Counselling

young woman in counselling session

Counselling is a process in which people evaluate themselves, make choices, accept responsibility for those choices and decide on courses of action that are consistent with those choices.

The relationship between counsellor and client is an alliance, in which both trust and understanding are essential. The research and professional domain of Counselling overlaps with other professional areas such as Psychology, Health Sciences, Social Work, Education and Sociology.

UC's Master of Counselling is the only postgraduate Counselling programme in the South Island and takes a solution-focused approach. Graduates working in professional practice will enhance and promote the positive growth, wellbeing, and mental health of individuals, families and groups.

Counselling is a profession that attracts people who have a developed understanding of themselves, a high level of empathy, the basic desire to help other people and an interest in issues of social justice.

We offer the flexibility to study full or part-time and utilise distance learning, enabling students to continue to work while studying for their qualification. We mostly use a format of intensive workshops (for practice-based teaching) alongside internet-based teaching and learning activities. The intensive workshops vary between two to five days. 

Practical experience in a related field is recommended before applying for the Master of Counselling. This could include church work, volunteering at a school, telephone counselling or working with a community mental health provider. Experience which encourages the development of skills for relating to people are also valuable, for example, nurse aiding, working in a rest home or working with children with special needs.

There are three pathways available in the Master of Counselling, each with slightly different entry requirements. The pathways are:

  • Incorporating counselling papers HLTH 481, COUN 678 and/or COUN 679 in other postgraduate programmes. Here entry requirements are determined by the other programmes.
  • Studying part-time towards a Master of Counselling. This normally involves enrolling in HLTH 481 and/or COUN 678 and/or COUN 679. Entry requirements are similar to those for other post-graduate programmes.
  • Studying full-time, or transferring into the limited-entry papers (COUN 675 and COUN 672) with the intention of completing the Master of Counselling for which you need an undergraduate degree, preferably with a major in social sciences and practical experience in counselling, teaching, nursing, social work or an equivalent profession.

To study full-time for a Master of Counselling you will need:

Part-time students should contact a Student Advisor for advice.

Applications for the limited entry courses (COUN 675 and COUN 672) open on September 1 and close on October 1. Please use the application forms listed above. Enrolment is limited to 12 students per year.

Selection is based on written applications, academic records, referees' reports and interviews. Interviews will be scheduled in November. To be selected for an interview you must be eligible to enrol in the Master of Counselling programme.

This means you must include the following with your application: If you are a new postgraduate student in the College of Education, Health and Human Development send certified copies of all previous tertiary academic transcripts from universities other than Canterbury and details (verified by an employer or supervisor) of your work history as a counsellor.

If you are a continuing postgraduate student in the College of Education, Health and Human Development include details (verified by an employer or supervisor) of any work history as a counsellor.

For all enquiries about the programme contact:

Judi Miller

Associate Professor
Counsellor Education Programme Coordinator
Waimairi 215
Internal Phone: 93525

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