Graduate Diploma in Counselling

Course Code2035
Course duration /
Study mode

Two years full-time (or part-time equivalent with up to six years to complete)

On-campus or distance education (distance/online option includes intensives on-campus)


LocationAvondale Campus - Lake Macquarie
Fee Support

FEE-HELP* *for eligible students, see


The Graduate Diploma in Counselling is a 96 credit point course delivered at AQF Level 8, divided over 16 units (15 counselling units and one religious studies unit to meet Avondale's requirements as a Christian College of Higher Education). It provides students with both the experiential and theoretical foundation to function as professional counsellors in Australia. Posited in a Christian worldview, this supportive, two-year course emphasises the common factors essential to counselling, introduces various counselling methods, and builds basic and advanced counselling skills. The Graduate Diploma in Counselling also introduces students to research in the science of counselling and provides a one-year clinical placement. An application for accreditation of the course with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) is planned as the course is designed to meet the requirements of PACFA but it should be noted that accreditation is not yet in place given the recency of the course commencement.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Graduate Diploma in Counselling, graduates will be able to:
  • Demonstrate professional counselling skills matched to client need, with due attention to developmental stages and relevant cultural and spiritual issues.
  • Articulate a current body of theoretical knowledge upon which to build competent clinical practice.
  • Apply principles of ethical practice in complex client presentations and show awareness of relevant legal issues in professional counselling practice.
  • Engage with research analytically and design a simple research project.
  • Integrate and apply spiritual and psychotherapeutic perspectives to particular client presentations.
  • Reflect on their interpersonal and intrapersonal process as a professional counsellor utilising regular supervision and peer support.
  • Engage professionally and competently in the work place
  • Demonstrate an ability to integrate systemic and relationship perspectives into their counselling practice.

Career Opportunities

Successful completion of the Graduate Diploma in Counselling will allow the student to be industry ready and to seek employment in a counselling or counselling related position such as:

  • School counselling
  • Gambling counselling
  • Private practice
  • Telephone counselling
  • Relationship counselling
  • Drug and alcohol counselling
  • Welfare and youth work counselling

Admission Criteria


To qualify for admission, you must have completed:

  • An Australian Qualifications Framework AQF Level 7 Bachelor's degree (or higher) from an accredited university or higher education provider; or
  • An overseas qualification comparable to an Australian Qualifications Framework AQF Level 7 or higher


The following are the specific criteria for admission:

  • Pre-admission interview with the course convenor, placement coordinator, and an experienced counsellor or psychologis


Applicants with an Australian Qualifications Framework AQF Level 8 qualification (or higher) in a cognate area may be eligible for advanced standing (credit recognition). Refer to the Advanced Standing Policy for more information.


The Graduate Diploma in Counselling is available to domestic students and international students studying outside of Australia. The course is unavailable to international students in Australia on a student visa.


Applicant's who completed their bachelor's degree (or overseas equivalent) in a language other than English must demonstrate English language proficiency by achieving a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 overall with no sub-band below 6.0.

Course Structure

Units for Graduate Diploma in Counselling


Name of Unit

Name of Unit

Name of Unit

Name of Unit

Sem 1

Fundamentals of Counselling

Psychotherapy and Counselling Theories

Ethics, Diversity and Spiritual Integration

Developmental Theories and Counselling

Sem 2

Systemic and Family Therapy Approaches

Spiritual Perspectives on Emotional Disorders

Introduction to Psychology for Counselling

Interpersonal Approach and Treatment Strategies

Sem 3

Mental Health & Psychopathology

Counselling Children & Adolescents

Counselling Practice I

Research in Counselling Practice A

Sem 4

Counselling Couples

Religion Unit

Counselling Practice II

Research in Counselling Practice B


To find out more about any of the units listed here, copy the unit code and then search for that unit here.

Practical Experience

Students are required to complete a 1 year internship in the second year of the program. A minimum of 40 hours of face to face counselling is required in order to graduate.


An application for accreditation of the course with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) is planned as the course is designed to meet the requirements of PACFA but it should be noted that accreditation is not yet in place given the recency of the course commencement. This would then allow a graduate to obtain provisional registration and work towards full clinical registration. Until course accreditation is granted, gradates can still apply direct to PACFA for provisional registration.

Registration and Self-Disclosure

Upon graduation, students will be able to apply for provisional registration with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia or apply for membership with the Australian Counselling Association and with the Australian Christian Counsellors Association

Before entering their clinical placement, students must have a current working with children check and a police clearance.

Where to get further information

Course Enquiries

Student Administration Services

Phone: +61 2 4980 2377
Email: [email protected]
Monday-Thursday, 9.00am-5pm
Friday, 9.00am-12.00noon


FEE-HELP is available for eligible students, see

View current information on tuition fees


There are currently no scholarships available which are specific to this course. View all scholarship information.


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