Master of Counselling

Postgraduate coursework

Build the analytical and communication skills needed to effectively and compassionately support individuals facing mental health and everyday life challenges.

Domestic student information

Key facts


2 years full-time or part-time equivalent

Key dates

Direct applications to Deakin for Trimester 2 2023 close 28 May 2023

Current Deakin Students

To access your official course details for the year you started your degree, please visit the handbook

Course overview

More than 43% of Australians aged 16 to 85 have experienced a mental health challenge throughout their life*. With growing demand for counselling services, our Master of Counselling will help you build the advanced analytical and communication skills needed to support individuals, couples, and groups through mild to moderate mental health and developmental challenges.

Want to take the next step in your career and help people improve their mental wellbeing?

Whether you are from a counselling background or a related field like teaching, healthcare, or social work, the Master of Counselling will equip you with the skills to connect with and compassionately support your clients. You will graduate with 200 hours of practical experience, preparing you to provide personalised support to clients tailored to their unique circumstances. Through practical learning opportunities, you will learn how to apply complex counselling theories to identify and address emotional issues, using cognitive behaviour therapy, emotion-focused therapy, and other talking therapies.

Your learning will be shaped by our School of Psychology’s cutting-edge research, rated as well-above world standard^. You will critically explore contemporary research in the field, as well as a diverse range of specialist counselling topics including trauma, grief, sex and sexuality, relationship counselling, group counselling, and forensic counselling. In addition to working with clients face-to-face, you will learn how to provide support via video call, telephone, and through other digital communication tools, which are each becoming increasingly important in modern counselling practice.

As a Master of Counselling graduate, you will demonstrate specialist knowledge of counselling roles, as well a practical understanding of skills, theory, interventions, and ethics across the lifespan to a variety of audiences. This includes:

  • counselling micro-skills
  • mental health issues
  • professional practice issues
  • human development
  • counselling diverse populations
  • counselling therapies
  • ethics.

Complement your theoretical learning with 240 hours of valuable placement experience, where you will engage with clients of diverse backgrounds and age groups. Enabling you to further enhance your skills in building rapport with clients and providing personalised support through assessment and intervention strategies. Your placement hours will include autonomous direct client contact, non-contact activities, supervised training, as well as collaboration with other mental health professionals, preparing you to work in supervisory, leadership, and managerial roles.

Want to boost your career opportunities in shorter time? We offer a Graduate Certificate of Counselling and Graduate Diploma of Counselling, which are perfect for those wanting to upskill in a shorter timeframe.

 * Australian Bureau of Statistics National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing, 2020-21
^ Excellence in Research Australia, 2015-2018

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Course information

Award granted
Master of Counselling

2023 course information

Deakin code
Higher Degree Coursework (Masters and Doctorates)
Approval status

This course is approved by the University under the Higher Education Standards Framework.

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) recognition

The award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 9.

Course structure

To complete the Master of Counselling students must attain 16 credit points. All units are core (these are compulsory).

You must complete two essential units that have been designed to prepare you with the knowledge and skills to begin placement (HPY730 Principles of Counselling and Telehealth and HPY732 Professional Counselling Roles), before undertaking HPY737 Counselling Placement 1. Although, you could begin sourcing a placement earlier.

Students should enrol in the Trimester 2 offering of HPY733 Lifespan and Developmental Counselling and HPY736 Contemporary Counselling Therapies.

All commencing Faculty of Health Undergraduate and Postgraduate course work students are required to complete HAI010 Academic Integrity in their first semester of study (0 credit point compulsory unit).

Students are required to meet the University's academic progress and conduct requirements. Click here for more information.

Year 1 - Trimester 2
  • Academic Integrity (0 credit points)
  • Mental Health Counselling
  • Lifespan and Developmental Counselling
  • Contemporary Counselling Therapies
  • Year 2 - Trimester 1

  • Principles of Counselling and Telehealth
  • Professional Counselling Roles
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Counselling
  • Counselling Diverse Populations
  • Year 2 - Trimester 2

  • Research in Counselling
  • Group Counselling
  • Relationship Counselling
  • Grief and Bereavement Counselling
  • Year 2 - Trimester 3

  • Counselling Placement 1
  • Year 3 - Trimester 1

  • Counselling Placement 2
  • Trauma Informed Counselling
  • Counselling and Family Systems
  • Sex and Sexuality
  • Intakes by location

    The availability of a course varies across locations and intakes. This means that a course offered in Trimester 1 may not be offered in the same location for Trimester 2 or 3. Check each intake for up-to-date information on when and where you can commence your studies.

    Mandatory student checks

    In order to undertake placement, students will be required to attain a police check. some placement opportunities may require students to also attain a "Working with Children" check, or equivalent based on their State of residence.

    Students undertaking placement in any environment may be required to work with children, or incidentally exposed to children due to the nature of the counselling profession. Hence, the University has an obligation to ensure that students are suitable for placement and the children they work with are safe.

    To gain professional accreditation with the Australian Counselling Association, students are required to disclose and explain any professional misconduct, formal complaints made against them as a counsellor, serious criminal offences, current investigations, or refusal of application to work with children.


    As a student in the Faculty of Health you can expect to participate in a range of teaching activities each week. This could include classes, seminars, practicals, placements and online interaction. You can refer to the individual unit details in the course structure for more information. You will also need to study and complete assessment tasks in your own time. Teaching, placements and assessment tasks may take place outside of Deakin University teaching periods.

    Participation requirements

    Students will be required to complete 240 hours of placement, composed of client contact, supervision and non-contact counselling related activities.

    Placement is an essential component of the course, required for Australian Counselling Association registration. When students complete the course, they may be asked to submit evidence of their placement with a detailed log book of hours attained.

    Entry requirements

    Entry information

    English language requirements

    All applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements.

    Selection is competitive and meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee selection.

    Entry requirements include:

    • Bachelor Degree or higher OR
    • evidence of academic capability judged to be equivalent
    The applicant’s suitability for the program is determined by academic experience and personal statement. All applicants will submit a recorded video (personal statement) where they will respond to two questions to assess their suitability. Students may be asked to attend an interview if more information is required.

    Preference may be given to applicants with an equivalent credit average (65%) or above.

    • Bachelor Degree or higher in any discipline OR
    • evidence of academic capability judged to be equivalent

    Fees and scholarships

    Fee information

    Estimated tuition fee - full-fee paying place
    $26,800 for 1 yr full-time - Full-fee paying place
    Learn more about fees and your options for paying.

    Fees and charges vary depending on your course, your fee category and the year you started. To find out about the fees and charges that apply to you, visit

    Scholarship options

    A Deakin scholarship might change your life. If you've got something special to offer Deakin – or you just need the financial help to get you here – we may have a scholarship opportunity for you.

    Search or browse through our scholarships

    Postgraduate bursary

    If you’re a Deakin alumnus commencing a postgraduate award course, you may be eligible to receive a 10% reduction per unit on your enrolment fees.

    Learn more about the 10% Deakin alumni discount

    Apply now

    Apply direct to Deakin

    Applications can be made directly to the University through the Deakin Application Portal. For information on the application process and closing dates, see the how to apply web page. Please note that closing dates may vary for individual courses.

    Need more information on how to apply?

    For more information on the application process and closing dates, see the How to apply webpage. If you're still having problems, please contact us for assistance.

    Contact information

    Our friendly advisers are available to speak to you one-on-one about your study options, support services and how we can help you further your career.

    Call us 1800 693 888 (Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm)
    Live Chat Mon–Thurs, 8am–7pm, Fri 8am–5pm


    Career outcomes

    There is strong demand for counsellors in Australia, with 14.2% projected employment growth by November 2026**. Counsellors work across a broad range of roles related to mental health, disability, allied health, and social support services. Some roles may include:

    • youth work and school counselling
    • mental health support
    • career and professional guidance
    • telephone/online counselling services
    • trauma counselling
    • drug and alcohol counselling
    • grief support
    • relationship and family counselling
    • sex and sexuality support services.

    Our Master of Counselling is accredited with the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) Australia's leading single registration body for Counsellors and Psychotherapists.

    You may choose to become a student member of ACA whilst you study. Upon graduation you will be eligible to apply as a Registered Counsellor level 2 member with ACA, boosting your employment opportunities, establishing valuable networks and expanding your professional development opportunities.

    This course is also currently seeking accreditation with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA). Upon graduation, you may be eligible for membership with PACFA.

    **2021 Employment Outlook – for the five years to November 2026, Australian Government, Jobs and Skills Australia.

    Course learning outcomes

    Deakin's graduate learning outcomes describe the knowledge and capabilities graduates can demonstrate at the completion of their course. These outcomes mean that regardless of the Deakin course you undertake, you can rest assured your degree will teach you the skills and professional attributes that employers value. They'll set you up to learn and work effectively in the future.

    Graduate Learning Outcomes

    Course Learning Outcomes

    Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

    Demonstrate specialist knowledge of counselling roles, and knowledge and application of skills, theory, interventions, and ethics across the lifespan to a variety of audiences relevant to professional counselling.


    Employ clear written and oral communication skills to effect therapeutic change among diverse client groups. Convey complex counselling theories and ideas to a variety of audiences, including clients, colleagues, and other professionals.

    Digital literacy

    Use a range of digital tools to locate and disseminate counselling information and client resources. Awareness and use of digital tools to provide counselling.

    Critical thinking

    Identify, synthesize, integrate, and critically reflect on research to inform counselling practice.

    Problem solving

    Appraise, select, and apply specialised counselling skills and knowledge to understand and work with. Initiate, plan, and implement tailored counselling interventions that address client issues.


    Demonstrate high-level self-management and awareness in learning and practice that reinforces the importance of responsibility, accountability, and ethics in professional counselling.


    Work effectively in supervisory, leadership, and managerial capacities with diverse ethnic and cultural partners and teams to promote professional competence and growth. Communicate and collaborate with other mental health professionals to support clients.

    Global citizenship

    Evaluate and apply ethical principles to work productively in the field of counselling within diverse social, cultural and environmental contexts. Collaborate and communicate in a self-reflective and culturally sensitive manner.