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 International

Domestic student information

Key facts


2 years full-time or part-time equivalent

Enrolment in Trimester 3 in Year 2 is compulsory for international students commencing in Trimester 2 intakes to enable you to complete units in the required sequence and complete the course within the specified course duration of your Letter of Offer and CoE.

Key dates

Direct applications to Deakin for Trimester 1 2024 close 26 November 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, and group 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 200 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

2024 course information

Deakin code
CRICOS code?
112781A Burwood (Melbourne)
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 HPY734 Ethical and Legal Issues in Counselling), 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 DAI001 Academic Integrity Module (0 credit point compulsory unit) in their first trimester of study.

Students are required to meet the University's academic progress and conduct requirements.

Year 1 - Trimester 1

  • Academic Integrity Module (0 credit points)
  • Principles of Counselling and Telehealth
  • Professional Counselling Roles
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Counselling
  • Counselling Diverse Populations
  • Year 1 - Trimester 2

  • Mental Health Counselling
  • Lifespan and Developmental Counselling
  • Contemporary Counselling Therapies
  • Counselling Placement 1
  • Year 2 - Trimester 1

  • Trauma Informed Counselling
  • Sex and Sexuality
  • Counselling Placement 2
  • Counselling and Family Systems
  • Year 2 - Trimester 2

  • Group Counselling
  • Grief and Bereavement Counselling
  • Research in Counselling
  • Relationship Counselling
  • 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.

    Trimester 1 - March

    • Start date: March
    • Available at:
      • Burwood (Melbourne)

      This course has limited places available, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible.

    Trimester 2 - July

    • Start date: July
    • Available at:
      • Burwood (Melbourne)

      This course has limited places available, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible.

    Mandatory student checks

    In order to undertake placement, students will be required to attain a police check and 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 lectures, 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.

    On-campus attendance requirements

    To meet industry accreditation requirements, students must participate in a compulsory on-campus intensive (of either two- or three-days duration) for certain units.  Please note that some units are entirely online, whilst others have a blended delivery of online and one face-to-face on-campus intensive. Please refer to the individual unit details in the online handbook for more information about how each unit is delivered. There are no weekly on-campus attendance requirements in any unit.  

    Participation requirements

    Students will be required to complete 200 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

    Admission criteria

    Selection is based on a holistic consideration of your academic merit, work experience, likelihood of success, availability of places, participation requirements, regulatory requirements, and individual circumstances. You will need to meet the minimum course entry requirements to be considered for selection, but this does not guarantee admission.

    Academic requirements

    To be considered for admission to this degree you will need to meet at least one of the following criteria:

    • completion of a bachelor degree or higher in any discipline
    • evidence of academic capability judged to be equivalent and a recorded person statement (video)

    English language proficiency requirements

    To meet the English language proficiency requirements of this course, you will need to demonstrate at least one of the following:

    Non-academic requirements

    You will also be required to submit a recorded video (personal statement) where you will respond to two questions to assess your suitability. You 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.

    Admissions information
    Learn more about Deakin courses and how we compare to other universities when it comes to the quality of our teaching and learning.

    Not sure if you can get into Deakin postgraduate study? Postgraduate study doesn’t have to be a balancing act; we provide flexible course entry and exit options based on your desired career outcomes and the time you’re able to commit to your study.  

    Fees and scholarships

    Fee information

    Estimated tuition fee - full-fee paying place
    $28,600 for 1 yr full-time - Full-fee paying place
    Learn more about fees and your options for paying.

    The available fee places for this course are detailed above. Not all courses at Deakin have Commonwealth supported places available.  The 'Estimated tuition fee' is provided as a guide only based on a typical enrolment of students completing the first year of this course. The cost will vary depending on the units you choose, your study load, the length of your course and any approved Recognition of prior learning. 

    One year full-time study load is typically represented by eight credit points of study. Each unit you enrol in has a credit point value. The 'Estimated tuition fee' is calculated by adding together eight credit points of a typical combination of units for your course. 

    You can find the credit point value of each unit under the Unit Description by searching for the unit in the Handbook.  

    Learn more about fees and available payment options.

    FEE-HELP calculator

    What is FEE-HELP?

    FEE-HELP loans cover up to 100% of tuition fees for eligible students. By taking out a FEE-HELP loan, the government pays your tuition fees directly to Deakin, and the balance is repaid from your employment income - but only once you're earning over $51,550.

    Please note: fees shown by the calculator are indicative only and based on 2024 rates. Actual fees may vary. We advise confirming fees with Prospective Student Enquiries prior to enrolment.

    Estimate your FEE-HELP

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    • $* is the estimated full cost for a Master of Counselling (16 credit points), based on the 2024 fees.
    • is the annual FEE-HELP payment, based on your current salary
    • of your current salary be spent on FEE-HELP


    Deakin University (Deakin):

    • gives no warranty and accepts no responsibility for the currency, accuracy or the completeness of the information provided;
    • advises users that no reliance should be placed upon on the information provided, and;
    • instructs users that they should confirm the actual course fee with Prospective Student Enquiries prior to enrolment.

    This tool provides indicative information about the fees that will be payable in respect of courses and subjects offered to prospective students domiciled in Australia during the periods indicated.

    Please note that the fees shown by the calculator are indicative only and actual fees may vary. Users are advised to confirm the actual course fee with Prospective Student Enquiries prior to enrolment.

    The estimated course fee is based on the tuition fee costs applicable to a domestic full time student commencing the course in Trimester 1 and studying full time for the duration of the course but:

    • does not include non-tuition costs that may apply, such as Student Services and Amenities Fees (SSAF);
    • does not take into account any scholarships or bursaries awarded to the student (including the 10% Deakin alumni discount);
    • assumes the maximum number of units that need to be successfully completed actual number completed may be reduced if recognition of prior learning is granted;
    • assumes that no exceptional, or non-typical, circumstances apply to the proposed course of study;
    • assumes that the options that the user selects are appropriate for the course of study that they intend to undertake;
    • where fees are estimated for future years those fee will be subject to annual increases in accordance with increases in the cost of course delivery.

    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 for Trimester 1, 2024 are open. Create an account in the Deakin Application Portal, start your application, enter personal details, education experience, upload supporting documents and submit. Need help? Play this video, or contact one of our friendly future student advisers on 1800 693 888 or submit an online enquiry.

    Additional applicant instructions

    Please refer to the additional applicant instructions PDF for information regarding inherent requirements for the course including video upload.

    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.


    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.

    The course is currently seeking accreditation from the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA). Upon graduation, you may be eligible for accreditation with ACA and PACFA, boosting your employment opportunities.

    **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.