Postgraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2015 should refer to this course entry for direction on the requirements; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course.

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This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2015 and should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Education.

Course code3732
Managing facultyEducation
Abbreviated titleMPsych(Couns)/PhD
Standard duration of study (years)

4 years FT, 8 years PT

The student's research master's project is to be conceived from the outset as clearly achievable within the standard duration of the degree, taking into consideration all elements, including any compulsory coursework required.

Study mode and locationOn-campus (Clayton)

This course requires students to undertake off-campus clinical placements.

Admission, fee and application details
Contact details

Research degrees officeResearch degrees office (


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.
  • This course is not available to holders of an Australian international student visa.


This course combines the coursework and placement requirements of the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) accredited Master of Psychology (Counselling) degree with the thesis requirements of the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) course, with research undertaken in one of the areas listed below. Candidature will be probationary with full admission to the course granted in the last three months of the second year of full-time study or part-time equivalent, if performance on all components, including research confirmation proceedings, is satisfactory. This course trains high-achieving psychology graduates in the advanced psychotherapeutic skills and competencies necessary for registration and practice in the specialism of counselling psychology. Students complete an applied research thesis meeting the requirements of the PhD course. In undertaking the PhD research thesis, students use quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods to develop and carry out research which makes an original and substantive contribution to counselling psychology.


Upon successful completion of this course it is expected that graduates will be able to:

(1.) apply a range of evidence-based psychotherapies

(2.) apply sound practice principles concerning the psychotherapeutic relationship and interventions with couples, families and groups

(3.) administer and interpret a wide range of psychological tests and assessment instruments

(4.) liaise and work effectively with other mental health and allied health professionals in a range of organisational contexts

(5.) work in ethically appropriate ways in their psychological practice according to the requirements of the profession

(6.) demonstrate high level skills in mandatory competencies associated with a specialist counselling psychology practitioner

(7.) reflect on their own professional and personal functioning within a therapeutic relationship

(8.) demonstrate knowledge of appropriate research methodologies for the study of human behaviour and of psychological practice

(9.) perform appropriately designed research studies of aspects of human behaviour and of psychotherapeutic practice.

Credit for prior studies

Students who have studied psychology at an equivalent level may be eligible for credit for prior for prior studies. (

Clinical practice units

This course requires students to undertake off-campus clinical placements. Attendance is mandatory for the clinical component of each unit. In the clinical setting, students have an opportunity to apply theory to practice under supervision. For advice on professional experience intervention, support and unsatisfactory progress refer to the Professional experience intervention and support policyProfessional experience intervention and support policy (

Clinical expenses

Students are responsible for all uniform, equipment, travel and accommodation expenses incurred during clinical placement and will be notified regarding purchase arrangements upon commencement.

Provisional registration and mandatory checks and security clearances

Upon commencing the course and before commencing their placement, students must submit proof of provisional registration with the Psychology Board of Australia and a satisfactory Victorian government Working with Children CheckWorking with Children Check (

Professional recognition

Graduates qualify for membership of the Australian Psychological SocietyAustralian Psychological Society (, meet the academic requirements for registration as a psychologist with the Psychology Board of AustraliaPsychology Board of Australia ( and meet most requirements for membership of the College of Counselling Psychologists of the Australian Psychological SocietyCollege of Counselling Psychologists of the Australian Psychological Society ( This course is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC). From 30 June 2016, applicants for general registration who have completed an APAC-accredited master's, doctorate or combined master's/PhD will be required to sit the National Psychology examination.


This course consists of advanced coursework, supervised practica and a research thesis. Students enrol for year one in the Master of Psychology (Counselling). This requires completion of the initial 48 points of the combined degree, consisting of the three coursework units plus the research project unit where students commence preparation of their thesis research proposal. Subject to negotiation, the first practicum unit may also be taken in the first year.

Upon satisfactory completion of the first 48 points, students enrol in the research-intensive component in the Master of Psychology (Counselling)/PhD. In year two, candidates complete the practicum units, further develop and present their research proposal, finalise ethics clearance and progress the research proposal towards confirmation that takes place in the last three months of the year. Enrolment for the final two years is dependent on students satisfying the confirmation process.

Part-time students are enrolled pro-rata, completing the first 48 points of coursework over two years, and on confirmation, are enrolled to complete any remaining practicum units and focus on their research from years three to eight.


Units are 12 credit points unless otherwise stated

Coursework component

Advanced coursework units

  • EDF6501 Psychotherapies: Theory and practice
  • EDF6502 Clinical assessment and psychopathology
  • EDF6503 Advanced professional counselling psychology: Clinical, research, and ethical issues

Research project unit

  • EDF6517 Research and therapeutic interventions in counselling psychology

Practicum units

  • EDF6507 Clinical placement in psychology 1 (0 points)
  • EDF6508 Clinical placement in psychology 2
  • EDF6509 Clinical placement in psychology 3

Research component

Candidates must, in consultation with and under the direct supervision of a member/s of the academic staff:

(a.) carry out a program of research on an agreed topic approved by the faculty for a specified period, including attending and/or presenting at seminars and other related activities as indicated by the relevant department/school.

(b.) submit for assessment a thesis of not more than 80,000 words on the program of research which meets the requirements of the examiners. Submission of the thesis based on or partially based on conjointly published or unpublished workconjointly published or unpublished work ( may be permitted.

(c.) complete a minimum of 120 hours of additional coursework study and training as directed by their supervisor/s.

In addition to the coursework grades required for admission to the Master of Psychology/PhD, candidates must pass all coursework units. If a candidate fails a coursework component of their degree, they can repeat the relevant unit once in a later semester. Candidates who fail to pass the repeat attempt of the unit will be subject to a termination process under the Candidature Progress Management regulationsCandidature Progress Management regulations ( (refer also to the Candidature Progress Management policy and proceduresCandidature Progress Management policy and procedures (

Research areas

A wide variety of thesis topics related to modalities of counselling psychology and lifespan psychotherapy are possible, subject to available supervision. Contact the faculty's Research Degrees OfficeResearch Degrees Office ( for further information. Topics include:

  • spirituality in counselling and psychotherapy
  • mindfulness and psychological wellbeing
  • clinician development and self-care
  • therapeutic relationships
  • change in psychotherapy
  • transpersonal psychotherapy
  • environmental psychology and ecopsychology
  • counselling children and adolescents
  • counselling supervision
  • culture-sensitive psychotherapy
  • diversity counselling
  • group psychotherapy
  • meaning and wellbeing
  • narrative therapy and counselling
  • arts psychotherapies
  • psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapies
  • psychotherapy with older adults
  • relationship therapy
  • resilience and coping
  • school counselling
  • special needs counselling
  • spiritualities and psychological wellbeing
  • grief and end of life issues.

Alternative exit(s)

Students may exit this course early and apply to graduate with the following, provided they have satisfied the requirements for that award:

  • Master of Psychology (Counselling).


Master of Psychology (Counselling)/Doctor of Philosophy