Diploma of Higher Education in Counselling

The Open University

Program Description

Diploma of Higher Education in Counselling

The Open University

Diploma of Higher Education in Counselling

The value of counselling to improve well-being and quality of life is increasingly recognised. From everyday worries to serious mental health issues like chronic anxiety and depression, counsellors and psychotherapists are helping us cope. This diploma, developed in partnership with the Counselling and Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body (CPCAB), will prepare you to become a professional counsellor – equipping you with the theoretical understanding and practical skills required to work in this field.

Key features of the course

  • Enables you to qualify as a professional counsellor
  • Combines work-based learning at a local college with OU knowledge-based modules
  • If you already have the required CPCAB qualifications, you can top up to the diploma by studying just the theory modules
  • Builds a solid foundation for further study

Educational aims

There are four overall aims for the qualification:

  • to provide you with the appropriate skills, values and knowledge required to operate as an effective counsellor
  • to provide you, through flexible learning routes, a range of educational experiences appropriate for diploma students
  • to provide suitable work-based experiences that will enable you to develop and evaluate your practice as a counsellor
  • to enable you to evaluate your own learning and realise your educational potential now and throughout your career.


We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost. Fees for study commencing in academic year 2014/2015 are:

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification upfront.
  • If like most OU students studying part time, you study an average of 60 credits a year – you’ll study for six years to complete a degree. Our typical fee for 60 credits is £2,632.
  • Our current fee is £5,264 – based on 120 credits of study – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study.
  • The total cost of your chosen qualification currently starts from £10,528 based on our current fees.

NB: Prices are subject to change.

How long does it take?

  • Part time – 4 years
  • Full time – 3 years
  • Time limit – 12 years

Career relevance

This diploma of higher education in counselling allows you to:

  • practise as a professional counsellor in a wide range of settings, from the statutory to voluntary sector
  • work with a diverse range of people and issues such as mental health problems, relationship problems, physical illness and trauma.

It also provides the required hours of specified learning which – with appropriate practice, supervision and personal development – will enable you to apply for individual accreditation with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). You can also use it as a staging post for further professional development, including the possibility of topping up to an honours degree.

Studying this diploma course will provide you with knowledge and understanding of the major theoretical perspectives employed within counselling; the historical and cultural context of this profession; and the appropriate professional principles required for effective counselling practice. You’ll acquire professional skills that are transferable to many other roles in health, social care and education and include the ability to:

  • practise safely and effectively in a recognised model of counselling
  • act in accordance with the relevant legal, ethical and procedural boundaries
  • make professional judgements and interventions
  • reflect on, review and audit your professional practice.

Entry requirements

To study the CPCAB Level 4 Diploma course you need to have completed the CPCAB Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills or its equivalent, plus the CPCAB Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies or its equivalent, such as the OU’s Introduction to counselling (D171), followed by a successful interview with the training provider.

This qualification is limited to areas where the CPCAB courses are delivered, so you should check the CPCAB website before applying.

This is a recommended study route. You can choose the order of study but note:

  • we recommend that you only take the Level 4 CPCAB diploma alongside the knowledge-based (OU modules) if you are able to study full time
  • you must have completed the Level 4 CPCAB qualification before moving on to Level 5.

We recommend that you start this qualification by studying the CPCAB Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling and transfer the 120 credits from the diploma when you register for this OU diploma of higher education.

Read more about this programme on the Open University website here

This school offers programs in:
  • English
The Open University
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
3 - 12 years
Part time
Full time
Contact school
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Start date Aug. 2017
United Kingdom
Application deadline Contact school
End date Contact school
Duration 3 - 12 years
Price Contact school