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Masters of Arts in Community Based Counselling

The Masters of Arts in Community-Based Counselling Psychology (MACC) degree extends over not less than two academic years of full-time study. It comprises two parts: a coursework component and an internship. In order to graduate, candidates also need to have successfully completed a research report.


During the first year (M1) students complete the coursework component and begin the research report. The coursework component consists of a theoretical and practical programme run by the School of Human and Community Development.

The first year comprises the following modules:

Theory and Practice of Counselling and Psychotherapy
The aim of this module is to train professionals who are skilled in the theory and practice of counselling and psychotherapy within the South African context. A further aim is to develop effective counselling skills and knowledge, as well as personal and professional awareness within the community context.

Community Psychology
The aim of this module is to equip students with the relevant theoretical knowledge and practical skills required to develop and implement interventions that will enhance the psychosocial well-being of particularly marginalised communities. Students will attend seminars in order to explore theoretical and applied issues relevant to community psychology. Students will also participate in one of a number of community projects and will participate in regular community psychology supervision.

Psychological Assessment
The aim of this module is to train professionals skilled in assessment within the South African context. The module will cover both theoretical and practical aspects of psychological assessment. The core competencies of this course are aligned with the competencies required by the Professional Board. This module aims at enhancing the ability of learners to carry out professional psychological assessments and to develop skills in assessment practice management and referral expertise.

The Theory and Practice of Psychopathology in Context
Identification, application, understanding and critical evaluation are the cornerstones of this course. The course consists two components: a theoretical introduction followed by an applied component, both of which are driven by these guiding principles. This module aims to enhance the ability of students to:

  • Acquire a working knowledge of the primary conditions as presented in the DSM-IV TR.
  • Demonstrate theoretical knowledge of psychological models of pathology.
  • Select & convey information about a client to provide sufficient basis for making a diagnosis.
  • Assess rigour of formulation, weigh up alternative possibilities and convey these in discussion

Research Workshops and Seminars
This module aims to enhance the ability of learners to do research and complete the research report that forms part of their degree. By the end of this module, learners should:

  • Understand the requirements for completing their Masters level research dissertation
  • Critically evaluate different research methods and designs within the South African context
  • Select an appropriate research design for their own research
  • Write and present a research proposal for their research
  • Communicate effectively with their supervisor and colleagues regarding their research

Seminars in Professional Psychology (SPP)
Seminars in Professional Psychology (SPP) is a co-ordinated programme which combines the resources of Clinical Psychology, Community-Counselling Psychology and Educational Psychology. Trainee-psychologists from each of these programmes come together for a variety of seminars and workshops in the areas of psychotherapy, psychological assessment and research. The incorporation of a joint seminar programme within each specific training has many advantages. For example:

  • Trainee-psychologists have the opportunity to interact with, and learn from, students in other sub-disciplines
  • Trainee-psychologists are exposed to a variety of staff members with different specializations, different training backgrounds and different ways of working
  • Trainee-psychologists are able to gain competence in some of the general issues of psychotherapy, assessment and research while still maintaining their programme-specific areas of speciality
  • SPP facilitates communication and enrichment between the different sub-disciplines.
  • SPP encourages professionalism within and between trainee-psychologists in each of the sub-disciplines.
  • SPP offers a structure able to provide some of the core skills necessary for any practising psychologist, while at the same time reflecting the specializations of each Masters training programme.

SPP provides a forum for three different purposes:

  • to offer high quality seminars to Masters students in professional training
  • to offer a forum for staff to come together around shared professional activities and concerns
  • to share information and resources for the Emthonjeni Community Centre. This centre manages client referrals and cases seen.

The module structure is designed to reflect the links between and integrations of specific programmes while at the same time emphasizing each programme?s specific areas of specialization. The Psychotherapy and Assessment modules have both SPP and programme-specific input. This means that trainee-psychologists will attend seminars within their own area of specialization as well as with students from other sub-disciplines. The Research component will be SPP-based.


The second part (usually the second year or M2) of the degree involves a counselling internship of twelve months duration, at an internship site approved by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).


During their first year in the program each student will identify an area of interest in the fields of community psychology or community-bases counselling psychology. This module was developed to foster critical, cultural reflection-in-context and a deeper understanding of its implications for action within a developing framework for community psychology in South Africa. Students will work in supervision to design, conduct and write their research. This component counts 50% towards the degree.


  • Application closing date (for study in 2022): 10th June 2021
  • Dates for selection week: 02nd to 06thAugust 2021

Applicants must complete the university online Postgraduate application form.

Please also submit the Course Application Form to the Department of Psychology (See below). Be sure to enclose official university transcripts and one passport/ID sized photograph with your applications.

In addition, please choose two referees from people acquainted with your academic and/or professional performance. Choose people who have an understanding of the needs of the profession. Ask them to complete and send the referee’s reports to the Department of Psychology, to arrive before the closing date.

Incomplete or late application forms will not be accepted, nor applications sent to the Faculty.

Referee report forms and department application forms with transcripts and/or supporting documents must be e-mailed to

To Apply:

Click Here to download the MACC Psychology application form

Click Here to download the MACC course information booklet

Click Here to download the MACC confidential referee's report form

Click Here to complete the online Equity Questionnaire