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Monash University

Master of Psychology (Counselling) and Doctor of Philosophy Preliminary

Course code: 3731 ~ Course abbreviation: MPsych(Couns)/PhDPrelim ~ 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Master of Psychology (Counselling) and Doctor of Philosophy

Course code: 3732 ~ Course abbreviation: MPsych(Counselling)/PhD ~ 4* years full-time, 8# years part-time

    *Includes one year full-time Preliminary course, code 3731
    #Includes two years part-time Preliminary course, code 3731

Study mode and course location

On-campus (Clayton)

Off-campus (Clayton)

Course description

The Master of Psychology (Counselling)/PhD is a four year full time course combining the coursework and placement requirements of the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC)-accredited Master of Psychology (Counselling) degree with the thesis requirements of the PhD program, with research undertaken in one of the areas listed below. This course has been designed to meet the requirements of the Australian Psychological Society College of Counselling Psychologists, with APAC accreditation being sought for the combined program. Students will initially enter the program through the Master of Psychology (Counselling)/PhD Preliminary. Candidature will be probationary with full admission to the program granted in the last three months of the second year of full time study, or equivalent for part time study if performance on all components, including research confirmation proceedings, is satisfactory.

Course Objectives

In this degree, high achieving psychology graduates are trained in the advanced psychotherapeutic and skills and competencies necessary for registration and practice in counselling psychology, and in addition, complete an applied research thesis meeting the requirements of the PhD program. At the completion of the coursework units, students will have been trained to apply sound practice principles concerning the psychotherapeutic relationship and interventions, critically discuss and apply current research concerning the scientific evaluation of psychotherapies in use, and administer and interpret a wide range of psychological tests and assessment instruments. Competencies for working with individuals, couples, and groups in a sound ethical context will be developed. During the field practica, students will build on case conceptualisation and clinical capacities and the ability to liaise and work effectively with other specialist mental health professionals. In undertaking the PhD research thesis, students will use quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods to develop and carry out research which will be an original and substantial contribution to counselling psychology.

Entry requirements

Admission to candidature for the Master of Psychology (Counselling) and Doctor of Philosophy degree requires:

  • a degree with first class honours (H1), which also qualifies as a four year Australian Psychology Accreditation Council approved degree with a major in psychology; or
  • completion of the first year of the Master of Psychology (Counselling) with a high distinction (HD) average in two units (one of which must be the research project unit) and a minimum overall average of distinction (D); or
  • an equivalent from an Australian or recognised overseas university, as determined by the Faculty of Education Board and APS; and
  • demonstrated suitability for work as a professional psychologist, determined by two satisfactory referee reports and, for shortlisted applicants, a satisfactory interview.

Special requirements

Prior to commencing their placement, students must obtain probationary registration with the Psychologists Registration Board of Victoria and satisfactory Victorian Government Working with Children Check

Course Structure

When taken full time, this is a four year course in which students commence by enrolling for year 1 in the Master of Psychology (Counselling)/PhD Preliminary. This encompasses completion of the initial 48 points of the combined degree consisting of the three course work 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 will enrol in the research intensive component of the Master of Psychology (Counselling)/PhD. In year two candidates complete the practicum units, further develop and present their research proposal, finalise ethical clearance, and progress the research proposal toward 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. On completion of the course, students submit a PhD thesis of between 80,000 and 100,000 words, which is examined according to the Monash Research Graduate School requirements for PhD studies.

Part time students are enrolled pro-rata completing the first 48 points of work over two years, and on confirmation are enrolled to complete any remaining practicum units and focus on their research from Years 3 to 8.

Students applying for off campus study must be able to ensure regular interactive communication with their supervisor and be able to undertake the equivalent of 15 days of full-time study within the university each year they are enrolled in the PhD thesis, although this requirement may be relaxed in later years depending on the candidate's progress.

Course requirements

Advanced Coursework units

  • EDF6501 Counselling psychology: theory, research 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
  • EDF6508 Clinical placement in psychology 2
  • EDF6509 Clinical placement in psychology 3

Research areas

Details of the research interests of staff can be found on their respective web pages; contact the Research Degrees Office for further information. A wide variety of thesis topics related to modalities of counselling psychology and lifespan psychotherapy are possible, subject to available supervision. These include:

  • culture-sensitive psychotherapy
  • diversity counselling
  • counselling adolescents
  • psychotherapy with older adults
  • counselling children
  • school counselling
  • special needs counselling
  • relationship therapy
  • group psychotherapy
  • psychodynamic counselling and psychotherapy
  • cognitive and behavioural psychotherapy
  • narrative therapy and counselling
  • arts psychotherapies
  • counselling supervision
  • resilience and coping
  • meaning and wellbeing
  • spirituality in counselling and psychotherapy
  • clinician development and self care
  • clinical supervision

Contact details

Telephone: +61 3 9905 2877; Research Degrees Office: +61 3 990 52821

Course adviser

Dr Janette Simmonds