; 
  • a 50,000-word thesis in the final year of study.

You must also present your research work at a conference during their time on the course.

In addition to successfully completing academic assignments, throughout Years 1 to 3, you will also have to satisfy progression panels related to your therapeutic practice and research.

What our students say

Discover what it's really like to conduct postgraduate research at The University of Manchester on our student spotlights page.


MIE is located in the University's Ellen Wilkinson building, which is centrally located on the University's Oxford Road campus, close to the Main Library, Alan Gilbert Learning Commons and the Students Union.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service.

For more information, email  dass@manchester.ac.uk


Career opportunities

Supporting trainees to develop professional profiles that can lead to employment is a central concern for the programme team.

Our graduates have gone on to secure employment in NHS, private, academic and third-sector settings.

In addition to this, trainees have often secured paid positions during their time on the programme.

There is potential for graduates to take part in a BPS-accredited supervision programme, which enables individuals to apply to join the Register of Applied Psychologist Supervisors.

As a postgraduate researcher, you'll have access to a dedicated Researcher Development Team who will support your professional development throughout your doctoral journey and beyond.

Our researcher development programme will enable you to become more aware of your developing researcher identity, equipping you with the skills you need during your PhD and prepare you to integrate into the researcher community.

At every stage of your career, you'll receive relevant, effective and comprehensive professional development opportunities.

We offer training sessions to build your skills and confidence in writing and presenting, with specific sessions on viva preparation, thesis submission and preparing for your Review Panel. You'll also have access to a range of workshops, covering areas such as:

  • increasing research impact through blog posts; 
  • making the most of social media;  
  • publishing in journals; 
  • applying for fellowships; 
  • designing academic posters; 
  • improving time and self-management.

In addition, our Humanities training hub -  ProGRess@humanities  - gives you additional training opportunities within the University.

You can choose courses in public engagement, wellbeing, language training and teaching, alongside more specialist courses in tools and software such as Python, R and NVivo.

methods@manchester , meanwhile, is an initiative that gives you the chance to learn from the very best in research methods expertise at Manchester and beyond.

Regular talks, workshops and other methods-related events are organised throughout the academic year, bringing in experts from across the University and externally.

For more information, see  Careers and employability .

Careers support 

The University has its own dedicated  Careers Service  that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate.

At Manchester you will have access to a number of  opportunities to help boost your employability .

Accrediting organisations

We are accredited by the British Psychological Society and the Health and Care Professions Council.