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What makes Integrative Counselling at Exeter and Poole special?

The Foundation Degree (FdA) in Integrative Counselling, offered by Iron Mill College in Exeter and Poole is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

The programme is designed to qualify competent, confident and creative counsellors, who stand out from the crowd as highly professional graduates, well resourced for entering the workplace. The programmes are exciting, vocationally relevant and with a clear focus on up-to-date counselling theory and practice.

The FdA in Integrative Counselling prepares graduates to practice as professional counsellors, and resources those who are aiming for future personal accreditation with the BACP. Graduates will also be eligible for direct progression onto the BA (Hons) Integrative Counselling, to top up to a full honours degree in just one year of study.

The BA (Hons) in Integrative Counselling is open to FdA graduates, and also open to experienced applicants who may have qualified as a counsellor many years ago, and who wish to refresh and update their professional skills and gain an advanced university validated qualification in one year (see entry criteria).



Key features

  • This advanced, two year, professional degree programme is delivered at Iron Mill College, in Exeter, and in Poole.
  • Focuses attention on the importance, quality and depth of relationship as the central component of therapeutic work.
  • We are in the process of applying for Accreditation to include OPT (online and phone therapy) Core Training into the programme. If successful, up to 30% of teaching will be delivered online.
a group of students are sitting and chatting

It’s not too late to apply!

You can still apply to study with us after the January UCAS deadline. Don’t be tempted to rush an application together as fast as you can, you still want to make sure your application and personal statement are as good as possible.

Your teachers can still write you a reference after the January deadline so make sure to let them know you’re applying to university

Integrative Counselling accredited course logo
Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry requirements

To be eligible for this course you must:

  • Have completed at least 30 hours of preliminary counselling training. Applicants not meeting this requirement will be recommended to take the Iron Mill Certificate in Counselling. 
  • Possess 4 GCSEs (Grade C/4 or above) and one A level (or equivalent) at Grade C or above, or 32 UCAS tariff points.
  • Be willing to undertake an Enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, plus an occupational health check, during the application process.

If you are interested in this course, you may wish to first book onto one of Iron Mill College's Open Days or Open Evenings to find out more. If you are new to Iron Mill College, you might also find the Taster Days a useful way to experience what it's like to study at Iron Mill College, before applying.

Open Events at Iron Mill College

There's no better way of finding out about studying at Iron Mill College than joining them at one of their Open Events.

You can view Online Course Presentations here (

Open Events at Iron Mill College
  • Saturday 25th of February 2023 - 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday 1st of April 2023 - 10am - 4pm
Course content

What will you study

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

  • IMIC1001: The art of relationship
  • IMIC1002: Professional competence
  • IMIC1003: The neuroscience of relationship
  • IMIC1004: A sense of self
  • IMIC1005: Professional development 1

Year 2

  • IMIC2001: The 'here and now' encounter
  • IMIC2002: Creative arts therapies
  • IMIC2003: Counselling in context
  • IMIC2004: The process of change
  • IMIC2005: Professional development 2
  • IMIC2006: Professional practice


Foundation Degree (FdA) in Integrative Counselling (Levels 4 and 5) with 240 credits (for successful completion of both Years 1 and 2). This award qualifies you to practice as a professional counsellor, and meets the application requirements for full membership of the BACP (MBACP status).

HE Certificate in Integrative Counselling (Level 4) with 120 credits (for successful completion of Year 1 only). This award does not qualify you to practice as a counsellor, but will help enhance skills of those in a helping profession.

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

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 formal lectures, creative activities, experiential exercises, group process, presentations, skills practices and applied learning, large and small group activities and reflective practice.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year and three occasions in each of the other years of a course. You will be encouraged to keep in regular contact with your tutor throughout your studies. In addition, you will have the opportunity to develop your skills through your counselling placement and Work Based Learning.

Contact time

In a typical week, students will have around 7 contact hours of teaching. The precise contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected and in the final year there is normally slightly less contact time in order to do more independent study. Typically class contact time will be structured around:

  • Lectures, discussions
  • Group activities

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 22 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve

  • reading of text books and journals
  • journal writing
  • professional portfolio activities, organisation and writing
  • work based learning
  • placement - a minimum of 100 hours across the programme
  • supervision of counselling placement practice - a minimum of 1.5 hours per month
  • personal therapy - a minimum of 40 hours across the two years
  • 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 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 FdA 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 teaching is delivered by experienced practitioners who are registered with MBACP, and/or UKCP, 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. All lecturers associated with the course have teaching qualifications and 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.


The course provides opportunities to enhance and assess understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

There are no written exams on this course. Assessment methods include essays, presentations, portfolios, interviews, creative exhibition, case studies, oral exam and skills assessment.

Year 1:

  • Written Assignments (1500 + 4000 words)
  • Reflective Skills
  • Presentation
  • Portfolio work

Year 2:

  • Written Assignments (2500 + 4000 words)
  • Case Study
  • Portfolio Work
  • Presentation
  • Oral Exam

In addition, students will need to complete and evidence 100 counselling placement hours, 40 hours of personal therapy, and undertake Work Based Learning (approx. 30-50 hours per year in both Year 1 and Year 2).


Feedback is an important aspect of your learning. 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)

You will receive feedback on your assignment and a provisional mark within twenty working days from the submission date.

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.

Kim Sturgeon Graduate Story Profile Image

Kim Sturgeon

Lecturer teaching counselling on the Foundation Degree course at the Iron Mill College

"I feel hugely privileged to have been in a position where I could achieve a First Class degree. I have always felt supported in every area of my learning from personal welfare to academic support as well as having access to books and journals. I can’t thank the staff enough for their outstanding efforts to support students; particularly during such a turbulent time.” 


Where could it take you?

The Foundation Degree (FdA) in Integrative Counselling programme provides the opportunity for advancement in a variety of counselling-related careers, and for counselling practitioners to advance beyond their current role. 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 valuable links with employers through both the placement and work based learning components, as well as networking opportunities within the community.


How much will it cost?

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 2023/24 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 2023/24 academic year is £14,700 per year.

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 FdA page of the Iron Mill College website.

How to apply