Sunday, December 17, 2006

True Nature of the MSc course in Counselling Revealed

Entry for 17 December 2006:

The MSc course meeting last Thursday was small but very useful in terms of reviewing student progress and making decisions to further the effectiveness of this still-relatively new course. I may be slow, but the education system is different enough here that it has taken me a quite awhile to understood this course. However, if I think of it as the second part of the two-part masters’ degree course, it helps a lot:

The first part of the masters’ degree is the Counselling Diploma course that I have been teaching on this term. This is equivalent to the coursework component of a US masters degree program, only everything is team-taught. This has the effect of putting all the program content into a blender and mixing it into a kind of postgraduate soup. Although students are encouraged to apply to go on to complete the second part, they don’t have to, and in fact most don’t.

The second part is basically a masters’ thesis course. That is, a group of thesis students are supervised primarily in a group format by a team of tutors. Students do occasionally meet individually with their thesis supervisors, but most of the input is done in the research supervision group. To confuse matters, they call the masters thesis a “dissertation.” (in North America, “dissertation” is a word reserved for doctoral theses.) The combination of the Diploma course’s intensive therapy/counselling training and the research thesis/dissertation makes for a nice package, which I am confident we can improve still further by increasing the coherence between the two parts.

Further, now that I have translated the course structure into more familiar terms, it will be much easier to think strategically about how to contribute to the different parts. Better late than never!

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