Graduate Certificate of Counselling

(Bridging Course)

Excelsia College > Study > School of Social Work > Graduate Certificate in Counselling (Bridging Course)

Excelsia College | Graduate Certificate of Counselling

Graduate Certificate of Counselling

(Bridging Course)
Duration: 1 semester
Delivery: On campus
Credit points: 24
Financial information: Domestic (FEE-HELP) available/international
IELTS: 6.5 with no band less than 6
AQF: Level 8
Tuition fee: Domestic students: $10,096 International students: $10,612

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The Graduate Certificate of Counselling (Bridging Course) is ideal for those wanting to explore counselling as a new career or vocation direction, with completion of the course providing time to determine if their interest in counselling merits further study.


Students will develop a clear appreciation of the rewards and challenges associated with a career as a professional counsellor, acquiring core counselling skills, an understanding of counselling ethics and an appreciation for how relational dynamics function in personal and professional settings.

The course may also be of interest to those in helping related professions whose occupations include an incidental counselling component (e.g. education, ministry, nursing, occupational therapy, pastoral work, policing, paramedics etc), providing an opportunity for them to improve or extend their current relational skill set by learning how to counsel and support others more effectively.


The course is also helpful for those without prior undergraduate studies who are interested in counselling and would like to determine if they can manage post-graduate level studies.


Students may also use the Graduate Certificate to proceed into the Graduate Diploma of Counselling and/or the Master of Counselling. Units completed in the Graduate Certificate in Counselling comprise 50% of the Graduate Diploma of Counselling and 25% of the Master of Counselling.

  • • Four cognate units as a pathway to study Master of Social Work (Qualifying)
  • • Pathway to Graduate Diploma in Counselling, followed by Master of Counselling to become a qualified PACFA accredited counsellor

Relational dynamics are at the heart of human engagement and communication and, from the earliest years, counsellors and clients alike are influenced and affected by significant relationships in their lives. For this reason, processing adverse effects of relational experiences within the psychotherapeutic space is often central to client psychological health, wellbeing and recovery. Responding appropriately within the therapeutic space relies on counsellors having developed a repertoire of interpersonal skills, and the ability to understand and conceptualise interactive processes, so as to effectively co-create and sustain safe therapeutic relationships. It is the ability to navigate their own and their clients’ relational histories which significantly contributes to client psychological health, wellbeing and recovery.

Across the lifespan humans grow and change, and an individual’s personal growth trajectory is affected by a range of developmental and sociocultural factors which, ideally and in combination, contribute to normative outcomes. Non-normative outcomes, where they occur, may be the result of genetic mutation or genetic variation, illness, disability, psychopathology, and/or the influence of a range of family, community and societal factors. Employing bio-psychosocial and sociocultural lenses, this unit introduces students to the major theories of human development, with an emphasis on the characteristic developmental changes in individual behaviour that arise from the interdependent and interactive effects of maturation and experience. Particular emphasis is given to the influence of environmental, societal and cultural factors on individual development and growth, enabling students to identify and understand the factors that may lead to perceived dysfunction, and a need to seek counselling to facilitate coping.

In this unit students learn how to ethically and responsibly manage this position, becoming conversant with all relevant regulatory codes and Australian legislative requirements that govern the health sector. They explore ethical principles in professional decision-making processes, reflect on the benefits of professional association membership, and are encouraged to be aware of, and thoughtful about, how their personal moral stance and ethical framework informs and influences their professional practice.

This special topic elective unit is a shell unit that gives the School of Counselling flexibility to pick any topic of relevance. Introduction to Australian Society is the special topic for this stream.

Academic staff for counselling

Associate Professor Ebi Cocodia | Head School of Counselling | Excelsia College

Head of School of Counselling

Ebi Cocodia

Entry requirements

Applicants may be admitted to the Graduate Certificate in Counselling if they have previously successfully completed a relevant:

  • Bachelor degree or
  • Bachelor honours degree

‘Relevant’ means a degree that includes subjects such as psychology, social work and education where you studied human motivation and behaviour. ‘Non-relevant’ means degrees that are science based (not including psychology), where you have not studied human motivation and behaviour.

Applicants with non-relevant degrees will be considered on the basis of their work and life experience.

Applicants without undergraduate qualifications can apply for admission via the work and life experience 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. 

For more information please visit the Future Students information page.

All applicants will need to meet the following requirements:

Interview: Successfully complete an admission interview (including a Readiness for Counselling and Psychotherapy Training Questionnaire).

Criminal history record: Provide a National Criminal History Record check at time of application obtainable from:

Working with children check: Provide a Working with Children authorisation at time of application obtainable from: 

If the applicant is successful they will be issued an offer letter and a written agreement. Students will need to respond to the offer within 6 weeks. This is done online and a confirmation will be emailed back to the applicant. At this point, applicants are welcome to apply for Credit or Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). If you are eligible for credit or RPL, you may be exempt from completing some units and you may be able to finish your degree in a shorter amount of time.


Please refer to the Credit and Recognition of Prior Learning Policy reference.

Download the Student Selection and Admission Policy and Procedure.

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