Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology

Abstract head with lit up brain

We integrate academic and practical work to produce generalists who adapt to societal needs and changes in service delivery, think critically, and communicate clearly. Our graduates evaluate the effectiveness of professional services, embrace standards of professional ethics, recognise the importance of personal values, and appreciate and respect individual and cultural differences.

The programme was the first of its kind in New Zealand and our graduates have broad areas of practice beyond traditional mental health services, including primary care, general medical, criminal justice, social welfare, education, research and senior administrative/management positions in related areas.

Programme details

Due to the intensity and demands of the course, entry requirements are a minimum of an Honours Bachelor’s degree in psychology (BA (Hons)/BSc (Hons)) or Part I of a Master’s degree in psychology (MA/MSc) from a New Zealand university, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University and approved by the Head of Department.

At a minimum, applicants need to take PSYC 335 Abnormal Psychology (or equivalent) and an honours (400/600) level research methods course prior to applying. Any course combination at honours level is acceptable as long as one of the courses is a research methods course.

It is strongly recommended that students wishing to undertake a placement or internship in the Psychological Service of the Department of Corrections, or those seeking employment within this area upon graduation, take PSYC 428 Forensic Psychology. See also Certificate in Criminal Justice Psychology.

Students completing PSYC 470 Research Project as part of their fourth year degree have the option of enrolling in a PhD straight from their honours year. This project is an automatic part of a BSc (Hons). Students with a BA (Hons) wishing to pursue a PhD and who did not complete PSYC470 would need to first enrol in/for a Master’s degree and then upgrade to a PhD.

Completion of a Maori language course prior to entry is also strongly recommended.

Candidates wishing to qualify as clinical psychologists are required to complete a minimum of a three-year course. However, we strongly encourage students to complete a PhD which takes a minimum of four years when done in conjunction with clinical courses.

Selection for the clinical course is competitive. Typically, a maximum of 10-12 people are selected from a total of more than 50 applicants each year. The course is intellectually demanding so good academic ability is required, and as it involves work with distressed people, some experience with such people is desirable. A high level of tact and competence in interpersonal interactions is also necessary. Previous course work in Maori language is also preferred. The main criteria for selection are:

  • Academic record
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Research interests and experience
  • Experience in social service work, broadly defined

The four criteria above pertain to the shortlisting process. Applicants are shortlisted in October on the basis of the information provided, and interviews are held in November with members of clinical staff and representatives of the Department of Corrections and Canterbury District Health Board. Shortlisted applicants are notified of the outcome in early December when examination results are released.

How to apply

Applications should be made on the Clinical Psychology Application form (Word, 296KB). Hard copies are available from the Professional Programmes Administrator.

Application deadline

The closing date for applications to the programme for the 2018 intake is 30 September 2017, and should be addressed to:

Professional Programmes Administrator
Department of Psychology
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140, New Zealand

More information 

Please consult the Clinical Psychology Handbook (PDF, 272KB) in conjunction with your application.

Further details are available on UC's qualifications pages.

Full course details are available on the UC regulations pages.

Students who have:

  1. Been credited with PSYC 651, PSYC 653, PSYC 654, PSYC 661, PSYC 662, PSYC 670/671/672 and PSYC 428 Forensic Psychology, and
  2. Completed requirements for an MA, MSc or PhD in Psychology with a thesis on a topic approved by the Head of Department as relevant to criminal justice, and
  3. Completed 300 hours of work in a criminal justice setting

are eligible to receive a Certificate in Criminal Justice Psychology.

Students who have completed all requirements, and wish to receive a certificate should contact the Director(s) of Clinical Training.

Available resources

The Psychology Centre is the clinical psychology training and research centre for the Clinical Psychology Programme at UC.

The Centre offers students an opportunity to participate in a wide range of psychological assessments and treatments as part of their practicum course. It is staffed by senior clinical psychologists who teach clinical skills and supervise student's work with clients.

Need more information?

For Clinical Psychology related enquiries, please email the Professional Programmes Administrator.

Anna Leuzzi

Professional Programmes Administrator
Professional Programmes Administrator (Clinical & APSY)
Psychology 227
Internal Phone: 94340

Return to our