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Masters Degrees in Counselling, New Zealand

We have 2 Masters Degrees in Counselling, New Zealand

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The Master of Counselling (MCouns) is established as a flagship degree that has seen 92% of graduates over the past six years gain successful employment. Read more

The Master of Counselling (MCouns) is established as a flagship degree that has seen 92% of graduates over the past six years gain successful employment.

The degree has specifically been designed for professional counsellors or supervisors interested in leadership roles within the New Zealand counselling profession.

The programme has a key teaching focus on providing experiences in which you can further develop your professional attitudes, knowledge and competencies in the areas of counselling, group leadership, mediation and practitioner research. You'll graduate with a high level of knowledge and understanding through the narrative practice this programme is known for.

For the past 20 years, our teaching staff have been active in promoting narrative therapy, beginning with a book staff produced called Narrative Therapy in Practice. Today Waikato is considered a leader in this field with several local and international publications produced each year.

This notable reputation extends also into our thriving doctoral counselling programme.

Learning outcomes

As a graduate of the MCouns programme, you will have developed competence in the practices of counselling, and established a firm understanding in philosophical and ethical issues relating to professional counselling practice.

You'll learn how to engage critically with the theoretical concepts and research which underpins counselling practice and the knowledge of the professional context within which you work.

Not only will your studies set you up with a well-articulated theoretical position and reflective professional stance in your counselling work, you'll also gain a recognised qualification for membership of New Zealand Association of Counsellors.

Cultural experience

Manākitanga (hospitality and care) is offered by Tangata whenua, people of the land, who open the space for collaboration, with the intention of weaving cultural knowledge and practice into the shaping of our counsellor education programme. The significant contributions include interchanges, connections, noho marae and visits to the following marae:

  • Te Kohinga Marama Marae at the University of Waikato (over night noho)
  • Maniaroa Marae at Mokau (week long stay with workshops and presentations)
  • Parihaka (visit to learn about Māori passive resistance to land confiscation).

Practical experience

Professional papers offer students the opportunity to have supported professional experience in community and or education settings. Efforts are made to cater for and respond to the individual student’s particular background and professional education goals.

Practicum placements

In order to gain a place in the programme, students must be able to demonstrate a relationship with a community-based counselling service or school or mental health service, which will give them access to an appropriate practicum placement.

Students must have a commitment to ongoing appropriate professional supervision. However, students will not establish any formal contract with an agency until they have been selected into the Counsellor Education Programme and have received all the necessary information on practicum placements.

In general, students in the first year of a full-time programme complete 200 hours in a professional counselling setting and complete 80 hours of counselling. They will engage in professional supervision*. The supervisor must be a member of a professional helping body such as NZAC, NZASW, NZPsS, or NZAP. Students must engage in a minimum of 16 supervision sessions, in each of the practicum papers. Students should note that NZAC membership now requires supervision with an experienced NZAC Member.

In the second year of the full-time programme the practicum involves 450 hours in counselling settings. Up to three placements may be arranged.

Note: Successful applicants will be completely responsible for setting up an appropriate placement to meet the requirements of the counselling practicum for the various papers.

*There may be a cost involved.

Career opportunities

  • NGO Social Service practices
  • Hospice
  • Private practice
  • Family and relationship counselling
  • Corrections and Probation
  • Youth services
  • Career support
  • Pastoral care
  • School counselling

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Counsellors' help people understand what they’re feeling and take steps to solve problems or create change in their lives. Read more

Counsellors' help people understand what they’re feeling and take steps to solve problems or create change in their lives. You’ll study different counselling approaches including Narrative Therapy, Solution- focused Therapy and Collaborative Language Systems, and you’ll put your training into action with a practicum where you’ll support real clients.

Programme overview

This programme is no longer available for enrolment. If you have already applied, we will contact you.

A new programme is currently under development for 2019 delivery.

Do you want a career in counselling? The Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling provides you with the skills and knowledge to work in a diverse range of environments in Aotearoa New Zealand. Explore collaborative counselling approaches, find out about power relations, and consider how historical, cultural and social contexts shapes people’s lives.

You’ll be guided through the programme by passionate staff with years of experience, many of who are active in their communities which means that what you’ll learn reflects the real challenges you’ll experience in practice.


  • As a graduate, you can apply for provisional membership of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors.
  • Ethical approach: our lecturers work to the guidelines of the Code of Ethics of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors.
  • A core part of the programme is a practicum which we help you find - every student is requried to complete 200 hours of training.
  • Integration of bi-cultural practices and the study of Maori practice models are key parts of this programme.
  • Staff who have extensive counselling experience and are members of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors.

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