Bishop Auckland College has launched its first ever degree course in partnership with the Open University.
Graduates from the BA (Hons) in Integrative Counselling Practice will be qualified to practice as a counsellor or psychotherapist and apply for any appropriate position within this field.
The validation by the Open University means for the first time learners can complete their full degree at the college without having to travel to university for a final ‘top-up’ year of study.
The many advantages include significant financial savings; the £7,500 annual course fee is well below the average university fee of £9,250. Learners will also receive £500 cashback each year to help with the purchase of books and to pay for student membership of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy.
A further £500 per student per year will be paid by the college into a learning fund to resource masterclasses, off-site events and visiting lecturers and speakers. Student loans and maintenance loans will also be available to assist with costs.
Eighteen students have enrolled on the new counselling degree course. Others, including Emma Taylor, have enrolled on the final top-up year of the counselling degree course, having already completed their Foundation Degree.
Emma, 36, of Bishop Auckland, said: “As a working mum, having the privilege to study towards a full honours degree in my home town will provide the opportunity to reach my potential. I have thrived at Bishop Auckland College over the past three years progressing from an introductory level right through to achieving Distinction at Foundation Degree.
“It’s difficult to quantify what it means for me to study at this level in a familiar setting. Coming from humble beginnings with little belief in my academic ability I often have to ‘pinch myself’ – I never believed a degree would be achievable.
“The counselling tutors nurture and help to uncover the potential of their students and have helped me to find my confidence. I will be extremely proud to achieve a full honours degree at Bishop Auckland College.”
Natalie Davison-Terranova, Principal and Chief Executive of Bishop Auckland College, added: “We are delighted to be launching our first ever degree course after many years of successful higher education provision.
“This is a major step forward for the college and hopefully the first in a long line of degree level programmes. We are also accepting applications now for a new degree in sport starting in September 2020.
“The Open University’s validation panel, who visited the college earlier this year, praised the excellent industry links involved in developing the degree course and the opportunities that it will offer in terms of progression and widening participation to our students. We look forward to welcoming our first undergraduates.”