MScR Counselling Studies

The MSc by Research programme in Counselling Studies offers advanced training and education to students interested in developing research skills, including qualified counselling and psychotherapy practitioners and social science researchers.

Name MScR Counselling Studies
Start Date September
Mode of Study 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Programme Director Fiona Murray

Please check the postgraduate Degree Finder to see the specific entry requirements, start date and application deadlines. 

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The MScR Counselling Studies is a postgraduate degree designed to provide research training in counselling and psychotherapy. It consists of taught research training courses (four core compulsory courses and one option course) and a research-focused dissertation. Students are also welcome to take other courses on a not-for-credit basis in Counselling and Psychotherapy, or other courses in the School of Health in Social Science, the Graduate School of Social and Political Science and other related disciplines.  

This degree can be taken as a stand-alone qualification or, alternatively, as a foundation for PhD study (usually referred to as 1+3 registration route). 

Our programme offers the possibility to work with and be supervised by a range academics whose background in both therapeutic practice and research is compatible with the student's proposed area of research. Your supervisor will meet regularly with you throughout the period of study, with the focus and content of supervision meetings negotiated jointly depending on your needs. 

Why choose this programme? 

You will be provided with a comprehensive understanding of research design, data collection and data analysis for counselling research. Students complete a programme of research training courses and submit a dissertation on an approved topic. 

We have a longstanding commitment to original empirical and theoretical research that engages critically with the practices of counselling and psychotherapy and are especially keen to encourage research examining the interface between counselling, psychotherapy and social, cultural and political life, as well as research that draws directly on practitioners’ own therapeutic work with clients. 

A vibrant and inclusive research environment

The University of Edinburgh is a world-leader in research and innovation and an international centre of academic excellence. Students on this programme will become part of an active and diverse research community in the School of Health in Social Science and will have access to the wide-range of learning environments and outstanding resources that the University has to offer. Our postgraduate researchers work in close proximity to each other, enabling them to pool their expertise and knowledge to tackle complex challenges and push the boundaries of discovery. Students will be encouraged to engage with a wide range of seminars, talks, and events, and often have the opportunity to present their own research at national and international conferences. Our student-led postgraduate research blog provides a snapshot of the activities and events our PGR students organise and are involved in.

Find out more about ongoing research in our School

We specialise in qualitative, reflexive and critical research approaches, and our research portfolio is highly interdisciplinary, integrating concepts, practices and scholarship from counselling and psychotherapy, psychology, sociology, philosophy, education, cultural studies, health and social care, and other social sciences. 

We are especially keen to encourage research concerned with the interface between counselling, psychotherapy and social, cultural and political life.

The School of Health in Social Science offers several fully funded MScR and PhD studentships each year. A variety of scholarships are available, which vary from full scholarships covering tuition fees and a stipend to cover living expenses, to partial scholarships.

Find out more about our scholarships and funding opportunities

Beyond the programme  

The MScR Counselling Studies from the University of Edinburgh enhances the career prospects of professionally qualified counsellors, psychotherapists and practitioners using counselling approaches in related fields, such as health care, social work or education. 

It is also of interest to social scientists and researchers specialising in the study of health and illness, and the practice and cultural significance of the talking therapies. Successful completion of the MScR opens up employment opportunities in a broad range of fields, including education, policy, research and development on health and illness, emotional health and well-being, and counselling. 

Further Study Opportunities

The MSc by Research is a comprehensive foundation for PhD study, which will equip you for academic positions in counselling and psychotherapy. Students with prior professional qualifications can also enhance careers with the addition of highly developed conceptual, analytical and research skills through this programme. 

You may also wish to return to the University to undertake CPD courses with Counselling and Psychotherapy. 

Find out more about our postgraduate Counselling and Psychotherapy options