POSTGRADUATE CERTIFICATE

Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies

Develop your counselling knowledge and skills to work more effectively with clients, students or colleagues - or take a first step towards becoming a registered counsellor (when continuing on to apply for our limited-entry, on-campus Master of Counselling).

Learn online from anywhere in Aotearoa New Zealand, combined with up to eight days onsite in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

 

ENTRY TIMES
February 2025
July 2025

DURATION
1 year part-time

PRICE
$4,579* for domestic learners
$21,500* for international learners

*Fees outlined are based on the 2024 fee schedule and are subject to revision each year. Prices include GST where applicable. Non-tuition fees, such as the Student Services Levy (SSL), will also apply.


QUALIFICATION
PGCertCounSt
60 points

Overview


Counselling theory and skills can benefit professionals working across a range of industries, particularly education, health and NGOs.

This postgraduate certificate enables learners to develop their competencies in intentional interviewing and solution-focussed skills, which can be used to support clients, students and colleagues in a range of settings. 

Take the next step towards a meaningful, people-oriented career with our Tuihono UC | UC Online Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies.

Graduates can go onto apply for our fully on-campus Master of Counselling (which enables people to apply for provisional membership with the New Zealand Association of Counsellors - NZAC) or another fully on-campus health qualification, such as our Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences, choosing from a range of endorsements. Please note: the Master of Counselling is a limited-entry programme, with a specific application process

Requirements


To ensure that our learners have the necessary background and experience to succeed, you must have completed an Aotearoa New Zealand bachelor's degree, or equivalent, with a grade average of B or higher in your 300-level (or equivalent) courses. 

If English is your additional language, you are also required to meet UC's English language requirements.

For the full entry requirements, see the Regulations for the Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies or use the admission requirements checker.

Unsure about your suitability?
As part of our application process, your eligibility will be assessed by our counselling academic team to make sure that your academic and/or professional background meets the entry criteria. Unfortunately our Tuihono UC | UC Online team cannot confirm your eligibility before your application is submitted, beyond referring you to the requirements above. We are happy to help answer any general questions you have about the programme or online learning, however. You can get in touch with us here.

Course requirements
The postgraduate certificate is made up of two papers (COUN681 and COUN671), comprising of both online and in-person learning. Learners must attend up to eight days of in-person intensives at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury (up to four days per course). Learners do not need to be already working in counselling practice, with all counselling skills work and assignments able to be completed with classmates.

Structure


The Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies can be studied part-time over 1 year and must be completed within 2 years. 

Time commitment
Learners complete two 30-point courses across two semesters, requiring approximately 18.5 hours of study per week. Study
time includes taking in course material, reflection time and writing assignments.

What you'll study


You'll study two NZQF level 8 postgraduate courses for the Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies. 

Counselling and Psychology: Theories and Skills (COUN671) | 30 points

Description
This course provides the opportunity to study counselling and psychological theories and their implications for practice, along with practice in the skills of an intentional interviewing model of therapy.

Learning outcomes 
On successful completion of this course, it is expected that learners will be able to:

  1. Understand and articulate key issues relevant to the practice of counselling and psychology.

  2. Use basic counselling skills to conduct an effective therapeutic interview in the context of their developing understanding of theory.

  3. Develop and articulate an integrated understanding of several major theories of counselling and psychological interventions that are informed by their examination of their own values and beliefs.

  4. Begin to understand the impact of values, beliefs and culture on the therapeutic process after acquiring a foundational knowledge of working safely and competently with cultural and bicultural awareness.

Solution-focused Theory and Skills with Individuals and Groups (COUN681) | 30 points

Description
Solution-focused therapy is a strengths-based model that emphasises clients' natural resources and successful experiences to help them bring about change and a shift toward their preferred future. The primary purpose of this course is to introduce you to the theory, skills and tools of solution-focused brief therapy. You will examine social constructionism, the theoretical perspective that accounts for shifts in clients' perceptions and definitions and enables them to work towards building a more favourable future. You will also have the opportunity to engage with what it is like to think and act in a solution-focused manner. The emphasis will be on providing a balance of theory and practice to assist you to gain knowledge and confidence in working with individuals, and co-leading groups integrating a solution focused approach with principles of social justice, bicultural and multicultural counselling.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this course, it is expected that learners will be able to:

  1. Evaluate and appraise the underpinning philosophy, assumptions, principles and techniques of solution-focused therapy.

  2. Explore and reflect on the nature of the solution-focused counselling interaction in terms of the diverse participants involved, their needs, meaning-making, expectations and desires.

  3. Demonstrate effective use and reflective critique of solution-focused counselling practice with diverse individuals and groups.

  4. Apply and reflect on principles of social justice, bicultural and multicultural counselling in solution-focused group counselling.

 

Stay updated


If you’re keen to know more, stay updated on when enrolments open or ask a question, please sign up for updates below.  

Please note: Tuihono UC | UC Online has a minimum enrolment threshold that must be met to enable opportunities for interaction, discussion, and feedback. If the minimum number of enrolments required for a course is not met, enrolled learners will be given the option to defer their enrolment to the next course date, or receive a refund. 

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FAQ

What is a Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies?

The Tuihono UC | UC Online Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies is a one-year part-time programme designed to develop your counselling knowledge and skills to work more effectively with clients, students or colleagues - or take a first step towards becoming a registered counsellor (when continuing on to apply for our on-campus Master of Counselling).

 

Why study with Tuihono UC | UC Online?

Bringing together the latest industry-informed learning applicable to your life and career, the Tuihono UC Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies gives you the same quality education as other university programmes with the flexibility of online learning.

This includes 24/7 access, academic advice and technical support, giving you the support to study at your pace.

What are the benefits of studying a Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies with Tuihono UC?

Studying online allows for flexibility in completing coursework, and Tuihono UC’s programme provides learners with the same quality education and resources as other university programmes.

How long does the Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies take?

The programme can be completed in one year of part-time study, and must be completed within two years. 

How is the programme delivered?

The programme is delivered with a majority of coursework online, using a range of technologies including video conferencing, online discussion forums, and interactive learning experiences.

 There is also an element of in-person learning required at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury (up to four days per course).

What career opportunities does this certificate offer?

While this Certificate naturally provides foundational knowledge and skills towards a career as a counsellor, graduates will also find their skills useful across many education, health, and non-government organisations, such as in community mental health, schools, rest homes, or youth work.

NZGovt Key information for students

 

Is this course accredited for registration as a counsellor?

This certificate is not accredited for registration as a counsellor, but it is an ideal pathway for people interested in becoming a registered counsellor through applying for our on-campus Master of Counselling (which enables graduates to apply for provisional registration with the New Zealand Association of Counsellors - NZAC). 

 

When will you have more information to share?

If you register for updates about this programme, we'll be in touch when we have news to share about entry times and enrolment. You can also ask any questions using this registration form, or contact us directly at info@uconline.ac.nz

 

What kind of support is available to learners enrolled in the Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling?

Learners have access to the same support services as on-campus students, including academic advising, technical support, and library resources. There are also great resources for both Waitaha Canterbury based and remote learners at the UC RecCentre. Learn more here.

Learners also have the support of our Tuihono UC Learner Experience team

What are the tuition fees?

The overall cost of tuition fees per 30 point course based on the 2024 fee schedule:

  • for domestic learners is $2,219* incl GST
  • for international learners is $10,750* plus GST if applicable.

Total programme investment for the 120 point programme based on the 2024 fee schedule: 

  • for domestic learners is $4,579* incl GST
  • for international learners is $21,500* plus GST if applicable.

*Please note that the fees are charged on a per year basis and the amount charged reflects the number of courses/points enrolled in the current year. These are based on the 2024 fee structure and subject to revision – you can learn more about UC's Tuition fee structure here.

Student Services Levy costs
Each year university students around Aotearoa New Zealand are charged a Student Services Levy (SSL) in addition to their tuition fees. All the SSL money collected can only be used for the benefit of students - never for academic or administrative costs.

The SSL is automatically calculated on how many points you enrol in per academic year, capped at a maximum of 150 points. Tuihono UC | UC Online learners are charged a reduced SSL rate, which is 20% of the usual on-campus student levy. This is calculated as $1.83 per academic point in 2024. You can learn more about the Student Services Levy here, and more about UC Support Services here.

How can I finance my online Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling?

There are a range of options you can use to finance your study, which you can learn more about here.

 

Can I study on-campus?

An on-campus version of this certificate is available through Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury. You can also choose to start online and transfer on-campus for your second course, and vice versa. 

You can also learn more about further on-campus health qualifications, such as the limited-entry Master of Counselling degree.

We are also developing our online offerings - if you'd like to hear about our latest news and offers, join our mailing list

How do I apply?

Applications are made online through our Tuihono UC | UC Online website – please sign up for updates to stay in the loop about when applications open. 

 

Do you have any enrolment support?

Whether you need advice finding the right course for you or support with the enrolment process, we’re here to help! Contact our enrolment support team for course information, technical help and enrolment support.

 

Do I need to be in counselling practice to study the Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies?

No, you do not already need to be in professional counselling practice to study the online postgraduate certificate. All counselling skills work and assignments can be completed with classmates. 

Can the Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies lead to further study?

The Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies is a standalone professionally relevant qualification but is also a good pathway for further study.

People interested in becoming a registered counsellor can apply for entry to the limited-entry, on-campus Master of Counselling (which enables graduates to apply for provisional registration with the New Zealand Association of Counsellors - NZAC). Please note: the Master of Counselling is a limited-entry programme with a specific application process. 

Students interested in mental health and wellbeing or behaviour change can go on to complete the on-campus Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences or Master of Health Sciences which offer a range of endorsements.

We are also developing our online offerings - if you'd like to hear about our latest news and offers, join our mailing list

 

Can I credit this postgraduate certificate to other study?

Yes, once you've successfully completed the postgraduate certificate, you can apply to credit 60 points towards a relevant further qualification, such as our limited-entry, on-campus Master of Counselling, at the discretion of the relevant University of Canterbury faculty Dean. Read the full requirements in the UC general conditions for credit regulations.