Students working at their laptops
Mode of Study
1 year full-time
Start Date
March 2022, September 2022, March 2023


If you have a DipHE in counselling (or an equivalent Level 5 counselling qualification), you can top it up to a Bachelor's degree on this 1-year course.

You'll build on the counselling skills (100 hours completed by the end of L5) and interpersonal abilities you gained in your previous studies by developing knowledge in advanced gestalt counselling skills. You'll learn the latest trends and developments within gestalt counselling theory and apply them to your practice, with professional development support in the form of discussion focus hubs, supervision and networking.

You'll also complete a research project on a topic that matches your interests and ambitions.

When you complete the course, you could work as a gestalt counsellor in areas such as education, the police service, the prison service and the voluntary sector. The advanced skills and practitioner experience you gain will allow you to work with a wider variety of clients with more complex needs.

Alternative courses

You can specialise in other types of counselling and therapy on our BSc (Hons) Humanistic Counselling and BSc (Hons) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy top-up degrees.

Apply now

TEF Gold Teaching Excellence Framework

Entry requirements​

BSc (Hons) Gestalt Counselling (Top-up) entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • Successful completion of the DipHE in Counselling in a relevant counselling discipline area. All applicants must pass Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before starting the course.

See full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Qualifications or experience
  • DipHE Level 5 qualification in Counselling from the following pathways with proof of completing 80 hours work placement in a counselling environment: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Gestalt Counselling or Humanistic Counselling
  • All applicants must pass Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before starting the course.

See full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

What you'll experience

On this course you'll:

  • Learn advanced gestalt counselling skills, building on the knowledge you developed during your DipHE
  • Develop advanced research skills on a research project that aligns with your interests and career ambitions
  • Apply your knowledge and skills with at least 100 hours of supervised counselling on a placement in the community
  • Learn from experienced, industry-trained staff who've worked in organisations or run their own private practices
  • Build a foundation to help work towards a further professional accreditation with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) following completion of the course
  • Develop transferable skills you can apply in all aspects of your life and career in areas such as problem solving, communication, group working, planning, effective feedback and IT
  • Study at Eastleigh College with access to University of Portsmouth support and services
  • Apply for membership of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and get access to member resources including journal subscriptions, free courses and job boards

Careers and opportunities

Events such as the coronavirus pandemic and increased awareness in society about mental health have increased the demand for counselling and therapy services. As a gestalt counsellor, you can have a significant positive impact on people's health and wellbeing, and help take the pressure off other health services such as GPs and hospitals.

Public, private and charity sector settings you could work in after the course include:

  • Education
  • Alcohol and drug services
  • Eating disorder services
  • Mental health services
  • GPs
  • Police and prison services

Work experience and career planning

You can get help, advice and support from our Careers and Employability service for up to 5 years after you leave the University as you advance in your career.

Supervised counselling placement

You'll complete 100 hours on a supervised counselling placement. You'll enter into a written contract with the placement provider and Eastleigh College. Assessment of your practical skills as a counsellor will be by case study and portfolio.

Recent students have taken placements at CRUSE Bereavement Care, Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling (PARCS), Yellow Door (counselling for sexual and domestic abuse victims) and other counselling services.

We'll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You'll get mentoring and support throughout, including regular supervision and skills clinics every other week.

All placements provided are evaluated to ensure the setting provides a suitable learning environment for you.

​What you'll study

On this top-up course, you'll study modules worth 120 credits.

Modules currently being studied

Core modules

Core modules in this year include:

  • Gestalt Advanced Counselling Skills – 40 credits
  • Professional Practice Placement – 40 credits
  • Research Project – 40 credits

There are no optional modules in this year.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.


You'll gain skills, knowledge and competence through learning methods that include:

  • Work-based learning
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Saturday workshops
  • Skills clinics
  • Personal development groups
  • Tutorials
  • Module handbooks
  • A virtual learning environment (VLE)

You'll also complete a minimum of 30-hours personal therapy. You'll demonstrate your personal learning and awareness from this process in a learning journal.

Teaching staff include experienced experts who have industry experience in paid counselling roles in organisations, or who run their own private practice.

How you're assessed

On this counselling diploma, you'll be assessed through:

  • Essays
  • Live skills assessments (role play scenarios)
  • Individual and group presentations
  • Portfolios of evidence
  • Case studies
  • Personal learning journals
  • Professional requirements (a 'Fitness to Practice' assessment)
  • Supervised work-based learning

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

Feedback is central to this course. You'll get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future, as well as on your application for the 'Fitness to Practice' assessment. You'll also practice giving feedback during live skills assessments, where you'll receive feedback from your peers, as well as the assessment tutor.

How you'll spend your time

We recommend you spend at least 28 hours a week studying for your degree.

You'll be in timetabled teaching activities such as workshops and tutorials for 1 day a week. You'll spend about 20 hours a week on independent study such as research into areas of specific interests, maintaining your learning journal, personal therapy, and on placement.

Teaching days and times

Timetabled teaching – including some online learning – takes place 1 day a week, which will be on Fridays from 8.30am-4.30pm in 2021 and 2022.

You'll also attend workshops on 6 Saturdays throughout the course. You may occasionally need to go to University and other course events in the evenings and at weekends.

Term times

September start

The academic year runs from September to May with breaks at Christmas and Easter.

  • September to December – teaching block 1
  • January to May – teaching block 2

February/March start

The academic year runs from February/March to February with breaks at Christmas and Easter.

  • February/March to July – teaching block 1
  • September to February – teaching block 2

Supporting your learning

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your course might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Personal tutor

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

Student support services team

If you require support for learning difficulties or disabilities then the student support services team at the University of Portsmouth can offer their expertise and help during your course.

Student finance team

If you have financial concerns or are looking for funding options available to you, then the University's student finance team are available to help.

Academic skills support

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.


University library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from the faculty librarian for science.

Eastleigh College also has a learning resource centre with private study areas, eBooks, online databases, journals. You can loan equipment such as iPads, DVDs and phone chargers.

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees 

March 2022 start

  • UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250
  • EU residents – £9,250 (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £17,600

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

You'll need to become a student member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Student membership costs £82 a year.

You need to attend 30-hours of personal therapy on this course. We recommend you budget £750–£1500 a year for your personal therapy.

You'll do at least 100 hours of supervised work placement, so we recommend you budget for travel expenses to and from the placement.

Contact our Housing Support Team if you need help and advice about accommodation.


How to apply

Use our online application form:

You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.

Applying through UCAS

To apply through UCAS, you'll need:

  • the UCAS code – B947
  • our institution code – P80
  • the campus name – Eastleigh College
  • the campus code – E

Applying directly

To apply directly, use our online form:

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.

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