Master of Counselling

The Master of Counselling is an internationally-renowned counselling degree. Recognised widely as the first degree to introduce a programme entirely in narrative therapy, this is your opportunity to develop professional skills well-grounded in constructionist theories.

Master of Counselling

Master of Counselling

The Master of Counselling (MCouns) is established as a flagship degree that has seen 92% of graduates over the past six years gain successful employment.

The degree has specifically been designed for professional counsellors or supervisors interested in leadership roles within the New Zealand counselling profession.

The programme has a key teaching focus on providing experiences in which you can further develop your professional attitudes, knowledge and competencies in the areas of counselling, group leadership, mediation and practitioner research. You'll graduate with a high level of knowledge and understanding through the narrative practice this programme is known for.

For the past 20 years, our teaching staff have been active in promoting narrative therapy, beginning with a book staff produced called Narrative Therapy in Practice. Today Waikato is considered a leader in this field with several local and international publications produced each year.

This notable reputation extends also into our thriving doctoral counselling programme.

Make a start this summer with Counselling and Contexts: HDCO549 – 17S (BLK)

Learning outcomes

As a graduate of the MCouns programme, you will have developed competence in the practices of counselling, and established a firm understanding in philosophical and ethical issues relating to professional counselling practice.

You'll learn how to engage critically with the theoretical concepts and research which underpins counselling practice and the knowledge of the professional context within which you work.

Not only will your studies set you up with a well-articulated theoretical position and reflective professional stance in your counselling work, you'll also gain a recognised qualification for membership of New Zealand Association of Counsellors.

 Career opportunities

  • NGO Social Service practices
  • Hospice
  • Private practice
  • Family and relationship counselling
  • Corrections and Probation
  • Youth services
  • Career support
  • Pastoral care
  • School counselling

Key information

Study Locations Hamilton
Faculty Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education
Years 2.0
Start Dates Semester A (February) and Semester B (July)
Domestic Fees $7,044-$7,588 per year
See if you're eligible for fees-free study in your first year
International Fees $27,825 per year
Tuition fees shown above are indicative only and may change. There are additional fees and charges related to enrolment please see the Table of Fees and Charges for more information. You will be sent an enrolment agreement which will confirm your fees.

Scholarships and prizes

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships

Manākitanga (hospitality and care) is offered by Tangata whenua, people of the land, who open the space for collaboration, with the intention of weaving cultural knowledge and practice into the shaping of our counsellor education programme. The significant contributions include interchanges, connections, noho marae and visits to the following marae:

  • Te Kohinga Marama Marae at the University of Waikato (over night noho)
  • Maniaroa Marae at Mokau (week long stay with workshops and presentations)
  • Parihaka (visit to learn about Māori passive resistance to land confiscation).

Professional papers offer students the opportunity to have supported professional experience in community and or education settings. Efforts are made to cater for and respond to the individual student’s particular background and professional education goals.

Practicum placements

In order to gain a place in the programme, students must be able to demonstrate a relationship with a community-based counselling service or school or mental health service, which will give them access to an appropriate practicum placement.

Students must have a commitment to ongoing appropriate professional supervision. However, students will not establish any formal contract with an agency until they have been selected into the Counsellor Education Programme and have received all the necessary information on practicum placements.

In general, students in the first year of a full-time programme complete 200 hours in a professional counselling setting and complete 80 hours of counselling. They will engage in professional supervision*. The supervisor must be a member of a professional helping body such as NZAC, NZASW, NZPsS, or NZAP. Students must engage in a minimum of 16 supervision sessions, in each of the practicum papers. Students should note that NZAC membership now requires supervision with an experienced NZAC Member.

In the second year of the full-time programme the practicum involves 450 hours in counselling settings. Up to three placements may be arranged.

Note: Successful applicants will be completely responsible for setting up an appropriate placement to meet the requirements of the counselling practicum for the various papers.

*There may be a cost involved.

Admission and enrolment

Please note there is a selection process for the MCouns. More information here or


Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education

School Administrator 
Phone: (+64) 7 838 4466 Ext: 9415
Room: TT.6.13

Programme Adviser
Senior Lecturer Dr Elmarie Kotze
Phone:(+64) 7 838 4466 ext 7961
Room: TT5.10

Degree Structure

The degree is made up of a total of eight 500 level papers, a total of 240 points.

It includes four compulsory papers, with the remaining four papers made up from any of the following:

  • Four taught papers
  • A four paper thesis
  • A three paper thesis and one taught paper
  • A two paper thesis and two taught papers

Classroom Intensives

Intensive workshops in block courses on campus are combined with internet-based teaching and learning activities.

Classroom Intensive Dates for 2017

Core Papers

HDCO541 Counselling Skills (pre-requisite for HDCO542, HDCO543 & HDCO545)

HDCO542 Counselling Practicum (co-requisite taken with HDCO545 in same year of study)

HDCO544 Discourse and Counselling Psychologies (pre-requisite for HDCO541)

HDCO545 Professional Practice of Counselling (co-requisite taken with HDCO542 in same year of study).

Optional Papers

HDCO540 Working with Groups*

HDCO543 Counselling Young People and Families (highly-recommended)

HDCO546 Conflict Resolution: Restorative Practices

HDCO549 Counselling and Contexts* (optional module on school counselling, may be required for HDCO541)

*Also available on application to students outside of the MCouns programme who demonstrate relevant background and experience.

Research Papers

TOED590 Directed Study (30 points)

TOED592 Dissertation (60 points)

TOED593 Education Thesis (90 points)

TOED594 Education Thesis (120 points)