Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy

Key Facts

Course Code: CP091
Location: Hawthorn East
Study Load: Full-time (2 years)
Part-time (4 years)
Delivery Mode: In-Person
Intake: Semester 1 each year
Application Type: Domestic and International
Fees: $50,568* Domestic
$60,984* International
CRICOS code: 092969C
Post-nominal: MCAP

Course Overview

The Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy provides high-level training in the skills required to work effectively with a wide variety of clients. The program provides a deep immersion into the theory and practice of an integrative, humanistic, process-oriented, relational psychotherapy that incorporates contributions from the psychodynamic, cognitive and existential approaches.

Students in the program are provided with a philosophically aligned and cohesive program which supports their ability to relate to themselves, their clients and their work with genuine caring presence and respectful engagement.

There is a strong experiential focus to provide a hands-on, practice-oriented training and learning experience. The course adheres to solid evidence-informed principles of the common factors that characterise effective counselling and psychotherapeutic work, also providing a firm grounding in the professional, ethical, and legal issues associated with practice. Students in the program are trained in research methods and participate in a process-oriented research case study, to give them a unique opportunity to contribute to learning in the field.

It is the only course of its kind to provide students with a fully supported placement experience, including sourcing placement opportunities through established industry partnerships and providing intensive in-house individual and group supervision, to fully prepare students for the workplace. Cairnmillar’s Counselling and Psychotherapy programs are taught exclusively by respected therapist-academics practicing in the field, who work as a team to support each student’s learning.

What more does this course offer you?

  • Robust placement program – with excellent links to quality industry partner organisations. We’ll find a placement for you!
  • Professional and experiential learning from a cohesive team of respected therapists and academics in the fields of counselling and psychotherapy.
  • Group and individual practicum supervision by experienced practitioner-supervisors.
  • Risk assessment and crisis intervention skills training.

2023 Course Information Session

Please note: Cairnmillar’s courses are subject to minimum and maximum group numbers. Courses may be cancelled or postponed if minimum numbers are not achieved by the start date of the course. Courses may close prior to the start date if the maximum numbers are reached. In that situation, eligible applicants will be offered a place in the next available intake.

Application Period

Applications for February 2024 are now closed!

Course Structure

The Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy consists of 200 credit points. Integrating the Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma within the first year, students undertake a total of 16 units of study.

This consists of twelve coursework units (150 credit points), two placement units (25 credit points) and two research relevant units (25 credit points).

Full-time (2 year) course structure:

Year Semester Unit Code Unit Name Credit Points
1 1 CAP401 Psychotherapeutic Theories and Models 12.5
1 1 CAP402 Person-Centred Counselling 12.5
1 1 CAP412 Ethics and Professional Development 12.5
1 1 CAP417 Assessment Process in Counselling and Psychotherapy 12.5
1 2 CAP404 Facilitating Therapeutic Change 12.5
1 2 CAP405 Cognitive Behavioural Therapies 12.5
1 2 CAP461 Counselling Placement 1 12.5
1 2 CAP414 Treatment Planning 12.5
2 1 CAP561 Counselling Placement 2 12.5
2 1 CAP509 Child and Family Therapy 12.5
2 1 CAP551 Research Methods and Project 12.5
2 1 CAP511 Interpersonal Processes in Psychotherapy 12.5
2 2 CAP507 Key Competencies in Brief Dynamic Psychotherapy 12.5
2 2 CAP505 Exploring Process Experiential Emotion Focused Therapy 12.5
2 2 CAP506 Existential Psychotherapy and the Group Process 12.5
2 2 CAP510 Trauma, Loss and Grief Therapy 12.5


Entry Requirements

Admission directly into the Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy requires:

  • A Bachelors degree (AQF level 7) in a related discipline (e.g., teaching, social work, psychology or counselling) with a minimum weighted average mark of 70.
  • Prospective students who have a Bachelors degree in a non-relevant discipline must apply to the Graduate Diploma of Counselling & Psychotherapy first, to assess their suitability (with a pathway to progress into the Masters course).
    • Applicants with a non-related qualification are encouraged to undertake Cairnmillar’s Counselling Skills Foundational and Intermediate short courses, to establish a baseline competency of counselling skills.
    • Please note, the need to undertake one or both short courses will be discussed in an Admissions Interview, should your application be progressed.

Documentation required in the application:

  • Most recent academic transcript(s).
  • A current Curriculum Vitae (resume).
  • Proof of residency/citizenship in the form of a passport, birth certificate, or citizenship certificate.
  • Two references, preferably at least one academic, using the HODSPA reference system.

See our How to Apply page for detailed instructions on applying through our online Application Portal.

International students should also visit the International Students page, for further instructions and resources regarding applying for Cairnmillar’s programs.

Short-listed applicants will be invited to attend an admissions interview with members of Cairnmillar’s academic faculty. This provides applicants an opportunity to discuss any questions they may have about the course. Further information on interviews can be found on our FAQ page here.

Inherent Requirements

Inherent requirements are those skills, values and behaviours which must be demonstrated by students in order that they successfully complete the program of study. As a guide for prospective and current students, a series of inherent requirement statements have been developed that relate to student admission and progression through the course.  These requirements are mandatory; however, there may be some flexibility in how they can be demonstrated. Click here to view the Inherent Requirements.

Graduate Learning Outcomes

Students who satisfactorily complete the Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy should have the professional capabilities to:

  • Critically review and effectively utilise the knowledge of the major schools of counselling and psychotherapy in counselling assessment, case conceptualisation and treatment planning while working with a range of presenting problems across the life span.
  • Develop therapeutic alliance, select, and apply effective counselling and psychotherapy processes to facilitate change and achieve clients’ goals.
  • Demonstrate self-awareness, reflectiveness, ability to evaluate the effectiveness of therapeutic processes and engage in continuous personal and professional development.
  • Identify, analyse and resolve complex ethical and professional dilemmas while applying knowledge of different ethical paradigms, PACFA Code of Ethics, professional conduct guidelines and the relevant legal State and Commonwealth Acts.
  • Consistently relate to others with respect of all aspects of human diversity and lived experience.
  • Critically engage with research literature, understand the main research methodologies, and complete a research project relevant to counselling and psychotherapy practice.

Fees & Scholarships

2024 tuition fees schedule* Domestic International
Masters full course (2 years) $50,568 $60,984
Masters (Year 2 only) $25,284 $30,492

*Total fees are estimates only based on the current fee schedule. Annual tuition fee review and possible increases applies, see: Fees & Scholarships.

For information on tuition fees and what scholarships are available to Cairnmillar students, please visit the Fees & Scholarships page.

Career Opportunities & Study Pathways

Graduates may find employment in a variety of settings, including:

  • Private practice
  • Pastoral care
  • Allied health
  • Community mental health
  • Social work
  • Mediation
  • Careers counselling
  • Health policy
  • Case manager
  • Rehab support services
  • Mental health support services
  • DV support
  • Child protection
  • Family services


The Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy is fully accredited by both the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) and the Australian Counselling Association (ACA).

The program sits within level 9 of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Students applying for this program may enter a process in which they may be granted credit or partial credit towards the qualification in recognition of previous experience where an equivalence of earlier learning can be established.

Students may only be given credit for any coursework if it is from a successfully completed approved course at the appropriate Australian AQF postgraduate level.

Cairnmillar’s RPL policy can be viewed here. Further information on RPL can be found here.

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