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What makes Integrative Counselling at Exeter special?

Graduates of the Foundation Degree (FdA) in Integrative Counselling can 'top up' their award and obtain a University Honours Degree in one year of extra study. We also welcome applications from other qualified counsellors (see 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 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.

This integrative counselling degree is delivered at Iron Mill College in Exeter



Key features

  • 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, design a research proposal on a chosen area and undertake a negotiated work based learning project of their choice.
  • Encourages a wider view of integrative 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.

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Discover more about Iron Mill College

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

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 to determine their ability to study at level 6, and must provide evidence of a counselling qualification which:

  • included at least 400 tutor contact hours
  • had a training duration of at least 2 years
  • had a supervised placement of at least 100 counselling hours
  • covered theory, skills, professional issues and personal development

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

MBACP status (qualified counsellor and Registered member of the BACP)

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. 

Admissions/selection criteria

An offer of a place on the course will depend upon the entry criteria described above and a successful interview.


The interview is an important part of the selection process, and applicants will need to demonstrate the criteria listed below in order to be offered a place. Interviews consist of participation in a group interview and also at an individual interview. The interviews are held by Registered Lecturers associated with the course of study.

Applicants successful at interview will have the professional and personal qualities for counselling training, as well as a good understanding of the expectations and commitments of the training. 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 will need to show the confidence and enthusiasm required to successfully negotiate a work based learning opportunity, and a clear idea of the area of specialism they wish to develop. Applicants also need to be at the right time in their own lives to be able to engage fully with this highly demanding training.

Other information

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

Entering the BA programme though RPEL:

We recognise that many counsellors trained on programmes that were not validated at Level 5, and therefore are not able to meet the entry criteria for our BA (Hons) Degree in Integrative Counselling. The RPEL assessment process is intended to provide an opportunity for qualified and experienced counsellors to apply for a place on the programme, when the standard Level 5 entry requirement cannot be met. Please note that Iron Mill College Advanced Diploma in Integrative Counselling graduates will be eligible to apply for this course.

Further RPL information:

Applicants can claim academic credit for relevant previous study or learning experiences ("prior learning"). If you can demonstrate that you have already achieved learning which is equivalent to one or more modules, or to a whole year or level of study, relating to the course you wish to apply for at the University of Worcester, then you may make a claim for recognition of that prior learning. This applies to both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Claims are not automatic; they have to be assessed by the University. Claims should be agreed at the point of entry to a programme, and are normally discussed and assessed alongside the application process. If your claim is successful it means that you do not have to take the modules for which credit has been awarded, or you may be able to enter directly to a higher level of study or into the second or third year of a course.

There are three forms of recognition of prior learning:

  • Credit transfer - recognition of credit or qualification at HE level (4 or above) awarded by a UK higher education degree-awarding body in accordance with the relevant higher education qualifications framework;
  • Recognition of prior certificated learning - (such as professional development awards or employment-based awards) which is a higher education level but which has not led to the award of credits or qualifications positioned on the relevant higher education qualifications framework;
  • Recognition of prior experiential or informal learning.

Details of how to apply for RPL, and the relevant forms, can be found on the University of Worcester's applications web page.

Students will be required to apply for an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate via the University following acceptance of a place on the course.

Course content

Course content

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 

Year 1

  • 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)
Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement. A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.



You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, experiential exercises, group work, action methods, discussion groups, modelling, audio-visual input, clinical skills, creative work and personal research.

In addition, individual meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled outside of class time on at least 3 occasions per academic year, with additional group tutorials occurring in class time if required.

The programme provides the opportunity to develop a specialism in a professional area of choice, and we also place emphasis on your own personal development throughout the programme. Your supervised placement practice will allow you to apply your learning and gain valuable experience and confidence.

Contact time

In a typical week you will have around 6.25 contact hours of teaching. The precise contact hours will depend on the module. You will also be expected to carry out independent study to consolidate and enhance your learning on this programme, and to address the assessments.

Typically class contact time will be structured around:

  • 2 x hours of interactive lectures, workshops and creative experiential exercises
  • 1 x hour seminar and group discussion/ activities
  • 2 x hours supervision, clinical work and applied learning
  • 1 x hour group work

Independent self-study

This full-time programme involves a high degree of self-directed learning at approximately 22 hours per week.

Typically, this will involve:

  • reading of text books and journals
  • professional portfolio activities, organisation and writing
  • work based learning activities and project
  • placement/ workplace counselling practice - a minimum of 50 hours
  • supervision of counselling practice - a minimum of 1.5 hours per month
  • personal therapy and/or similar therapeutic reflective development activity - a minimum of 20 hours
  • preparation for assignments

Time spent on the above activities will vary from student to student but all of the above must be included in the learning process.

There are additional costs related to most counselling programmes, such as professional body membership fees, supervision if not provided by the placement, and personal therapy costs. For a breakdown of expected additional costs on this programme, please see the 'Fees' tab on the BA (Hons) in Integrative Counselling page of the Iron Mill College website.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes experienced practitioners who are MBACP, UKCP, or MBACP (Accred.), and who are also in ongoing supervised practice as therapists. The academic team aim to create a colourful and varied learning experience, combining up to date theory, experiential activities, practical work, and reflective opportunities. Teaching is informed by research and consultancy, and all lecturers associated with the course have teaching qualifications and / or substantial teaching experience at HE level, with three members of the team being Fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). You can learn more about our staff by visiting our Staff Profiles on the Iron Mill College website here.


The course provides opportunities to enhance and assess understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one formal or 'summative' assessment that is graded and counts towards the overall module grade.

  • Summative assessments, such as essays, case studies, recorded practice assessments, projects and research, are formally marked. You will be awarded a grade or percentage which indicates whether you have successfully passed the module.
  • Formative assessments such journal writing, feedback on skills practices, and participation in experiential work, as well as feedback from your placement and supervisor, are not formally marked, but are an important element of the course.

Summative assessments:

  • Essays
  • Oral exams and interviews
  • Written assignments
  • Professional portfolio (work based learning and placement)
  • Case presentation and discussion
  • Poster/exhibition
  • Work based learning conference presentation
  • Counselling skills work and recordings
  • Journal-based reflective writing


You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with module tutors as appropriate. We provide opportunities for you to receive feedback in the following forms:

  • Verbal documented feedback provided in your 1:1 tutorial sessions
  • Written comments from your tutor, usually attached to your assignments
  • Verbal comments from your tutor associated with your work
  • Generic feedback from tutors covering particular strengths/ weaknesses found in the work of a particular student group
  • Comments from other students about your work (peer feedback)
  • Your own comments and reflections on your work (self-assessment and feedback)

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

The BA programme directly addresses the recent BA QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for Counselling and Psychotherapy (2013):

'As those entering the counselling and/or psychotherapy fields require understanding of a complex body of knowledge, clinical skills, self-awareness, analytical techniques and problem-solving skills, and the ability to evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions to reach sound independent judgements, it is likely that they will need to be qualified to at least the level of a bachelor's degree with honours.' (Section 1.4).

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification.



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

Our counselling degree provides links with employers through the placement and work based learning component.


Fees and funding

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard fee for full-time home and EU undergraduate students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the 2024/25 academic year is £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the 2024/25 academic year is £16,200 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time UK and EU students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the academic year 2024/25 are £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20-credit module, £2,312 per 30-credit module, £3,083 per 40-credit module, £3,469 per 45-credit module and £4,625 per 60 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

There are additional costs related to most counselling programmes, such as professional body membership fees, supervision if not provided by the placement, and personal therapy costs. For a breakdown of expected additional costs on this programme, please see the 'Fees' tab on the BA (Hons) in Integrative Counselling page of the Iron Mill College website.

Students will be required to apply for an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate via the University following acceptance of a place on the course.

How to apply