There is mounting pressure on the University of Strathclyde to rethink plans to suspend postgraduate counselling courses.

The Glasgow-based institution is no longer accepting applications to study for a certificate, a diploma or a masters in the subject.

Current students can complete their course but will not have the chance to progress from a certificate to a diploma or a diploma to a masters in counselling at the university.

Students have already spoken out against the decision and their tutors have now posted a “briefing paper” online which sets out their objections.

The introduction to the briefing paper states: “Entry to all postgraduate courses in counselling and psychotherapy will be suspended from 2016, for a minimum of four years, while a joint honours undergraduate degree in psychology and counselling studies is developed and delivered.

“The tutors who deliver the postgraduate training are employed by the university as self-employed workers on temporary contracts. Our services to the university will be terminated when teaching on the current courses end.

“Like our students, we were not consulted by the faculty during the decision-making process and therefore have been unable to contribute by providing information to the faculty about the impact that this decision will have on the provision of counselling services in Scotland or offering ideas about alternative solutions.”

Meanwhile, the Psychotherapists and Counsellors Union (PCU) has written to the vice chancellor of the university urging him to reconsider what they describe as a “retrograde step”.

A statement released by the PCU Committee - Dr David Murphy, Kate O’Halloran and Professor Andrew Samuels - said: “We consider the moves the university has taken to be unnecessary, unacceptable and carried out with negligible consultation.

“There is a proven need for highly skilled and well qualified counsellors and psychotherapists, both locally to Glasgow and also in the region and in the UK. We are concerned about the impact on existing students and staff as well as on current and potential clients.”

The statement added: “Changes of the magnitude that has been planned not only affects colleagues and students in Glasgow but all of us in the profession. There is still time for a rethink concerning the self-inflicted damage being done to the university.”

A spokeswoman for the University of Strathclyde said: “A new counselling programme is being developed at the university in response to demand for improved support for mental health and wellbeing.

“The new joint degrees in psychology and counselling are being designed to widen access to counselling education and will give students greater access to leading experts in core areas including psychological sciences and health.”