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Master of Counselling Studies

Key facts

  • Available via Distance Learning
  • Part-time study, only
  • Not available for international students

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Details you need to know about the structure, courses and requirements for this programme.

View regulations

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for the Master of Counselling Studies are detailed in the regulations.

All applicants must make an online Selected Entry application and be selected onto the programme. It is important that potential applicants have read the  Counselling and Guidance Information Handbook (533 KB) information. The closing date for applications is 23 October.

You should complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Counselling & Guidance) BEFORE applying for the Master of Counselling Studies.

Applicants must have achieved at least a B grade average over one of the following:

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Counselling and Guidance) or
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Rehabilitation (Rehabilitation Counselling) or
  • an approved equivalent qualification, and
  • have sufficient professional experience.

What documents do you need to supply to support your application?

  • a copy of your academic transcript/s
  • a copy of your current curriculum vitae (including education and employment for at least the last five years)
  • a completed NZ Police Request and Consent form, along with two pieces of verified identification (one of which must be photographic) from the list of acceptable forms of identification on the Checklist
  • a copy of a police report from every country you have lived in for more than 12 months in the last 10 years. Please do not supply originals.

As part of the application you will also supply:

  • details of counselling training, counselling practice and types of clinical supervision you have experienced as part of any current or previous counselling or counselling-related involvement
  • contact details of agencies/settings where you will undertake your counselling practice (fieldwork)
  • a personal statement about career plan/s, prior training and also personal development experiences, eg, personal counselling
  • contact details of two referees
  • contact details for a supervisor (if already arranged)
  • Skype address (if your interview must be conducted by Skype).

Further details of these requirements can be found below. For more information about selection criteria, please see the   Counselling and Guidance Information Handbook (533 KB)

The selection panel look for readiness in relation to personal and interpersonal awareness, attitudes, openness to change, ability to participate in co-operative group learning and to operate in a professional capacity, as well as the overall capacity to fulfil the requirements of the professional development courses. Successful candidates will also have a demonstrated interest in the area, shown through attendance at relevant courses, personal development experiences and training.

If you have any short or long-term disability including learning disability or heath issue that may affect your study, please upload a summary in your application. If you disclose any disability, health or personal information as part of your application, this will be assessed during the selection process and is confidential to the University staff processing your application.

Curriculum vitae

Please provide a full CV including details of your educational and professional qualifications, employment history with dates and descriptions of roles and responsibilities, membership of associations/organisations, and a list of professional publications and research reports. Please ensure this includes clear evidence of your previous counselling training and experience


You will need to complete at least 200 hours (actual contact time) of counselling practice – on average, about four contact hours per week. These hours are to be divided equally between each of the following courses: Professional Development I (Year 1) and Professional Development II (Year 2). This must be under an agency/organisational structure of some kind (rather than freelance private practice) and must be conducted in accordance with the NZAC Code of Ethics.

‘Fit and proper person’

This qualification leads to provisional membership of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC). To become a provisional member of the NZAC, you must meet their criteria for membership. If there are any circumstances in your past personal or professional life that you disclose as a part of your application, these will be assessed during the selection process and are confidential to the University staff assessing your application.


If your application meets the expected criteria, you will be required to attend an interview either on the Manawatu campus or via Skype in early November. The interview will involve discussion with two or more people about your suitability for selection. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions. You will be advised of the date, time and venue of your interview.

Personal Statement

Part A: Please indicate what direction you see yourself heading beyond the programme. Comment on how you have arrived at the point where counselling and training for counselling are what you want to be involved in, what you see as your strengths in relation to counselling, and what you hope to get out of the training.

Part B: Briefly describe a difficult or challenging experience in your life. Reflect on how you managed to get through that and what you learned from the process.


We require two people who can act as referees for you. A referee should be someone who has known you for one year or more in the capacity of employer, educator, work colleague or person of community standing, ie Kaumatua, Minister or similar. Your referee should not be a friend, flatmate, relative or someone who has not known you for at least a year. The information your referee supplies is confidential to those involved in the selection process.


You will need to undertake a minimum of 20 sessions of supervision with a supervisor who works in the counselling/helping field, approved by us. These sessions are to be divided equally between each of the following courses: Professional Development in Counselling I (Year 1) and Professional Development in Counselling II (Year 2). Should you be unable to identify a supervisor, or your choice be unsuitable, we will assist you to identify other options. You will also need to undertake 10 hours of Puawananga Kaitiakitanga.

Safety checks and disclosure of criminal convictions

All applicants are required to undergo a number of safety checks. This includes police vetting (including confirmation of identity) and further checks required under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014, Vulnerable Children Regulations 2015 and the Children’s Action Plan. You will be required to permit the Institute of Education to ask the New Zealand Police to disclose any information held on the Police record system.

For general entry requirements see Massey University entry requirements.

Master of Counselling Studies structure

To complete the Master of Counselling Studies, students must pass 120 credits. To find out how to plan your study and to see the courses that are necessary to complete the programme, please check the regulations. If you would like to find out more about individual course requirements, please use our Course Search.

Note: Admission to the Research Project requires satisfactory completion of approved research methods course(s), normally 267.782 and 267.783. You will be required to complete these courses if they (or approved equivalents) were not completed as part of the qualifying programme of study.

All students must attend workshops, tutorials and laboratories as required and complete supervised practice as specified in the requirements for the Professional Development in Counselling I and Professional Development in Counselling II courses.

Completion of this programme requires attendance at compulsory block workshops at the Manawatu (Palmerston North) campus.

The timeframes for completion as outlined in the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diploma, and Postgraduate Certificates will apply. Candidates may be graduated when they meet the Admission, Qualification and Academic requirements within the prescribed timeframes.

The degree shall be awarded on the basis of the whole examination which shall include the evaluation of the separate courses and of the research project, with the proviso that all components shall be at least of pass standard.

You may be permitted to revise an unsatisfactory Research Project and to resubmit it for assessment on one occasion.

The Master of Counselling Studies is not awarded with honours, distinction or merit.

These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates


Three compulsory courses:
253.761 Professional Development in Counselling I
253.762 Professional Development in Counselling II
253.800 Research Project in Counselling

How much will it cost?

We can't tell you the exact cost until you have chosen your courses, as the tuition fees you pay each year vary depending on the courses you choose. There will also be compulsory non-tuition fees you have to pay in addition to your tuition fees. For some courses there may be other charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

To get an approximate idea of tuition costs for typical study areas, you can use our quick guide to programme fees.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

If you already know which courses you are going to take, you can use our Fees calculator to get an estimate of your fees.

Financial assistance

You might be eligible to apply for a scholarship or award. You can use our scholarship search to see what is available. You may also be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

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