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Qualification in Counselling Psychology

Find out more about becoming a qualified counselling psychologist.

What is the Qualification in Counselling Psychology?

The Qualification in Counselling Psychology (QCoP) is the independent route to training as a counselling psychologist, which is an alternative route to those undertaking a professional doctorate at university.

This is an integrated, doctoral level qualification which leads to eligibility for chartered membership of the society and full membership of the Division of Counselling Psychology.

You will be working in practice to meet the competencies required for the qualification, and will also be required to complete specific assessments alongside your proposed core therapy and secondary model training (if not previously completed) and subsequently approved of in an accreditation of existing competence (AEC).

Both courses need to be delivered by a University or relevant course provider at postgraduate level i.e. minimum level 7 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or level 11 (Scotland), and require at least 350 hours of core therapy and a minimum of 150 hours of teaching as part of your secondary model course.


  • 3 years minimum (or part-time equivalent)

Enrolment (entry) requirements

  • Graduate Membership of the society with the Graduate Basis for Chartered membership
  • An approved coordinating supervisor
  • Access to a suitable placement (paid or voluntary)
  • Consideration of your core and secondary model training (if not previously completed and approved of in an application for AEC)

Start date

  • Flexible: you can enrol throughout the year.

With the support of your supervisor, you will design your plan of training to accommodate your interests and circumstances (for instance, the therapeutic approaches that you study and the placements where you undertake your supervised practice), so long as this fits into the broad framework for the qualification. 

You will also be eligible to register with the Health and Care Professions Council.

For any questions, contact us via [email protected] or by phone 0116 252 9505. 


The QCoP involves undertaking a self-determined plan of training built around appropriate postgraduate courses in two different models of therapy, supervised client work, your own personal therapy, a written examination, and a range of written pieces of work, including a piece of research.

Through this process, you will develop and demonstrate your skills to doctoral level in order to practice independently as a counselling psychologist. 

You will receive supervision and support from your Co-ordinating Supervisor, who will act as your mentor throughout your training on the qualification, in addition to your practice supervisor (for your client work), and support from the society's Qualifications team. 

The QCoP usually takes a minimum of three years full-time, or the equivalent if you are training on a part-time basis.

If you have already completed some relevant postgraduate training, you may be eligible to apply for accreditation of existing competence and reduce the amount of assessed work that you need to complete. 

For further information consult the appropriate handbooks and guidelines:

Code of Conduct

The BPS sets standards that it expects candidates to follow.

In order to guide candidates in understanding their responsibilities as a trainee, the society has adopted this Code of Conduct for Members enrolled on a Society Qualification.


Please note: the QCoP is due to fall into a review period very shortly, which is part of our usual monitoring processes.

Therefore, with immediate effect, we will not be accepting enrolment applications.

It is expected that the review will take a number of months and that there will be some changes made.

We'll be able to inform you of any changes once the review has concluded and the website will also be kept up to date with developments.

If you would like to be contacted once the qualification has re-launched please fill in your details here.


The QCoP consists of Documentary Evidence Units (DEUs) designed to ensure that you undertake appropriate developmental experiences including teaching, supervised client work and personal therapy, and Assessment Units (AUs) designed to ensure that you are able to demonstrate the knowledge and skills which you have developed.  

Your Co-ordinating Supervisor is available to provide feedback on your work, prior to submission, although this does not constitute a formal assessment of your work.

The final assessment on the qualification includes an oral examination, which will explore your overall competence and your professional identity as a counselling psychologist. 

Further details can be found in the Candidate Handbook.

Candidate documents

All the documents you will need as a Candidate can be found on our BPS Learn platform.

Visit BPS Learn now to find out more


The Counselling Psychology Qualifications Board will be running Supervisor training workshops for those wishing to supervise on the new QCoP (post-2018) qualification and to refresh their QCoP pre-2018 training.

The Supervisor training is a requirement that needs to be completed by anyone wishing to supervise candidates on the QCoP.

To be a supervisor you must be:

  • Chartered
  • HCPC Registered
  • A Full Member of the Division of Counselling Psychology (normally for at least two years)

For those already supervising on QCoP (pre-2018) route, you will be required to complete a new Module 2 distance-learning training.

For those who are not already supervising on QCoP, you will be required to complete Module 1 & 2 distance-learning trainings.


A different fee structure applies to candidates who enrolled prior to 31 December 2014 – details of that payment structure can be sent upon request.

Enrolment fee

  • Amount: £120 (£100 + VAT)
  • When: upon submission of an enrolment application

This is a non-refundable fee which covers the processing and review of your enrolment application.

An invoice will be sent to you when we receive your enrolment application and this must be paid within 30 days of the date on the invoice.

We will not be able to confirm your enrolment until this fee has been paid.

Accreditation of Existing Competence Fee (AEC)

  • Amount:  £360 (£300 + VAT)
  • When: upon submission of an AEC application

This is a non-refundable fee which covers the processing and review of your AEC application.

An invoice will be sent to you when we receive your AEC application and this should be paid within 30 days of the date on the invoice.

We will not be able to confirm the outcome of your AEC application until this fee has been paid.

Qualification fee

  • Amount: £7754.40 (£6462.00 + £1292.40 VAT)
  • When: upon confirmation of enrolment (either in full or by monthly Direct Debit)

This fee covers any support and expert advice you might need, as well as administration carried out during your enrolment by either the society's staff or members of the Qualifications Board.

Re-submission fee

  • Amount: £385.20 (£321 + VAT)
  • When: one month prior to submitting your amended work

The re-submission fee covers the cost of work carried out during the re-assessment of your portfolio.

Direct Debit

We offer flexible payment plans via direct debit to spread the cost of a qualification over your period of study. These are monthly interest free payments and you can choose to pay over 12, 24, 36 or 48 months.

We only charge you for the cost of the qualification once. If you need longer to complete the qualification we won't charge you extra.

Please be aware that if you complete your qualification before the payment term has been completed you will be required to pay the outstanding balance before your results can be released.

Third party fees

Please note that you may incur additional costs during your training which are not set by the society, may include, but are not limited to, supervision costs, travel and accommodation costs (for instance, for supervisory meetings, events and conferences) and professional indemnity insurance.

These fees are not set by the society so we are unable to advise on what rates will be charged.

Fee reductions

A fee reduction of 20% is available to candidates who are in receipt of state benefits or a state pension.

Requests for reductions for other reasons will not be considered.

Formal requests for reductions must be submitted to the Professional Development Delivery Officer along with evidence of income and level of state benefits.

Review of fees

All fees charged by the society are reviewed annually and, therefore, are subject to change from 1 January each year.

Refund policy

The Enrolment Fee and the Accreditation of Existing Competence Fee are non-refundable fees.

However refunds are available for the Qualification Fee on a sliding scale as outlined below.

View our refund policy