Master of Pastoral Counselling (with specialisation)

Advance your knowledge and skills for a range of professional pastoral counselling contexts

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Master of Pastoral Counselling (with specialisation)

The Master of Pastoral Counselling aims to qualify individuals from a variety of backgrounds in pastoral counselling, including churches, universities, schools, military service, corrective services, police, aged care facilities, and the general community.

This award has professional accreditation by the following bodies as an approved postgraduate counselling training program.

Students will learn to apply advanced knowledge and skills (including knowledge of research principles and methods applicable to the field) in a range of professional pastoral counselling contexts, enabling them to develop a mastery of the field in their professional practice. The program integrates applied pastoral theology with advanced pastoral counselling theory and skills through an in-depth understanding of the discipline through either clinical coursework or research and serves as a pathway to further learning.


We also offer pastoral counselling at a Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate level.

Interested in this course?

Our course advisors are well placed to match your background and educational objectives to the course that would best suit your needs.

Just fill out our online form and one of our course advisors will get in touch with you.

Ask for a course advisor

4 years part-time

Online (Distance Education) with compulsory Residentials in Canberra.

View our Residentials calendar. (Includes Residentials for subjects across our courses.)

Applicants should:

  • be able to demonstrate personal suitability to undertake professional practice as a pastoral counsellor, including self-awareness, relational capacity, personal ethical practice, being able to reflect on and learn from experience, and being open to positive and  challenging feedback; AND
  • hold an undergraduate degree in theology, psychology or equivalent.

Applicants with degrees in other disciplines are encouraged to apply; OR

  • have successfully completed the Graduate Diploma of Pastoral Counselling at CSU; OR
  • hold a Graduate Diploma of Counselling from another institution; if so they may be required to complete the Applied Pastoral Theology subject before being granted admission to the Master of Pastoral Counselling.

This Masters course in counselling emphasises face-to-face practical sessions for role play and hands-on learning. This course includes a focus on applying course learning to the student’s background context for all assessment tasks.

The Master of Pastoral Counselling (Clinical) has been accredited by the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) as a postgraduate counselling training program. It satisfies the academic and professional training requirements for ‘Provisional Membership’ with PACFA. Further client and supervision hours will be required beyond the Master of Pastoral Counselling (Clinical) program to meet the  ‘Clinical Membership’ (750/75) category.

The Graduate Diploma of Pastoral Counselling and the Master of Pastoral Counselling have been accredited by Australian Counselling Association (ACA) as an approved postgraduate counselling training program.

When you study Master of Pastoral Counselling you will be able to make a difference to people’s lives by providing spiritual and psychological support to those who need it most. You will develop the skills and experience to offer counselling across a wide range of settings – pastoral and clinical practice, church and community work, and lay or ordained ministry – to help people with any issue, be it personal, family, marital or faith.

What our students say

“The Masters of Pastoral Counselling was a life-changer for me.  The opportunity to read more widely, wrestle with new ideas and gather with others from a variety of backgrounds, worldviews and experiences was enriching and stimulating.  The online structure allowed me to work around my own timetable eagerly looking forward to each subject.   I travelled and stayed over night for the practical sessions which was a wonderful break from the daily routine and turned into times to focus on the study without interruptions or competing demands. Loved it.”

— Joanne McDonough, 2019

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