The Human Relations and Counselling Programme consists of 3 parts to provide different levels of training and qualification.

All 3 parts of our Counsellor training are validated by COSCA.  In addition, our PGDip/MSc is accredited by Robert Gordon University (RGU) and leads to a RGU award at SCQF level 11.  Click on the links below to find out more.

Foundations of Human Relations and Counselling

Post Graduate Diploma in Human Relations and Counselling

Masters in Human Relations and Counselling


Hear from Course Lead, Liz Cairns, about the course.  This video was recorded for our virtual Open Day.


Course name

Post Graduate Diploma in Human Relations and Counselling

Who is the course aimed at?

The course is ideal for people who currently use elements of counselling in their day-to-day work and would like to take further steps towards enhancing their practice and deepening their professional capacity. 

It is also for individuals looking for a change in career.  Participants who successfully complete all elements of the course at the PGDip can register as a Psychodynamic Counsellor.

By choosing to focus on the psychodynamic relational perspective, you will learn about the importance of early life experience and of our human environment in determining modes of human relationships and patterns of behaviour.  The course focuses on the latest research findings about infant and child development, and on evidence-based psychoanalytic ideas; it includes attachment theory, leading-edge trauma theory developments, day-to-day existential dilemmas, families, groups, advanced interpersonal and clinical skills, group work, plus organisational dynamics.  The psychodynamic and relational ethos underpins the interactions of students, supervisors and staff.

Course description

This is a 2 or 3-year, part-time, modular programme delivered over 2 semesters a year from September to June.  The course comprises of:

  • Theory seminars, including psychodynamic theories of development, identity, mental health, family and group processes, trauma and loss, with modules on research and a Capstone Project in year 3.
  • Experiential work, skills practice and group supervision in a learning group.
  • Personal tutorials.
  • Placement in an approved professional counselling setting (minimum 120 hours) with independent individual clinical supervision (20 to 25 hours). An additional 100 hours supervised practice is required in the third, MSc year.
  • Personal therapy (minimum 40 hours).

The PG Diploma in Human Relations and Counselling provides a route to professional accreditation as a counsellor for adults and young adults using the application of psychodynamic principles and ideas in a mandatory clinical placement. The MSc is an advanced professional training.

Click here to see the aims of the programme and the programme structure

People meeting

Course name

Masters in Human Relations and Counselling

Who is the course aimed at?

The course is ideal for people who currently use elements of counselling in their day-to-day work and would like to take further steps towards enhancing their practice and deepening their professional capacity. 

It is also for individuals looking for a change in career.  Participants who successfully complete all elements of the course at the PGDip level can register as a Psychodynamic Counsellor. The third, Masters year, focussing on research with an emphasis on linking research with practice.

Course description

HDS and Robert Gordon University have collaborated to produce an innovative and exciting Masters programme.

This three-year part-time training will lead to the award of MSc and is an advanced professional training for Psychodynamic Counsellors.

The MSc has been designed to provide students with an excellent clinical training, fully integrated with the knowledge, research and experience of the skills that will be necessary for those working in the modern NHS, the third sector and in private practice.  Students are qualified to practice as a Psychodynamic Counsellor on completion of the Post Graduate Diploma level (PGDip) and can choose to complete the programme at that level.

Person studying

Aims of the programme

The Diploma (PGDip) and Masters (MSc) programme in Human Relations and Counselling aims to:

  • Prepare students to become practising Psychodynamic Counsellors who work sensitively, competently and ethically.
  • Equip students to act in an autonomous practitioner role as Psychodynamic Counsellors with individual clients by the acquisition and integration of the relevant clinical skills, a theoretical framework, and enhanced critically reflective self-awareness, thus bringing students to the level of eligibility in respect of training requirements to apply for COSCA or BACP accreditation.
  • Support students in developing a familiarity with the range of social, cultural and religious contexts from which clients may be drawn, so that they may acquire competence as a professional and culturally sensitive practitioner.
  • Facilitate and develop students’ awareness of the ethical principles and personal qualities required to practise as a Psychodynamic Counsellor.
  • Develop students’ capacity to use clinical supervision to support competent and ethical practice and professional development.
  • Enable students to become confident in the use of research skills and to use those skills in the development of the Psychodynamic Counselling research base.

Programme structure

8 modules over 3 years, 180 SCQF points, integrating theory, practice and research.

  • Year 1 (PGCert): Professional Practice 1, The Psychodynamics of Being Human, Families, Groups and Organisations.
  • Year 2 (PGDip): Professional Practice 2, Identity, Trauma.
  • Year 3 (MSc) : Research, Capstone Project.

Supervised clinical practice and personal therapy are additional requirements of the course.

Academic and professional validation

The course has full professional validation by COSCA (Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland).

This programme is managed, delivered and awarded by Human Development Scotland and leads to an award on the Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework (SCQF). It has been credit rated by Robert Gordon University at SCQF level 11.


  • This part-time modular programme taking place over 2 years (PGDip) or 3 years (MSc).
  • Intensive weekend teaching - Saturday and Sunday (with the occasional Friday), 09:30 to 17:00. Click here to view the timetable.
  • Teaching takes place at the HDS training suite in central Glasgow and online.

What do our students say?

Hear from former students about how studying at HDS has helped them in their career.

Entry requirements

All applicants are considered based on suitability for the course, irrespective of gender, ethnic origin, nationality, social class, parental status, disability, sexual orientation, religious belief or age.  Applicants are normally required to:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from a UK institution or equivalent.
  • Have completed an approved initial counselling skills training course or equivalent (applicants who have completed Modules 1 to 4 of FHRC or the COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills will be considered).
  • Have experience of working with people in a field relevant to counselling and a readiness to engage effectively in a counselling placement.
  • Have the capacity to work independently to ensure that they can achieve the standards necessary to complete the course satisfactorily.
  • Have a willingness to engage actively in all aspects of the course, including their own personal therapy.

If you are questioning whether you meet all of the above criteria, please contact us to discuss further.

Direct Entry to the MSc (year 3)

Entry to the MSc year is through completion of the PGDip Human Relations and Counselling in the previous 5 years.

Equivalent PG Diplomas from other institutions will be considered.

Costs and funding

  • Fees will be in the region of £3,350 per year (60 credit year).
  • The Robert Gordon University registration fee is currently £600 per student.
  • Tuition fees do not include personal therapy or work placement clinical supervision (about 20 to 25 hours). Applicants should take this into account when applying.
  • Course fees are reviewed annually and reflect any increase in university accreditation/registration fees. 
  • A standard non-refundable application processing fee of £30 applies. To pay an application fee, you can access our payment system after submitting your online application (if you email your application, you will find payment instructions in the application form). Applications will not be processed until the application fee has been received. If you apply for more than one course, the fee is payable for each application submitted. Application fees are non-refundable, this includes in circumstances where an application is unsuccessful.
  • Our courses are not eligible for SAAS funding as we are not a publicly funded university. Click here to find out more about funding sources.

Enquiries and application


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