Master of Counselling

Master of Counselling

We’ve helped people from all sorts of backgrounds become counsellors. Our Masters students come from a variety of backgrounds. With a prior undergraduate (Bachelor) degree in counselling or any field, some are seeking to utilise counselling skills in their current profession in education, nursing, ministry or corrective services. Some are seeking a fresh start in a rewarding profession. While others already have a Bachelor degree in counselling and are looking to extend their knowledge and skills further.

As a counsellor with a Master of Counselling, there are many opportunities for you as an employee or in private practice. You can make a real difference in areas such as grief and loss; relationships; abuse; youth and adolescents; family; stress; trauma recovery; addictions; mental health and many more.

Our Master of Counselling is available to anyone with an undergraduate Bachelor qualification in any field. The course has been specifically designed this way to provide a learning pathway at a higher educational level commensurate with the student’s prior demonstrated abilities.


24 months (full time)


March, July, November


14 Units

Course Delivery

Online, Full-time, Part-time

Entry Requirements

You can apply for entry to the Master of Counselling if you have successfully completed an undergraduate (Bachelor) degree in any field.

Course Recognition

The Master of Counselling has attained industry accreditation through the Australian Counselling Association (ACA). ACA is the leading industry body for Counsellors in Australia. Upon graduation, you automatically qualify for membership to the ACA.

Payment Options

FEE-HELP or Pay Direct via Credit Card/Direct Debit or Split payments

  • Structure
  • Tuition
  • RPL
  • Support
  • Testimonials
  • Benefits

Subject Code



YEAR 1 (Semesters 1 and 2)


Introduction to Counselling


This unit introduces students to counselling as a profession. Students will learn about the development of the counselling profession, its relationship to other professions and its future directions. The unit introduces students to a trans-theoretical counselling framework and includes topics such as characteristics of effective counsellors; the role of the therapeutic relationship and therapeutic techniques in facilitating client outcomes; counselling in a culturally diverse society, and ethical issues in counselling practice.


Counselling Process


This subject focuses on stages of counselling that are common across therapeutic approaches, including the development of the therapeutic relationship; clarifying concerns; goal-setting; applying techniques and interventions, termination and evaluation. Students reflect upon and analyse the effect of the counsellor’s Self on the counselling process and apply their knowledge of the stages of the counselling process in initial and final counselling session role-plays.


Counselling Skills


This unit introduces students to the foundational practical skills of counselling. Students will develop an understanding of the key therapeutic conditions required to facilitate change and the role counselling skills play in establishing and maintaining those conditions. Students will learn through direct teaching, demonstration and supervised practice and will demonstrate key skills and integrate these into a counselling session.


Ethics and Reflective Practice


This unit introduces students to the ethical principles that inform counselling practice and ethical issues and dilemmas counsellors face. Students will reflect upon and analyse their own beliefs, values, attitudes and biases to understand how these may impact on their counselling practice. They will evaluate counselling scenarios to clarify and develop solutions to ethical dilemmas common in counselling practice, including those relating to confidentiality, client rights, dual relationships, and values conflicts.

Integral to this unit, students will develop reflective practice skills to assist in ongoing selfevaluation and personal and professional development. Students will also examine the role of supervision in ensuring ethical professional practice, and will learn skills involved in providing supervision to others.


Counselling and Human Development


This unit examines physical, cognitive, emotional, social and moral human development across the lifespan. Students will identify developmental issues that occur as part of normal human development, as well as issues that may occur when development is impaired or delayed. Students will evaluate various theories of development and apply these to case studies.


Cognitive Behavioural Approaches to Counselling

MC02, MC03

This unit provides students with an in-depth understanding of the theoretical foundations, concepts, processes and techniques of cognitive-behavioural counselling approaches. Students will learn to use these approaches in counselling sessions and will evaluate the differences between cognitive-behavioural approaches, including an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses and applications of each.


Collaborative and Competency Based Approaches

MC02, MC03

This unit provides students with an in-depth understanding of the theoretical foundations, concepts, processes and techniques of collaborative and competency-based counselling approaches. Students will learn to use these approaches in counselling sessions and will evaluate the differences between approaches, including an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses and applications of each.


Assessment and Case Conceptualisation


In this unit, students learn the principles and skills of assessment and case conceptualisation. Students will distinguish issues suitable for counselling intervention from those requiring mental health or other interventions, and will learn to use assessment tools and methods appropriate for counselling settings. In addition students will be introduced to a case-conceptualisation framework and will learn to conceptualise cases and plan treatment from behavioural, cognitive, feminist, emotion-focused, dynamic, family, transtheoretical, and constructivist theoretical perspectives.

YEAR 2 (Semesters 3 and 4)


Research Methods in Counselling


In this 12 credit unit, students will learn the role research plays in professional counselling practice and will examine the contributions counsellors can make to the generation of research. Students will review quantitative and qualitative research methods relevant to counselling practice, apply basic statistical procedures and interpret statistical information in counselling research. Particular attention will be paid to qualitative research designs such as narrative analysis and single-case studies, as students may use these when they undertake the capstone project in Semester 4.


Counselling Placement and Capstone Project

MC07, MC08

This subject offers students the opportunity to gain experience with and exposure to practical counselling issues in a supervised counselling environment. Students will spend a total of 168 hours on placement, including 12 hours of agency supervision.

In conjunction with the counselling placement, the Capstone Project component of the subject allows students to synthesise and integrate knowledge and skills gained throughout the course into counselling practice. Students begin their Capstone Project by preparing a plan detailing how they will integrate course outcomes into both their placement activities and their professional lives on completion of their degree. Students then undertake projects which may relate to their placement (e.g., case study or service evaluation) or may address issues that affect the counselling industry in some way (e.g., develop and administer a survey regarding counsellor burnout).


Select from Electives below


Select from Electives below


Select from Electives below


Select from Electives below



Counselling Interventions for Crisis & Trauma

MC02, MC03

This unit examines the effects of crisis and trauma on individuals and families. The relationship between stress, crisis and trauma is explored, and students learn interventions that address both the immediate and the longer term effects of traumatic events. Approaches suitable for diverse counselling populations are examined and the concept of vicarious traumatisation is addressed.


Counselling Families and Couples

MC02, MC03

This unit introduces students to the theory and practice of counselling with families and couples. Students will learn to critically analyse dynamics and issues in family and couple relationships, including those relating to conflict, violence and abuse. Students will be introduced to different therapeutic approaches and will have the opportunity to develop relevant practical skills.


Counselling Children & Adolescents

MC02, MC03

This subject provides the opportunity to work within the human service industry, providing invaluable experience and exposure to practical issues. You will develop assessment and intervention skills and further explore your own practice framework under the guidance and supervision of an experienced practitioner. During the placement, you attend 24 hours of supervision to further develop your skills in reflective practice and intervention.


Counselling for Alcohol and Other Drugs

MC02, MC03

This unit introduces students to theories of substance misuse and addiction, including intervention strategies to address addiction issues. Students will develop an understanding of the relationship between social, biological and psychological factors of addiction and will consider contextual and cultural factors in the development and maintenance of addictive patterns of behaviour. Motivational interviewing and primary, secondary and tertiary relapse prevention strategies will be covered.


Counselling for Loss and Grief

MC02, MC03

This unit explores the experience of loss and grief and introduces students to conceptual models of the grieving process as well as counselling approaches to use with clients experiencing loss and grief. Students will learn to assess and respond appropriately to complicated and traumatic grief.

Please refer to for current subject fees and indicative additional and non-tuition costs.

On your Application Form, you chose one course payment option to pay for your course. You are able to:

Option 1: Pay for your course using FEE-HELP (if you are eligible).
Option 2: Pay for each semester of your studies upfront.
Option 3: Pay for a portion of your fees upfront and the remaining portion using FEE-HELP.

If your application is successful and you accept your placement, the investment for each subject is payable via the following methods after accepting your placement:

  1. If you are choosing to pay all or part of your subject fees through FEE-HELP, you will need to return your Request for FEE-HELP Assistance form for the semester by the due date indicated in your semester enrolment letter.
  2. Payment by credit card, cheque or money order for the semester by the due date indicated in your semester enrolment letter (usually within two weeks of the semester commencing).
  3. If you are paying some of your fees yourself and some through FEE-HELP, then returning your Request for FEEHELP Assistance form and payment of the remaining amount by credit card, cheque or money order by the due date of the semester.

If accepted into the course, you nominate your preferred payment method on your Confirmation of Acceptance form to confirm your place in the course. Please note that the subject fees, and any other associated fees, are current only for the subjects in which you are presently enrolled, and can be reviewed and changed at the Institute’s discretion for future semesters.

Subjects where credit is granted

Students are able to apply for credit of previous studies and experience as described in the RPL and Credit Transfer Policy and are not required to pay the subject fee for each subject in which credit is granted.

Students articulating from the AIPC Bachelor of Counselling are automatically eligible to receive credit for 4 subjects of the Master of Counselling program detailed in the RPL and Credit Transfer Policy. The Institute will take this automatic awarding of credit into account when processing enrolments for graduates of the Bachelor of Counselling with the student’s Course Enrolment Confirmation Letter detailing the reductions in course fees applicable to students receiving this automatic credit.

Students are able to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) or Credit Transfer to receive credit for one or more subjects of the Master of Counselling (up to a maximum of 4 subjects). This enhances student progression through the course and provides recognition for students entering the course with relevant prior studies and work experience. Students granted RPL or credit are not disadvantaged in achieving the expected learning outcomes of the course, and the integrity of the qualification must be maintained.

RPL recognises that students, due to relevant life and work experiences, may already possess the requisite skills and knowledge for subject/s in the Master course. Students who have been working within a counselling environment for a number of years are able to apply for recognition of this prior learning or experience. Exemption can be applied for one or more course subjects** (up to a maximum of 4 subjects).

Assessing credit from prior experience takes into account the authenticity, currency, quality, relevance, transferability and comparability of the experience to the requirements of the subject for which credit is being applied.

Credit Transfer

Credit Transfer refers to obtaining credit towards another course on the basis of having completed previous study of an equivalent subject or unit. Students who have completed similar units to those included in the Master of Counselling are welcome to apply for Credit Transfer. Students who have completed or partially completed another counselling course are particularly encouraged to apply for Credit Transfer.Credit will not normally be granted for formal study completed more than 10 years prior to application unless there is evidence of continued relevance of this study for the course towards which credit is sought. Credit is granted where there is substantial overlap with the content and/or learning outcomes of the subject for which credit is being applied. When assessing credit based on prior study, consideration is given to the objectives of the course, methods of delivery and assessment, admission requirements, course durations, the breadth and depth of the course material, practical training requirements, and experience requirements.

**Students can obtain credit for a total maximum of 4 subjects inclusive of whether this credit has been obtained via RPL or credit transfer.

Students Articulating from AIPC’s Bachelor of Counselling

Students progressing into the Master of Counselling from the Institute’s Bachelor of Counselling will automatically receive credit for the following subjects:

  • MC01 Introduction to Counselling
  • MC02 Counselling Process
  • MC03 Counselling Skills
  • MC04 Ethics and Reflective Practice

The student’s record will be automatically updated and a confirmation letter sent to the student. Students are not required to formally apply through the RPL process.

Students Articulating from AIPC’s Graduate Diploma of Counselling

Students progressing into the Master of Counselling from the Institute’s Graduate Diploma of Counselling will automatically receive credit for the following subjects:

  • MC04 Ethics and Reflective Practice

Dependent on the chosen specialty stream within the Graduate Diploma, the student will also receive credit for the following subjects:

Graduate Diploma Specialty StreamCredit offered towards
Family Therapy MC12 Counselling for Families and Couples
Addictions MC14 Counselling for Alcohol and Other Drugs
Loss and Grief MC15 Counselling for Loss and Grief

The student’s record will be automatically updated and a confirmation letter sent to the student. Students are not required to formally apply through the RPL process.

Students Articulating from other Bachelor level Qualifications in Counselling

Students progressing into the Master of Counselling whom have completed an undergraduate degree in Counselling with another Higher Education Provider, or an undergraduate degree that has included the completion of a Counselling Major (ie, 8 subjects in Counselling) can apply for credit of up to four subjects in the Master of Counselling.

The student is required to apply for Credit Transfer as per the Applying for RPL or Credit Transfer process outlined below and supply a certified copy of their Qualification and Academic Transcript in support of their application.

For over 28-years AIPC has set the benchmark for service and support in external counselling studies. We are the only counselling educator to offer a complete external study support system that has been developed and refined over decades of research and continual student feedback.

Study Assistance Line

You have unlimited use of the toll free 1300 Study Assistance Line which puts you in contact with your Lecturer who will answer all your questions and assessment queries.

Residential Schools

Residential Schools teach you to apply your theoretical knowledge to counselling scenarios. Residential Schools provide you with an ideal teaching forum to handle practical counselling issues. You also meet and share ideas and experiences with fellow students and have the opportunity to reflect on the development of your counselling skills.

Residential Schools are held at our academic rooms in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, Australia and are scheduled at the end of each semester. Depending on the numbers of subjects you have undertaken during the semester, Residential Schools are up to one or two weeks’ duration. If studying full time, you complete between 2.5 and 10 days at a Residential School at the end of each semester. Not all subjects include a Residential School component. If you are studying part time, you only need to attend the days of the Residential School allocated to the specific subject.

Residential Schools are a great opportunity to get together with fellow students and participate in casework sessions under the guidance of your Lecturer. To help facilitate your learning, our Residential Schools use case scenarios relating to everyday, contemporary issues and provide a wonderful supportive forum for group discussion, interaction and reflection.

Work Placement and Capstone Project

The Master of Counselling includes a Work Placement and Capstone Project where you undertake clinical practice in a work setting and complete a real-world counselling project. A counselling placement is essential in assisting the transition from application in a simulated setting to real practice. During your work placement, you will also complete a practical capstone project in a counselling environment.

The practicum involves the completion of 12 hours work each week for 12 weeks along with 24 hours to attend individual counselling supervision with the workplace supervisor and group supervision by teleconference with the Lecturer. The Institute has a network of community organisations and counselling practices for you to approach or you are able to choose your own relevant agency.

The Institute provides guidelines to students on how to approach agencies, assists with initial contact between you and the placement organisation, and follows up with you and the workplace supervisor regularly during the placement to ensure everything is progressing smoothly.


Some subjects within the Master of Counselling include progressive participation in webinars. Webinars provide an interactive and stimulating teaching environment based on discussion of concepts and ideas to encourage the transition from teaching to practice.

Institute Website

The Institute website is an extremely helpful study resource. Via the website you can access the My.AIPC Student Portal which is your link to numerous study support and e-learning functions. You can:

  • Download electronic versions of your workbooks,
  • Complete your activities and upload for marking,
  • Contact an Online Education Adviser for study assistance,
  • Access the Knowledge Base, a massive database of the most commonly asked academic questions, categorised for particular subjects, activities and concepts,
  • See when seminars are available in your area,
  • Plus much more.

Read what our graduates are saying...

Below are some of the numerous comments we’ve received from students and graduates. When you read through the comments you’ll gain a sense of how personally and professionally enriching a counselling qualification can be.

"I was invited to apply for the AIPC degree course after finishing my Diploma, which was well timed as I was looking around to upgrade it. The home based study..."

Maureen Filippi

"My personal growth journey started a few years before I decided to study and I am still thoroughly amazed by what I am doing with my life. As well as..."

Louise Fitzgerald

"I started the Bachelor of Counselling Course in March 2008. When I first found out about the course I was excited at the prospect of doing a Degree that was..."

Claudia Kuerschner

"At the beginning of 2004 I found myself enrolled in the course with the lovely people at AIPC, the administration team and student support team have both been amazing in..."

Brian Rhodes

"With one hand I receive my Diploma with excitement, pride, joy, and dreams realised, but on the other hand I reach out to those who may need guidance and direction..."

Mari Shell

"With the guidance and support of the AIPC team I completed my Diploma in November 06, and by January 07 landed my dream job as a trainer (who also requires..."

Jan Burguez

"The last four and a half years have certainly been a time of self-development for myself due to the subjects we covered in the Diploma. I was able through my..."

Michelle Lees

"I would like to explain the journey of my studies with the A.I.P.C. From the first unit I started I was unsure of my ability's in completing the 22 Units..."

Lynn Holt

"Since graduating with the Diploma in July 2006 - it's such an unbelievable feeling to accomplish and also it's providing opportunities and changes in my life that were not possible..."

Carol Lockwood

"I never thought I'd be writing my own success story, just like the one's I read at the beginning of my studies. About halfway through the Diploma we were living..."

Davina Gleeson

"My journey into studying counselling began over three years ago, when I felt the need for self exploration after many years of various personal traumas..."

Marilyn Tisdall

"AIPC has been an exceptional institution to study through. I have studied with a few institutions over the years but AIPC has by far been the best. What..."

Will Flynn

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Hear from some of our Degree students...

Maureen Filippi

Danielle Russell

Colette Naehu

Lois Spark

  • Study online from home and at your own pace, so you can fit learning around your lifestyle.
  • Maximise your investment and save thousands of dollars off traditional classroom programs.
  • Industry Accredited by the Australian Counselling Association (ACA).
  • Nationally Recognised training program.
  • Complete access to the My.AIPC Student Portal which contains all your course material, bonus resources, tutor contacts and video lectures and also facilitates assignment submission.
  • Dedicated study support system. We are the only counselling educator to offer a complete external study support system that has been developed and refined over decades of research and continual student feedback.
  • The Institute has been operating for over 30-years and remains the only exclusive national provider of counselling education.

Ready to start?

Applying is easy using our simple online application process.

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