Graduate Diploma
of Counselling

Develop your understanding of appropriate and
professional approaches to support those in need

Course Information

The Graduate Diploma of Counselling is ideal for anyone in a helping, educational, ministry and/or community support and engagement profession who desires to integrate counselling skills and mental health knowledge into their current vocation.
Students are exposed to a range of theoretical, therapeutic and clinical models and techniques, acquiring an understanding of
(i) appropriate and professional approaches to supporting those in need and;
(ii) contemporary mental health issues and related life challenges.
Whether you are a nurse, paramedic, occupational therapist, speech pathologist, social, community or welfare worker, or involved in another helping profession; teacher/educator; minister, pastor, priest or other church worker; member of the police force; engaged in community development etc., become equipped and confident to provide quality relational care and support to those encountering life difficulties (e.g., crisis and trauma, grief and loss, relational difficulties, illness or disability, employment issues, mental health issues etc).
Students who satisfactorily complete the Graduate Diploma of Counselling can advance to the Master of Counselling.
The Graduate Diploma of Counselling is designed to equip individuals whose profession/employment calls for some mental health and wellness/strengths-based counselling (e.g. incidental counselling). Students are exposed to contemporary counselling theory, with an emphasis on the development of practical skills relevant to a variety of counselling situations and challenging life issues.
  • Face to face (on-campus) delivery in Macquarie Park, NSW
  • Delivery Mode: Friday/Saturday Intensives
  • Credit Points: 48 / Number of Units: 8
  • Student Workload: 10 hours per unit per week (includes provision for personal study)
  • Austudy approved

Admission requirements

Intakes are in January and July (with three round offers for Semester 1 and two round offers for Semester 2). However applications can be lodged any time during the year for the next academic semester.
Applicants for admission must:
  • Provide evidence of completion of an accredited undergraduate degree, and
  • Demonstrate their suitability for counsellor training by means of written rationale, a written set of goals, and participation in an admission interview designed to explore interpersonal skills.
  • Provide two personal references from persons able to comment on the applicant’s suitability to work within a helping profession.
  • Candidates whose qualifying studies were completed in a language other than English will normally be required to demonstrate English proficiency equivalent to the overall minimum score of 6.5 in the IELTS Academic test.
Applicants without undergraduate qualifications can apply for admission via the Mature-entry pathway which may consider other forms of study completed in the higher education and vocational sectors, volunteer activities, contribution to church life, professional development relevant to counselling; personal references and an admission interview.

Credit and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Applicants can apply for (i) Credit for previously completed post-graduate study in the area of counselling; and/or (ii) Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) related to prior counselling experiences and training. Applications for Credit and RPL are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. In some cases applicants may need to demonstrate clinical competency via a video sample of their work.
For further information about the Excelsia College Credit or RPL process or Admission requirements, please contact the Head of Counselling, Dr Marie-Thérèse Proctor on (02) 9189-8834 or at

International Students

Candidates whose qualifying studies were completed in a language other than English will normally be required to demonstrate English proficiency equivalent to the overall minimum score of 6.5 in the IELTS Academic test.

Course Units & Progression

Counselling Practice I
Counselling Practice II
Mental Health Issues in Adulthood
Counselling Theories & Models
Counselling Practice III
Relational Dynamics
Development & Diversity
Ethical issues & Practice

Course CO45
Graduate Diploma of Counselling
CRICOS 056056K
Length 1 years full-time or up to 2 years part-time
Faculty School of Counselling

Potential Students

The postgraduate degree is particularly suited to:
  • Those wanting to confidently provide relational care and support to those experiencing mental health issues and/or life changes within the context of their current professional role – e.g. health care professionals (e.g. human services and social workers, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, psychology graduates, paramedics, nurses, etc), teachers/educators, pastors, ministers, priests and others working in ministry, the Church, and mission fields; members of the police force; engaged in community development, etc.
  • Those considering a change of career or life direction – e.g. those who want to work in a helping profession/capacity.

Delivery Mode

The School of Counselling provides a flexible timetable, allowing students to coordinate study with family, employment, church and other commitments.
  • Each semester consists of two 7 week blocks (Block A & Block B per semester)
  • Each semester runs for 16 weeks, with a 2 week mid-semester break
  • Full-Time students complete 2 units per 7 week block (four units per semester)
  • Part-Time students complete 1 unit in 7 week period (two units per semester)
  • Classes are face-to-face delivery at our new campus in Macquarie Park, NSW
  • Classes are held Friday 1pm-7pm or/and Saturday 10am-4pm
  • Part-time students can select either the Friday or Saturday classes
  • Full-time students need to complete both the Friday and Saturday classes

Career Outcomes

Graduates employ the counselling skills and mental health knowledge gained through course in ways that allow them to function with increased effectiveness in their current role. As the Graduate Diploma is nested within the Master of Counselling, there are options to advance the Masters level, subject to satisfactory academic progression. The Graduate Diploma of Counselling also provides an optional exit award from the Master of Counselling Program.


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