Master of Counselling Studies – MCounsStuds

Massey’s Master of Counselling Studies will prepare you for employment as a counsellor. You’ll join our counselling community, anchored in mana enhancing practices.

Type of qualification

Master's degree

Level of study

Postgraduate study

Once you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree – or have equal experience – you can study at the postgraduate level. Doctoral qualifications require additional entry requirements.

NZQF level 9

Our courses follow the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF) levels.

Find out more about NZQF levels

Time to complete

1 year(s) full-time (120 credits)

Where you can study

Distance and online

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Not open to international students
Note: Selected entry qualification.

Study a Master of Counselling Studies – MCounsStuds

Note: This qualification is covered by the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Amendment Order 2021. Students are required to provide details of their vaccination status on enrolment.

Tēnā koutou ngā Rangatira-o-ākengokengo, ngā pukenga o te mātai hinengaro, nau mai o hinengaro, nau mai o manawanui, otirā to aroha, ki tēnei he waka eke noa, kia puta atu ki te paerangi panekeritanga o te manaakitanga.

Greetings to you the leaders of tomorrow, those skilled in the understanding of psychology, of relating, connecting, understanding, bring along your minds, your hearts, your dedication, and especially your love and care, aboard our ship together, to sail over our horizons of excellence in providing care.

When you join the Master of Counselling Studies, you’ll join a counsellor education qualification that is anchored in mana-enhancing practices. This includes:

  • viewing differences as strengths and assets
  • affirming that each world view (Te Ao Maori, Western paradigms, and non-Western approaches) has its own whakapapa, roots and origins, its own mana and its own unique relational influence and presence.

You will become fellow travellers with our staff, on the journey to cultivate your strengths, worthiness and potential.

We will enable you to emulate cultural humbleness and a desire to learn and understand, so that healing and well-being can be delivered to those you are working with.

The counselling qualification at Massey University is a NZAC-accredited professional training qualification. While serving communities, families, and individuals, it strives to cultivate mana atua, mana whenua, mana tangata - well-being.

If you are interested in applying, please review the  Counselling and Guidance Information Handbook (574KB). Any questions, please contact us through the Enquire button.

If you are due to complete the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Counselling and Guidance) this year, you may apply to be considered for conditional entry to the master’s qualification.

Get qualified

This qualification gives eligibility to apply for provisional membership of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC) after you have gained a minimum of 200 hours of supervised practice.

A MCounsStuds is a good fit if you:

  • seek to become a counsellor who assesses then assists clients to reach optimal well-being
  • want support for your understanding of developmental needs/suffering
  • want awareness of Te Ao Māori and a range of other approaches

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Specific requirements

This is a selected entry qualification. This means there are a number of extra requirements.   

To enter the Master of Counselling Studies you will have:

  • been awarded or qualified for a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Counselling & Guidance),  with a B average, or
  • been awarded or qualified for a Postgraduate Diploma in Rehabilitation (Rehabilitation Counselling) with a B average, or
  • been awarded or qualified for an approved equivalent qualification with a B average,
  • sufficient background or professional experience to be likely to successfully engage in the qualification.

You will be selected on the basis of a process which includes providing: 

  • a verified 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.
  • you may take part in an interview.

As part of the application you will also supply:

  • a personal statement about what you have learned about counselling, including your understanding of mana enhancing, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, bi-cultural, pluralistic approaches
  • contact details of suggested agencies/settings where you would like to undertake your counselling practice placement
  • contact details of two referees
  • contact details for a potential supervisor external to your placement.

See more details about these requirements below.

Application closing date

Due to the increased interest in our Master of Counselling Studies, admission to this selected entry qualification is competitive. Be sure to submit your application as soon as you can in order to be considered.
Applications are open now for 2023 (closed for 2022)
Closing date: 5 October 2022.

English language requirements

To study this qualification you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

About the selection process

The selection panel look for readiness in relation to personal and interpersonal awareness, respect for diversity, a bicultural mana-enhancing focus and attitudes demonstrating openness to change. They are also looking for the 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.

To be successful you will also have a demonstrated interest in the area, shown through attendance at relevant courses, personal development experiences and training.

Health and disability

If you have any short or long-term disabilities including learning disabilities or health issues 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 considered during the selection process and is confidential to the University staff processing your application.

Curriculum vitae

In your CV please include details of your educational and professional qualifications, employment and volunteer history with dates and descriptions of roles and responsibilities. Also list any memberships of associations/organisations and a list of professional publications and research reports. 


Following an initial assessment of the applications and supporting documentation in July, if you meet the initial criteria you will be invited to a required group interview. The group interviews will be held on 13 August, 3 September, 24 September, and 1 October, from 1.00 pm to 4:30 pm via Zoom. We look forward to getting to know you.
Please feel free to contact Dr Bogusia Skudrzyk, Associate Professor, for any questions regarding the Master of Counselling Studies:

‘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 considered during the selection process and are confidential to the University staff assessing your application.

Personal Statement

Comment on why you have decided to pursue counselling training. In addition please describe your strengths relevant to the counselling field in a pluralistic society, and how you hope the qualification will cultivate these. 

Describe what you have learned about counselling, including your understanding of ti Tiriti and bi-cultural and pluralistic approaches, through your experience of:

  1. voluntary involvement with organisations, such as Lifeline, which provide training and supervision to their volunteers, as well as other relevant life experiences  


  1. paid employment such as case management, social work, and addictions support which provides training and supervision to their staff as well as other relevant life experiences. 


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, e.g. 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.

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.

Counselling practice placement

You are able to provide suggestions for agencies/settings where you would like to undertake your counselling placement. Contact details such as agency name, location and contact person can be provided. If you are invited to join the qualification, the Clinical Training Coordinator will collaborate with you regarding the potential placement to help ensure that is compatible with your skills and career aspirations. The placement will need to be approved by the Clinical Training Coordinator so please do not make any commitments to a site prior to being accepted into the Master of Counselling and having your placement approved.

See further details in the ‘Structure’ accordion on this page.  

Feel free to get in touch with us through the ‘Get advice’ button on this page if you have any questions or to request a guidebook.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Maximum time limits for completion

There are maximum time limits to complete postgraduate qualifications.  This qualification has a maximum time limit of four years. If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the qualification if you wish to continue your studies.

Time limits for Honours, Distinction and Merit

The Master of Counselling Studies is not awarded with Honours, Distinction or Merit, as the majority of courses are awarded by pass/fail, rather than grades. 

Contact us through the ‘Get advice’ button on this page if you have any questions.

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, and Postgraduate Certificates.

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the qualification or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.

Structure of the Master of Counselling Studies

Counselling Practice Placement

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/organisation (not a freelance private practice) and must be conducted in accordance with the NZAC Code of Ethics.

When you are invited to join the qualification you will be provided with assistance to identify a clinical placement that is compatible with your skills and congruent with your career aspirations.  Further information will be available upon acceptance.

When you are accepted you will initiate the process of identifying a potential placement site from November. You will need to secure a site which will typically run for the duration of the qualification.

Professional supervision during placement

During your counselling practice placement, you will need to undertake a minimum of 20 individual supervision sessions. Like the counselling placement, these sessions will be divided equally between each of the same two courses in Year 1 and Year 2.

The supervision sessions will be with a supervisor who is external to the practice placement, experienced in counselling and is also a member of a relevant professional body, preferably NZAC. In consultation with the Clinical Coordinator, you will need to identify a suitable supervisor and then seek formal approval from the Counselling qualification team. Should you be unable to identify a supervisor, or your choice is unsuitable, we will assist you to identify other options. You will also need to undertake 10 hours of Puawananga Kaitiakitanga/cultural supervision and this may be available within the qualification. In addition, the qualification provides required group supervision via Zoom, every fortnight.

Note: Both the placement site and supervisors need to be approved by the Counselling qualification team, no later than the first Friday of March.

Research project

Admission to the Research Project requires satisfactory completion of approved research methods course(s), normally two of the following courses: 267782267783, 267740 or 267741. You will be required to complete these courses if they (or approved equivalents) were not completed as part of the qualifying programme of study.

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

Contact workshops

Completion of this qualification requires attendance at compulsory contact workshops.

Zoom Discussion classes

For our PD1 and PD2 courses, we offer non-compulsory but highly encouraged Zoom discussions/classes, held on alternate weeks, Wednesdays from 6-8pm.

  • PD1 Zoom: even Wednesdays
  • PD2 Zoom: odd Wednesdays

Completion of the Master of Counselling Studies

The degree is awarded on the basis of successful completion of all components including the evaluation of the separate courses and the research project, with the proviso that all components are at least of pass standard.

Courses and specialisations

Key terms

Each qualification has its own specific set of courses. Some universities call these papers. You enrol in courses after you get accepted into Massey.
Course code
Each course is numbered using 6 digits. The fourth number shows the level of the course. For example, in course 219206, the fourth number is a 2, so it is a 200-level course (usually studied in the second year of full-time study).
Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.
Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Credit summary

120 credits

  • Compulsory courses – 75 credits
  • Research report – 45 credits


  • Completion of supervised practice.

Course planning key

Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.

Compulsory courses (Choose 120 credits from)

Choose 120 credits from
Course code: 253761 Professional Development in Counselling I 45 credits

The development of attitudes and skills for effective counselling practice, informed by current research and undertaken in the context of campus-based workshops and field-based supervised practice.

Restrictions: 209751

View full course details
Course code: 253762 Professional Development in Counselling II 30 credits

A continuation and integration of personal and professional development undertaken in Professional Development I whilst pursuing field-based practice and campus-based workshops.

Prerequisites: 253761 Restrictions: 209752

View full course details
Course code: 253800 Research Project in Counselling 45 credits

A negotiated research project related to relevant aspects of counselling or counselling-related activity.

Prerequisites: 267782 and 267783 or an approved research methods course or courses Restrictions: 209758 or 253758

View full course details

Fees and scholarships

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

When you graduate, you will be prepared to contribute to counselling service delivery through a variety of wellness and mental health services. That could be in school settings, addiction/recovery centres, crisis programmes, residential programmes or private practice.

Numerous individuals and communities’ experience various traumatic events, encounter loss/grief, and some grapple with addiction. Many people seek more purposeful lives and how to better relate in their intimate, personal, and professional/work/career related relationships. While this qualification focuses on well-being and optimal growth, a trauma informed, post-traumatic growth approach is embedded throughout the training.

The qualification maintains primary focus on well-being, healing, and restoration/affirmation of human dignity. Therefore you will have opportunities to become aware of the Tihei-Wa Mauri Ora, a “construct that shows a life continuum, where periods of light and darkness are normalized as proper and valid, given their space and time in their lives.” (Teina Piripi and Vivien Body, 2013).

Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi.
With your contributions together with mine, our people will thrive.

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