Course Overview

This part-time course aims to provide a good, basic grounding in the psychology of lifespan development and major psychological theories of personality and their application to counselling. The practical aspects of the course include basic counselling skills and group facilitation of personal development.

Applications and Selections

Apply Online*

*This course is now full & is no longer taking applications for 2020.

Please visit our How to Apply page for Application tips and Supporting Documents information.

It is beneficial to outline the following information in your application:

  • Your involvement in voluntary/community work (if any)
  • Personal reasons for doing the course
  • How you consider the course will benefit your work/community

Who Teaches this Course

Course Director/Co-ordinator

Margaret McGahon MSc, MIAHIP

Requirements and Assessment

Course lectures take place one evening per week (Tuesdays, 6:30-9:30pm). In addition, there are three weekend workshops (Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) throughout the year. 85% attendance is required for this course. Reading and writing assignments will be in addition to the above time requirements.

Submission of written work, participation in skills training sessions, group work, discussion work and written examinations form the basis of assessment.  

The Diploma is not a professional qualification in counselling. The Diploma course is recognised and approved under the accreditation scheme of the National University of Ireland. The course merits 15 ECTS credits in each academic year under this scheme.

Basic computer skills will be an advantage. E-mail, internet and NUI Galway's online learning environment are in use throughout the course.

Notice: with the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 coronavirus, we have decided to move classroom-based courses and blended learning seminars to a fully online teaching mode for Semester 1 of the academic year 2020/21. The Semester 2 teaching schedule will be reviewed over the coming months in line with government restrictions and social distancing guidelines. This decision has been made to ensure the safety of students & staff and our desire to continue to provide upskilling and professional development opportunities for all. If you have any queries regarding the format of online delivery mode, please contact your course administrator for further details.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for part-time students can be found in our FAQs section (i.e. age, english language requirements etc.). There are no special educational qualifications are required for the Diploma in Psychology of Counselling.

Successful applicants should have acceptable standards in written and oral aspects of the course. Involvement, either voluntary or professional for which the contents of this course have relevance, will be taken into consideration. The course selection panel reserves the right to select candidates. Students must complete a personal statement as part of the application process for this course.

Additional Requirements


2 years, part-time

Next start date

26th September

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date


NFQ level


Mode of study


ECTS weighting




Course code

Course Outline

The course includes lectures and workshops. Participants are introduced to diverse counselling theories and to the practices derived from them in a variety of settings. The two-year course integrates three dimensions of counselling psychology:

  • Personality theory and theories of counselling
  • Lifespan development and theories of counselling
  • Counselling skills and practice, including ethical and professional issues

In the second year of the course students will have an opportunity to gain more in-depth knowledge of:

  • Diverse approaches to counselling - Gestalt Counselling; Person-centred Counselling; Behavioural/Cognitive-Behavioural Counselling; Reality Therapy; Family/Couples Counselling; Applied Behavioural Analysis
  • Working with groups including various groups such as adolescents, children as well as addiction groups etc.
  • Self Awareness and Personal Development

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

This foundation course in the psychology of counselling is a stepping stone towards the further education that is required to become a counsellor, psychotherapist or psychologist. The course provides an opportunity for students to assess their ability to perform in a third level education setting, to work on personal development issues and obtain knowledge of what a career in mental health work might be.

Who’s Suited to This Course

The Diploma in Psychology of Counselling is designed for individuals who are involved in a helping or advice giving role. In particular, it caters for members of self-help groups, volunteers in befriending and support organizations, individuals engaged in personnel work and staff of educational, youth and health services.  The course enables participants to gain a better understanding of the processes in which they are involved and to develop their counselling skills. The course is also suitable for persons who would like subsequently to pursue a professional counselling course, as the programme is a foundation in the theory and basic skills of counselling.

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€990 p.a.

Fees: Tuition

Fees: Student levy

Fees: Non EU

€1,490 p.a.

A fees scholarship of up to 30% may be available for students who wish to upskill for the purposes of re-employment.  Students must be registered as unemployed and in receipt of one of the following: 

  • Job-seekers Benefit
  • Job-seekers Allowance
  • One-parent family allowance
  • Disability allowance
  • Community Employment Scheme
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Signing for social insurance contribution credits

Please download the 2020_21 Fees Scholarship Form for more information.

Find out More

Course Administrator
Tel: 091 492144
Fax: 091 525051








What Our Students Say 


Patricia Burke |   Diploma Graduate

Having completed the part-time Diploma in Psychology of Counselling at NUIG, I have progressed to further studies in this area. The Diploma was a fantastic learning experience and I thoroughly enjoyed my time at NUIG. Starting a third level course as a mature student can be a daunting experience, but I was supported and encouraged every step of the way. Lecturers were knowledgeable, professional and approachable. This course facilitates personal growth and academic development. I highly recommend it as a starting point for those interested in counselling or psychotherapy.

Fiona Collins |   Diploma Graduate

I am only sorry I didn’t have the courage to undertake a course years earlier. It has given me a new lease of life and whilst I do eventually wish to work in the field of counselling I understand in today’s climate this will not be an easy task to achieve, but NUI Galway has taught me there is a big world out there. Like much in life you only get out of it what you put in.


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