B.A in Counselling Skills & Addiction Studies

Awarding Body/NFQ Level
QQI/Level 7
3 Years
Mode of Study
Start Date
Sept 2020
€3,825 per annum
Dublin – Limerick
Addiction affects all areas of our society at all levels and its effects on individuals, families and society in general can be devastating. Career opportunities in this area has grown  in Ireland in the last few years. Trained professionals are required as part of the National Strategy to help improve addiction services and  support those who are striving towards recovery. The decision by Government to proceed with statutory regulation of counselling and psychotherapy will also enhance future employment prospects for graduates. The B.A in Counselling Skills & Addiction Studies meets the new national standards for Counselling and Psychotherapy.The programme is validated by Quality and Qualification Ireland (QQI) at level 7 on the National Framework of Qualifications.


Delivered over 3 years, it combines a range of comprehensive theory and practical skills development. Each year consists of two 12-week semesters. The course will commence in September and can be taken on a full time or part-time basis. The programme is taught using a combination of classroom based and blended learning techniques. This allows the learner to access classes in person or using on-line facilities. In certain modules attendance may be a requirement.

Can I study this programme on a full or part-time basis?

Students considering the B.A. in Counselling Skills & Addiction Studies can study this on either a full-time or part-time basis.It commences in September of each year. The programme is delivered over 3 years, each year has two twelve week semesters.

Full-time option:

The full-time programme runs 3 days per week at the ICHAS College Limerick and Griffith College Dublin from 9.30am to 4.30pm (Subject to viable cohort).

Part-time option:

The part-time programme normally runs 1 evening per week (6pm to 10pm) and Saturdays (9.30am to 4.30pm) over the 2 semesters from ICHAS College Limerick, Griffith College Dublin, and other nationwide locations (Subject to viable cohort).


A central component of the ICHAS vision is the provision of flexible and affordable education for all. In line with this approach, the fees for the programme whether full or part time are in line with those of Universities and Institutes of Technology. The fees for the programme are €3,825 per annum . Students who opt for installments will incur an extra fee of €100 per annum  to avail of this facility. All fees are fully protected under our Protection of Enrolled Learners’ Policy.

Please Note: Non EU/EEA students are required under the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) to pay fees in full upon acceptance of their place on a programme.

All QQI accredited programmes of education and training of 3 months or longer duration are covered by arrangements under section 65 (4) of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 whereby, in the event of the provider ceasing to provide the programme for any reason, enrolled learners may transfer to a similar programme at another provider, or, in the event that this is not practicable, the fees most recently paid will be refunded.

The B.A in Counselling Skills & Addiction Studies is a 3 year programme.

The programme covers a range of subjects which when taken together provide a syllabus designed to develop competent professional practitioners. The subjects covered are designed to be both practical and theoretical as per the table below:


B.A in Counselling and Addiction Studies (QQI)


Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Ethics & Professional Issues Counselling & Psychotherapeutic Skills & Practices 2 Elective
Counselling & Psychotherapeutic Skills & Practices 1 Group Facilitation Bereavement, Loss & Grief
Theoretical Perspectives in Counselling & Psychotherapy Cultural Issues in Professional Practice Application of Psychological and Psychometric Assessment
Human Development Theory of Psychological & Psychometric Assessment Prevention & Health Promotion Approaches in Addiction
Research and Inquiry for Counselling & Psychotherapy Simulated Experiential Learning Family & Systems Theory
Theoretical Perspectives in Therapeutic Engagement in Practice Theoretical Aspects of Addiction Intervention Modalities in Addiction
The Mental Health Continuum Bio-Physiological Aspects of Addiction Theory/Practice Integration
Introduction to Personal Development Personal Development & Self Caring Practices Facilitating Personal Development


How will I be assessed?

The modules above will be assessed using a range of assessment approaches including continuous assessment, project work, practical exercises and terminal assessments.

ICHAS has always, and will continue to work closely with students to employ a range of assessment activities, and support students to achieve their best in each type of assessment activity. We recognise that many students may not have studied in a long time and we have developed systems and individual approaches to support students as they adapt to higher education.


What supports will I have?

ICHAS is a college with a proven track record in delivering high quality education. At ICHAS, every faculty member is committed to this ideal and to its implementation. We work on an individual basis with our students to bring this about, ensuring we meet your specific needs. We pride ourselves on  working with our students to overcome any barriers to progression during their studies.

If you are a CAO student or returning to third level study as a mature student we understand you may have concerns about going or returning to college and all that’s involved. However, at ICHAS we have a long tradition of working with similar students. Your educational journey is extremely important to us and we will support you in every way.


Who Awards My Qualification and how well recognised is it?

On successful completion of your course,  your qualification is awarded by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and this will appear on your parchment. QQI is one of the principal Irish awarding bodies  for the higher education sector in Ireland and sets the standards for awards on the NFQ.

This course is recognised in Ireland and all over Europe. See www.qqi.ie for further information.

Professional Accreditation

The programme is also recognised towards professional accreditation by the Association of Professional Counsellors and Psychotherapists (APCP) and the National Association of Professional Counselling and Psychotherapy (NAPCP).


Where Can I progress to on completion of the course?

Upon successful completion of the B.A in Counselling Skills & Addiction Studies, students will be eligible to apply for the suite of Level 8 (NFQ)  BA (Hons) programmes which can be completed in 1 year.

What are the entry requirements for this course?

To join the B.A in Counselling Skills & Addiction Studies, applicants must meet the following requirements;

  • Be over 18 years of age.
  • Complete and submit the completed application form <download here>and provide all requested information.
  • For  non- CAO , complete an interview process, which is designed to explore your reasons for taking the programme and to ensure that it is suitable for your needs. ICHAS is committed to ensuring that the programme you are on is right for you.
  • Complete the Garda vetting procedure.
  • English language proficiency certificates (e.g. IELTS of 6 or equivalent) if applicable. Please see http://ichas.ie/prospective-students/international-applicants/

If you are under 23 years of age and applying for the full-time programme you have to  apply through the CAO website on www.cao.ie.  Normally this requires applicants to have successfully completed the Leaving Certificate programme and to have obtained 5O6/H7 . There is a requirement to have O6/H7 in 1 language & 06/H7 in Maths. 


If you have any difficulty in applying for this course, then please contact the college on 061 216288 where we will be only too pleased to assist you.

Graduates of the BA in Counselling skills and Addiction Studies can be found working in a wide variety of organisations areas such as private and public residential and non-residential addiction treatment centres, schools, colleges, youth services, prison services, hospitals and of course, in private practice.

Opportunities also exist working with many disparate groups, including but not limited to young people, women at risk of domestic violence, the elderly and those with mental health issues.

The Government has committed to increased funding of mental health initiatives as part of the national counselling service.For many the opportunity to work in private practice as a professional Counsellor is hugely important. With the forthcoming statutory regulation of counselling and psychotherapy, the fact that this programme has been validated by QQI should not be underestimated.

The B.A in Counselling Skills & Addiction  Studies has many  features that make it one of the leading programmes of this type in Ireland, these include

  • It is the first programme of its type to meet the new QQI awards Standards for Counselling and Psychotherapy in Ireland .
  • This programme is part of a suite of programmes that have been validated by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), ensuring up to date teaching methods, programme content and quality has been validated.
  • It is delivered by lecturers who work in this field, who are passionate about your education and dedicated to sharing their experience and expertise.
  • The programme is recognised throughout Europe. On completion you will receive the Europass Diploma Supplement in addition to your degree parchment.
  • It is part of the affordable and flexible access system within ICHAS, meaning students pay the fees similiar to the public college system.
  • It covers topic areas that are relevant to society.
  • It mixes theory and practice together to provide a complete understanding of the area of counselling and addiction.
  • This course has a progression route to Level 8 and postgraduate level.
  • The qualification is recognised widely by employers allowing  opportunities for  graduates in a range of different careers.
  • The course uses both classroom based and blended learning techniques. This allows the learner to access classes in person or using on-line facilities to allow for a better work/life/study balance. In certain modules attendance may be a requirement.
This brief Podcast contains a more detailed overview of the structure and features of our Undergraduate Counselling & Psychotherapy courses.
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M.A. Masters in Counselling & Psychotherapy – Graduate 2011

Joining ICHAS at diploma level, my aspiration was to discover what counselling was about. After the diploma and through the Level 8 and Level 9 programmes, it became more about discovering who I was and then becoming a reflective counsellor. Understanding my self was most important if I was to help others with their journey. An additional benefit from this course was meeting so many different people from different backgrounds and with different views which taught me more about working with people, as a client or otherwise.

The college, course, staff and peers enabled this journey for me, where I have become a more holistic person. Now that I have ended up with a Masters in Counselling & Psychotherapy through the various challenges along the way is a great achievement for me.


Sinead MCGuinness
(Graduate of the MA in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; BA (Hons) in Counselling and PsychotherapyBA in Counselling Skills and Psychotherapy Studies)

I began my voyage with ICHAS in Studying for the BA degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy studies was the beginning of my voyage with ICHAS. I never imaged what an amazing voyage this would be and all the amazing people I would meet along my way.  I am still on my voyage and still meeting amazing people and still learning every day. My studies with ICHAS went further than I could ever have believed with finding myself growing both on a personal and professional level. The college at all times (more…)


Patrick Fitzgerald
(BA in Counselling Skills and Psychotherapy Studies)

I came into ICHAS knowing that I wanted to help and work with people. Currently in my third year and all I can say is that I am amazed by how much I have grown both as a person and as a student. I was out of education for two years before starting and had fears and reservations about my ability as an academic and still not fully sure what I wanted to do with my life. The environment here compared to University’s or Institutes is not focused on just delivering the content and getting you through your degree or masters. Here they are looking at the individual behind the books and making sure that each student receives the same quality engagement that I have not seen anywhere else. ICHAS has allowed me over the last three years to see my true potential and ability through the stimulating learning environment here. I recommend this college to anyone looking into the areas of Counselling and Psychotherapy due to the high level of engagement with peers and lecturers.

Phone: 061 216 288
Walton House, Lonsdale Rd., National Technology Park,
Castletroy, Limerick, Ireland