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Child and Family Psychology

26 October 2023

UC's postgraduate Child and Family Psychology programme is unique in New Zealand. It's taught by academic and clinical staff from our School of Health Sciences with other teaching staff. Learn more about studying Child and Family Psychology with us.


Our Postgraduate Diploma in Child and Family Psychology was designed to meet market demand for registered psychologists specifically trained to work with children, adolescents and families.

Our programme places a strong emphasis on consideration of strengths and resiliencies as well as challenges and difficulties, all within the context of the child's environment. We focus on children’s mental health and emotional well-being as well as their learning. We also aim to reflect the social and political context of children in Aotearoa New Zealand with an appropriate bicultural emphasis. We also include areas such as parenting, adult mental health and relationships in recognition that children and adolescents do not exist in isolation but are part of family and wider community systems.

Quick Links

Pukemanu Centre

Child and Family Psychology FAQs and Thesis Guide

Application and Selection information

CFPY Thesis Registration Form

Applications for Postgraduate Diploma in Child and Family Psychology due: 1 October

The content of the programme aims to be:

  • Intellectually rigorous
  • Based on recent international and national theory, research and trends
  • Evidence-based
  • Reflective of children’s ecology and contexts
  • Focused on the strengths, resiliencies and protective mechanisms of children and families
  • Informed by the social and political context of children in Aotearoa (New Zealand)

Graduates will have a grounding in the theory and skills required for work with children, and their families in all the contexts within which they present for help and support. These contexts include health, education, welfare, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

The programme offers two qualifications.


Master's study

This programme does not lead to registration as a psychologist.

The Masters degree (Master of Arts or Master of Science in Child and Family Psychology or an approved Master of Education) consists of a two-year programme, open to graduates with an appropriate background in Psychology. It provides an equivalent qualification to an MA or MSc in Psychology for students who have a special academic, vocational or research interest in Child and Family Psychology. It is also possible for students to complete the coursework and a relevant thesis within a Master of Education (MEd) degree. (For students wishing to complete only 1 year of study, a 120-point Postgraduate Diploma in Science in Child and Family Psychology is available from Part I of the Master's schedule).


Postgraduate Diploma in Child and Family Psychology

The professional training programme is the limited-entry PGDipChFamPsyc. This is the pathway to professional registration as a psychologist with the New Zealand Psychologists’ Board under the Health Practitioner's Competence Assurance Act (2003). Students ordinarily enrol in the first year of the Master's degree then apply for selection to this limited-entry programme in October of that year. After completing their Master's degree and the first year of the PGDipChFamPsyc, students undertake a 1500-hour internship year alongside further academic papers.

Students entering the Master's programme typically have completed a three-year undergraduate degree with a major in Psychology, which requires achieving a pass in PSYC 206 Research Design and Statistics or an equivalent research methods course. In addition, all prospective students will normally be expected to have at least a B average in their 300-level undergraduate courses. 

Apart from the Research Methods requirement, we encourage a broad base in your undergraduate study of Psychology or Psychology and Education. As well as the obvious papers in child development, family psychology, abnormal psychology, counselling and applied behaviour analysis, papers considering inclusive practice and education provide an excellent and relevant preparation.

Students with a major in Education or Teaching and a minor in Psychology (including PSYC 206 or equivalent) may complete the Master's programme as a MEd and are eligible to apply for entry to the PGDipChFamPsyc once they have completed the six 400-level courses.


Masters Programme Structure:

Part one is made up of:

  • CFPY601 Disorders of Childhood and Adolescence (.25 EFTS)
  • CFPY602 Child and Adolescent Development: Research, Contexts and Applications (.25 EFTS)
  • CFPY603 Introduction to Interventions (.25 EFTS)
  • COUN671 Counselling and Psychology: Theory and Skills (.25 EFTS)
  • HLTH472 Introduction to Psychometric Theory and Administration (.125 EFTS) 
  • An approved research methods course (.125 EFTS) - this can be one of HLTH462EDEM694EDEM697PSYC460 or their equivalents.

Part two consists of a thesis, in a topic approved by the Child and Family Psychology Programme Coordinator.

Check the specific requirements and programme structure for each qualification in the degree regulations:

New students apply to enrol in the six foundation year courses within either an MA or MSc in Child and Family Psychology (or as part of an approved course of study within an MEd degree). On rare occasions, students assessed to have completed equivalent coursework or a relevant thesis may gain approval to complete fewer courses within either a Postgraduate Diploma of Science or a Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences or Education.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Child and Family Psychology requires students to undertake placements in the community, including in schools/kura, early childhood centres, or health/medical facilities. For this qualification you may need to be vaccinated in line with the NZ Government regulations, and supply evidence of your vaccination status.

The Master of Arts (Child and Family Psychology), Master of Education (Child and Family Psychology) and Master of Science (Child and Family Psychology) programmes are strongly connected to our communities of practice. For many of our programmes, you may not be able to complete research or practice-oriented courses if you are not vaccinated. This is due to research/practice taking place in health centres and schools/kura where all employees and volunteers are required to be vaccinated. For these courses you will be required to be vaccinated in line with the NZ Government regulations, and supply evidence of your vaccination status.

For all enquiries please contact:

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