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Training toward registration and practice as a clinical psychologist in New Zealand

Director of Clinical Programme

Professor Martin Sellbom


Kally Barton


A career in clinical psychology has become a major professional choice for many psychology graduates. Clinically qualified psychologists are mostly employed in human service roles (including within the District Health Boards, the Corrections Psychological Services, private practice, and other social welfare and counselling agencies), in consultancy roles, and in research and academic roles. From a beginning in which clinical psychologists were employed primarily as testers to assist in the diagnosis of psychiatric patients, their service contributions have gradually broadened over the past 40 years to include not only the treatment and rehabilitation of psychiatric patients, but also the psychological care of non-psychiatric patients, health education, and community welfare. In all these areas psychologists and, in particular, clinical psychologists, have also played a key role in research and in the teaching of health service professionals.

A key route to a career in clinical psychology in New Zealand is through gaining recognised research and professional qualifications.

The majority of students admitted to the programme complete three qualifications over three years of full-time university study. During the first year, students complete a Bachelor of Arts with Honours or a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Psychology, or the equivalent. During the second and third years (also called the first and second professional years), students complete the Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology concurrently with a Master of Arts or Master of Science in Psychology (by thesis only).

There are two common variations to this. In some cases, students complete a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology instead of a Master's degree and, in doing so, undertake at least two additional years of study. In other cases, students substitute the Honours degree in the first year with the coursework component of a Master of Arts or Master of Science in Psychology (by papers and thesis) and, in doing so, complete two qualifications over three years. From time to time, case-by-case variations are permitted (eg, if the student already holds a Master's or PhD research degree in Psychology).

The Master's or PhD research may be in any area of psychology, subject to approval by the Head of Department. For this part of their study, students should contact one of the Higher Degrees Coordinators.

PhD Coordinator - Associate Professor Jackie Hunter

Master's Coordinator - Associate Professor Richard Linscott

Admission to the Programme

Entry to the Clinical Psychology programme normally occurs after the third year of Psychology. Applicants for entry into the programme will have completed the requirements for a Bachelors degree in Psychology, or the equivalent (eg, DipGrad in Psychology).

The number of students accepted each year into the training programme is limited by the number of practical clinical placements available. The present annual intake of ten students may be expected to vary depending upon the facilities available.

Candidates for entry into the programme will have achieved a high standard of academic performance in psychology, particularly at 300-level.  In addition to their academic qualifications, candidates should:

(a) be able to and be willing to sustain high workloads, and have a high standard of written and oral communication skills
(b) show evidence of having a capacity to relate to a wide range of people from different cultural, economic, and vocational backgrounds.

Only citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand or Australia will be considered for places in this programme.

Download the Diploma in Clinical Psychology Handbook (1239 KB)

Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology (PGDipClPs)

Applications for admission to the Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology are handled online through the University's eVision system. To obtain information about how to apply, this system requires you to begin the application process. If you have never undertaken study at the University of Otago, the first step in this process involves you providing your name and contact details as well as information about your study to date. Once these details have been confirmed, you will be able to navigate to the online application pages for the Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology.

Use our Quick Guide to eVision to help you through the application process (PDF 60.4KB)

The eVision system allows you to save partially completed applications. That is, you do not need to provide all the requested information in one session. Once you select to apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology, you should download the application information and instructions document.

If you have any questions about the application process or are having difficulty with the e:Vision system, please contact the Director of the Clinical Psychology Programme, Professor Martin Sellbom.


To proceed with your application, follow the link below. This will load the qualification information on the Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology. Then select the yellow "Apply Now" button.

Meihana Model

The purpose of the course is to support psychology trainees to feel informed and confident in the development of Hauora Māori competencies, by focussing on the Hui Process and Meihana Model.  Students will complete MIHI501 and MIHI601 during the programme.

Meihana model overview (PDF)

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