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Programme list > Master of Counselling Studies

Master of Counselling Studies


Get an advanced professional counselling qualification

Massey’s Master of Counselling Studies is an NZAC-accredited professional training programme that will prepare you for employment as a counsellor.

  • Level

  • Postgraduate, NZQF Level 9
  • Distance learning

  • Available
  • Credits

  • 120
  • Duration

  • 1 year(s) full-time.
  • Other

  • Selected entry programme

Massey’s Master of Counselling Studies is a NZAC-accredited professional training programme. You’ll develop and apply research-informed knowledge and skills relevant to effective professional counselling practice. You’ll also advance your ability to undertake, analyse and use research relevant to your practice and profession and will gain a minimum of 200 supervised practice hours.

Get qualified

This qualification gives eligibility to apply for provisional membership of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC).

Careers and further study


Our graduates work as counsellors in education settings, community agencies, or other areas associated with health and social services.

Entry requirements

University admission

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

Programme admission


This programme is a selected entry programme. This means there are a number of extra requirements you must meet.   

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 programme.

You will be selected into the programme 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 bi-cultural and pluralistic approaches
  • contact details of agencies/settings where you will undertake your counselling practice placement
  • contact details of two referees
  • contact details for a potential supervisor external to your placement (if already arranged).

See more details about these requirements below.

If you are interested in applying, please contact us through the Enquire button and request a Counselling and Guidance Information Handbook.

Application closing date

If you are a new-to-Massey student, applications for this programme close on 6 November 2020.

English language requirements

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

Other requirements

About the selection process

The selection panel look for readiness in relation to personal and interpersonal awareness, attitudes and 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 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

Your CV should 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. 


If your application meets the expected criteria, you will be required to attend an interview (individual or group) via Zoom. 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.

‘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.

Personal Statement

Part A: 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.

Describe what you have learned about counselling, including your understanding of 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  


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

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, 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.

By the commencement date

Counselling practice placement

You are responsible for organising a placement for your counselling practice, before you commence this programme. We strongly suggest that applicants begin looking for a placement early.

See further details below.

Feel free to get in touch with us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions or to request a programme guide.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

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

If you do not have the entry requirements

English language and foundation courses

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, we have courses and programmes that may help.

Courses and planning

Credit summary

120 credits

From the Schedule to the Degree including:

  • Completion of supervised practice.

Compulsory courses

Research report


Attend workshops, tutorials, and laboratories as required.

See ‘Courses for this programme’ below for schedules of courses.

Courses for this programme

Compulsory courses (120 credits)

120 credits
253761 Professional Development in Counselling I 45
253762 Professional Development in Counselling II 30
253800 Research Project in Counselling 45

Planning your programme

Planning overview

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.

You are responsible for organising a placement for your counselling practice, before you commence this programme. Therefore we strongly suggest you begin looking for your placement early. Placements are subject to approval by the Institute of Education and typically run for the duration for the programme.

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. You will need to identify a suitable supervisor and then seek approval from the Institute of Education. 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 programme.

Research project

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.

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

Contact workshops

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

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.

Completion of the MCounsStuds

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

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 programme if you wish to continue your studies.

Time limits for Honours, Distinction and Merit

Where your qualification is completed within the stated time limit and to a high standard, you may be able to graduate with a class of Honours, Distinction or Merit. 

Fees and scholarships

Fees and finance

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?

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

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 will find their National Student Number on their student homepage.

A good fit if you:

  • wish to gain employment in counselling and provisional membership with NZAC
  • want to develop critical research skills and knowledge about a counselling-related area
  • have relevant experience related to counselling.

Key information for students

Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.


Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.

Postgraduate regulations

General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates.

Regulations for this programme

Applying and enrolling

Applying for the programme

Check you are ready

If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.

Choose your programme and click on Apply now

You will apply for the programme using the Apply now button on this page. You’ll also choose your specialisation (major, subject or endorsement) if applicable.

Some programmes have additional requirements such as the submission of a portfolio or CV. Click on Apply now and you will be able to submit those documents as part of the application process.

Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place

You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.

Enrolling in courses

You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.

When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:

  • prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
  • corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
  • restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
  • location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.

Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.

More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.

You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.

We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!

If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.

What are courses and credits?

What are courses and credits?

Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).

You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.

Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.

There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.

  • See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
  • Courses search

Understanding course numbers

The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.

The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:

  • sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
  • undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
  • as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study.
1 6 2 . 3   0 1
Subject area   Level   Course ID number

Workload and time management

Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.

Estimate workload

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 programme 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 programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.

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

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.

Find and apply for scholarships