Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Practice – PGDipPsychPrac

Become a registered psychologist with Massey's Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Practice.

Type of qualification

Postgraduate diploma

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.

More about study levels

NZQF level 8

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

Find out more about NZQF levels

Time to complete

1 year full-time (120 credits)
Up to 4 years part-time

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 Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Practice – PGDipPsychPrac

The Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Practice (PGDipPsychPrac) is a professional qualification that prepares you to work as a registered psychologist. It is an internship programme that enables you to meet the competency requirements to be eligible for registration to practise under the Psychologist Scope of Practice under the Health Practitioners Competencies Assurance Act (2003).

Places on this programme are highly sought after and there is a competitive entry process.

Academic and applied training

The Diploma comprises two courses of formal academic work and two courses of supervised practice. It includes supervised training in the application of psychological theory and research to contemporary settings. Your training will be academically rigorous and will reflect the highest standards of ethical, safe, and culturally-competent practice.

During your internship, you will perform the duties and role of a professional psychologist, but under close supervision. You will gain the skills and learn the responsibilities required to practise psychology independently once you are eligible to register in the Psychologist Scope of Practice.

Study that suits you

The Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Practice is taught via brief periods of intensive study ('block courses'), combined with distance learning, which allows you to have your internships wherever suits you within New Zealand (international internships are not permitted). Block courses are held each semester on Massey's Manawatū campus in Palmerston North. 

You will benefit from Massey’s established expertise in distance education. During your internship, you'll be supervised by a registered psychologist in your place of work. They will work with your Massey supervisor to support you to develop the competencies required for registration with the New Zealand Psychologists Board. You will be required to complete 1500 hours of supervised practice in one calendar year.

The Diploma can also be completed in almost any field of psychological practice. This broadens your opportunities to practise psychology in New Zealand society.

Internationally recognised and market-leading in New Zealand

More psychology researchers and registered psychologists graduate from Massey than any other university in New Zealand. We are connected to a wide range of community and statutory organisations. We produce unique and applied psychology research and training that is recognised nationally and internationally. This expertise enhances the reputation of your degree and ensures your knowledge is relevant to today’s society.

A PGDipPsychPrac is a good fit if you:

  • want to become a registered psychologist
  • have a master’s or PhD specialising in psychology
  • have experience in the workplace.

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. There are extra requirements you must meet. To learn about the extra requirements, you must contact the Academic Support Advisor for Professional Psychology for the School of Psychology (psych.admin.pn@massey.ac.nz) to request the “Information for Interested Students, Supervisors, and Agencies” information booklet. If you are uncertain about whether any of your qualifications meet the requirements for entry into the programme, please contact the Academic Support Advisor for Professional Psychology for the School of Psychology (psych.admin.pn@massey.ac.nz) as early as possible before deciding to submit your application.

To enter the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Practice, you will:

  • have been awarded or qualified for a master’s or doctoral degree specialising in psychology which is approved as meeting Psychologists Board requirements (entry on the basis of a master’s degree requires a minimum B+ grade average); and
  • have secured internship employment (paid or unpaid) in a workplace where activities require engagement in psychologically-based practice;
  • have arranged for approved supervision in the field from a New Zealand registered psychologist who works in the agency that is hosting the internship;
  • meet the requirements set down by the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 as being a fit and proper person to be registered; and 
  • be accepted into the qualification by a selection process.

You will need to provide the following documents:  

  • Proposed Internship Checklist*, completed and with prior PGDipPsychPrac approval
  • Proposed Field Supervisor Checklist*, completed and with prior PGDipPsychPrac approval
  • Preliminary (in principle) contract with internship agency* for 1500 hours of supervised practice
  • Preliminary (in principle) contract for supervision* with appropriately registered psychologist
  • PGDipPsychPrac online Application Form
  • Chosen referees identified in your online application form
  • Confirmation from your referees that they have submitted their references before the deadline
  • Enrolled online to begin the university application process 
  • Verified Academic Transcripts including the title and abstract of master’s or doctoral thesis
  • Current Curriculum Vitae
  • Scanned colour copies of passport and driver’s license
  • Completed Supplementary Application Questions*, which include (among other things) four essays totalling up to 2250 words, and answer specific questions about the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for the PGDipPsychPrac
  • Optional: Supporting statements from whānau/family
  • If applicable: Demonstration of English language competence – equivalent to an overall IELTS score of 7.5 with no band lower than 7.0
  • If applicable: Copy of your applications to the appropriate overseas authorities for records of your criminal convictions history and the resulting Police Clearance Certificate if you have resided overseas during the past five years
  • If applicable: NZQA assessment of overseas master’s qualification
  • If applicable: Proof of vaccinations may be required by internship agencies. Each agency specifies the vaccinations that are required of their employees. Please enquire early as the schedule for vaccinations and boosters required may span many months and must be completed (at the cost of the student) before the internship begins. If the vaccinations are not completed in time, you may not be able to begin the internship or the PGDipPsychPrac.

*Each of these documents and guidelines for completing them are available in the qualification's application information booklet (“Information for Interested Students, Supervisors, and Agencies”), which is available from the Academic Support Advisor for Professional Psychology for the School of Psychology (psych.admin.pn@massey.ac.nz).

If you have completed your research degree, it is important that you can verify that the qualification for your master’s or doctoral degree has been finalised. Please check with the university where you completed your qualification that the degree has been conferred before you apply to the PGDipPsychPrac.

For applicants who are still in the process of completing their research degree, for all master’s and doctoral theses we strongly advise submission by 15 November, which is significantly earlier than the official thesis due date. Theses submitted for marking after 15 November in the year that you apply to the PGDipPsychPrac programme are unlikely to be examined and marked in time for registration with the Board. We recommended you plan to complete and submit your thesis by 15 November in order to apply to the PGDipPsychPrac and apply for registration as an intern psychologist with the Psychologists Board. This is a requirement of the Board for registration as an intern psychologist and, therefore, is a requirement for enrolment in the PGDipPsychPrac.

Please email the Academic Support Advisor for Professional Psychology for the School of Psychology (psych.admin.pn@massey.ac.nz) for information about how to apply to the PGDipPsychPrac.

Limited places

There is a limited number of places available. Meeting entry requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the qualification. We will select a shortlist of candidates for interviews and interview appointments will be advised. These panel interviews will be conducted in person on the Manawatū  campus in Palmerston North. Interviews may also be offered on the Albany campus if sufficient numbers of applicants request this option.

Please email the Academic Support Advisor for Professional Psychology for the School of Psychology (psych.admin.pn@massey.ac.nz) for information about how to apply to the PGDipPsychPrac.

Application closing date

Applications close on 1 September each  year for study beginning early in the next academic year. All documentation must be received by this date.

Your referees will receive information about how to submit the confidential reference and the deadline by which their reference must be submitted. Your referees must submit their completed reference forms via the upload button on their referee request email or send to admission@massey.ac.nz before their deadline. It is important that you confirm with your referees that they are aware of their deadline, and also to check with your referees to confirm that they have submitted their forms before their deadline. If your references are not received before the deadline, your application will not be considered.

Supplementary questions

These questions will be included in the application form and are included here to give you an idea of what you might need to consider and prepare in order to apply. Your responses will give us more detailed information about you, your professional goals and aspirations, and your understanding of the qualification. We encourage answers that are brief, direct, and to the point, while still providing sufficient detail.

  1. Internship Agency Contract
    Do you have an ‘in principle’ agreement (this refers to the “Internship Agency Contract” in the “Information for Interested Students, Supervisors, and Agencies” booklet) from an employer for an internship? If yes, describe the nature of this internship; if no, briefly outline what steps you are taking to obtain an internship position.
  2. Internship Field Supervisor Contract
    Do you have an ‘in principle’ agreement (this refers to the “Internship Field Supervisor Contract” in the “Information for Interested Students, Supervisors, and Agencies” booklet) from a programme-approved supervisor?  If yes, provide the name and qualifications of your proposed supervisor for this internship; if no, briefly outline what steps you are taking to find a proposed supervisor for this internship.
  3. Research abstract
    Please provide the abstract and title of your master’s or doctoral thesis.
  4. Work experience/other preparation and research essay
    The PGDipPsychPrac requires completion of academic course work. One of these courses is titled Advanced Professional Issues in Psychological Practice.  Please outline what preparation you have completed for an advanced course of this kind.  For example, have you completed Massey University’s course in Professional Practice, 175.730, or have you taken a similar course elsewhere? What other activities have you undertaken in order to prepare yourself academically for professional practice? Since psychological practice in Aotearoa New Zealand generally follows a “scientist-practitioner” model (broadly defined), it would be helpful if you would describe your research experiences, focusing on how conducting research has prepared you for practice in your professional area of choice. This answer should be 500 words or fewer.  
  5. Cultural essay
    Cultural competence is one of the requirements for a practicing psychologist in Aotearoa New Zealand, prioritising bicultural competence and culturally safe practice that is in accordance with the spirit, provisions, principles, and implementation of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Discuss your reflections on Māori worldviews and practices in relation to your own life experiences, as well as in relation to ngā tirohanga rua o te taha hinengaro (bicultural perspectives in psychology).  It may be appropriate to comment upon specific areas, such as te reo Māori, tikanga Māori, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Mātauranga Māori, Indigenous psychologies, links with local iwi, and your awareness of differences between Māori and Pākehā approaches to mental health.  Next, please also briefly outline your knowledge, skills, and experiences, both formal and informal, that you believe have prepared you to function effectively and respectfully when working with people of different cultural backgrounds, which may include any aspect of culture, such as age, ethnicity, nationality, language, abilities, spiritual beliefs, gender, sexuality, immigration status, and socioeconomic status, for example.  Describe some of your learning goals and plans for enhancing your awareness, understanding, knowledge, and skills in contexts where cultural difference is an important factor.  This answer should be 1000 words or fewer.
  6. Personal statement essay
    Please discuss your reasons for seeking a career in psychology and your interests in psychology.  You also may wish to list the perceived strengths, weaknesses, and knowledge and skill gaps that you will bring to your studies and your training as a psychologist.  This answer should be 500 words or fewer.
  7. Longer-term career goals essay
    Please outline your longer-term career goals.  How will your selected internship offer you the types of supervised experiences that will contribute to these goals?  This answer should be 250 words or fewer.
  8. Challenging circumstances information
    Are there any circumstances in your personal or professional life that might make undertaking the PGDipPsychPrac programme challenging for you?  Are there any circumstances in your personal or professional life that might make you unsuited for registration as a psychologist with the Board (such as criminal convictions, English language ability, or prior rejection for registration in New Zealand, for example; please check the Board’s website so that you can address all Board requirements for registration as appropriate).  If yes, or uncertain, please explain.  There is no word limit for this answer.
  9. Whānau/family supporting statements (optional)
    Your whānau are invited to provide supporting statements for you, should they desire.  There is no word limit for this answer.
  10. Whānau at interview
    If selected for interview, do you intend to bring whānau/family to the interview?  If yes, please provide us with their names and their relationship to you.  (This is not to discourage you from bringing them, but to ensure that we can fully understand and respect their role and contribution to this process.)
  11. Interview location
    If selected for an interview, would Palmerston North or Auckland suit you best?

Registering as an intern

If selected for this qualification, you will be required to apply for registration as an intern psychologist with the New Zealand Psychologists Board. When you apply for registration as an intern, you will need to authorise the PGDipPsychPrac programme and the Registration Board to request a check of your Criminal Record with the New Zealand Police. If you have been resident overseas during the last five years, you will also need to provide the Board with a Police Clearance Certificate (such as FBI Criminal Conviction Information/Fingerprint Information in the USA) or an equivalent form detailing any convictions you have had in any country in which you have lived in the past five years. In that case, with your application to the university, you need to provide a copy of the letter(s) by which you have requested such certificates.

If you need to request international records, we recommend you do so as early as possible - the process can take many months. Please email the Academic Support Advisor for Professional Psychology for the School of Psychology (psych.admin.pn@massey.ac.nz) for additional information and assistance.
 

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. 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.

The internship, with the associated course work, should occur within one calendar year. Part-time options are not available for this qualification.

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 be 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 Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Practice

The internship, with the associated course work, should occur within one calendar year. 

The courses have non-standard start and finish dates; it is safest to assume that the academic year for the PGDipPsychPrac runs from the beginning of January of the year that you enrol and may extend past the end of December to February of the following year or later if a second final examination is required for completion of the qualification.

Part-time options are not available for this qualification.

Practical work requirement

You must undertake a minimum of 1500 hours practical work and provide evidence of its completion. This is to be provided in the form of an employer’s certificate of performance and is required prior to the examination in 175852 Advanced Professional Issues in Psychological Practice Part II.

Courses and specialisations

Key terms

Courses
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).
Credits
Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.
Specialisations
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 course(s) – 120 credits

Course planning key

Prerequisites
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.
Corequisites
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Restrictions
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: 175851 Advanced Professional Issues in Psychological Practice Part I 30 credits

This course is Part I of the core curriculum for students completing the PGDipPsychPrac. The course covers the advanced study of professional psychology theory, models, methods, and principles as they relate to those who are establishing their professional identity and beginning to practice. The integrated curriculum develops student’s knowledge of the New Zealand Psychologists Board Cultural and Core Competencies and provides the scientific and reflective frameworks for safe and ethical practice.

Corequisites: 175853

View full course details
Course code: 175852 Advanced Professional Issues in Psychological Practice Part II 30 credits

This is Part II of the core curriculum for students completing the PGDipPsychPrac. The course covers the advanced study of professional psychology theory, models, methods, and principles as they relate to those who are consolidating their professional identity and attaining entry level competence. The integrated curriculum deepens students’ knowledge of the New Zealand Psychologists Board Cultural and Core Competencies and reflective practice, and addresses the complexities of safe and ethical practice with individuals and systems.

Corequisites: 175854

View full course details
Course code: 175853 Practicum in Psychological Practice Part I 30 credits

This is Part I of the individualised curriculum for students completing the PGDipPsychPrac. For this course students undertake supervised practice with clients in an approved setting. The focus is on the ethical, safe, respectful application of psychological knowledge/theory in practice, and demonstration of the foundations of Core and Cultural Competence. The integrated curriculum allows students to apply their learning in the workplace, establish their professional identity, and attain a strong understanding of the role and obligations of a psychologist in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Corequisites: 175851

View full course details
Course code: 175854 Practicum in Psychological Practice Part II 30 credits

This is Part II of the individualised curriculum for students completing the PGDipPsychPrac. For this course students continue supervised practice with clients in an approved setting. The focus is on preparing for independent practice and consolidating all of the Core and Cultural Competencies. The integrated curriculum allows students to apply their learning in the workplace, effectively manage complexity, and demonstrate attainment of all competencies required to register as a psychologist in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Corequisites: 175852

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.

Scholarship and award opportunities

Search our scholarships and awards

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

Psychological practice isn’t limited to one-to-one services for designated clients with mental health challenges. As a graduate of this qualification, you might use your psychology knowledge to provide psychotherapy or counselling to individuals who are unwell, or you could be providing a different type of psychological service to the public. Common areas of practice include health psychology, kaupapa Māori psychology, community development, working with youth, and rehabilitation psychology.

Our graduates typically work in their community in:

  • health
  • education
  • social services
  • justice.

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