Programme list > Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Practice

Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Practice


Become a registered psychologist

The Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Practice is your pathway to becoming a registered psychologist.

  • Level

  • Postgraduate, NZQF Level 8
  • Distance learning

  • Available
  • Credits

  • 120
  • Duration

  • 1 year(s) full-time.
  • Other

  • Selected entry programme

Note: This programme is covered by the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Amendment Order 2021. Students are required to provide details of their vaccination status on enrolment.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Practice (PGDipPsychPrac) is a professional qualification that prepares you to work as a registered psychologist.

Academic and applied training

This is an internship programme that will train you to be eligible for registration to practise under the Psychologist Scope of Practice, as defined by the New Zealand Psychologists Board.

The diploma comprises two courses of formal academic work and two of supervised practice.

You’ll get supervised training in the application of psychological theory and research to contemporary settings. Your training will be academically rigorous and will reflect the highest standards of ethical, safe and culturally competent practice.

During your internship you’ll function like a professional psychologist, but under close supervision. You’ll gain the skills and learn the responsibilities you need to later practise psychology independently.

Study that suits you

The Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Practice is available by distance learning – you can study wherever suits you. You’ll benefit from Massey’s established expertise in distance education.

The diploma can also be completed in any field of psychological practice. This broadens your opportunities to practise psychology in New Zealand society.

Internationally recognised and market-leading in New Zealand

More psychology researchers and registered psychologists graduate from Massey than any other university in New Zealand. We’re connected to a wide range of community and statutory organisations. We produce unique and applied psychology research and training that’s recognised nationally and internationally. This expertise enhances the reputation of your degree and ensures your knowledge is relevant to today’s society.

Careers and further study


Psychological practice isn’t limited to one-to-one services for designated clients with mental health challenges. As a graduate of this programme, you might use your psychology knowledge to provide psychotherapy or counselling to individuals who are unwell, or you could be providing a different type of psychological service to the public. Common areas of practice include health psychology, kaupapa Māori psychology, community development, working with youth, and rehabilitation psychology.

Our graduates typically work in their community in:

  • health
  • education
  • social services
  • justice.

Further study

Explore your psychology options

If you want to be a registered psychologist, you can explore your qualification options in our psychology pathways tool.

Entry requirements

University admission

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Programme admission


This programme is a selected entry programme. This means there are a number of extra requirements you must meet.

To enter the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Practice you will:

  • have been awarded or qualified for a master’s degree in psychology which is approved as meeting Psychologists Board requirements
  • be in employment (paid or unpaid) in a workplace where activities require engagement in psychologically based practice
  • have arranged for approved supervision in the field
  • meet the requirements set down by the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 as being a fit and proper person to be registered
  • be accepted into the programme by a selection process including the below.

You will need to provide the following documents:

  • verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University
  • the title and abstract of your master’s thesis
  • current curriculum vitae or resume detailing your relevant training and experience
  • passport size photograph
  • brief personal statement (500 words or less) which includes your reasons for seeking a career in psychology and may list your perceived strengths and skills you will bring to your studies and training as a psychologist
  • a copy of Criminal Conviction request letters if applicable
  • a supporting statement from whanau/family (optional)
  • contact details of two referees (they will be automatically contacted to supply a confidential reference)

An interview may be required - indicate on your application which location would suit you best if you are shortlisted: Auckland (Albany) or Palmerston North.

If your master’s or PhD thesis has not yet been examined, confirmation will be required from your supervisor that your thesis will be submitted no later than the first week in January and is likely to have a passing grade.

Limited places

There are a limited number of places available. Meeting entry requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the programme. A shortlist of candidates will be selected and interview appointments will be advised. Depending on numbers, these panel interviews may be conducted in person at either Palmerston North or Auckland.

See more detail on these requirements below. If you have questions or would like more information on this programme, please contact us through the Enquire button on this page.

Application closing date

If you are a new-to-Massey student, applications for this programme close on 1 September. All documentation, including referee reports, must be received by this date. Applications to clinical training also close on 1 September.

Other requirements

Supplementary questions

You will need to provide detailed information about your professional goals and aspirations, and your understanding of the PGDipPP. Please download and complete the Supplementary Questions form as part of your online application. Once completed, save the file and upload it using the ‘Upload’ button.

Please prepare answers to the following questions. Answers should be brief, direct and to the point, whilst providing as much details as is needed to answer the question.

1. Do you have a possible internship placement worked out (at least in principle)? If ‘yes’ describe the nature of this internship. If ‘no’ outline what steps you are taking to obtain an internship position for the upcoming year.

2. Provide the name and qualifications of your proposed supervisor for this internship. Do you have a formal agreement from this individual?

3. The PGDipPP requires completion of academic course work; one of these courses is titled Advanced Principles of Professional Practice. Please outline what you consider your preparation to be for an advanced course of this kind. For example, have you completed Massey University course in Professional Practice 175.730? Have you taken a similar course elsewhere? What other activities have you undertaken in order to prepare yourself academically for professional practice?

4. Psychological practice in Aotearoa New Zealand generally follows a ‘scientist-practitioner’ model, broadly defined. Please describe your research experiences, and provide the abstract and title of your master’s (or doctoral) thesis. Comment on how this research experience has prepared you for practice in your professional area of choice.

5. Cultural competence is one of the requirements for a practicing psychologist in Aotearoa New Zealand, which includes bicultural understanding and knowledge – for example, understanding the role Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) plays in professional psychological practice. Please outline briefly your experiences, both formal and informal, that you believe has prepared you for functioning in a culturally competent manner. What additional types of training or experiences – if any – do you think you might need in this domain?

6. Please outline your longer-term career goals. How will your selected internship offer you the types of supervised experiences that will contribute to these goals?

7. Are there any circumstances in your past personal or professional life that might make you unsuited for registration as a psychologist with the Psychologists Board? This includes English language ability, criminal convictions, or prior rejection for registration in New Zealand. If yes, or uncertain, please explain. (Note, you should check the Psychologists Board website; when you apply for registration as an Intern Psychologist, they will require from you a Record of Criminal Convictions. The Board judges all applicants on a case-by-case basis.)

If the information you need to provide is personally sensitive, you may indicate that here but enquire with us to submit directly.

8. What would you identify as your major areas of need – from a training point of view – in order to take full opportunity of your internship year?

Registering as an intern

If selected for this programme, you will be required to apply for registration as an intern with the New Zealand Psychologists Board.

When you apply for registration as an intern, you will need to authorise the Registration Board to request a check of your Criminal Record with the New Zealand Police. If you have been resident overseas during the last five years, you will also need to provide the Board with a Police Clearance Certificate (such as FBI Criminal Conviction Information/Fingerprint Information in the USA) or an equivalent form detailing any convictions you have had in any country in which you have lived in the past five years. In that case, with your application to the university, you need to provide a copy of the letter(s) by which you have requested such certificates.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

If you do not have the entry requirements

English language and foundation courses

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, we have courses and qualifications that may help.

Courses and planning

Credit summary

120 credits

  • Compulsory course(s) – 120 credits

Courses for this programme

Compulsory courses

120 credits
175851 Advanced Professional Issues in Psychological Practice Part I 30
175852 Advanced Professional Issues in Psychological Practice Part II 30
175853 Practicum in Psychological Practice Part I 30
175854 Practicum in Psychological Practice Part II 30

Planning your programme

Planning overview

If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.

Practical work requirement

You must provide evidence that a minimum of 1500 hours practical work has been completed. This is to be provided in the form of an employer’s certificate of performance and is required prior to the examination in 175.852.

Maximum time limits for completion

There are maximum time limits to complete postgraduate qualifications.  If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the programme if you wish to continue your studies.


Fees and scholarships

Fees and finance

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

A good fit if you:

  • want to become a registered psychologist
  • have a master’s or PhD specialising in psychology
  • have experience in the workplace.

Accreditations and rankings

QS ranking psychology

Massey is ranked in the world's top 250 universities for psychology by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

Key information for students

Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.


Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.

Postgraduate regulations

General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates.

Regulations for this programme

Applying and enrolling

Applying for the programme

Check you are ready

If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.

Choose your programme and click on Apply now

You will apply for the programme using the Apply now button on this page. You’ll also choose your specialisation (major, subject or endorsement) if applicable.

Some programmes have additional requirements such as the submission of a portfolio or CV. Click on Apply now and you will be able to submit those documents as part of the application process.

Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place

You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.

Enrolling in courses

You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.

When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:

  • prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
  • corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
  • restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
  • location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.

Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.

More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.

You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.

We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!

If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.

What are courses and credits?

What are courses and credits?

Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).

You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.

Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.

There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.

  • See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
  • Courses search

Understanding course numbers

The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.

The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:

  • sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
  • undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
  • as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study.
1 6 2 . 3   0 1
Subject area   Level   Course ID number

Workload and time management

Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.

Estimate workload

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the programme or specialisation you enrolled in may be no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.

Find and apply for scholarships